International

The roller-skating test

A commenter writes below:

The real litmus test between a true free society and what Natan Sharansky calls a “fear society” is whether that society’s citizens have an opportunity to freely express their preferences without fear of state retribution.

A few years ago I watched a man roller-skate back and forth in front of the White House gate in Washington, shouting at the top of his voice, “Bush is a war criminal!” The guards behaved as if he wasn’t even there.

It would be interesting to apply the roller-skating test to other countries. In how many countries would it be possible for a citizen to roller-skate in front of the residence or office of the president/prime minister/monarch and shout “[Name of president/prime minister/monarch] is a war criminal!” (or other insult of your choice) without being arrested or beaten to a pulp?

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