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 11 2013: I posted here a while back. I still don't get the difference. Societies are independent of their governments. But governments arise from the societies wherein they reside. So what exactly is the key issue here and how do we bring clarity to the question(s) that are asked here.
    • Jul 13 2013: Eventually, society and government become two separate powers. Despite government arising from society, it doesn't take to long before government starts trying to write the rule book.
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        Jul 13 2013: I thought that was the whole point of government in the first place. Governments write & enforce the laws. And as we all know, laws are written a RULES to be followed.

        @Kevin Jacobson - Yeah! it's never really as simple or as straightforward as we might like it to be.
        • Jul 13 2013: Well, I based what I stated on the belief that government and society should be one in the same that is, it should be by the people, for the people. If we were governed in this fashion, we would never have to worry about the government legislating silly laws or becoming tyrannical. In other words, people don't oppress themselves, but governments will oppress people. Having a governing body that is separate from society is one of the most outrageous things invented by man.

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