Cambodian Journalism Review

Patch Adams and free speech
October 21, 2007, 9:15 am
Filed under: Free Speech, Letters



Phnom Penh Post

Patch Adams and free speech



I felt a mixture of admiration and sadness to read about the generous work of Patch Adams as a clown and his strong attack on the US president and politics (”Patch Adams: honk if you hate Bush,” Phnom Penh Post, Oct 21).

I greatly respect Adams’ commitment to helping sick people around the world to have a moment of joy by using his humor as a talented doctor and comedian.

However, I was quite disappointed at his criticism of capitalism (which is an aspect of liberal democracy) and his praise for communism.

Of course, there might be something bad about President George W Bush and his policies, but I think that the US democracy as well as other genuine democracies in general are the only best model of governments we should all champion.

In a real democracy, people can enjoy all sorts of civil and, especially, political rights which differentiate men from animals. (A philosopher defines human being as “a political animal,” because a human has the ability to think. So, if we have no political rights and freedom to think and express our opinions, we are not truly better than other animals.)

Actually, Patch Adams was lucky to be born a US citizen, which has enabled him to enjoy all kinds of rights and freedoms. He could even get away with his verbal attack on the US president. Had he lived in a communist or authoritarian society or even in some “absurd” democracies, he would surely be jailed or punished for “defaming” the president or the prime minister.

It was useful, though, that he made his fierce remarks about President Bush and his administration’s policies. It could serve as an example to other leaders of “democratic” countries around the world that this is what free speech and free press in a free democracy are all about. And that you wouldn’t be imprisoned or murdered just by expressing your opinions – including harsh criticism of the government.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Post, Issue 14/22, November 4 – 18, 2005
© Michael Hayes, 2005. All rights revert to authors and artists on publication.
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2 Comments so far
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Dr Patch Adams is opposed to capitalism as an ideology for it s money-centric and anything that can be monetized or expressed in money value alone is respected, protected and nurtured. He was not opposed to the ideals of democracy as such but the hypocrisy of democracy in the garb of capitalism. I reckon you got him wrong on his perspective of what a democracy is: with love, compassion and human dignity. Whether Bush or Obama, the American administration scores pretty low on these fronts of the defining features of democracy.

Comment by msdinakar

I `ve heard Dr. Patch Adams criticizing communism as strongly as he criticizes capitalism. And anyone who doesn´t put an economical model first than a human person would understand that what Dr. Adams says is the truth, although truth is not convenient for the model defenders. I´m sorry, but both models have failed in solving people´s needs. I live in a super liberal country where freedom of speech and individual liberty are supposed to be guaranteed for everybody. But we all know that is a lie because it depends on how much money you have. That´s what Dr. Adams criticizes, and for me at least is quite obvious.

Comment by Vicente

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