Philip Pullman has written a splendid and passionate rant, called “Malevolent Voices that Despise Our Freedoms”, about the way Britain is sliding into a state of passivity against governmental control.
“To mark the Convention on Modern Liberty, the children’s author has written this article for the Times Online”, the header reads. But not long after the piece was posted, it was removed from the Times Online site with no explanation.
Whatever the reason for the removal, such disappearances are treated as damage by the internet and routed around… the piece has been reposted in several places (I found it on Issac Bonewits’ blog). Take a moment to read it, please.
We are so fast asleep that we don’t know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another? Are we a Christian nation – after all we have an Established Church – or are we something post-Christian? Are we a secular state? Are we a multifaith state? Are we anything we can all agree on and feel proud of?
…The new laws whisper:
You don’t know who you are
You’re mistaken about yourself
We know better than you do what you consist of, what labels apply to you, which facts about you are important and which are worthless
We do not believe you can be trusted to know these things, so we shall know them for you
And if we take against you, we shall remove from your possession the only proof we shall allow to be recognised
The sleeping nation dreams it has the freedom to speak its mind. It fantasises about making tyrants cringe with the bluff bold vigour of its ancient right to express its opinions in the street. This is what the new laws say about that:
Expressing an opinion is a dangerous activity
Whatever your opinions are, we don’t want to hear them
So if you threaten us or our friends with your opinions we shall treat you like the rabble you are
And we do not want to hear you arguing about it
So hold your tongue and forget about protesting
What we want from you is acquiescence
To quote XKCD…