TodayOs American: How Free? assesses the state of American freedom in the post-9/11 period. Conducted by Freedom House, the study looks at a broad range of rights and liberties, including the electoral process, freedom of the press, counterterrorism policies, corruption, freedom of belief, academic freedom, race relations, immigration, property rights, and equality of opportunity. The study places current problems in their historical context and compares American performance with the state of freedom in Europe. ...
TodayOs American: How Free? assesses the state of American freedom in the post-9/11 period. Conducted by Freedom House, the study looks at a broad range of rights and liberties, including the electoral process, freedom of the press, counterterrorism policies, corruption, freedom of belief, academic freedom, race relations, immigration, property rights, and equality of opportunity. The study places current problems in their historical context and compares American performance with the state of freedom in Europe. It applies the same rigorous analytical criteria to American freedom as Freedom House applies to other countries in the world in its roster of democracy surveys. The study concludes that the problems that the United States faced prior to 9/11_including racial inequality, problems with the criminal justice system, and weaknesses in the electoral system_present a greater challenge to freedom over the long term than do the civil liberties problems that have emerged with the war on terrorism.
Freedom House has produced excellent annual assessments of the state of political rights and civil liberties worldwide, so it is appropriate at this juncture in our nation's history that this respected organization turns its attention to the matter of freedom in the United States. Only by ensuring the liberty of our own institutions and practices can we serve as an honest exemplar to-and critic of-other nations.
For America to advance democracy abroad, we need to acknowledge our shortcomings as well as tout our achievements. In Today's American: How Free? Freedom House provides a forthright and illuminating look at our present condition. This is an authoritative discussion of the state of freedom in the United States.
Honesty is the most important part of freedom. Material, moral, and intellectual honesty define a free society. This is an honest assessment. It bears no grudges, holds no axes to be ground, and carries no water for any ideology or ideologue. You don't have to agree with every bit of Today's American: How Free? (and I don't) to agree that it is honestly conceived and executed. It's the best we fallible humans can do — and the best we can do is one more way to define a free society.
This is an honest, balanced analysis of American democracy. Its comprehensive nature, global comparisons, and historical context make Today's American: How Free? an essential document in the dialogue over the American future.
Today's American: How Free? is a timely and incisive assessment of the contemporary deficiencies of American democratic practice as well as the enduring strengths of its political system. Freedom House has applied the same keen, independent, analytical eye to the United States as it has done to the entire world over the years. The result is a vital resource for the reform and improvement of democracy in America, and an effective reply to those who allege that American advocates of democracy abroad don't take a critical look at their own system.
Arch Puddington is director of research at Freedom House. He previously worked as research director for the A. Philip Randolph Institute, as executive director for the League for Industrial Democracy, and as a bureau manager for Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. Thomas O. Melia is the deputy executive director of Freedom House and teaches at Georgetown University. Jason Kelly is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University.
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Today's American: How Free? Chapter 3 The Civil Liberties Inplications of Counterterrorism Policies Chapter 4 Rule of Law: Criminal Justice and Property Rights Chapter 5 Immigration: Despite Challenges, a Source of Strength Chapter 6 Racial Inequality: America's Achilles' Heel Chapter 7 The Press: Still Free and Independent Chapter 8 Religious Liberty: Still a Beacon Chapter 9 Academic Freedom: Withstanding Pressures from Left and Right Chapter 10 Equality of Opportunity in an Age of Globalization Chapter 11 Political Process: Needs Repair Chapter 12 Corruption: Money and Politics