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Public Freedoms in the Islamic State$
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Rached Ghannouchi

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300211528

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300211528.001.0001

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On the Concept of Freedom in the West

On the Concept of Freedom in the West

(p.37) 1 On the Concept of Freedom in the West
Public Freedoms in the Islamic State

Rached Ghannouchi

, David L. Johnston
Yale University Press

This chapter examines the Western concept of freedom. It links this concept to human rights and expounds on its history in the West. Here, the origin of the various declarations of human rights is associated with the historical rise of the bourgeoisie and, fundamentally, with the struggle that took place between the new class of merchants and industry leaders on the one hand and the kings, feudal lords, and the church on the other. In fact, the chapter argues that to conceive of the free agent as a person without any outside pressure underlines a negative and mechanical definition of individual freedoms. It asserts that the balance of powers—political power, domination, and wealth—are the true determining factors of rights and freedoms in the West. Despite these, the chapter stresses that the development of human rights is indeed significant; it is only that such a legacy fails to shine through from within Western political and economic structures as well as the international arena.

Keywords:   freedom, human rights, Western political structures, Western economic structures, international relations, religion, Western thought, political authority, balance of powers

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