M onday night was the final episode of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s groundbreaking show, FreedomWatch. The show which began in February of 2009 as an online webcast airing just once a week, quickly gained popularity and by June of 2010 was airing Monday through Friday at 8 p.m. What made the show so unique was not merely the joyful ranting of its host but the various issues discussed while the cameras were rolling. Never before had so many Americans been privy to the daily onslaught of their government’s infringements upon freedom or the tireless work of those on the frontlines trying to prevent such tyranny.
Certainly other broadcasts and networks have covered some of the stories featured on the Judge’s show, but never had such a robustly libertarian and anti-statist fervor graced the televisions of millions of Americans on a nightly basis. The most refreshing attribute of the show was its unyielding desire to enlighten rather than entertain and its commitment to principle over popularity. The Judge and his crew spent countless hours unearthing violations of liberty around the world from the obvious to the obscure, from assassinations to lemonade stands. Never concerned with political correctness or taboos, FreedomWatch surely ruffled the feathers of statists the world over, as it consistently defended the innocent and the weak and provided a voice of reason in a wilderness of ignorance.
It was this dedication to the truth and moral conviction that I believe finally brought the show to its end. In the past several months the Judge began relentlessly hammering away at the unbridled power of the State and refused to pull any punches. While most conservative or libertarian shows of its type would have likely sought to bolster the momentum of the Republican Party against the incumbent and destructive presidency of Barack Obama, the Judge and his crew made it clear they carry no water for the GOP. Instead, the show left no doubt who if any, of the presidential candidates they supported.
There were no excuses made for “Newt Romney” or the second coming of Bush in Rick Santorum; these big government apologists were exposed for their transgressions against the Constitution and their flagrant derision for individual liberty and basic human decency. Rather than buying into the “lesser of two evils” racket devised by the establishment, the crew of FreedomWatch was always on the lookout for a “game changer”, someone to turn the status quo on its head or at the very least, throw a wrench into the Washington machine.
They needed to look no further than Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Never one to shy away from controversy or to pander to an audience, the Judge forcefully endorsed the candidacy of Dr. No repeatedly, often ending the show with a statement of adoration for Paul during his nightly monologue. While there has been nothing said from Napolitano himself or his staff alluding to such things, in my heart I feel this staunch advocacy of the “Thomas Jefferson of our day”, (as Napolitano once referred to Paul) is what in the end led to the termination of the show. This is not based on any evidence or assertions by Fox News or the FreedomWatch crew but merely my intuition.
The radical ideas espoused by Napolitano and Paul, (and yes individual liberty is truly radical) are not welcomed by the so-called mainstream in America today and I frequently was left in awe of not only the Judge’s courage to make the statements he made on national television but the fact that he had such a platform to discuss these ideas in the first place.
There are many lessons that should be taken from Napolitano’s and Paul’s examples, most notably a constant desire to tell the truth, often to an audience of deaf ears; but considering the Judge’s recent sign-off, we should take to heart another lesson: To speak with humility, grace and kindness. Though I’m certain both of these libertarian stalwarts have had their moments of anger and resentment, these instances seem to be so few and far between that nary anyone mentions them. In all of our grief, concern and dissatisfaction with the world and its “leaders”, we can’t bear to lose our love and compassion for others while seeking to condemn governments for the same thing.