How do you get through a door without knocking? And how do you put a spoon in water without breaking it? And how do you know how to read and write, if not by a teacher? And how do you hear music, if not by singing, clapping, or drumming? And how do you know how to do your homework, if not through reading and teaching? And how do you do the simplest things, such as brushing your teeth?
Many of these questions are impossible to answer. What I do know is this: We have never been able to have a truly free and democratic society. We can never have our needs met, and our needs ignored. All of our freedom, all of our rights, are at stake. Even the right to vote, a fundamental human right, is at stake. It’s been argued that democracy is inherently unstable. I disagree. Democracy, and the freedom it entails, has been proven time and again to be inviolable.
That’s what makes it so frightening to a tyrannical government. It’s a fear that they are constantly losing and that their strength is ever more restricted and diminished. It’s a fear that they are going to lose their grip. And it’s why we’re facing an armed uprising. Because you will not take them on—even with our best efforts. You will not break them. But you will not do that.
The question is whether we’ll fight back with more democracy or fewer. And our answers will determine the course of global history. There are already those here who recognize that democracy is both inevitable and an absolutely essential human right.
In March, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a body based in Paris, adopted an action plan on promoting democratic processes and human rights in the global economy. In the United Nations, an ongoing resolution was adopted in favor of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights that sets a minimum demand for human rights in the global economy. Our world will continue to struggle with the same choices between freedom and tyranny.
I think that people everywhere recognize and recognize that there’s no free pass. We only have freedom as long as we have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of peaceful assembly and peaceful dissent.
As I say, you cannot have either liberty or tyranny. If we make the wrong choice, there will be terrible consequences. If we make the right choice—in the eyes of tyrannical governments—I think there will
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