Monday, September 24, 2007

Boyer Lecture, American Enterprise Institute

In this Feb. 13, 2001 speech, Justice Thomas eloquently describes the vitriol that one can expect for being honorable and true to one's beliefs:
"Be Not Afraid"
American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C. - February 13, 2001

* * *

In my humble opinion, those who come to engage in debates of consequence, and who challenge accepted wisdom, should expect to be treated badly. Nonetheless, they must stand undaunted. That is required. And, that should be expected. For, it is bravery that is required to secure freedom. . . . What makes it all worthwhile? What makes it worthwhile is something greater than all of us. There are those things that at one time we all accepted as more important than our comfort or discomfort, if not our very lives: Duty, honor, country! There was a time when all was to be set aside for these. The plow was left idle, the hearth without fire, the homestead, abandoned.
Justice Thomas closes by describing the message of Pope John Paul II:
Pope John Paul II has traveled the entire world challenging tyrants and murderers of all sorts, speaking to millions of people, bringing them a single, simple message: 'Be Not Afraid.'

He preached this message to people living under Communist tyranny in Poland, in Czechoslovakia, in Nicaragua and in China -- 'Be not afraid.' He preached it to Africans facing death from marauding tribes and murderous disease -- 'Be not afraid.' And he preached it to us, warning us how easy it is to be trapped in a 'culture of death' even in our comfortable and luxurious country -- 'Be not afraid.'

Listen to the truths that lie within your hearts, and be not afraid to follow them wherever they may lead you. Those three little words hold the power to transform individuals and change the world. They can supply the quiet resolve and unvoiced courage necessary to endure the inevitable intimidation.
The audio of this speech can be heard by going to this page, which also has the full text.

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