The Question of Freedom in America The United States’ democratic system embraces its numerous obligations in a manner which promotes a comfortable and effective society in which the citizens may embark on everyday life knowing that the government is continually engrossed in performi ng its duties to protect and support the rights of the people. Although suicide is illegal, the government must recognize the trauma of those who are terminally ill in order to maintain a fair and equal democracy. By weighing these ideas and recognizing the dignity of an individual along with the law, government attempts to provide a suitable life for all.
Through combined efforts of freedom of expression and censorship, liberty is maintained, because both the speaker’s and the listener’s rights are re spected. The government recognizes that all human life is precious; and, therefore it does its best to enable each individual the ability to gain their desired position in life throug the help of social services. A position not necessarily of vast wealt h, but one in which a person may feel content and gratified.
Jefferson envisioned such cases as above long before they were contemplated; it is through the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he reflected his strong, intellectual beliefs (Jeffers on 615). Of the most important part of Jefferson’s philosophy is the following quote: All men are created equal, they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed.
Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter it. (616) In accordance with the remainder of the Declaration of Independence, this statement has been the basis of both human rights and overall justice in American democracy. Because there is a partnership between the government and the people in the U nited States, society has improved in every aspect. The government recognizes and embraces responsibility, knowing that the citizens may control their own lives without harming others. Likewise, individuals are given the ability and courage to pursue a joyful life. Hence, people are free to express themselves with all intention towars respecting individual freedom of others. Jefferson’s philosophical view is a valued concept imperative to the freedom of each American citizen.
Because the government h as created such a stable democratic system for the people, Americans have found a better understanding of self-worth, an enhanced sense of communication and a will to pursue a meaningful life. Throughout the ever engulfing world, there is nothing more precious than life itself. Therefore, the government and all the people must work together in order to achieve a sufficient means of living. When considering the case of euthanasia, for i nstance, the government must not only regard the law but must also respect the people and their rights. Recent research shows that, suicide is currently banned in almost all of the states of America, yet the constitutionality of the issue has been debate d for centuries and is still in the process (Sandel 27). In the aspect of health care, the government recognizes its responsibility to provide ill patients with a means of being cured.
However, there is a limit to how far a doctor can treat a patient. A medium must be met in order to conform to the prerogatives of dying people as well as to protect abuses of vulnerable people (Steinfel 27A). If a patient is terminally ill, they would not wish to suffer physically as well as mentally, knowing they are on the verge of death. Nevertheless, the government recognized the personal dignity of an individual.
As so adequately stated by Sandel, “The best lives are led by those who see themselves not as participants in a drama larger than themselves but a s authors of the drama itself” (27). Portrayed by this statement, is the idea that each person should have the ability to live their own life instead of being ruled by others in order to feel a sense of self-worth. According to the first amendment of the Constitution, each and every citizen is basically given the right to control his/her own life (Howard).
However, this justification is not in effect if, in the process, the individual would inflict harm on others. Although the government realizes committing suicide by any means is illegal, people should not have to inevitabley suffer needless pain. Due to the complexity of this topic, society is faced with a very vital ordeal. However, there could be a simple solution.
Already in effect, are s everal means of ending one’s life by means other than natural: abortion, capital punishment and the death penalty. Because moral and ethical reasons defend euthanasia, society should have even more reason to support it. Even though there is no definite resolution, the rights of life are maintained throughout the issue of euthanasia from various points of view.
Freedom from external rule, confinement, captivity, freedom to do or say and freedoms of several other concepts, are all adequate expressions of liberty. However, freedom also has its limitations; it may not interfere with other privileges or righ ts. In order to maintain Jefferson’ s philosophy on liberty, a compromise must be made between freedom of expression and censorship. Although people are promised by the Constitution a right to freedom of expression, there are certain boundaries which ar e never to be crossed. It is the responsibility of the government to preserve the law while supporting the people; for the U.
S. democracy is run by consent of the people. A prime example of this controversial issue, is the system of television ratings. Television violence, talk shows, and obscene films are questioned to be improper for the average television station; such viewing disrupts one’s intellectual stability. Inadvertantly, censorship may or may not contradict the law and the rights of the pe ople.
In order to achieve a fair and equal democracy, the government supports not only the speaker’s rights but the listener’s rights as well. Each individual possesses the right to freely express his/her own problems, ideas, thoughts, and emotions in a complementary fashion. However, each individual also holds the right to be addressed in an appropriate manner.
Valenti proclaims it best when he states, “All of us ought to be working together to nourish a renaissance of civility and a redemption of acceptable social behavior” (22). Because many citizens of the United States have been following Valenti’s advice, the country became a better place–a society refreshed with courtesy and favorable activity where the rights of all are respected. Freedom of expression is a vital part of the world.
Without dialogue, people would not be able to communicate; thereofre, the availability to exchange intellectual conversation is absent. Dialogue, in all essence, is the most essential aspect society p ossesses. Solving problems and reaching decisions is the result of the ability to communicate. “Only where free discussion is permitted can the people expect to reach sound conclusions in regard to issues of importance,” Thomas stated (155). With this idea, Thomas recapitulated the essence of dialogue and such freedoms as Jefferson proclaimed.
Without doubt, each and every living thing on the face of the earth, should have the right to enjoy life. Whether one is wealthy, healthy, poor or diseased, the government recognizes its responsibility to provide service, enabling each individual to reach their desired position in society. The homeless, for instance, are in much need of help to regain their integrity. According to Peter Marin, homeless do sometimes choose to remian in such a depraved environment with hopes of gaining a better pl ace in the community (297). He also points out homeless can be separated into two groups: the unlucky ones who become victims by some unfortunate occurrence; and the ones who choose to be homeless (300). Despite the situation, the government still ackn owledges responsibility to appease the people.
