You write “People must…feel free of physical and economic oppression. But first they must feel free of ignorance.” I’m not sure about that. I am a university teacher living in China. My students know they don’t have freedom of thought but they have nice clothes, they have fancy mobiles, so they don’t seem to care.
and another one-
To follow up on Les’ comment, I think the grab-line here regarding “Bulgarian blue jeans’ is more revealing than might have been intended. Almost every point here could be rephrased to be about a longing to participate in the commodity culture the U.S. makes so appealing. Pace Les, while I certainly agree with the base ideas here (RFE/RL are incredibly important and provide a superb forum for information sharing and debate), there is a lot of evidence that if a government were to hand over those better blue jeans while withholding the freedom of speech they ostensibly signify, it would go a long way towards stifling protests.
Authoritarianism for the next generation.