Town square test

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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]

Usage[edit]

The test became famous after George W. Bush endorsed the book[2] and Condoleezza Rice referenced it to characterize "a fear society" in her prepared remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 18, 2005:

The world should apply what Natan Sharansky calls the "town square test": 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.[3]

Rice went on to identify Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe as examples of outposts of tyranny.[3]

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-03-25. Retrieved 2006-03-26.

External links[edit]