Friday, January 21, 2005

Lets all try the "town square test"

Now if I had to offer a reading recommendation to Dubya, it would probably be "learn to". Dubya however has decided to offer us all a book recommendation of his own. He choose the "unbiased" world view of a former Soviet Jewish dissident, now working as an Israeli politician. Mmm...

One of the points in the book, which Dubya picks up on, it known as the "town square test" which states that "If a person can walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a free society, not a fear society. We cannot rest until every person living in a 'fear' society has finally won their freedom." In principle it seems a reasonable measure of freedom within a society. The obvious questions raised are:

1) What if your views are deeply offensive to parts of society. What if for example you believe in a philosophy which advocates killing innocent people, such as Nazi-ism?

2) Is this kind of freedom genuinely available in the US or the UK? See also this one and this one, these are just from the BBC, there are plenty more on Amnesty.

3) Is this kind of freedom genuinely available in other countries supported by Bush and certainly not listed on his "anti-fear" hit-list? Such as Saudi Arabia, India or France?

(ok, ok, I admit, France is probably not far off his "hit-list"...!)

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