The Freedom Paradox

Clive Hamilton
12 August, 2008

Why you should listen

Clive Hamilton

Leading Australian thinker and best-selling author Clive Hamilton tackles the big issues in life in this thought-provoking Sydney Ideas lecture. In his latest book, The Freedom Paradox: Towards a Post-Secular Ethics and also in this lecture, Hamilton looks at, “why it is, despite the wealth and freedom now enjoyed by most citizens of rich countries, we don’t appear to be the autonomous, fulfilled, creative individuals that we were promised our wealth and freedom would bring.” Drawing on the writings of the great philosophers, Hamilton argues that despite promises by the liberation movement that we would be free, we are now living in a society that’s affluent and anxious. Today, he says, “we feel less in control of our world then we did 40 years ago.” Hamilton, who also appeared at Sydney Ideas in 2007 discussing the politics of climate change, says that in our consumerist society, people need to look towards their “inner freedom” and to be guided by their own free will rather than momentary passions and circumstance. This, he says, is continually challenging especially when the concept of individual freedom is used as a chief marketing tool. “The most important sociological questions we must confront is why we choose to be unfree,” he says. Clive Hamilton is the bestselling author of Growth Fetish, co-author of Affluenza and co-editor of Silencing Dissent. He is now Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, a joint centre of the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Melbourne. He was the founder, and executive director (for 14 years) of the Canberra-based think-tank The Australia Institute.

"Hamilton is remarkably Rennaissance in his intellectual range, and now he has written an ambitious and peculiarly vulnerable book of philosophical abstraction and application ...", The Monthly on The Freedom Paradox