But privileged folks in the West have always, well, enjoyed the privilege of debating this obvious fact. Not so in places like China, Iran and Russia. That's what 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 its downfall.
Living in a free place like America where performative cowards fake being handcuffed by polite police to gain attention, we do not realize how grave the stakes are in rogue foreign lands.
Iran’s national soccer team members, eliminated Tuesday by the U.S. in the World Cup, boldly refused to sing the national anthem in solidarity with those protesting the Islamist regime's killing of a young woman for having her hijab out of place. Now these athletes and their families could face serious retribution that no coddled anti-war or "social justice" protestor in the west can imagine.
Protesters — mostly young people, and not spoiled brats in Manhattan, Los Angeles or an insular college town — remain defiant...
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.
In Russia, where dictator Vladimir Putin is improbably losing a war against his smaller neighbor, the regime imposes grandiose fines upon those who espouse anti-war sentiment. If you can’t pay, you are arrested.
Yet protesters — mostly young people, and not spoiled brats in Manhattan, Los Angeles or an insular college town — remain defiant, shouting “Death to the dictator!” or in China, they hold up blank papers displaying what Chairman Xi's regime won’t allow them to say.
Maybe classical liberalism and the freedom agenda promoted by Presidents Ronald Reagan and both George Bushes, yet not so much by the last three presidents, is not dead.
Besides a lack of appreciation for the freedoms they benefit from daily, elites on the left and isolationist right, declare traditional liberalism dead, mock democracy, and give comfort to nefarious regimes. But then again, it's rare to find an international journalist or professor who hasn't appeased evil at some point.
This execrable mentality began during the Vietnam War, but continued after the 9/11 attacks and ensuing global war on terror, when many declared that people don't seek Western-style freedom. This is easy to say from the Cambridge ivory tower 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 life in places like America and Israel. And we are inspired by them.
A.J Kaufman is a correspondent for several U.S. newspapers, websites and magazines, from Minnesota and Ohio to Tennessee and Virginia. He taught school and served as a military historian before beginning his journalism career in 2006. The author of three books, he is also a guest on various radio programs and contributes to Israel National News and The Lid.