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People have the desire for freedom as well as a desire for limitations on their freedom. Freedom and the limitations on freedom are both needed to live peacefully. Absolute freedom cannot be achieved because when you take away limitations you take away a freedom. With out rules governing our society, people would be able to do what they want to each other with out fear of punishment. An examination of the advantages and disadvantages of both arguments helps this become clearer.
One of the major reasons freedom is so desirable is because many of the limitations on freedom are disallowing humans the right to have control over their bodies. Control of the human body is the only thing that people have power over. A large number of the prohibited freedoms are crimes where the criminal makes himself the victim. For example, the use of drugs, prostitution, suicide, vagrancy, minor in possession, dodging the draft, entering the country illegally, and disregard for the age limits set on the purchase of pornographic materials. All of these crimes are punishable under the law. These crimes are set apart from most others because the person willingly chooses to victimize themselves (An exception can be made sometimes in the case of prostitution if they are being forced to prostitute against there own will). What people choose to do to themselves, in my opinion, is the least of our worries as a country. The last thing the government should have control over is what you choose to do to yourself. As long as you are not directly harming anyone else in the process, the government should not waste their time and money on something that is so trivial in comparison to crimes involving a victim. In general, people do not agree with the government controlling what they can and cannot do to themselves. It should be no one's decision but the people if they want to be homeless, drug addicted, or a prostitute. As long as the only damage done affects the self.
These laws only exist in response to popular demand. An immense amount of money, time and labor goes to waste dealing with these types of crimes. It would be a lot more productive and profitable to let people have rule over what they do to our bodies. There is no reason why we need to put this much energy into people who will rid of themselves for us.
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Not only are we told what we may and may not do to our bodies, we are not even allowed to have all of the information about the products we consume. Many of the foods we purchase are the products of bio-genetics and the FDA does not require these companies to put that information on the label. Another example of restricted information involves animal testing. All we know is what these companies release to the press. Since our tax dollars are funding the projects we should be informed if they are making any progress, or just mutilating animals. It seems to be a characteristic among these companies to keep as much information confidential as they can. This makes me wonder what they are doing that they do not want the public to know about. A new trend among prescription companies is television commercials now that it is legal. Several of these drugs have not been around long enough to know what the long-term effects are, and they do not feel the need to tell the public about this. Furthermore, even the Christian Children's Fund, a charitable organization, omits important details from their commercials. They do not tell you that the money you send is only available to people who convert to Christianity. Many of these people are very religious and would rather starve than alter their traditions. It is disheartening to know how much of our money goes to these misrepresenting companies. Similarly are children are being cheated out of a full education because schools boards have decided to exclude certain parts of our history from required texts. If we are to expect are children to be able to discriminate truths from falsehoods they need to know the whole story. Complete and correct information is a freedom and a right. We should not have to rely on misrepresentations.
A limitation on our freedom, which technically should not be, is the lack of freedom of speech and the right to assemble. People protest all kinds of injustices and instead of making a change in the world, the police mace them, shoot them with rubber bullets, beat them and take them to jail. Most of the charges that protesters are arrested for have nothing to do with politics. Police arrest protesters for minor violations t up are often dropped when they go to court, just to get them off the streets. When they try to use their freedom of speech to inform the public of the violation of their rights, the FCC enforce censorship and the public never sees the tape.
It seems to me that the issues that are most important for the public to be apart of are the issues that we are not allowed to express our opinions on. We vote on measures and pass them and as soon as someone tries to put it in to effect, someone vetoes it. A prime example is doctor-assisted suicide, we voted it in and they threw it out. We do not even have any say when the president decides to bomb other countries. I think that we should have say on it since we, the citizens, are the ones who get to die at war. The government does not care about the citizen’s views because we do not get to choose not to fight. It makes no sense to me why we have to wait until we are eighteen to vote and fight for our country, but we cannot decide if it is necessary to fight. The whole point of voting was to stop the politicians from imposing their values on us.
Everyone who works pays taxes, most of the time the money seems to go to more corrupt causes than respectable. An argument in favor of taxes would be that it is suppose to go to our local police and they are here to "protect and serve". I have concluded that the more of our money works against us than for us. I have not seen anything that would give me trust in our police lately. What I do see is everything from police brutality, false arrests, and falsifying evidence. Policing programs have even found it suitable to entrapment people, they send minors in to bars and pretend to be drug dealers to arrest addicts. I do not see how they try to justify doing this because of both acts are illegal. In addition, there is the issue of corruption. Such as the police in Texas turning their heads to hate crimes or not prosecuting the offender sufficiently. One specific example that comes to mind is a punk rocker (Brian Denahey) in Texas who was ran over by a jock. The jock fled the scene, the police did not find him for days, and his sentence was only probation. In situations like this, you have no one to help you since justice did not motivate the police. If some one were to inflict their own justice on the jock, they would go to prison.
