“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” – Benjamin Franklin
That was a tweet sent out this morning by New Jersey Democrat Corey Booker. Unfortunately, we’re not so sure Benjamin Franklin ever said that and neither is Snopes, the liberal fact checking website.
"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority."
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 23, 2017
“Social media platforms have long proved a popular outlet for the circulation of quotes from well-known figures, with a significant proportion of them being mistattributed or apocryphal. A long-circulating example of this phenomenon is a quote attributed to Founding Father Benjamin Franklin highlighting the responsibility every citizen bears to question authority,” Snopes published on this modern urban legend of a quote.
The quote “it is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority” has widely been attributed to Benjamin Franklin since the mid-2000s, but we could locate no credible evidence before or after that period suggesting that the comment was ever written or uttered by. The most comprehensive collection of Franklin’s writings not only provides no evidence that the quote is authentic, but it also lacks any other statement of Franklin’s similar enough to serve as reasonable basis for the attribution.
A link to the tweet is provided above, but in case Senator Booker removes it, here is a screenshot.