Freedom of speech has, besides being our only guarantee of legal certainty, another aspect that is of great importance to us as individuals. I find it almost best articulated by Erich Fromm, today at the University of New York City – and probably one of the world's most important socially oriented psychologists. Fromm chooses an example of a disease-causing situation, and strangely enough he chooses the following picture: A gifted author has accepted a new position. It brings him a lot of money, but forces him to represent opinions he cannot identify with. He begins to suffer from severe nervous disorders.
The usual adaptation therapy would try to cure his neurotic symptoms by considering an adaptation to the profitable position as a sign of health – "a healthy adaptation to our culture."
Fromm says the opposite: he would appeal to the patient's moral self-power, his conscience, his spiritual and intellectual independence: Only by independently expressing his own opinion can the patient achieve what is necessary, to regain his conscience and self-esteem.
This applies to all people, but it applies to scientists, writers and writers in particular: a writer can only fulfill his human and social task, when he is whole and unreservedly honest. Only when he tells the truth that only he can tell, even when it deviates completely from the official, only then does he do at all. . .