Emma Young is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Radical Liberal Party in the Gandaran Parliament. Her father, Aaron Young, is the mayor of Canaan, Laneria and the leader of an excommunicated Mormon sect known as the Remnant of Israel Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She is a prominent and controversial author known for her support of feminism and her harsh criticism of religious fundamentalism, especially isolated fundamentalist communities within more "modern" states.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Political views
- 3 Criticism of Emma Young
Emma Young was born in the town of Canaan in the Lanerian State of Aravana. Her father, Aaron Young, was the mayor and one of the leaders of the Remnant of Israel Church of Latter Day Saints. In violation of Lanerian and Aravanan law as well as the beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Aaron Young practiced polygamy. Emma was the eighth of her father's 24 children and the fourth child of her mother, Margaret.
On her 16th birthday, Emma was taken to meet with Prophet Warren Fenn who informed her that, to help foster relations between his sect and another excommunicated fundamentalist sect in the Danaan Principality of Wintermore, he had decided to give her to the leader of the Wintermore sect as his fourth wife. When Emma protested, Fenn threatened to have her killed unless she cooperated. With all municipal authorities dedicated members of the sect and with no support from her family, Emma found herself without a choice. However, at a stopover in St. Luke's, Nabarro Abarca, Emma snuck off her plane and told her story to the first police officer she saw.
After telling her story to the police, Emma was immediately secured comfortably and safely under the protection of Nabarran authorities. After a hearing which her father did not attend and allegedly prevented her mother from attending, Aaron Young's parental authority was suspended and Margaret Young's parental authority was conditionally suspended with the caveat that she was currently believed to be under the control of Aaron and that, should she ever be established in safety independently of Aaron, then her parental authority might be reconsidered. After Emma and a number of Nabarran law enforcement and judicial officials received death threats from members of the Remnant sect, restraining orders were issued forbidding the members of the sect from contacting or coming near Emma or any of the officials concerned.
Emma's foster parents paid for her to attend Lloydminster University where public services as well as Danish, French and Spanish. After her graduation, she worked a number of public service jobs providing aid to the homeless, the rural poor, asylum seekers, children and battered women. Her experiences in social service moved her deeply but the size of the problem and the inadequacy of current social services led her to become more and more frustrated.
In 1991, Young began to write passionate letters to the editor to major English, Spanish, French and Danish language papers. Within a few months, newspapers were allowing her to write guest columns. In 1994, convinced that she could be of more help to the needy and abused by telling their story than by working in social service, Young took a full time job as a reporter for the Donnaconan Times, the most prestigious English paper in Nabarro Abarca. In 1996, she achieved national fame for a series of articles on the illegal trade in conflict diamonds. In 1998, she became an editor of the paper and in 2001 she became senior editor.
Young moved to what is now Gandara in late 2004, originally intending to set up a new newspaper in the growing settlement of Juliet. However, her new paper, the Juliet Examiner, was still just getting off the ground in 2006 when the Resurgent Dream created a self-governing Commonwealth of Peoples member state in Gandara. Eager to put her political and social views into action, Young became one of the founding members of the Radical Liberal Party and was became its leader in the first Gandaran Parliament.
The Radical Liberals were the third largest party in Parliament, after the Gandaran Green Party and the Popular Democratic Party. The Greens had a majority in their own right. Young led the Radical Liberals to form a loose coalition in opposition with the Popular Democrats, winning herself the position of Deputy Leader of the Opposition.
Due to her speeches in Parliament, including calls for the Resurgent Dream, Nabarro Abarca, Marlund, Adoki and Laneria to arrest certain fundamentalist community leaders within their borders on charges of rape, kidnapping, assult, unlawful restraint and even murder, Young has become a very controversial figure, receiving a number of death threats from fundamentalist groups. Some of the threats have come from known terrorist organizations such as the Sons of the Reformation and Kahane Chai Ambara.
