What Would It Take For You To Fight For Your Liberty?

James Otteson,

Release Date
September 26, 2011


Civil Liberties

Prof. James Otteson believes it is extremely important to think about what it would take for you to fight for your liberty. Liberty is a fragile gift, and if this question remains ignored, our liberty will likely diminish.

What Would It Take For You To Fight For Your Liberty?
I would like every student, every young person, in America, to ask him or herself, “What would it take for me to be willing to fight for my liberty?” That’s a very important question to ask. And I’ll tell you why I ask it. I recently had a conversation with some undergraduate students, and we were discussing the Transportation Security Administration and whether their policies were too invasive or not. There were differences of opinions, but it led me to ask them this question. Is there anything that they would do or propose to do to you where you would say that’s enough? I’ve now reached my tipping point. I’m going to say no. Maybe I would even resist.
And their answer was no. They weren’t really sure. We don’t think like that, as one student told me. Maybe in other generations people thought about what’s the limits of liberty, but we just don’t think like that. What I thought at the time was, I’m very glad those people weren’t around in 1775 and 1776. We might not have a country if everybody then thought the same way. Liberty is a precious gift. It is also a very fragile gift. It can go away very quickly. Every person, I think, needs to ask very solemnly, what will it take, at what point would you be willing to fight for liberty?