Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Is Freedom Normal?

There's an interesting piece in today's Jerusalem Post by Michael Freund. He makes the argument Al Qaeda and their fellow fanatics will be a fleeting historical phenomena:

"Like the Communists, Islamic fundamentalists seek global domination, and they have no qualms about murdering the innocent to further their goals. Their aims are totalitarian, and their means are depraved. As US President George W. Bush pointed out in a speech last October, these two ideologies both speak of justice and devotion, but offer only oppression and misery in their stead.

Ultimately, however, the fundamentalists will fail, just as the Communists did, because both seek to vanquish the basic human desire for freedom."

I'd like to agree with the argument, but wonder if freedom is really that "normal". Westerners take it for granted that one should be free; however, it is hard to say this is a normative assumption in most societies. From Pharoah, who thinks the idea of universal freedom to be comical, to Aristotle, who believes people are naturally masters or slaves, to the multiple totalitarian regimes around the world, there is no shortage of societies that believe freedom to be abnormal.

So, I guess I'm not sure if the argument is true, but certainly hope so!!

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