“With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.” Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie as wisdom and warning. The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged.
The road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think.
We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, is all ancient history. Then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly, it threatens to start all over again.
Worf: I believed her. I… helped her. I did not see her for what she was.
Jean-Luc Picard: Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged.
Worf: I think… after yesterday people will not be so ready to trust her.
Jean-Luc Picard: Maybe. But she, or someone like her, will always be with us. Waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness. […] Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we must continually pay.
If you have not yet watched the Drumhead, Star Trek: The Next Generation, do myself a favor and watch it. It’s available on Netflix, Amazon, DVD, Streaming, Startrek.com. You have no excuse not to watch such a relevant episode that describes us today.