A break from literary comment. Since so many labour to enslave others and my own country of Britain is in the middle of an election where “the national interest” is preached so often that it seems to take on the character of a delusion, spreading far beyond the common concerns that are the national interest (prosperity, defence, crime, pollution, good education) so that any dissident is a kind of traitor, I thought it worth sharing two quotes about freedom from military men in politics, both of which I want to use in my book in draft on Liberalism.

Your pretended fear lest error should step in, is like the man that would keep all the wine out of the country lest men should be drunk. It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy, to deny a man the liberty he hath by nature upon a supposition that he may abuse it.

Oliver Cromwell, Letter to Walter Dundas (12 September 1650).


“Fascism…has found a way of overcoming social antagonisms…but how can one accept a social balance whose price is the death of freedom?”


Charles De Gaulle to Jean Aubertin, around 1938.

The Politician Bites Back



You’re not interested?
If someone demolished your house, perhaps then
Yes, OK, but not your neighbour’s house
Seeing the properties are all detached.

We’re all just in it for ourselves? Correct.
Promotion gets turned down, the kids complain, but
It makes me happy when what I did
Makes someone less likely to die
When injustice falls
And we chisel through lies.
So like the others I’m in it for myself.

We’re all the same?
Right on the nail.
My opponent attacks
Immigrants and scroungers;
I attack
Making of poverty and deserts.
Much the same.

We don’t tell the truth?
You couldn’t be more right.
We half-say, suggest, hedge.
We’re smooth: we tell half the truth.
But if I roughly told the whole truth,
Would you hear?