Who would be a 'great man' and live a life in the certain knowledge that once dead your personal history and reputation will be picked and pecked at by rival crows? Well, it will not happen to me and for that alone I must say I treasure my total obscurity. However, I am provoked to these thoughts by an increasing scholorship in the life and character of the philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, as exemplified by a review of Volume III of his Letters at nybooks.com by John Banville. I have come across Isaiah Berlin before, particularly when, some 30 years ago, I took an interest in philosophy. As a philosopher it seems to me that Berlin suffered through failing to write enough full-length books, instead confining his activities mainly to teaching undergraduates and writing innumerable essays which, in the highly literate world of 'high philosophy', opens you to the accusation of dilettantism. Thus, I have read more about him than from him! Even so, I was and still am immediately attracted to his version of liberty (or freedom, if you prefer) and his insight that these concepts might appear to be the same but actually mask great differences. In particular, I cherish (obviously) the very British concept of 'freedom' as being freedom from interference. That this concept is crumbling under the onslaught of 'positive freedom' which seeks to define exactly what your freedom is - and is not! - must have distressed the old man in his later years - he died in 1997. Who bears his standard today? I can only think of Roger Scruton but then I gave up my amateurish philosophy studies years ago when I realised that there was no 'killer' idea that would nail the rest. That, of course, Isaiah Berlin realised long ago.