"What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it."
-Judge Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty (1944)
I agree it definitely takes a receptive culture to uphold liberty. But I wonder if Judge Hand really said anything of value here or was just trying to say something warm and fuzzy? I don't think we put too much hope into laws and a Constitution. If we really thought man was capable of always adhering to the principles of freedom, we wouldn't draft a constitution or make any laws. That would be irrational, life is not like that and man is a fallible being. There is no utopia of every individual adhering to the principles of liberty. Constitutions, separation of powers, and Laws are extremely important to protecting liberty, and there isn't much of an alternative to that. Men's and Women's hearts are not enough.