What a lot of rubbish about “freedom” right-wing politicians throw around.

Shock-jocks demand the freedom to offend and insult, big employers sing the praises of “freeing up” the workplace.

Gert came across some food for thought:

‘Freedom, I said, was one of those things which we thus worshipped in itself, without enough regarding the ends for which freedom is desired.’

Matthew Arnold , 1882.

The extent of a man’s, or a people’s, liberty to choose to live as he or they desire must be weighed against the claims of many other values, of which equality, or justice, or happiness, or security, or public order are perhaps the most obvious examples.  For this reason, it cannot be unlimited. We are rightly reminded by R.H.Tawney that the liberty of the strong, whether their strength is physical or economic, must be restrained.

Isaiah Berlin Two Concepts of Liberty p 110.

And just as Gert was thinking about this, she came across this Guardian piece about Jonathan Franzen speaking of his latest book Freedom, which is all about what’s happened to the idea of freedom in today’s America:

Have any of you read Franzen’s book?


2 thoughts on “Freedom

  1. Then there’s the matter of “Free Trade” the right to off shore all legitimate employment to slave labour jurisdictions, dump excess production on foreign markets devastating local economies and sue local govenments when they want to pollute your drinking water and you try to resist. “Freedom”is something different to everyone.

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