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18 May 2008

Costs Nothing to be Civilized

The rulers of Burma, and Zimbabwe, have recently made sure, if there was a shred of doubt remaining, that they don't run civilized countries. And they are not alone of course. Got me to thinking more generally - how do you recognize a civilized country?

1. The military-industrial complex plays no role in government.
2. Religion plays a very small role in society, not forbidden, but not compulsory.
3. Scientists, teachers, nurses, artists, are all valued more than sports people and celebrities.
4. Speech is free and the media varied.
5. There are few if any guns.
6. The environment is cared for.
7. The government does not execute its people.
8. Women have full social and economic equality with men.
9. Minorities are not persecuted.
10. Sexuality is not a criterion for human rights.
11. Education of children is universal, free and secular.
12. Other species are respected, valued and protected.
13. Everyone secretly votes, every vote is openly counted independent of government.
14. Regulation protects people from giant corporations.
15. Other countries are not invaded, war isn't glorified.
16. Wealth is not a criterion for political success, or social worth.
17. Art and heritage are valued; literature, film and television increase in quality over time.
18. Natural disasters bring massive state support for the hurt and homeless and helpless.
19. The old, the sick, the disabled, are cared for.
20. The government tells the truth.
21. Public enterprise is as valued as private enterprise.
22. The courts and police are independent of politicians.
23. Unions flourish
24. The balance between life at work and life at home is a healthy one.
25. Aspirations are achievable by all.

There, what do you think? Four points maximum for each - how does your country rate out of 100? Sadly, the US seems to be a lot less civilized than we think

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