Myth Busting The Price of Freedom (December 30, 2022)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Origin: Wing Commander IV taught us what the price of freedom was... but where does the quote originate? It is commonly but incorrectly attributed to American founding father Thomas Jefferson. While the line sounds like something Jefferson might have written, it does not appear in any contemporary reporting or in his extant writing. It brings to mind another of his actual famous quotes that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants" but is in fact a fundamentaly different idea. The quote actually derives from an 1790 speech by Irish lawyer John Philpot Curran: "It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." Countless variations have been written since!

Destination: Another increasingly common misattribution is crediting the line to either Colonel Christopher Blair or actor Mark Hamill. Even speaking only of the game, this is not correct! The line is spoken four times, once by down-on-his-luck veteran Evan Bean (Peter Marquardt, credited as Canteen Vet) and then three times by Admiral Tolwyn (Malcolm McDowell). Tolwyn speaks it once in the intro and then in two possible variations during the final debate. The closest Blair ever comes to the line is asking Tolwyn "is that the price of freedom?" during the ending cutscenes, prompting the Space Marshal to repeat the quote.

Original update published on December 30, 2022