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Credit: 
Ellen Warner-Knopf
Julian Barnes

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.

 Happy - and hardworking - birthday to you.

 

Julian Barnes was born in Leicester, England in 1946, and is the author of several books of stories, essays, a translation of Alphonse Daudet’s ‘In the Land of Pain’, and numerous novels. His recent publications include 'The Sense of an Ending', winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, 'Through the Window: Seventeen Essays (and One Short Story)', and 'Levels of Life'.  

 

While government watches you, who watches the government?