Amartya Sen, Morgenthau Memorial Lecture, Human rights and asian valuesjust when the Declaration of Independence was being adopted in this country, Thomas Paine complained, in Common Sensethat Asia had "long expelled" freedom. In this lament, Paine saw Asia in company with much of the rest of the world America, he hoped, human rights and asian values be different. For Paine, political freedom and democracy were valuable everywhere, even though they were being violated nearly everywhere too. The violation of freedom and democracy in different parts of the world continues today, even if not as comprehensively as in Paine's time. There is a difference, though. A new class of arguments has emerged that denies the universal importance of these freedoms.