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Freedom and Democracy - Term Paper Example

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Thus, tyrannies are born where the governments fear freedom and do everything possible to control the people. An excellent example of this is Nazi Germany, a system discussed by Fromm in his work which sought to control not only the lives of German citizens, but to make absolute slaves of people who did not belong to the Aryan race. This disgraceful system of government has been thrown into the dustbin of history with much revilement heaped upon it. However, as Fromm points out, it is not as simple as all that. People are attracted to tyranny as well. Without it they fear their own freedom. They fear the absence of someone telling them what to do and how to live their own lives. They fear all the existential choices that are available to them. It sounds strange, but in a sense it is true. Many would rather live under an authoritarian regime than be truly free and able to choose for themselves. This is their escape from freedom. There are many techniques used by authoritarians, be they in politics or culture, to convince people to give up freedom and be afraid of it. They do this so as to maintain control over people and to run their lives. One method is to convince people that there is no such thing as real knowledge. ...
One of the main methods that they use to do this is to promote relativism. There is no single truth, these people suggest, and all truth is relative one another. This means that one way of living or governing a country is not any better than any other. For many people this is an attractive idea as it allows them to avoid the responsibility of making their own decisions and discriminating between separate choices. If there is no right way to live, then the choices that we make are really not that important after all. For many people, this news comes as a great relief. They would therefore turn themselves over to any person who promises that he or she will take care of them. In essence, the promotion of relativism is a great technique for controlling citizens” (248). Indeed, we see this today in our own world. We do not need to go back to the Nazi to understand it. Everywhere our culture tells us that everything is equal, there is no way to pick one thing as being good and the other as being bad. We are told not to judge. Many people accept relativism as their own personal, philosophical lodestone. They do this because they are afraid of the freedom to judge, to choose, to discriminate between good and evil. Enemies of freedom are counting on this and doing everything they can to build this fear up in the average person. Individuals face many constraints. They feel like they need to belong to a community and cannot therefore rock the boat. They go along to get along. Some of these operate on the familial level, others on the national level. For example, as an American I would never burn the flag – someone in Pakistan would have no problem doing so. We are constrained by our upbringing and the culture we are brought ...Show more
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Summary

FROMM Few can deny that Erich Fromm was one of the most significant psychological theorists of the XX century. His work had a major impact on many fields and tapped into the public consciousness in a way that few psychological theorists do. One of his most famous works – Escape from Freedom – caused a sensation on its publication…
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