Freedom remains the sole basis for American society as we know it. Without freedom the great nation of America would have never been founded. To understand the true principles of freedom, one must understand the scope of the word. Philosophical freedom encompasses the ability to make choices without restraints, while political freedom is the state of being free rather than in physical confinement. Despite the importance of these ideas to our founding fathers, freedom has lost much of its importance in modern American society. The failure to stress the importance of freedom has diminished the quality of life for the entire American populous.
Positive liberty is the freedom for one to become all one can (Postive Liberty). This idea can be considered, in general, a totalitarian principle because leaders following this ideology often believs it is within their realm to force the citizens to become all they can be. But this could also be considered democratic through governmental programs such as welfare, affirmative action, and many others created to better society. Yet negative liberty, is the primary one we want in our lives. However negative liberty is the freedom from the constraints that limit us (Negative Liberty).
In sharp contrast to the totalitarian principles of positive liberty, negative liberty is based more on libertarian principles in which the government takes the backseat allowing people to thrive through their own actions. A real world view of this would be the Conservative principle of laissez-faire, an idea that the government should stay away from enacting laws that limit buisness. Liberty constitutes a small principle in the immense ideals of American freedom. Even though Positive liberty seems like a negative thing when combined with the ideals of Negative liberty a prosperus society can be created.
To understand the importance of freedom in American society, we must go back to the beginning: the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson framed the constitution around the concepts set forth by John Locke, the father of liberty. The Declaration of Independence created a way to free ourselves from the injustices done upon us by the English monarchy. This document set forth the basis of what a government can reasonably do to protect and tax its citizens, before being beyond the appropriate scope of its power.
When the government exceeds this power one must consider this an infringement on freedom. This governmental basis becomes extenuated in the Bill of Rights, the foundation of the US constitution. The Bill of Rights remains the true source of our freedoms as American. These freedoms include speech, religion etc. These freedoms were “to be held dear” by all members of our society. As a result off the plasticity of these amendments, the American elitists can interpret these for their own ideas.
Since the beginning of America, Elitists have found a way to hinder the lower and middle classes involvement in government through the enormous amount of money required to create a successful election campaign. Taking on an elected role in government is supposed to be a freedom every member of society can achieve, but with the fiscal importance of campaigning it is not possible. In the 2004 election campagins alone, canidates spent $144 million dollars out of their own pocket. (’04 Elections Expected to Cost Nearly $4 Billion) As displayed by the Bush family, these elitists continue their stronghold on American government.
If the lower to middle classes can’t find a way to break the barriers that bar them from governmental participation, their quality of life will remain vastly behind that of the elitist. To break these barriers the citizens must resort to using the principles guaranteed to them through both the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Positive Liberty allows us as citizens to bring ourselves to become the best we can, which destroys class barriers completley. While Negative Liberty allows us to in any manner possible liberate ourselves from this lack of freedom.
One day in regards to a situation like ours, Jefferson said “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny” (Thomas Jefferson Quotes). In high ranking offices, lower and middle class elected officials would be able to take stands to protect their peers, not the big buisnesses that are being protected now. This “ruling class” has also enacted laws that protect only their interest. In 2001 the Bush administartion created a pakage to eliminate the estate tax, which applies only to the richest 2% of Americans (Estate Tax loss will punch whole in Budget).
Through this idea most of the capital owned by these millionaires is never taxed. How fair is that? Also the upper class leaders have taken stands to protect big buisness, allowing them to place subsidaries in tax havens around the world preventing most of their income from being taxed. Even though this idea allows the economy to flourish, the national debt continues to rise for the good of these elites. Throughout the course this nation has taken, the freedom we hold the dearest – the First Amendment – has been limited through some congressional and executive rulings.
Not only have governmental rulings limited these rights but also the members of the “ruling class'” control over media and other sources of information. Most media outlets our controlled by wealthy people, who greatly support the elitists running for higher ranking ruling offices, often donating to their campaigns (Who owns CNN? or MSNBC? ABC? ). Without the ability for someone outside this select fraternity to own a prestigious news outlet, propaganda is easily spread without any notice by the people. Not only has our ability to gain any media control diminished, but also are right to freedom of speech has diminished.
The people within the nation that is considered the most free and democratic, often find themselves facing oppression when they attempt to speak against the injustices committed by their government. In one situation a man refused to go to the specified “protest zones” designated by the Secret Service, often miles off the path of the presidential motorcade, he was then charged with disorderly conduct (Free Speech Zone). How free is that? This oppression must be cast off by the people in an attempt to right our sinking nation. Tapping phones for police or governmental purposes often requires just cause, but who needs that nowadays.
President Bush thrust off any judicial oversight required to tap phone lines and served as the catalyst behind many unnecessary and illegal phone taps. As we take a stand against the abuses by the government against freedom as citizens, we must remain in our boundaries to provide ourselves the greatest opportunity to garner support throughout not only the area, but the nation. If we advertise our views too radically, our chance to improve our quality of life will fail. Pursing freedom outside the scope outlined in the constitution creates almost an anarchy, which often does not increase the quality of life but lowers it greatly.
The battle for freedom within America has taken a turn for the worst as can be seen through this minute amount of examples provided. Elitists continue to rule the nation uncontended by anybody. The exponential rate at which our freedoms are being not only diminished but taken away can only be stopped through the political activism of everyone involved in this great community. Even though as a single person, we appear small in the grand scheme of things, it only takes one person to start explosive reforms..
Courtney from Study Moose
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