You’d think opposing tyranny is something we’d all agree on.
But folks in the West have always enjoyed debating this obvious fact. Not so in places like China, Iran, and Russia. That makes recent weeks in these totalitarian regimes so uplifting and laudable.
Tens of thousands of people are showing up across those autocratic nations to oppose oppression and, ideally, demand their downfall.
Living in a free place like America, where performative left-wing politicians fake being handcuffed by police to gain attention, we do not realize how grave the stakes are in rogue foreign lands.
Iran’s national soccer team members, eliminated earlier this week by the United States in the World Cup, boldly refused to sing the national anthem in solidarity with those protesting the irredentist regime’s killing of a 22-year-old woman for having her hijab out of place. Now, these athletes could face severe retribution that no coddled anti-war or “social justice” protestor in the West can imagine.
In China, murderous, anti-science lockdown policies have sparked a nascent revolution. First-hand accounts explain the dangers and horrors of opposing the Communist thugs but also bring hope.
In Russia, where Vladimir Putin is losing a war of choice against his smaller, braver neighbor, the regime imposes exorbitant fines upon those who espouse anti-war sentiment. If you cannot pay, you are arrested.
Yet protesters — mostly young people, and not spoiled brats in Brooklyn, Seattle, or some insular college town — remain defiant, shouting “Death to the dictator!” or in China, they hold up blank papers displaying what Chairman Xi Jinping’s regime disallows them to say.
Maybe classical liberalism and the freedom agenda promoted by past presidents like Ronald Reagan and both George Bushes are not dead yet.
Besides a lack of appreciation for the freedoms they benefit from daily, elites on the isolationist wing declare traditional liberalism dead, mock the U.S.-led international order, and comfort nefarious regimes. But then again, it’s rare to find a journalist or professor who hasn’t promoted evil at some point in their career.
This risible mentality began during the Vietnam War but continued after the Islamist 9/11 attacks and the ensuing global war on terror when many declared that people don’t last long for Western-style freedom. This is easy to say from an opulent Manhattan townhome or your private Florida island.
Cliché or not, freedom is indeed a universal human desire, and the freedom fighters we see today in the streets are inspired by places like America. And we should be inspired by them.
Ari Kaufman is a correspondent for several U.S. newspapers and magazines from Minnesota and Ohio to Tennessee and Virginia. He taught school and served as a military historian before beginning his journalism career. The author of three books, he is also a frequent guest on radio programs and contributes to Israel National News and here at The Lid.