REAL FREEDOM NEEDS NO JUSTIFICATION | 1999-11-27
The Texas A&M bonfire disaster was the subject of discussion on "Burden of Proof." Before an important football game, the Texas Aggies have been lighting a bonfire for some ninety years. This year there was an accident, and some students were killed.
One of the two lawyers who run the show asked a spokesman for the school to justify the bonfire. The lawyer said that despite the fact it was a long-standing tradition, there was some potential danger in any bonfire. He wanted to know what benefit to students would justify that risk, however slight it may be.
This is a good example of how we have accepted the erosion of liberty. You are allowed to do something only if you can justify it to the legal system. If you want to do something, you had better be able to prove to a lawyer that, IN THE LAWYER'S ESTIMATION, the benefit of your doing it outweighs the risks HE sees in it. "Lawyer" includes judges, because a judge is just a lawyer with a black dress on.
When we begin to justify freedom to a third party, we have already lost it. Freedom does NOT mean the right to do anything you can justify to somebody else. Any police state will let you do anything you can justify to the police in charge. Freedom means doing something JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO DO IT.
As a matter of fact, the right to do something other people feel you should not be allowed to do is exactly what freedom is all about. The instant you begin to justify freedom is the moment your freedom has ceased to exist.