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Threats to freedom of speech

23 July 2018

Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.

George Orwell

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3 Comments to “Threats to freedom of speech”

  1. It’s sad to see this attached to Orwell’s name. It is exactly the kind of mushy, vague, excessively abstract, uninspired dribble that he so roundly pilloried in ‘Politics and the English Language’.

    It reads like something written by a committee – and in fact it was. The letter from which this quotation is taken was signed not only by Orwell, but by Benjamin Britten, E. M. Forster, Augustus John, Osbert Sitwell, and the chairman of the ‘Freedom Defence Committee’, Herbert Read. It is sheer boilerplate from beginning to end. If you read the whole thing, you will see just how much care the six of them took to see that no shred of individuality or spark of reader appeal should remain in the finished text.

    • Yet 100% accurate.

      • Accurate, yes; but Orwell said the same thing much better in many other pieces, which would have been better worth quoting.

        For instance, from 1984: ‘Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.’

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