This is freedom, you have to go to war and murder a man you have never seen. However, when someone devastates a person who has done no wrong, and the system is not punishing the offender, you cannot kill for revenge. If some one had avenged his murder, they probably would not have gotten such a simple punishment, and lingered in jail for a while before being sentenced.
My point being that if the police want to take your freedom away they will with or without just cause. You do not have to actually brake a law to have your freedom stolen from you. You do not even have to be put in a jail you could be put in a hospital, and the government would have custody of you. The same can happen to your child, and if you refuse to sign over custody, you go to jail for child neglect. The worst part is you don't have to be diagnosed with a dementia, all that they have to say is you have authority problems and your in there as long as they want. In the case of the I.N.S., they can hold you in jail instead of deporting you back to your country. I am attempting to illustrate the point that freedom is unprotected. Even though we live in a democracy the government and government employees can do what they want without fear of reprisal. This is not encouragement to be a law-abiding citizen.
Regardless, I believe there are choices we do not have the right to make. Any choice that involves violence towards another human being such as murder, rape, child abuse, child neglect, assault, various forms of torture, drunk driving and domestic violence. These sorts of things are as bad as laws telling us we cannot harm our selves, denying us the right to choose. In addition, when you harm people you are not giving them a choice.
Not all limitations on our freedom crush our faith in democracy though. Our society has created laws that for some people are still undesirable, but to the general population prove useful. In America, we put forth an effort to protect our environment. We limit the amount of game you can hunt and fish you can catch. We have made environmental protection laws to prevent companies from dumping waste. The punishment they receive is penalization and community service. If the fine is big enough and they are frugal enough hopefully, they will attempt not to violate. We also have laws against animal cruelty or to be correct unauthorized animal cruelty. It is illegal to harm some domestic animals, but in the name of science and food, anything goes. We have also taken measures to protect our air, for instance, we have regulations on car exhaust and the banning of CFC is which have been proven to deteriorate the ozone layer. Furthermore, we have laws protecting endangered species; violation will bring you a harsh penalty. Although the government practices inattentiveness towards the public on other important subject matters, they at least see the significance of conserving our earth.
Furthermore, we have created laws that can decrease violent crimes or at least we modernized punishments that are adequate to the crimes. We have specific laws regarding hate crimes, which sends a message that discrimination is not acceptable. We have implicated new standards for gun owner to try to keep guns out of the wrong hands. Accordingly we have a five-day waiting period for handguns, gun shows now have to do background checks, and there is a zero tolerance policy in our public schools.
Unfortunately, we have to enforce laws protecting are children and families. Child abuse, child defilement and child neglect are not minor offences; we have precautionary laws so we can try to stop the offender before they can attack. We render background checks on adoptive parents, foster parents and anyone that works with children, so we do not put the child in the situation in the first place. CSD has the power to remove children from disruptive homes and prosecute if necessary. Furthermore, we require limitations that are more targeted directly towards families, not just children. Laws specifically associated with domestic violence make it so the state presses charges against a batterer, not the victim. With out laws against domestic abuse the rule of thumb (the stick you beat your wife with can be no bigger than your thumb) would still be in practice. In addition, there are laws against incest so people are not bearing inbred children. Required immunizations help protect children from disease, and required education helps ensure that they will not have a drawback as adults.
Our country tries to guard us from as many things as they possibly can and create laws that discourage unwholesome conduct. Age restriction laws are necessary because you can not legally be bound to a contract when you are a minor, and this will prevent children from causing debts because of naivete. In addition, you cannot vote when you are a minor either because you need preparation to make such rational decisions.
Traffic laws are crucial to prevent crashes; speed limits are necessary so you do not accelerate your speed without comprehending the lack of control you have over your car. Laws against driving under the influence are vital because when you are under the influence you do not realize how drastic the out come may be. Then there are the basics such as an intricate set up of lights and signs to direct the driver.
Many of the laws that limit our freedoms are necessary to prevent traumatic or life threatening events. If we did not have these laws and punishments for breaking them, our society would be in discord. Most people only follow laws because they are afraid of the punishment not because they genuinely agree with them, so without rules and regulations people would be stealing, raping, etc.
I think that people have such a strong desire for freedom, because no one can ever have absolute freedom. Humans desire what they can not have. There can never be absolute freedom, because with out a fear of penalty we could not live harmony. Even if there were no laws, we still would not have absolute freedom, because other citizens would inflict limitations on our freedom.
Although our government has, many limitations on freedom these restrictions make it possible for us to be civilized. We are able to be free from slavery, and prejudices. Every human on this earth has the right to their opinions, freedom from oppression and a chance to prevail over limitations. Freedom is as desirable as limitations on freedom because with out both we would be at either end of the extreme. We would live either in complete chaos or in a police state. I am not saying that our system is immaculate, but is the best we can do, given the circumstances.
Hildebrand, Dietrich Von. Ethics. Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago. 1953