On freedom

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Information wants to be free

People want to be free too. 

But freedom from? Or freedom to? Hello Isiah Berlin.

What freedoms count on either side of this moral ledger? Who gets to speak? And who gets to criticize? We’re dragged there again and again by the faithless, often in the tawdriest pages of the New York Times.

A couple of years ago, Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny became my go-to book on the threat to freedom. (His writing on Ukraine is unmissable.) 

There’s a lot about freedom in that book. 

In any writing on facism, I suppose.

Hannah Arendt argued that the birth of America in 1776 wasn’t intended to create a new order. It was meant to rewind individual liberties back to where they’d been before. 

I don’t know enough to agree or disagree. 

But I do know—just as Ukrainians know, and people who have fought for their rights know—what real unfreedom looks like. 

And I also know that the other half of Stewart Brand’s quote was that information wants to be expensive.

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