Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tom Stoppard should stick to plays.

His political philosophy leaves much to be desired. In the course of attacking the right of free speech, he manages to drop in this howler:
The interests of the group is the only game in town.
and to produce this stunning passage, which would be equally true if the abolition of slavery or female autonomy were substituted for free speech:
A "human right" is, by definition, timeless. It cannot adhere to some societies and not others, at some times and not at other times. But the whole parcel of liberties into which free expression fits has a history. . . . To say, therefore, that the right of free speech was always a human right which in unenlightened societies was suspended from the year dot until our enlightened times is surely beyond even our capacity for condescension.
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