Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Monday, February 24, 2014
On Liberty: Edward Snowden and top writers on what freedom means to them
As the campaining group turns 80, Shami Chakrabarti, Ian McEwan, Tom Stoppard, Julian Barnes and others reflect on liberty
Edward Snowden, Shami Chakrabarti and Julian Barnes. Below: Esther Freud, Ian McEwan and Tom Stoppard. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/Rex/Felix Clay/Getty
Idealists like to claim that freedom is indivisible. Pragmatists know that it is not: on the contrary, it is easily divisible into thousands of parts, each of which has to be fought for, defended, and fought for again. Those who wish to deprive us of freedoms rarely do so at one go, and are skilled at assuring us that loss of freedom is really something else, something necessary and advantageous, like greater safety. As soon as a politician tells you that decent, law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear from a particular measure, you can be certain that someone, somewhere, is losing a small or larger part of his or her freedom. So we need a constant, committed, cogent defence of our freedoms: in other words, liberty needs Liberty. More