Century's Ebb

A blog on the life and work of John Dos Passos (1896-1970)

Tag Archives: Liberty

The State of Mind Behind Freedom of Speech

A writer, a technician, must never, I feel, no matter how much he is carried away by the noblest political partisanship in the fight for social justice, allow himself to forget that his real political aim, for himself and his fellows, is liberty. […] To fight oppression, and to work as best we can for a sane organization of society, we do not have to abandon the state of mind of freedom. If we do that we are letting the same thuggery in by the back door that we are fighting off in front of the house. I don’t see how it is possible to organize effectively for liberty and the humane values of life without protecting and demanding during every minute of the fight the liberties of investigation, speech and discussion that are the greatest part of the ends of the struggle.

~excerpted from John Dos Passos, The Writer as Technician (1935)

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