Social sercices, an organization to enhance human welfare, is aided by the government in efforts to fultill various obligations in society (Colson 161). An example of the agency is to provide shelters or ho mes for the homeless. Unfortunately, though, there are not enough buildings, enough beds and enough food to be spread equally among all of these people. Though the government allots a certain amount of currency to organization to utilize, many of the sh elters have certain policies and regulations which limit the time an individual can occupy a space (Marin 303).
Hopefully, restraints of the shelters would provide enough time and opportunity for a person to develop a secure lifestyle, without becoming d ependent on the government. The government can only do so much to help each and every individual in society; however, it does perform to its utmost ability. A very adequate theory to surviving in any society is stated in the Bible: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (6 Luke 31). Furthermore, Jefferson’s philosophy prevails due to the idea of reciprocity towards not only the government but the people of the community, making the environment of America a happy place. In conclusion, the importance of euthanasia, freedom of expression and social sercices upon the American society is due to the achievement of the three liberties.
Whether a person chooses to live or wishes to die, the government maintains responsi bility to uphold the laws against suicide yet also acknowledges one’s dignity. American democracy recognizes not only the moral claim of the speaker but also the listener when dealing with freedom of expression. From the wealthy man in the mansion, to t he poor man in the box, the government fulfills its obligation by providing every citizen with a path into a joyful and successful life. Thomas Jefferson, although a man of the past, still has an effect upon today’s society because of his phenomenal phil osophy on government. In reference to his idea of “the rights o life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Jefferson proves to be correct as the concept applies to the American public’s everyday lives (Thomas 22).
“Government should mak e every man feel his own importance, should magnify him, should help him to appreciate his place in the world,” Jefferson adequately stated (Thomas 110). This statement supports the basis of Jefferson’s philosophy; a philosophy which flourishes thro ughout American democracy today and which maintains the most important aspects of life in a developing society–“the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Thomas 22). With these guaranteed liberties America has become an ideal society which fulfills its obligations and provides for its people. Because of the abundant government support, citizens have gained pride, joy, freedom, the essence of life, initiative and a sense of self-worth. The government has created a safe haven for all its people.
Through support and reassurance, the government gives dignity back to each person, while each individual, in turn, takes that encouragement to improve their progressing and newly shaped lives. Works Cited Colson, Paul. Rev.
of The Civil Rights of Homeless People: Law, Social Policy, and Social Work Practice, by Madeleine R. Stoner. Social Service Review March 1997: 160-162. The first part of this book focuses on efforts to help the homeless obtain services that ordinary citizens receive. The document also elaborates on various legal and policy issues such as the following: the right to shelter and emergency assistance, child welfare and mental health. Also stated is the idea that people who are more likely to view their profession as a calling, are much more interested in using the profession to change society. Good News Bible.
New York: American Bible Society, 1979. This sacred document is comprised of the Old and New Testaments. The moral and ethical beliefs of Christians are outlined throughout this book.
Howard, Dick. “Bill of Rights.” The Readers Companion to American History 1991: n. pg. Mindscape Complete Reference Library.
CD-ROM, Sept. 1997. Howard gives a brief summary of the creation and history of the Bill of Rights. Most useful in the article is the list of the actual first ten amendments. Jefferson, Thomas. “The Declaration of Independence.
” Crossfire: An Argument Rhetoric and Reader. Ed. Gary Goshgarian and Kathleen Krueger.
New York: Longman, Inc. 1997. 614-620. Highlights of Jefferson’s life are stated in the beginning of the article. The fact that Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence and the essence of the document are also discussed.
Marin, Peter. “Helping and Hating the Homeless.” Crossfire: An Argument Rhetoric and Reader. Ed. Gary Goshgarian and Kathleen Krueger.
New York: Longman, Inc. 1997. 297-307. In this essay Marin points out what society owes to the homeless, and how the debt is to be paid. Whether their transactions to the lower end of the community are voluntary or accidental, Marin states that the citizens have a moral obligation to help the homeless people survive and live. Sandel, Michael J. “Last Rights.
” The New Republic 14 April 1997: 27. Throughout this article Sandel focuses on the constitutionality of physician-assisted suicide. Several moral philosophers portray their views on whether the government should be neutral on the issue. Also stated, is the iea that individuals should live and die in a way that enables them to view their lives as their own creations.
Steinfels, Peter. “Beliefs.” New York Times 8 Feb. 1997: A27. Steinfels discusses how Professor Sandel’s book, “Democracy’s Discontent” distinguishes between the views of freedom and politics that have informed the American tradition. In Sandel’s book, one of his views emphasizes the rights of citizens as free and autonomous selves to choose their own values and purposes.
Steinfels also states how the debate of euthanasia will be one of the severest tests of the nation’s capacity for democratic self-government in coming years. Thomas, Elbert D., Senator. Thomas Jefferson: World Citizen. New York: Modern Age Books, 1942.
Jeffersonian freedom is discussed in much detail throughout this document. As in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, it is portrayed how Jefferson reasoned from the idea of equality to freedom. Discussed in this writing also, is Jefferson’s idea for the freedom of each person to go and come as he pleases as long as he does not infringe upon the right of others to do the same.
Valenti, Jack. “One Small But Useful Step Forward: TV Program Ratings.” Vital Speeches of the Day 15 Oct. 1996: 21-22. In his speech to the CBA (California Broadcasting Association) Valenti portrays how the creation of a TV ratings system by the broadcast, cable and movie industry is beneficial. he furthers his address commenting on the advantages the ratings system will have on the parents and their children.
Valenti points out that everyone ought to be working together to nourish a renaissance of civility and a redemption of acceptable social behavior.