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Week in Review: Putin’s War on Freedom

February 25, 2022

It seems almost unimaginable. This week, the world and our federal government sat idly by as Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an unjust and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, bringing war to Europe, death and destruction to Russia’s neighbor, and unknowable consequences for the United States and the international community, today and into the future. 

Just over four years ago, former world chess champion and human rights advocate Garry Kasparov spoke at the Goldwater Institute’s Annual Dinner and warned about the lure of socialism, Putin’s existential threat, and the imperative to stand up for freedom. Kasparov was born in the Soviet Union but today lives in America, exiled from his country given Putin’s crackdown on dissent.

“If you want to tell me about the glories of socialism, go say it from a food line in Venezuela, not from Hollywood, not from Vermont. If you want to tell me that Putin is a strong leader, try it from a jail cell in Moscow, not from New York, not from Washington, DC,” Kasparov told the Goldwater Institute. He also spoke at length about the need for America to be vigilant in defense of freedom, at home and abroad:

“You hear many voices say that America shouldn’t be a global policeman. But nobody likes to live in a neighborhood without a cop on the beat. American cannot just walk away from the world as it has been doing for the past nine years. Vacuums of power do not stay empty for long, as we are seeing very clearly today in Eastern Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia, in Latin America. 

“Global freedom has declined every year for 11 straight years. The United States must lead both by example and by telling the world that liberty still matters and by backing up that claim. For those who say America is tired, to let someone else take a turn, who will that be? 

“Do you think America will be better off with China or Putin’s Russia setting the standards in the 21st century? Looking to Europe only meets Europe’s gaze in return, looking back to America for leadership. Who else will innovate the way America does, creating the technology the rest of the world benefits from and copies? Who else will defend global stability with an unmatched military force? Who else will show the world that free people, free markets, and democracy are the only way to guarantee peace? I’m sorry, but there’s no one else. 

“That is a good reason, but not the only reason, for America to defend freedom everywhere. You cannot promote freedom at home and not believe that every individual around the globe deserves a chance at that freedom. And standing up for freedom, especially when it is under great threat, reinforces the blessings you have here in the free world and how important it is to preserve them and not take them for granted. Because in the end, American leadership is still essential, because America is still essential.”

You can watch Kasparov’s full remarks here.

Poll: 84% of Americans Support Parents’ Right to See What Kids Are Learning

An overwhelming majority of American voters—84 percent—agree that parents should be able to see the curriculum plans and materials for their children’s classes, according to a new poll.

The survey’s results provide more evidence that the American public largely supports parents’ right to be involved in their kids’ education. And they underscore the pressing need for Goldwater’s academic transparency reform, which requires public schools to post their learning materials online. To date, more than twenty state legislatures are considering transparency bills to give parents the knowledge they need about what their kids are learning in school.

Unfortunately, public school bureaucrats across the country are fighting hard to keep parents in the dark. But the Goldwater Institute is fighting back. Our Academic Transparency law empowers parents to have a say in their kids’ education is by shining a light on the lessons being taught in our classrooms, and we are working to pass it in states across the country. Read more about our law here.

Frederick Douglass, a Former Slave, Extolled the Virtues of American Citizenship

The abolitionist, philosopher, and former slave Frederick Douglass used to say that citizenship depended on three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box. Americans of all races, he believed, have the right to serve on juries, to defend themselves with arms, and to vote in elections.

Timothy Sandefur, the Goldwater Institute’s Vice President for Litigation, is featured in a new Federalist Society video that examines Douglass’ work to secure voting rights in the years following the Civil War. “The right to vote was also part of what it meant to be a full citizen—and Douglass was emphatic about the citizenship of black Americans, even before the Civil War,” Sandefur writes.

“How little he would have thought of those who today continue to argue that America is a land only for white people, and that black Americans should accept despondency and doubt, and regard themselves as strangers in the land of their birth.” You can read more and watch the video here.



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