Share Roots & Wings with Frank Furedi

Roots & Wings

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings”.

                                     Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Somewhere along the line I came to realise that in our world millions find it difficult to gain the sense of security that comes from being firmly rooted within a stimulating and familiar community. At the same time, the feeling of uprootedness distracts many of us from spreading our wings and trying to fly. The therapeutic turn of culture encourages people to turn inward and become focused on their identities. Not surprisingly this turn has encouraged an explosion of identities which has led to a destabilisation of the self. A loss of confidence about knowing our place in the world is most strikingly expressed through a mood of risk-aversion, censoriousness, and conformism. Confusion towards uncertainty and a fear of the future indicates that people in society are struggling to find their wings.

Instead of providing society with a lasting bequest, the cultural institution of the West aspire to distance people from their historical legacy. The main outcome of this trend is that people feel detached from their past and struggle to find meaning about their place on the world. In such circumstances, instead of providing a foundation for a sense of common purpose, culture becomes a site of conflict. One of the aims of Roots & Wings is to address this problem by discussing the issues at stake in the cultural conflicts that are being fought out in western societies.

It is always tempting to rant and lash out against what often appears as a systematic attempt to negate and erode the civilisational norms and forms of behaviour associated western culture. But ranting does nothing to confront the problem. What is required in the first instance is clarity about the challenge we face.

Through my books, essays, newspaper articles and media appearances I have provided a distinct approach and interpretation of the cultural zeitgeist of our time. I now want to continue my journey into the realm of cultural politics through conducting a conversation with you and others who understand that something needs to be done to counter the climate of intolerance and illiberalism that dominates cultural and political life. Like you I am concerned that that so many of taken-for-granted beliefs and ideals are attacked and successfully de-legitimated without facing any serious opposition. Like you I am concerned that so many young people have internalised the dogma that freedom is not a big deal and that the value of free speech is overrated.

And like you I often feel that we need to be much clearer about what we are up against if we are to be effective in the battle for the soul of western society. Think of Roots & Wings as a letter from the front line of this battle.

So who exactly am I ?

I consider myself to be to be radical humanist with a strong populist impulse. I take freedom and liberty very seriously and believe that democracy is not something you do periodically when you vote - you have to live democracy. Like many of you, I am trying to find my political voice at a time when when left and right have lost their meaning. For me what’s important is not whether someone is Left or Right, Religious or Atheist but whether or not they are prepared to uphold and defend the legacy of Western Culture, the principles of national and popular sovereignty, tolerance, human solidarity and freedom of choice.

I was born in Hungary and after the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, I fled with my family to Austria. We ended up in Canada, where I grew up and went to McGill University. I came to London, England during the heady year of 1969 to study for a Ph.D degree. I got involved in radical student politics and in the 1970s became a far-left activist. During the mid 1990s I became increasingly concerned with the growing cultural influence of identity politics. I responded to this development by devoting my energy to fighting its influence in schools and universities. It is evident that we cannot take our freedoms for granted and we need to nourish a love of liberty amongst the younger generations. My political journey continues, driven on by what appears as a never-ending quest for clarity. Roots & Wings is integral to this quest. Despite many set backs I remain confident about the future of humanity. I strongly believe in people and I am certain that humanity’s aspiration for freedom can never be Canceled.

I am a by profession a sociologist, author, media commentator and free speech campaigner. I have written 26 books – including Paranoid Parenting (2001). The Culture of Fear (1997), The Politics of Fear (2005), Invitation to Terror; the Expanding Empire of the Unknown, (2007), How Fear Works: Culture of Fear in the 21st Century - which have been translated in 16 languages. My latest book; The Road To Ukraine: How The West Lost Its Way will be published in October 2022.

For over three decades, I was a Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. Since 2007 I have devoted his energy to writing and lecturing to audiences throughout the world. In recent  years, I have written major articles for  The Australian, New Scientist, The Guardian, The Independent, The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Express, The Daily Mail, The Wall Street Journal, The Independent on Sunday, India Today, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, Toronto Globe and Mail, The Christian Science Monitor, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Spiked-online, The Critic, The Times Literary Supplement, Harvard Business Review, Die Welt and Die Zeit amongst others.


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Thanks for reading Roots & Wings with Frank Furedi! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.


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An alternative to the infantilised & narcissistic turn of Western Culture


Frank Furedi

I am a sociologist & author of 26 books, which are translated into 16 languages. At present my writings are focused on developing the intellectual resources for challenging the influence of the infantilised turn of western society.