Speed Reads

Strange Bedfellows

Judge Andrew Napolitano to Jon Stewart: Fear makes people 'surrender their liberties for safety'

By all rights, Jon Stewart's Monday interview with Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano should have been awkward, given the smackdown of Fox News that Stewart had delivered earlier in last night's Daily Show. But the topic was civil liberties, something Napolitano started out noting that he and Stewart basically agree on. The audience, too, judging from their reaction.

"We need to know that our rights come from our humanity, not the government," Napolitano said, earning a hearty round of applause from the audience. Stewart probed: "Is the problem really the government, or does it lie in us, and our desire for safety, and for law and order, and for authority?"

Napolitano agreed: "When the people are afraid, they will surrender their liberties for safety. So it is in the government's interest to keep the people afraid." There are things to be afraid of, he conceded, but liberty versus government laws isn't a balancing act, "it's a bias in favor of freedom," he added. "Freedom is the default position, because we are born with freedom." If the cognitive dissonance of a Fox News regular and Jon Stewart agreeing with each other that fear is bad doesn't put you off, watch the conversation below. Or watch Part 2 of the interview to see Napolitano criticize the Ferguson Police Department — and Fox News' misuse of fear. --Peter Weber