Watching leaders around the world tiptoe around dictators is embarrassing to watch and makes our standing for democracy seem pretty thin. Yes, we can and should tentatively support regimes when it suits our needs – we for the most part have no choice, however we should always make it clear that we stand with basic human rights over all else and if the time comes we should make it clear that we will disappoint these same dictators.
I am convinced that some of the basic freedoms we not only take for granted, but have to defend ourselves from time to time are the standard bearers of democracy, here is a simple 4 step guide to what I mean.
Freedom of Speech
This sounds simple, however even in established democracies like the US, Australia and the UK, this is not always the case. Freedom of Speech is exactly that, the freedom for anyone to speak their mind, no matter how abhorrent this may be to our ears. The US is still the only country out of the three mentioned above that defends this to the highest court. There can be no caveats to this, the moment you say “well there has to be limits, is the moment you stop defending freedom of speech.
Freedom of and from Religion
This is one the deeply religious always fight against, but think about this. How many of your religions tenets demanded of you by your religions hierarchies do you agree with? Every single one? I doubt even the most ardent of religious people would agree with all of the scriptures and laws of their religions.
This is why this rule works so well and must be defended at all costs. It allows people to freely express their religions and also allows other minority faiths the same. It also protects those that choose not to follow a religion.
Equality under the Law
Everyone should be treated equally under the law, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation. This is such a no brainer, but not one country defends this to the highest court. We still demand our ideologies onto others, even though their lifestyles have no impact on us at all.
Women must have the right to control their rate of reproduction, this includes contraception and the right to a supported abortion. I for one are uncomfortable on the abortion issue, but it is not my choice, it is a choice that affects women everyday. There will of course be a small percentage of downsides to this, but overall the upsides are enormous.
Look around the world today and look at the famine, devastation, disease and malnutrition, think about all of the countries where this is happening and one common thread will appear. That is the control over women by sick, creepy ideologies dictating to these women how they must live their lives.
One thing is certain – give women the power over what they choose to wear, the right to freely choose their lifestyle and their rate of reproduction and you will find that the issues of malnutrition and disease are all but eradicated.