Who said: "To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves"

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"To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves." - Claude Adrien Helvetius

Claude Adrien HelvetiusFrench philosopher Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715-1771) was born in Paris. After holding the exceedingly profitable post of farmer-general (tax collector) for some years he retired to the country in 1751 where he devoted himself to writing and philanthropy.

Like the English philosopher John Locke (1632-1704), Helvétius believed that all men are born with equal ability and that distinctions develop from education, and that through education all human problems could be solved. He is remembered for his 1758 book, De l'esprit (On Mind), which drew such condemnation from both the Pope and the Parlement of Paris for its heretical viewpoints that Helvétius hurriedly wrote no less than three humiliating retractions. Unmoved by his protestations the powers that be had the book publicly burned by the Paris hangman.

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