Liberty in the Age of Terror, By AC Grayling
Sunday 11 April 2010
This is a surprisingly light "analysis" of the reduction in civil liberties that has taken place in this country since 9/11. I expected, if only from the subtitle – "A Defence of Civil Liberties and Enlightenment Values" – a more in-depth history of the Enlightenment than some mere casual references to Locke and Kant; individual chapters on tolerance, privacy and civil liberties, meanwhile, deserved more than a few pages. Part of the problem is that Grayling is more concerned here with opinion than history. Every polemic needs passion, but it also needs depth.
Grayling's premise, however, is infallible: of course the threat of terrorism has to be countered, but reducing our civil liberties to do so destroys those hard-won freedoms that took us out of the dark ages. Enlightenment values are too easily taken for granted, Grayling says, which is perhaps why so few of us are up in arms about "ubiquitous CCTV cameras" or the increase in detention without charge.
This might have worked better as an essay; it feels over-extended in book form.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage