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Paperback The Case for Democracy : The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror Book

ISBN: 1586483544

ISBN13: 9781586483548

The Case for Democracy : The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror

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Book Overview

Natan Sharansky believes that the truest expression of democracy is the ability to stand in the middle of a town square and express one's views without fear of imprisonment. He should know. A dissident in the USSR, Sharansky was jailed for nine years for challenging Soviet policies. During that time he reinforced his moral conviction that democracy is essential to both protecting human rights and maintaining global peace and security. Sharansky was...

Customer Reviews

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Clear and Simple Defense of Democracy

No intellectualizing here, just a simple, clear argument for the power of freedom, via democracy, to change our world for the better. Sharansky's personal experience as a political prisoner in the Soviet Union adds tremendous strength and respectability to his argument. He does a superb job of articulating the differences between "free" and "fear" societies and why we need to be reminded of those differences as we fight the War on Terror. In the process, he concisely, but accurately captures the internal weaknesses that threaten to destroy "free" societies as they encounter unprincipled, committed adversaries. The discussion is oftentimes viewed through the struggles of the Cold War, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is a refreshingly unsophisticated yet powerful analysis of how a commitment to freedom can change the direction of world events, providing the peace and security we all seek. A necessary read for our times.

The Power of Freedom

Natan Sharansky, a graduate of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, was the English translator for, and English instructor of, the great Russian physicist, Andre Sakharov. The book is dedicated to Sakharov, "A man who proved that with moral clarity and courage, we can change the world" and who said "Regimes that do not respect the rights of their own people will not respect the rights of their neighbors." Sharansky spent 9 years in Soviet prison and used this time to reflect on the mechanics of tyranny and how such tyranny might be overthrown. He never gave up hope that the Soviet Union would be dismantled. To keep his mind active he played chess in his head-and never lost a match. At the time of Stalin there were no known dissidents in the Soviet Union simply because the price for dissent was death. With Stalin's death and with successive, slightly more "liberal" regimes, the price for dissent became long prison terms. This allowed several hundred dissidents to emerge, who were willing to risk prison to speak out. Many of these were Soviet Jews seeking to immigrate to the U.S. or Israel; Sharansky was one of these; recall that at that time, no Soviet citizens were allowed to emigrate from the country. Sharansky divides the populace of a dictatorship into three classes: true believers of the regime, double-thinkers, and dissidents. True believers are usually part of the regime and have a stake in its survival; double-thinkers, which make up the great bulk of the populace, don't agree with the administration but are afraid to speak up; dissidents represent the minority willing to risk job and family to disagree with the regime. The passive support given by double-thinkers to their masters often misleads outsiders into concluding that all-is-well in such countries; just look at the reports made by American correspondents in the USSR from the period of 30's to the 70's. Likewise, Sharansky says, both Iran and Saudi Arabia are steeped in double-think. It was President Ronald Reagan who had the moral courage to call the Soviet Union the Evil Empire and to seek its end. This, together with the Jackson Amendment (which linked most favored nation trade benefits with the U.S. to the right of emigration) and the Helsinki accords, is what ultimately caused the Soviet Union to collapse. Sharansky was then able to leave prison and immigrate to Israel, where he was reunited with his wife. He then rose through the ranks of government to various ministerial positions. In the book Sharansky extrapolates from his experiences to the world situation of today. He claims there are two basic types of societies: free and fear. Free societies are democratic and allow dissent; fear societies are dictatorial and do not allow dissent. Examples of free societies are those in the West (like the U.S., England, Israel, Australia, etc.). Examples of fear societies are Communist China, North Korea, Iran, and the 22 Arab countries; Arafat's Palest

I Believe

In Sharansky's book I found the words to express the truth I always instinctively believed: that the vast majority of people love truth and freedom, that freedom is always a better choice than tyranny, and that it is not enough to safeguard our own freedoms if we tolerate tyrants along our borders. THE CASE FOR DEMOCRACY outlines clearly and powerfully the link between freedom and peace/security, tyranny and terror/aggression. Today our world is caught in a major struggle; it's all around us. I do not consider an exaggeration to call our current stuggle World War III. It's a necessary battle between freedom and tyranny, democracies and dictatorships. Sharansky explains that freedom is always a winning hand unless we agree to morally equalize the good with the bad, the lies with the truth, and to make treaties and compromises with tyrants. A major premise of Sharansky's: get rid of the stubborn notion that we can do business with tyrants. They can never be trusted and are only interested in one thing: their own survival. They're inherently corrupt and will do anything to stay in power including making innumerable promises they never intend to keep all the while committing stunning atrocities against humankind. This book describes it all in the context of history, a history that outlines the world's experience of tyranny and freedom over the past fifty years. I will always be grateful to Mr. Sharansky for this great work.

Sharansky -- The perfect chess player

Natan Sharansky has shown keen insight in this new book into understanding the realities behind the various Middle East and world conflicts. He is a true believer in freedom. He has seen in the past, how, by giving people a taste of freedom their appetites are whetted for more. He proposes applying these same insights that toppled the USSR to the rest of the world. George W. Bush is reading this book, Condaleza Rice is reading this book. It is a must read for anyone who wants an understanding into Bush's foreign policy for the next four years.

Seeing Us Through Soviet Eyes

Freedom, sharansky and Dermer proclaim, is rooted in the right to dissent, to walk into the town square and declare one's views without fear of punishment or reprisal. This they say is the basic right, and societies that do not protect that right can never be reliable partners for peace, and that the democracy that hates is much safer than the dictatorship that loves us. While there is every reason to doubt that freedom will prevail in the Middle East, this book declares unequivocally that the skeptics are wrong. They the believe that tyranny can be consigned to history's dustbin if the free world stays true to its ideals. Sometimes I think it takes someone who has lived under a regime like the Soviet Union to remind us of what we have. It's not the false promises made by both Kerry and Bush during the last election, it's that we could have such an election at all.
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