Young has the third most extensive security protection in Gandara, after only the Prime Minister and the Governor-General. She is sometimes moved to a secret location when her security judges the situation to be especially threatening. After several attempts to settle into what she describes as a "normal home," Young has finally resigned herself to the special security requirements placed on her by her role as a controversial and public figure. She has settled into a large, isolated and thoroughly secured home in the countryside immediately outside Juliet.
Young is the leader of the Radical Party, a Gandaran political party which combines right-wing views on the economy, immigration and foreign and Commonwealth policy with liberal and feminist views on homosexuality, marriage and family law, drugs and abortion. The party is especially known for its advocacy of strictly enforcing existing laws of general application, especially laws guaranteeing the freedom and bodily integrity of citizens, against cults and fundamentalist religious communities. Young is especially critical of religious fundamentalism in all forms and of the role of women in most fundamentalist traditions.
Young is an outspoken critic of religious fundamentalism. Her criticism includes Islamic, Mormon and Protestant fundamentalism as well as Haredi Judaism and extremist interpretations of Hinduism. Young is especially critical of some isolated fundemantalist religious communities within the Commonwealth which she claims get away with rape, murder, assault, sexual abuse of children and other crimes because governments and law enforcement agencies fear they will appear to be suppressing freedom of religion if they fully enforce the law in these communities.
Although she has strongly criticized the Remnant of Israel Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and other excommunicated Mormon fundamentalist sects, Young has staunchly refused to give an opinion on the founder of Mormonism Joseph Smith or on the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Young has stated that, while she certainly has opinions about such matters, as a secularist, she believes that political figures should not make public statements regarding religious groups existing within the law and in reasonable agreement with the civic values of the nation.
Young is against circumcision for both men and women. She claims that performing an operation altering the nature of a child's body before that child is old enough to make an informed, free decision, violates the freedom of that child. She says that the invocation of religious and cultural freedom in defense of circumcision is an Orwellian argument where the violation of the child's natural rights is defended in terms of the parents' freedom vis-à-vis the state, a conception of freedom which she describes as "more worthy of Allanea's system of totalitarianism in the name of liberty than of the politics of a free and democratic nation."
Despite the occasional rhetorical flourish, Young's criticism of clitoridotomy and male circumcision is usually fairly moderate, involving only the statement that no changes should be made in a person's body before they are old enough to give legally meaningfully consent unless there is an genuine medical need for such an operation. However, Young considers the practices of clitoridectomy and infibulation to not merely raise consent issues but rather to constitute a crime against and mutilation of the child subjected to the procedure. Young advocates even stricter enforcement of the current laws and treaties banning the practices within the Commonwealth and sanctions against foreign states where they are legal.
Freedom of speech
Young is a staunch proponent of freedom of speech and expression. She and her party oppose Gandara's current laws against hate speech, arguing that the true test of freedom of speech is not its application to reasonable debate but to points of view which most people find offensive. In a speech of 14 December 2006, she said "I am not ashamed to say that, when it comes to freedom of speech, my parties policy is, in a manner of speaking, the protection of morally abhorent points of view. As long as none of the money involved goes to a terrorist organization or the Allanean Government, even Kazanskyites and Fabelists have the right to try and get their point across.
Freedom of assembly
Young has stated that freedom of assembly is not as strict a matter of freedom of speech. She maintains that reasonable restrictions, for security reasons, upon the places and the contexts in which various groups can meet is within the state's legitimate area of authority. She considers it perfectly legitimate for the state to regulate public marches and ban public demonstrations from interfering with the rights of other citizens to use public streets and buildings. However, Young has stressed that the freedom of assembly cannot legitimately be restricted in a manner which makes it difficult or impossible for citizens to meet or to demonstrate in a group or which shows significant prejudice with regard to the intellectual content of a proposed meeting or demonstration.
