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.

The test is found in Sharansky's book, The Case for Democracy (first published in 2004), and it reads:

  • 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]