Free speech is more than a slogan

Freedom of speech is not a celebrated cause in the West today. While all right-thinking people are concerned about state censorship in China, or the imprisoning of poets by authoritarian regimes across the world, it seems self-indulgent or even hysterical to complain about ‘censorship’ in the liberal West. Consequently, the demand for free speech is often seen as pedantic, eccentric even, the preserve of right-wing social inadequates who like to go on about ‘political correctness gone mad’ or occasionally left-wing social inadequates who like to announce that democracy is being overthrown by neocon conspirators. Continue reading “Free speech is more than a slogan”

The trouble with being human these days

In Identity, a short book based on an email exchange between Zygmunt Bauman and Italian journalist Benedetto Vecchi, the sociologist discusses the question of identity in the context of what he calls ‘liquid modernity’. Bauman’s thesis, set out in his book of that name (2000), is that we have moved from a solid to a fluid phase of modernity, in which nothing keeps its shape, and social forms are constantly changing at great speed, radically transforming the experience of being human.

Continue reading “The trouble with being human these days”