Freedom and Authoritarianism

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Freedom and Authoritarianism

Freedom and equality are intertwined with one another. Freedom is defined as the custom of being free, political independence, and the possession of civil rights. When reflecting upon the history of the twentieth century many people all over the world were not afforded the luxury of being born with freedom or born with equal rights. In most cases, those people were often oppressed or subjugated by various forms of systematic state sponsored authoritarianism and terror. In order to receive the freedom necessary to survive and the equality required to live a happy and successful life the oppressed people had to take action. Often times the action took on various forms such as, revolts or nonviolent campaigns. Because the governments reliance on authoritarianism and terror to control their citizens, often times revolts and/or nonviolent campaigns were the consequence. Therefore, any advances towards gaining freedom and equality cannot happen without some form of systematic state-sponsored authoritarianism and terror taking place first. It is no coincidence because the two phenomena are linked.
As mentioned before, any gains toward freedom and equality coexist with authoritarianism and terror maintained by the government. Emma Goldman, an anarchist, speaks of freedom, in “Victims of Morality”, but believes that religion is the main factor hindering the growth of that freedom. Goldman uses the term “morality” when referencing religion. Goldman believes that “morality” is “paralyzing to the minds and hearts of the people.” She also believes that morality forces people to become conformists during the process of reasoning and the completion of daily tasks, by ignoring their true inner thoughts and feelings. Therefore, Goldman believes that morality restricts people’s happiness and freedom by “shutting out love, light, and joy from the lives of innumerable victims.” As a result, Goldman does not believe that morality will help eradicate the ills of society. Goldman’s views involving religion and freedom differ from those of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s views involving that same topic.
In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, his belief was that any gains toward freedom and equality could not happen without the use of God’s will and the influence of Christian values. Dr. King Jr. believed that Christianity and his faith in God would help eradicate the many injustices in society. A guiding force in Dr. King Jr.’s nonviolent protest were the “principles dear to the Christian faith”, in which, the need to fight injustices against people was on of them.
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