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The trouble with 'freedom'

Duration:
10 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 24 August 2012

"We like to tell ourselves an uplifting story in which freedom expands whenever tyranny is overthrown" writes John Gray. "We believe that...when a dictator is toppled the result is not only a more accountable type of government but also greater liberty throughout society".

But Gray believes otherwise. Using the nineteenth century liberal John Stuart Mill and his god-son Bertrand Russell, he advances his argument that liberty is one thing, democracy another.

"The reality" he says "is that when a tyrant is toppled we can't know what will come next".

Producer:
Adele Armstrong.

  • A POINT OF VIEW: THE TROUBLE WITH FREEDOM

    A POINT OF VIEW:  THE TROUBLE WITH FREEDOM

    We've come to believe that freedom is the natural human condition, which only tyrants prevent everyone from enjoying - but when a tyrant is toppled, we can't know what will come next, says John Gray.

    Read John Gray's article on BBC News website.

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