Reading Malum in Se’s excellent blog about life as a public defender on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi reminded me of a book recommendation that I’ve been meaning to make here.
Our adversaries use fear as a weapon against our clients; it is with the power of fear that they try to convince juries to put our clients in prison. Our adversaries are prosecutors; our enemy is fear. Fear enslaves.
Though we defenders can occasionally, in the cause of freedom, invoke legitimate fears of a government run amok, we usually do not have a greater, more primal fear in harness than those invoked by the government. (This is, after all, why the government runs amok: because people are more afraid of the bogeymen summoned by the government than of the government itself.) What we do have is something that the prosecution can rarely bend to its own purposes. Because we stand up for human beings, we can invoke the opposite of fear.
Malum’s blog contains a computer-generated picture of a Spartan knight, which reminded me of the book I want to recommend, Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, which, in addition to being a beautifully-written novel of arms and the man, answers the question that some of you might be asking yourselves: What is the opposite of fear?