RE: Norman Rockwell’s painting freedom of speech

RE: Norman Rockwell’s painting freedom of speech

I encourage you to look at Norman Rockwell’s painting of freedom of speech; it is what I see when I think of that great and central freedom- and it’s worth keeping in mind in our time of big data when so much speech is vile and anonymous and not intended to make anything better. When you look at the painting you will see the courage that makes the exercise of this freedom a virtue: to speak is to take a stand. You should also notice that it takes place in a physical space within a community. 

So, just as important as freedom is the importance of light. In fact you can’t have joy without both. If you lived near the edge of a cliff, you would probably still want the freedom to move as you pleased, but you would also want to see where you were moving. There is no freedom in fear. We need to be equally on guard and outspoken against infringements on freedom as we are against ignoble, soul-diminishing uses of freedom. What people really need to work on, though, is how to listen with the ear of a good neighbour, and that means being willing to bravely and humbly admit faults or lift up your voice. 


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