Hillary: ‘Government Cannot and Should Not Control Any Individual's Life’

By Pete Winn | May 16, 2012 | 5:56 PM EDT

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told an assemblage of human rights and “civil society” activists gathered at the State Department Wednesday that “government cannot and should not” control the lives of individuals.

“(T)o make the case for civil society is really quite simple because government cannot and should not control any individual’s life – tell you what to do, what not to do,” Clinton said, taking part in a “Global Dialogue of Civil Society.”

Clinton said that any “sustainable society” must have three “legs” to stand on: an accountable government, a free-market economy, and civil society.

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“The economy has to be in the hands of those who are the entrepreneurs and creative innovators,” she said. “But it is in civil society where we live our lives. That’s where our families are formed; that’s where our faith is practiced. That’s where we become who we are, through voluntary activities, through standing up for our common humanity. And so, as we see the explosion of civil society groups around the world, we want to support you.”

Civil Society is a buzzword for U.S. efforts to bring “social change” and “democracy” to countries of the world by working with “civil society activists” around the world.

Clinton drew on her own experience as a social activist challenging the government to illustrate what the U.S. supports.

“I started my career working in civil society,” she said. “I did a lot to take on my own government, staring in the 1970s. The first issue I worked on was to try to help change the laws abut how we treated people with disabilities. And I worked for a group that went door-to-door in certain parts of America asking families, ‘Do you have a child who is not in school? And if so, ‘Why?’ And we found blind children and deaf children and children in wheel chairs and children who had been kicked out of school with no alternative, and I was a really small part of a very large effort to require that American public schools find a place for every one of our children.

The Secretary of State said more than 50 bureaus of the State Department are working as “partners” with “civil society organizations” around the globe to promote “social change.”