Les Intraduisibles: German-English


It may be a mere curiosity but the adjective "free" does not have a simple opposite in English. At first, I thought my dictionaries carried some ideological pro-freedom bias but the adjective "unfree" does not exist indeed. When we talk about political regimes, we have approximate equivalents. We may refer to authoritarian, nondemocratic, or dictatorial regimes. We may even speak, although somewhat clumsily, of "not free" regimes, as Freedom House does in its annual surveys (www.freedomhouse.org). But what about citizens who are not free? Some may be "not free" due to internal inhibitions. Theodor W. Adorno's "authoritarian characters." But others are subjected to external constraints of power and exploitation, without being authoritarian or dictatorial themselves.

Schedler Andreas 1/18/2002