Freedom of education
Young has maintained throughout her career that every citizen has a right to an education which allows them to compete with other citizens on the basis of equal opportunity and to exercise personal autonomy when they reach adulthood. Despite her general desire to reduce social programs, she has routinely voted to increase funding for public schools, create public pre-school programs and to maintain libraries, musuems, parks and monuments which serve to further the public level of education. Personally, Young has always been known to make time to speak with classes schoolchildren from her constituency on tours of Parliament.
Young has opposed to the use of state funds for private schools (whether directly or through a student voucher program) and has stated that she believes any use of state funds in religious schools is in violation of the Gandaran Constitution. She has also defended restrictions on private schools and homeschooling in the interests of the child, a policy she has called "the only one compatible with an actual, rather than an Orwellian, concept of freedom."
Freedom of religion
While Young has affirmed what is normally referred to as freedom of religion, she has stated repeatedly that she believes everything commonly called freedom of religion is already contained in freedom of conscience, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. In a 15 December 2006 speech, Young explained: "If, by freedom of religion, all that is meant is the right of a group of people to come together, share spiritual experiences, participate in worship services according to their owb rites and give public testimony to their religious beliefs, then no consistent liberal could object. However, all of this is already contained in freedom of association, freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. I can't help but ask: What else is contained in the idea of freedom religion that makes it a freedom distinct from the four I mentioned? Are the religious or the clergy to receive some rights denied the rest of us? Are they to be exempt from some duties required of citizens generally? Are they to enjoy some sort of special support from the state? I know that where I grew up, in Canaan, Aravana, the term freedom of religion was used in practice to mean the right of rapists, batterers and kidnappers to operate freely, secure in the conviction that no Aravanan or Lanerian government would wish to be perceived as persecuting a religious minority. What the term means in places like Allanea, where, after the manner of Orwellian newspeak which is the language of that blighted nation, freedom means not the affirmative rights of men and women but merely the prevention of government from securing the rights of its citizens, I shudder to imagine."
While Young has always been a supporter of development aid, she has suggested several times that the Commonwealth's aid system needs to be reformed to ensure that aid goes only to those who need it and does not support corrupt or dangerous regimes. Young has said that, lamentably, the current foreign aid programs of the Western liberal democracies have not suceeded in making the world safer, more prosperous or freer to any significant extent.
Although the Commonwealth of Peoples as a whole is hostile to Allanea, Young is an especially virulent critic of what she describes as "fascism in the name of liberty." She has repeatedly referred to Allanea as the "antithesis of real freedom, the enemy of liberty and democracy and of all free people in the world." She has accused Allanea of commiting crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity and has stated that Allanean President Alexander Kazansky should be tried, convicted and hung. She has jokingly dismissed Kazansky's past survival of circumstances that seemed sure to kill him by saying "the Devil looks after his own." She has accused Allanea of being the chief sponsor of terrorism and the chief source of illegal armaments in the world.
In a recent speech regarding the ongoing Prussian-Reich War, Young said: "Everything alleged about the Reich's history of sentient rights abuse is true and I am staunchly against the policies of all current Reich regimes. However, there can be no justification for collaboration with or appeasement of Allanean fascism. Allanea's perverse Orwellian policy of fascism in the name of freedom is, both practically and morally, the greatest enemy of all free people in the world. Decent men and women have only one answer to the call to arms of the terrorist thug Kazansky and that answer is no. The most important principle of foreign policy for all free peoples in the current international context is courageous and unflinching opposition, always and everywhere, to the Allanean horde."
Criticism of Emma Young
Abraham Goldfarb, former leader of the Danaan Labor Party and Danaan Minister for Foreign Affairs, has stated that Allanea is "at best a joke in poor taste" and that focusing foreign policy on opposition to Allanea represents a distraction from serious policy issues. In a 2006 speech, he stated that "while Miss Young's analysis of the nature of Allanean society is quite accurate, her estimation of its importance and influence in the world has missed the mark drastically. We can't waste time treating an international laughingstock like the next great threat to civilization."