Thomas Halvorssen is the President of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), New York. He is half- Venezuelan and half-Norwegian born in Caracas and grew there but speaks fluent American English. His paternal grandfather was a consul for the Norwegian king in Venezuela. His mother comes from the linage of Cristobal Mendoza, Venezuelan first president. For Thor, individual liberty and human rights is the very table that all discussions rest.
His father exposed corruption in the government when he worked as the drug czar in Venezuela and was tortured in prison back in Caracas. Thor’s mother was shot dead in a demonstration against Hugo Chavez. His cousin, Leopoldo Lopez, is serving time at a Venezuelan jail for perpetually challenging the Chavista regime. Thor however, is a unique human rights activist who does not play the sad-sack like most activists. Thor states that he loves people especially defectors and dissidents, freedom troublemakers that blow spitballs at people in authority and stand up against tyrannies.
Mr Thor let Vaclav Havel hold the chairmanship of HRF until 2011 when he died and Garry Kasparov replaced him. Kasparov was the chess grandmaster from Russia and a political activist and Vladimir Putin scourge. Kasparov had at one time being carried and punched by Russian Police for protesting Pussy Riot’s guilty verdict for singing a song that was anti-Putin. Thor believes he is a “classical liberal” on a mission to rid tyranny from the world. The Oslo Freedom Forum held annually by HRF is an event not-to-miss by human-rights beat reporters.
About Thor Halvorssen
He is a film producer and a human rights advocate. He is described as the “champion for the underdog and the powerless” by the New York Times. He founded HRF in 2005, to help liberate political prisoners and promote political and civil rights around the world. HRF has been successful in securing the release of seven conscience prisoners and adduced evidence to Truth commissions.
HRF has also submitted amicus briefs in huge international human rights cases and published books. Thor is the CEO and Founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum. It is an annual global gathering that was described by the Economist as a “spectacular human-rights festival… on the heels of equaling the Davos economic forum”.
The race to the White House in 2016 has been very entertaining. Many people have compared it to something like American sports. It is very competitive and full of surprises. Most people assume that Hillary Clinton would be inaugurated as the nominee of the democratic party several months ago. Her main competitor is a 70 year old Senator who happens to identify as a democratic socialist named Bernie Sanders. Sanders has done very well in proposing his model of government, particularly in highlighting the positive aspects of socialism. But in this interview, Thor Halvorrsen pointed out that the issue is more complicated than Sanders has proposed. Socialism is not without flaws.
Redistribution of Wealth Does Not End Poverty
One of the main talking points of the Bernie Sanders campaign is to point how rich the top 1% are in contrast to the rest of the nation. The solution that he proposed to this problem is that the nation should increase taxes on the rich and distribute that money to the poor. According to HuffingtonPost, Halvorssen objects to this model. While it may seem appealing, it does not help the poor to develop a finite amount of resources that are evenly distributed among all people. Rather, Halvorssen espoused a free market economy, wherein the wealth is infinite, and the potential for advancement is infinite. While the wealthy will become more wealthy, the poor will as well.
Socialism Is Easy To Abuse
Thor Halvorssen recognizes that there are some sovereign nations wherein socialism has been successful. He pointed to Denmark. But when the government has that much power, it is very easy to abuse. If the wrong person works their way into the government, everything could be overthrown in one fell swoop. The poor could become more poor and basic human rights could be left behind.
He Made A Donation To Sanders
Pragmatically, Halvorssen views Bernie Sanders as the best presidential candidate. Socialism may be a difficult sacrifice to make. But it is a necessary sacrifice and will serve as a bulwark against something much worse in the other candidates.
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