A Note on My Note on Modern Liberty

The Convention on Modern Liberty has invited its attendees to post video responses to the messages that their key speakers have created in support of the project.  I’ve had a go, and created an archetypal ‘head to camera’ YouTube video:

My take is to highlight the problem of small, minor liberties being taken away without comment. If we guard against the loss of these, then the large incursions onto our freedoms, the kind that bring about a totalitarian state, will never happen. But those freedoms are also valuable in themselves.
I am slightly uneasy about saying that the large infringements, such as the 42 days detention laws, or the existence of Guantanamo, are somehow ‘abstract’. Some might see this as an insensitivity to those who have fallen victim to such state-sponsored action… and that may indeed be the case. However, my aim in making the video (or rather, making the point) was to provide a persuasive argument that may convince people that remain ambivalent, rather than a place to show anger, solidarity, or both.
I think that feature has come to be the tone of this site over the past, say, twenty months. I’ve found this is less a place to rant, less a place for me to find catharsis… and more a place to push an argument into new places. If it appears to some people that I have missed the point, then there’s a chance that the argument wasn’t intended for them in the first place.

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