Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Map of Freedom or the Lack of It

By Alan Caruba

Every July, Freedom House, an organization that tracks the progress or the lack of freedom around the world, releases a map that identifies those nations where freedom exists and where it does not.

Find it here:

A copy of this map should be sent to the incoming Obama administration, starting with the President, because it makes it instantly clear as to where the problems of the world exist and where the enemies of freedom live, scheme, and control the lives of billions.

All of the North American continent and much of the South American continent is free. That is to say its nations practice democracy and exercise the rule of law. Exceptions to the rule are all found south of the U.S. border. Venezuela, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay, are deemed to be “partly free” along with a string of Latin American nations between Mexico and Panama. Cuba, of course, is not free at all.

As one casts one’s eyes over the map, it is abundantly clear that large sections of the world, primarily Russia and China, are deemed “not free.” The entire Middle East with the exception of Israel, Jordan and Turkey is considered “not free.” It will be interesting to see the July 2009 map and its judgment on Iraq. If it is deemed free or even partly free, it will be the first time in at least three decades or longer. Thank you Uncle Sam!

The continent of Africa is a patchwork quilt of nations that are free, partly free, and not free. Those across the northern part, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt are not free. Moving south, you can add the Sudan, Chad, the Congo, Angola, and the most accursed of all, Zimbabwe. Somalia barely passes for a nation these days. The most obvious factor uniting these freedom-hating nations is that all are Muslim.

The least prosperous nations, in terms of how their wealth is distributed among their population, are those under the rule of communism or Islam. Some nations, of course, are “oil rich” but Venezuela stands out as an example of how one can be both oil rich and still have a population rendered dirt poor by communism.

Cuba, once a thriving tourist destination, producer of sugar and fine cigars, could be a lot better off economically if it wasn’t communist. It is barely ninety miles off the coast of Florida. It began its descent in 1959 when Fidel Castro took over. It was previously run by another despot named Batista. With the exception of Haiti, most of the Caribbean nations are relatively free.

The European nations enjoy freedom. Great Britain, the home of the Magna Carta, is free and it is obvious that former British colonies, such as Australia, South Africa, and India, are free nations too. Japan is free because the U.S. conquered it and, after World War II, stuck around to ensure it had a constitution and learned how to apply democracy. We did the same with South Korea.

It took five years, but Iraq looks like it’s on its way to establishing a degree of freedom that does not exist in other Middle Eastern nations. Next door in Syria, the Baath Party is still in power under Bashar al-Asad, the son of the former dictator. Syria continues to threaten Lebanon, a nation that used to be run by a coalition of five powerful families that ensured peace and prosperity. Those days are long gone and Hezbollah, an Iranian puppet group of Palestinian terrorists, controls it today. Both now threaten Israel.

Americans today, who live in freedom because so many of their countrymen were willing to fight and die to preserve and protect it, are often criticized for sending their countrymen to far-off places like Iraq to spread freedom and for maintaining a military presence on the high seas and on bases around the world. It is obvious, though, if one looks at the map, that Americans are the world’s greatest hope of freedom.

It is only by extending freedom, creating and encouraging new functioning republics, aiding struggling, but real republics, and never failing to speak out against injustices in those nations that masquerade as being free, that we will ultimately protect our own freedom.

America is, astoundingly, the oldest functioning republic on Earth. We date our birth from the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, but the real birthday of America was June 21, 1788 when the Constitution became effective. It became a beacon of freedom when the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments, was ratified on December 15, 1791.

The first job of every American is to read, understand, and then demand that our elected leaders act within the limits imposed by the U.S. Constitution. It is not a blank check. It has, quite frankly, been chewed to bits by those we have sent to Congress since early in the last century. If or when it ceases to function as intended, Americans will cease to be free.


Jeremy Jacobs said...


Those who are opposed to the EU may disagree with you about the UK

Alan Caruba said...

Yes, very true. Brits have lost many of the freedoms most Americans still take for granted and this is particularly worrisome and sad in a nation that gave us the Magna Carta, etc.

I was speaking in general and comparative terms, however.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right - freedom in Britain ought to be 'freedom'. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four book published in 1948 is a vision that is enveloping my country at a fast pace, not only via our masters in the EU dictatorship but the punative intrusions into private life from the UK 'government'. Not a place to which I wish to return.

Guy said...

Wow, the comments about the UK are very interesting. I can't tell you how many times I hear people here in the US (usually left-wingers) make stupid comments like "well, in Europe, they .... (insert your socialist doctrine here)" .... trying to justify a new tax or a freedom grab, for example, the attack on smoking rights.

Our forefathers left Europe precisely because of what their government was doing to them there, and now it seems the leftists among us are hell bent on letting our government do it to us here. They would be wise to pay heed to the comments about the UK, because that's what's in store for us if we don't wake up.

Alan Caruba said...

As best as I can tell, both British and Australian citizens have far fewer individual legal and formal protections in these nations than Americans take for granted.

Both nations have intensive bans on gun ownership, something that would cause a revolution if the U.S. Congress tried to impose a similar ban. We just had a landmark Supreme Court decision that overturned a gun ban in Washington, DC.

The protections afforded by the Bill of Rights still can get people's attention if it appears they are being dispensed with.

The Obama crowd is very anti-gun. Given all the problems with which they will have to deal, this is likely to be low on their "to do" list and would fail.

Rich Kozlovich said...


I have to agree with your readers regarding Great Britain. They have virtually lost their identity. The older Brits still make the sounds that you would expect from those who are proud of being British. The middle aged and younger Brits have lost sight of whom and what they were and are unable to determine whom and what they are or will be. I read somewhere that (I believe I remember this number correctly) 60%of all English school children think that Winston Churchill was an astronaut.

The American system is unique in the world. One of the primary reasons is that so few places in the world allow for the ownership of private property. Something we have lost sight of with the Endangered Species Act and other environmental regulations that overturn everything the Constitution represents. All the rest of the world has no idea how to create such a system of freedoms and still have checks and balances. I don’t believe freedoms as we understand them will never exist in most of these countries; they just don’t have any cultural concept for it.


mikiwud said...

If Americans are interested in what is happening in the UK, how public feelings are running and what may be in store for you, check some of our blogs and further links from them.
Try Googling :-
EU Referendum
The Devil's Kitchen
Guy Fawkes' Blog of Parliament
GB is rapidly becoming a Police State. A lot of politicians are not just disliked but ridiculed and actively hated. Now you can see why Nu Liebour took our handguns off us as soon as they came to POWER.

Alan Caruba said...

M. My British friend, Jeremy, sent a news story about the way UK police now have permission to hack into Brit's computers to determine what they are doing. That is an invasion of privacy that is totally Orwellian.

Rubicon said...

Why is it this is so obvious to so many, yet our political, social elite, & even many in academia, do not really understand this?
Or is it they do not want to understand this because they have been programmed to accept & even to push for socialism or even full blown communism, because its utopian lure looks so pretty?
Oppression is NOT pretty & the sooner these fools see that, the better off America & in fact, the entire world will be.