Sunday, March 10, 2013

Professor Conor Gearty: ‘Liberty and Security For All’

Source:Amazon- Professor Conor Gearty's book about liberty and security.

“All aspire to liberty and security in their lives but few people truly enjoy them. This book explains why this is so. In what Conor Gearty calls our ‘neo-democratic’ world, the proclamation of universal liberty and security is mocked by facts on the ground: the vast inequalities in supposedly free societies, the authoritarian regimes with regular elections, and the terrible socio-economic deprivation camouflaged by cynically proclaimed commitments to human rights.

Gearty’s book offers an explanation of how this has come about, providing also a criticism of the present age which tolerates it. He then goes on to set out a manifesto for a better future, a place where liberty and security can be rich platforms for everyone’s life.

The book identifies neo-democracies as those places which play at democracy so as to disguise the injustice at their core. But it is not just the new ‘democracies’ that have turned ‘neo’, the so-called established democracies are also hurtling in the same direction, as is the United Nations.

A new vision of universal freedom is urgently required. Drawing on scholarship in law, human rights and political science this book argues for just such a vision, one in which the great achievements of our democratic past are not jettisoned as easily as were the socialist ideals of the original democracy-makers.” 

From Amazon 

“Watch Professor Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law at London School of Economics discuss liberty and security as part of Durham Castle Lecture Series on 23rd January 2013.” 
Source:Durham University- Professor Conor Gearty talking about his book about civil liberties and income inequality.

To paraphrase Professor Milton Freedom: you can’t have security without liberty. And I would add vice-versa. Whether you are being oppressed by the state or from criminals or terrorists, you are being oppressed. Whether you are in physical danger from your own government or by criminals or terrorists, the result is the same: you are in physical danger.

When government cracks down on individuals civil liberties and rights even to protect the society from attacks by criminals or terrorists or just to protect it’s own regime from people who want a new government and that represents them and promotes and protects their freedom, you are still being oppressed. And you are giving up your freedom or it’s being taken away from you, for the promise of more security, or not being further oppressed and in more physical danger from your own government.

When I talk about liberal democracy and a free society, I’m not talking about people having the freedom to hurt innocent people to to make decisions with their own lives that others have to pay for. But for the right for people to act and think for themselves or not act at all, so long as they’re not hurting any innocent person with what they’re doing. Since the so-called War On Terror was declared in 2001 by the United States, we’ve moved away from definition of a free society, for the promise of more security. 

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You can also see this post at The New Democrat, on Blogger.

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