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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Living in a dictatorship 

In view of the Bush V Constitution memos, Avedon Carol makes a thoughtful point:
. . . it is perfectly possible to be living in a dictatorship and not experience it as such as long as you are either uninvolved in politics or are a genuine supporter of the regime. . . . in a free country, you don't prevent pacifists from getting on airplanes because you're trying to prevent terrorists from flying, and you don't refuse entry into the country to journalists from friendly nations. Neither do you incarcerate people for lengthy periods without trial, let alone torture them. Saddam was a dictator, but many Iraqis went about their daily business without encountering any trouble with him and his government. Millions of Soviet citizens did the same under the USSR, but that wasn't a free country, either. Pretending that nothing is wrong because you don't personally know any of the people who are being abused this way does not provide evidence that the country you live in is, in fact, free.

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