Tuesday, July 04, 2006

my 1992 perspective

This paper was written by me in High School. I received acknowledgement of my 4th place standing at the local Young Optimists Club. I did not change/alter the writing or verbage as it was written for my H.S. teacher to read. Today I read this and find myself appalled by the title alone.

see below:________________________________________________________

“FREEDOM; A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE?”

by

a.k.a. Oko_ne

1992

The Philosophical definition of freedom according to the Random House College Dictionary is, “the power to make one’s own choices or decisions without constraint from within or without.” Regarding “Freedom; a right or privilege?” it cannot be one without being the other. Being intangible, it has no definite form and has no limits, except those decreed by society. Therefore, it cannot stand as a right or privilege alone. Freedom also takes new form to suit each individual’s beliefs.

In the days of the pilgrims, freedom was the ideal that one could choose his own religion without prosecution. The people’s right to choose their religion was important, for it had great impact on their lives. However, religious freedom was constrained by the state and was only available to those prepared to risk their lives to obtain it.

About 150 years after the American colonies were established, came the writing of the “The Declaration of Independence.” This document contains several important statements about each man’s freedom. It asserted: -- “… That all men are created equal,… endowed with certain unalienable rights, …among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…” These words served as an invitation to the many peoples that would come to America in search of their unalienable rights. Rights which they had to fight for in their newfound homeland.

Freedom is a right earned as a privilege. One example shown regards the American-black slaves. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. Although they were free, they were looked upon as inferior and incapable of handling their freedom. Therefore it was restricted by setting them apart from the rest of American Society. When the blacks voice their feelings, there were great uprisings in pursuit of their freedom being equal with that of the whites. This shows that freedom is not just given to one, but must be earned, and proof of one’s worth may be required.

The examples in the previous paragraphs showed what freedom meant to specific groups in the past. Today, freedom is a concern of the individual, and how one’s freedom affects another’s. In the issue of animal rights, I believe that each and every animal has the right to life. However, humans often consider animals inferior and violate their right to life through laboratory testing and hunting. In many ways, animals are treated by humans, as blacks in time past were treated by whites, an as the pilgrims were prosecuted by the Anglican church.

With regard to, “Is freedom a right or a privilege?”, one would have to say that, in essence, freedom is a right which must be earned as a privilege. It is something which must be fought for. If one is given this opportunity, it should be used to its fullest extent and should not be taken for granted.

Oko_ne ©1992

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