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Free Societies

Is liberty an Asian value?

Date: Aug 24 2016

A frequent challenge raised against classical liberalism is that it is not suitable for Asian people or Asian countries, because of “Asian values” that are allegedly unique to Asian countries. Is Asian liberty different from European or American or African Liberty? Or, if liberty is being used in the same way in those regions, is it a reasonable principle for Asian governments and laws, or are Asian values incompatible with liberty? One could also ask whether there is one core of values that are common to all Asians, who inhabit a vast region encompassing billions of people speaking hundreds of languages, professing a wide variety of religions, and heirs to thousands of years of multifarious cultural developments.

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Mural painting of Yogeswar Temple in Patora, Orissa, India, depicting Krishna and Arjuna, the master archer. Photo credit: Frederic Soltan/Getty Images.