Letters on Liberty: Taking conscience seriously


Dolan Cummings writes that we must not simply defend conscience from overt censorship, but champion it as a bulwark against groupthink and moral conformism. From debates about abortion to Black Lives Matter, Brexit to gay cakes, there is little belief that some deeper questions are best given space away from the hurly-burly of politics – even if that’s never easy in practice. Conscience is not an alternative to public debate, he argues, but an invaluable supplement to it, and one we should cherish – not even when it challenges a moral and political consensus, but especially when it does.

Dolan Cummings is the author most recently of Gehenna: a novel of Hell and Earth (Lockdown Press 2020), which follows a Glasgow detective through Dante’s Hell. His previous book, That Existential Leap: a crime story (Zero Books 2017), is part bildungsroman and part novel of ideas. An archive of his essays, reviews and other articles can be found at dolancummings.com. He also works as a freelance copywriter, speechwriter and editor.