Thursday, May 02, 2002

tom stoppard on law and society
You may be familiar with Tom Stoppard's work as a playwright, or as a screenplay writer. So when he is asked to write an article called: "The question is: why should anyone obey anyone else?," he begins by stating that he should not be the first choice in approaching this inquiry. But answer it, he does. And by all means in an admirable fashion:
The essence of liberty is not that my interests should be tolerated, but that I should tolerate yours; and if this truism is to be saved from seeming to be no more than a pious utterance for form's sake, it may not be enough to keep a sharp look-out for what is close and threatening. We may need to look backwards through a long lens at the relations between individuals and between the individual and the state.
Further on the topic of tolerance:
To take away freedom is to take away humanness. A society in which the individual is beset by ranks of nannies, secret policemen and a hundred kinds of authority joined together to make you behave in the way you would, according to authority, voluntarily behave if only you weren't so misguided and ignorant, is, the Romantics insisted, a deeply immoral society.
Now that we've supplied you with a few snippets of the essay, I hope that you give the article a visit for yourself. Stoppard was a good choice for this topic, despite his modesty.

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