Brutus, self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner was able to win over the other Roman political and military leaders to carry out the murder of Julius Caesar; All of this in the name of selflessness, freedom and democracy. For Brutus, the end justifies the means. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. A return to the moral dark ages. Consider this: profiling, homeland security, retinal scans at internal airport immigration, Guantanamo high security prison.
Sure, all these can perhaps be justified in terms of the aftermath and our desire not to have a recurrence of 9-11. Sure¦ Does it also mean that we can disregard basic human rights? Does it also mean that we can now be more intolerant and deeply suspicious of anyone who does not look like us, worship like us, dress up like us, eat like us? Does the end really therefore justify the means? Sadly and tragically, what Brutus did was not new.
He was not the first one to justify murder and claim a greater and noble purpose behind his action. Nor shall Brutus be the last patriot. But we who have better sense and fortified with a sense of history can do something about preventing the emergence of Brutus and those claiming to employ ends justified by the means methods. Public opinion, public dissent, public debate and exposure are the best defense. The end can only be justified by justifiable means: by informed, free, democratic, transparent, and just means. And nothing less.