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Program Information
 The Alembic Files 
  John Lord O'Brian's speech at Harvard in 1955
 For non-profit use only.
 Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) 
 Warning: Program may contain strong or potentially offensive language, including possible FCC violations.
The last part of O’Brian’s speech cites the onset of certain troubling trends in law and government that threaten the values of Americans and the protections they supposedly have been guaranteed against governmental excess and potential tyranny.
O’Brian warns of the growing disrespect for the presumption of innocence, citing that half of lawyers interviewed in the early 50s (during the Red Scare), believed that an individual’s invoking of the historical privilege against self-incrimination was a clear indication of guilt.
He also noted that the right to differ, though readily accepted when involved in issues of little consequence, is heatedly contested when touching the heart of the existing order of beliefs.
Inserted in the audio is an exchange from the film “A Man For All Seasons” in which Sir Thomas More and his son-in-law argue the latter’s willingness to lay every law low to indict a suspected law breaker:
“And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned around on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast—man's laws, not God's—and if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.”
O’Brian’s speech, of course, ended on a note of optimism--his wishing not to believe or, perhaps, envision that, much like the Red Scare in the wake of which he spoke, 9-11 and the era of terrorism would allow government to coerce the population into giving up so much more freedom than was relinquished in the 50s for the promise of security.
We live in an era in which governments are the chief purveyors of terrorism—a strategy meant to bring their citizens into an attitude of unquestioning obedience to make the path smooth for global totalitarianism.
Forget your Democrat and Republican fealties. They’re nothing but a distraction to prevent us all from the realization that government—or the appearance thereof—has sold out the present and subsequent generations.

For other Alembic Files or audios done by contributors to this series, go to
For the rest of the series:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

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