The author’s limpid prose underpins a refreshing clarity of moral purpose, and there exists a poetic charge in the metaphors that ushers these essays shimmering into the realm of the literary, all the while avoiding the obfuscating argot of theory, as here: “the eternal inner sense of equity –the one we recognise in the way we know when the moon is out before looking up”.
In keeping with his civic mission, Freeman unflinchingly poses salient and discomfiting questions throughout. The writing exerts great oratorical force upon the reader, but a force backed up by clear-sighted honesty, cogent thought and keen conscience: “You are the only way out. Only you can do something.
Freeman takes us through an alphabet of words which, he believes, have the power to effect change, if only we can come to understand them in subtly different ways. In the current climate, he argues, the word “agitate” has negative connotations: we are all agitated, in the era of social media, and agitated people are “more easily manipulated... agitated consumers buy... agitated consumers eat faster.” What would happen, he wonders, if we all turned away from our screens and looked to “the street, the public square, the free press (printed on paper and distributed)” and determined to “redefine agitate as an active word... as in to agitate for change”.