"How are citizens to enter into a public debate if the concepts which define our society and decide the manner in which we are governed are open neither to understanding nor to questioning?"According to bestselling novelist and essayist John Ralston Saul, the ramifications of asking this question are enormous. We live in an era of specialization, where decision makers, administrators, and process-minded experts have fortified their positions of authority by insulating themselves from public accountability. An important instrument in their ascension has been language; or more precisely, a language so technically specific and laden with jargon that it has isolated the individual citizen.
John Ralston Saul is Canada’s leading public intellectual. Declared a “prophet” by Time magazine, Saul has received many awards and prizes, including Chile’s Pablo Neruda Medal. He is president of PEN International, an organization dedicated to freedom of expression. He has published fourteen works, which have been translated into twenty-five languages in thirty-six countries, the most recent of which is The Comeback, an examination of the remarkable return to power of Aboriginal people in Canada. Saul lives in Toronto.