cohenAgainst the conventional wisdom that we, in the West, are living in an age of unprecedented freedom, British journalist Nick Cohen argues in You Can’t Read This Book, that, on the contrary, the traditional opponents of freedom of speech are thriving, and in many respects finding the world a more comfortable place than ever before… As seen now with the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks and in the past with Salman Rushdie, we find ourselves in a situation in which drawing a cartoon or writing a novel can cost you your life. So, auto-censorship prevails in many countries, and under the guise of respect fear starts ruling our democratic societies. (323.44 COH)

In that same context, it may be useful to reread, or read,a classic: in Erich Fromm’s The Fear of Freedom there is food for thought, when he writes: “The right to express our thoughts, however, means something only if we are able to have thoughts of our own…”

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