Vol. 47, Issue 4 ‣ editorial
The final days of a magazine editorial cycle are always a challenge. If, for editors, there’s joy in crafting pithy words and playing clever angles, or for the designers in compositing graphical elements to tell a visual story—well, it’s a distant memory. At this stage, both sides are paddling against riptides of reviews, revisions and proofs—it’s easy to forget why we’re here.
And then you remember.
The world and its people are in a bit of a bind, and the knot’s pulling tighter and tighter. In just the last week, riots broke out in Baltimore after a healthy young black man died of spinal cord injuries inflicted while in police custody. Two gunmen were shot dead after opening fire with automatic rifles at a Texas exhibition of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Eight million people’s lives were shaken by a devastating earthquake in Nepal. Oh, I could go on.
It was in the thick of that trying time—the final stages of getting this magazine out the door—that early one Sunday morning I was awakened by a Twitter alert on my phone. I groped for it, figuring there was some emergency with the magazine, to see this notification: @everyone is tweeting about the royal baby.
Here we were fussing over the fine points of Freedom’s coverage on eroding civil liberties, historic free trade agreements, and the impossibility of real public discourse—and all anyone is going to be talking about is the length of the royal baby’s eyelashes and the degree of slope on the royal baby’s nose.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure the royal baby is cute, and we all need a diversion. But there’s bigger fish a fryin’ and it’s time everyone paid closer attention to the stove.
Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote in 1964: “A people who wishes to be free must not just know about the latest wine. They’ve got to know pretty well across the boards about most everything in sight. They’ve got to keep on the ball, they’ve got to keep on the qui vive, they’ve got to be right up there and alert.”
That’s why we at Freedom are in the business of bringing news to people, not in this very moment, faster than anyone else, but in a way that’s fresh and thoughtful, to inspire people to intellectually invest in things, compel them to see things differently—from everyone else or even from how they themselves viewed things before. That’s what we aim for in this and every issue.
Our cover story this month looks at the controversy over whether to rein in USA Patriot Act provisions that give the government authority to engage in wholesale spying on the American people. Give me freedom, or give me security? Thank you, but we’ll have both.
We also have a rare interview with Orson Scott Card, best-selling author of Ender’s Game (and 60+ other books) and a guy who won’t blindly toe the party line.
Another brilliant thing Freedom covers this month: the Writers and Illustrators of the Future competition. It was truly moving to be there at this incredible moment in the lives of the winning writers and artists—one that was both a profound ending, where all their toil paid off in a dream realized, and a beautiful beginning—because as you’ll read in the story, winners of this competition tend to go on to very big things that ripple outward. Now, their impact and inspiration will live on, like the magnanimous spirit of L. Ron Hubbard in the contest he created to this aim.
Freedom this month also offers a glimpse of the past—in Bob Fletcher’s stunning photos of the children and families of the Child Development Group of Mississippi in 1965, the year they took an incredible leap of faith toward bettering their lives, and in doing so also left an important lesson for history: Where there’s a will, there’s a way to rise up and break free of repression’s cruel tether.
I’m thankful for these stories—and all of them in this issue—for reminding us that this work we do at Freedom—helping people expand their minds and their perspectives—is a pretty noble endeavor. And thank you, dear reader, for joining us here, to learn more than just about the latest wine, to take in the issues across the board. Thanks for keeping your eye on the ball, and your head on the qui vive—for being right up there and alert.
You are people who want to be free.