TED Conversations

Casey Kitchel


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When fighting for rights, which is tougher: a battle against an oppressive government, or a battle against an oppressive society?

Manal al-Sharif opens her TED talk by asking the audience a question.

“You know that people all over the world fight for their freedom, fight for their rights. Some battle oppressive governments. Others battle oppressive societies.” And then she asks, “which battle do you think is harder?”

Fellow TEDers, which do you think is a tougher battle? And why?


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  • Jul 6 2013: Oppressive governments are worse because they use our own money to finance their schemes against us. Many people believe governments are good no matter what evil they commit, especially if a democracy or republic. While much that is oppressive needs the consensus of society to enforce, the elitists in power control the media and schools at all levels. They present their views as those that enlightened people must hold or pander to base instincts to ridicule their opposition. The more intelligent and aspiring parrot these views to gain membership in the club that disdains the unwashed masses. Others snicker at the "out crowd", those who hold views different from those promoted by the elitists.
    Our society grows more polarized--divisions are encouraged to divert our attention from the ever encroaching state.

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