The political importance of privacy is plurality. Only when people grow and mature in a protected world of home and hearth can they find the space and freedom to think independently and thus differently.
Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, published 66 years ago this week, is indeed shocking, but as much for its simplistic and pessimistic account of inherent human evil than for its courage in facing up to reality.
To say that Snowden acted according to his conscience, but then to excuse his decision to become a fugitive and argue we should ignore his character and focus on what his acts revealed, is to mistake the nature and importance of conscientious action.
Tenure is not the only or even the main reason that we have bad teachers in primary and secondary schools in California or elsewhere. But nevertheless, we should not shy away from asking, “Whom does tenure benefit?”
When no values are worth fighting for, all that matters is the fight itself, and victory, no matter what the cause. It’s both a understandable and eminently dangerous sentiment that has led to much suffering in the 20th century.
Adrian Wooldridge and John Micklethwait have written a compelling new book on rethinking the state. Its only weakness is its somewhat narrow understanding of freedom in terms of a kind of consumerist individualism.
We are witnessing a crisis of democracy around the world, in the sense that both established and newer democracies are finding their populations dissatisfied. But that doesn’t mean we should write democracy off completely either.