Rice’s confirmation hearing is today. She mentioned this “Town Square Test” (the name of the academic she name-dropped is not important, though I would like to give credit to him or her) that determines whether a society is a “fear society” or not. Apparently, an individual enters the town square and speaks his or her mind. If the individual cannot do this because of the use of force or general fear of the threat of force (or other fear I suppose) then it is a “fear society.”
What I wish I would do, but I won’t – because I lack the resources, because I’m lazy, because I’m cowardly – is to go into various towns in Canada and the US and shout out unpopular opinions in the town square while someone films it secretly. I think this would be great!
Firstly, I’m kinda afraid to do it…what does that say, huh? HUH? Mind you that’s partly my disposition and I shouldn’t say a society is a “fear society” based solely on my yellowness. Secondly, it would probably demonstrate how intolerant a lot of people are and how willing they are to act as agents for their “fear society.” This is just a theory.
Here are some unpopular opinions that might work (I wonder if I’ll get in trouble for mentioning such opinions):
- “Al Quaeda are the agents of the one true God”
- “All non-whites (blacks, asians, what have you, they are all the same) and jews are inferior and don’t deserve the same rights and privileges as white men.”
- “Women are inferior and should be ruled.”
- “The US government, or elements thereof, were involved in the September 11th attacks.” (Saying what I believe, that they were negligent, isn’t really as inflammatory.)
- “The poor and/or the ill-mannered (uncultured is probably better) are unfit to have influence in a society and therefore should lose the franchise.”
- “The feminist and/or homosexual attack on the family must be stopped…NOW.” (That would probably go over well in some places.)
And there are many others I could say I’m sure. This is just a random selection. If you are at all disturbed/bothered by the mere listing of these opinions you should think about that reaction. Seriously think about it. My opinion is that these are just words, and don’t really have the kind of meaning intended until there is a reaction.
However, that’s beside the point. From what Rice was saying, we should all be allowed to say anything in the town square and not be afraid of repercussions. I doubt very much that this is a realistic criterion. However, if this is something she is going to espouse for Afghanistan, Iraq and whatever other countries end up being democratized in the next few years, then we should apply it to ourselves first and foremost (not just the US but any countries claiming to be free).
I’m done lecturing. In the CD player: Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion by Roy Harper. (It’s a live album.)
I think I had a minor addendum but I forgot it. I should really get to work on my essay.