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Freedom - Essay Example

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Name of Student Course Instructor Date Personal Freedom As the forces of change redefine societal beliefs and expectations terms such as individualism, egoism, and uniqueness are creating paradigm shifts in the assumed roles of people. The shifts in thinking are resulting in a re-evaluation of how human beings think and what role humans have in the hierarchical structure of society…
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Broaching such a topic is almost impossible because personal freedom is relatively young concept when compared against the backdrop of time. The concept is a modern day complexity because over the course of human existence personal freedom was not a reality. The evolution of human society prior to the last 200 years had a societal hierarchy in which those in power, with status, gold and silver exercised personal freedom; those members of society without were obligated to those with wherewithal and the illusion of freedom was not a consideration. According to the United States Declaration of Independence personal freedom by definition is “The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence). Implied is the ability to pursue happiness by living life in a manner that does not impose or infringe on the well-being and rights of others while living within the confines of the governing laws. The ideals of pursuing happiness and liberty from an individual perspective have the potential to create havoc because happiness to one person may not be happiness to another. In contrast, the opposite of personal freedom is slavery or “human trafficking” another modern day term, or the oppression of “Jim Crow” laws, and the current politically motivated attempts to exclude and prevent certain groups from voting in the upcoming elections. Each of these examples depicts the removal or hindrance of personal freedom and the right to live freely. To some degree politics, economics, culture, leisure indulgences, educational opportunities, or the varying religious beliefs are each attributes of personal freedom. However, in theory personal freedom is an illusion because individuals living and doing as he or she pleases has restraints. Society’s laws and regulations dictate to what extent personal freedom can be expressed; going outside of the allowable boundaries results in punishment for infractions with severe consequences in certain circumstances. Similarly, aside from governmental laws and rules that govern the influence of culture on the expression of personal freedom presents additional constraints as well. Take for instance in America families have the personal freedom to decide how many children to have, but as a stark cultural contrast in the People’s Republic of China families are restricted by government regulations to only one child (Rosenberg). Whereas the motivation for the policy has intrinsic value clearly personal freedom to choose is restricted because of the imposing regulations for the benefit of the community at large. Theorists such as Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Henry James (1843-1916) debated the veracity of personal freedom because of the hierarchical design of the economic structure within society. James believed that true personal freedom was an impossibility citing the controls of government resembling that of a “Puppeteer manipulating the populace” (qtd. in Koopman 177). Moltmann presented the argument that personal freedom cannot exist because individuals are members of a larger network or group and inexplicably members of the community of human beings. His philosophy was valid in that individuals cannot experience a true state of individuality or personal freedom due to the invisible connections that binds ... Read More
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