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Reason.tv: New Threats to Freedom

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Adam Bellow is a well-known figure in publishing circles and the author of the best-selling In Praise of Nepotism. He's also the editor of the collection New Threats to Freedom, just published by the Templeton Press.

New Threats (visit the book's website here) includes contributions from figures such as Christopher Hitchens ("Multiculturalism and the Threat of Conformity"), David Mamet ("The Fairness Doctrine"), Glenn Reynolds ("Liberty and Complacency"), Anne Applebaum ("The Decline of American Press Freedom"), and Reason staffers Katherine Mangu-Ward ("The War on Negative Liberty") and Michael C. Moynihan ("The Anticapitalists").

In his introductory essay, "Where Have All The Grownups Gone?," Bellow calls for a reinvigorated debate about the meaning and necessity of freedom in a world that is a generation past the Cold War. Reflecting on figures such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and his own father, the Nobel Prize winning novelist Saul Bellow, he writes,

Many of us assumed that there would always be such people on hand to make the case for freedom and democracy. The loss of many of these outsized intellectual and literary figures in the first decade of this century leaves one wondering whether there are still any grownups around.

But here is a sobering thought: merely to ask the question is to assume responsibility for embracing the task oneself. Resistance doesn't come out of nowhere; it has to be fostered the old-fashioned way, word by word, through magazines and books, think-tank panels, conferences and seminars. We are the grownups now, and we owe it to the next generation to provide a model of how to be serious about ultimate questions.

Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie sat down with Bellow just before a May 17, 2010 panel discussion on the book featuring Bellow, Reason's Katherine Mangu-Ward, Stephen Schwartz ("Shariah in the West"), and Christine Rosen ("The New Behaviorists").

Approximately 4.45 minutes. Shot and edited by Dan Hayes, Meredith Bragg, and Josh Swain.

To watch the Reason panel discussion with Bellow, Mangu-Ward, Stephen Schwartz, and Christine Rosen, click below.

Approximately 30 minutes. Shot and edited by Dan Hayes, Meredith Bragg, and Josh Swain.

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

NEXT: No Pleasing Critics

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  1. Here’s a tidbit from one of bellow’s grownups:

    “When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorists’ civil rights.” –Alexander Solshnitzyn

  2. Solzhenitsyn

    1. Kobayashi?

  3. You hve to admit the dude makes sense.

    Lou
    http://www.total-anonymity.es.tc

    1. No, I don’t. He sounds like a soft-headed mother-and-apple-pie fool.

  4. Why is the panel sitting on a countertop?

    1. They should get down off of there. Somebody is going to lose an eye, or the T.V. is going to get scratched.

      Heathens.

      1. I had my $ ready just in case 😉

  5. I realized I was one of the grownups when the sitting President was younger than me. Now you kids get off my lawn!

  6. There are plenty of people speaking out for freedom today. The difference is that now they write nonfiction books, and appear on talkshows and blogs.

    Bellow’s real complaint is that there are not as many high-profile pro-freedom novelists. Unless he hasn’t been paying attention for the last 60 years, the importance of literature and literary criticism has been gradually declining. Not many people listen to novelists anymore, whether they are for or against freedom.

    1. Bellow’s real complaint is that there are not as many high-profile pro-freedom novelists publishers.

      The major houses are staffed with agents and editors that are looking for one thing: stories with a brand new approach that has a proven track record. Compound that with the intelligentsia elitism and the MSM bias and you have a pretty toxic atmosphere for freedom novels.

      But the writers are out there, and publishing online lets them reach their audience under the high-profile radar.

  7. I’m sick of what in comparison to just about anyone in the third world are prividged elites making a farce of freedom. I would like see to anyone on that panel first walk a mile in the shoes of dissidents in North Korea, Iran, or China, and then come speak of freedom. If you first don’t know what it isn’t, you will never really know what it is.

    Personally, as long as no one puts me in detention, there is no way that anyone can truly impinge on my freedom. That is not being naive, that is just taking personal responsibility for my own freedom and not fretting that some bureaucrat is going to snatch it away.

    The greatest danger to freedom is when politicians decide that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, and unless you’re in the vicinity of a G20 summit, I don’t see Obama sending the death squads out yet. And if he did, would you truly resist, would you put your career on the line, would you put your life on the line? If your answer is “no” to any of those, you have no business speaking of freedom. For when the time comes to truly make the sacrifices necessary to defend liberty against a real, not an imagined, tyranny, your cowardice will betray us all.

    Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better. ~Albert Camus

    1. I can certainly appreciate your militant self-righteousness but you have missed the point entirely. Freedom isn’t usually destroyed in an all-encompassing legislative bill. It is removed one ice cream truck at a time, to use an example in the video.

      “Personally, as long as no one puts me in detention, there is no way that anyone can truly impinge on my freedom.” This has to be one of the least intelligent comments I’ve witnessed on this site. You can’t possibly believe this? It seems as if freedom to you is a concept that is limited to specific “big picture” rights and until those are taken away, we are perfectly free.

      The only hope for true freedom is from intellectuals. They may never have experienced the oppression themselves but that hardly means they don’t understand it. Quit twiddling your thumbs waiting for a revolution and start supporting intellectuals who are actually trying to defend your freedom.

  8. “Personally, as long as no one puts me in detention, there is no way that anyone can truly impinge on my freedom.” ‘This has to be one of the least intelligent comments I’ve witnessed on this site. You can’t possibly believe this?’

    If you really believe in yourself it is.

    “The only hope for true freedom is from intellectuals.”

    What were you saying about “least intelligent comments?” Not only do you seem to lack faith in the ability of common people to defend their own freedom, you seem to think intellectuals necessarily have their best interests at heart. That’s being more than a little naive.

    1. “If you really believe in yourself it is” Lazy happy-go-lucky platitude. I believe I would enjoy potato chips with trans-fat but my local supermarket isn’t allowed to stock them. New York restaurants may soon be barred from adding salt to their menu items.

      These are examples of freedoms being chipped away. They are minor now but next will be HC rationing and minimum wages(oh wait…)

      Intellectuals are the primary influence on a societies culture from entertainment to academics to government. They are also most likely to comprehend legislation that is attempting to remove their freedoms.

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