Town square test

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Town square test is a threshold test for a free society proposed by a former Soviet dissident and human rights activist Natan Sharansky, now a notable politician in Israel.

In his book The Case for Democracy, published in 2004, Sharansky explains the term: If a person cannot 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 fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a "fear society" has finally won their freedom.[1]

The test became famous after George W. Bush endorsed the book[2] and Condoleezza Rice quoted it in her remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sharansky, Natan; Dermer, Ron (2006), The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, Balfour Books, pp. 40–41, ISBN 978-0-89221-644-4 
  2. ^ "My Sharansky" by Chris Suellentrop
  3. ^ Condoleezza Rice testimony Archived March 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]