Monday, May 30, 2016

Timothy Garton-Ash on Free Speech

A more fundamental principle of freedom even than the right to vote is that of Free Speech.

And there is no aspect of freedom and democracy which is more under threat, either in Britain or elsewhere.

Timothy Garton-Ash has written a  new book on the subject,

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a connected world,

and judging by Nick Cohen's commentary on the book on the Guardian/Observer website, I am going to have to read it.

Cohen's review is certainly worth a read: it begins as follows.

"Freedom is worthless if it is not lived. However important rights are in a constitutional democracy, they will wither unless you use them. From John Milton’s polemics against the Presbyterian attempts to enforce Calvinist censorship on the England of the 1640s, via John Stuart Mill’s rebellion against the conformism of the Victorians, to Salman Rushdie’s argument with the Islamists, the urge to defend and expand freedom of speech has been created by the threats of its enemies.

"What applies to great writers applies to everyone else. No one thinks hard about freedom of speech until they are forced to."

No comments: