Friday, December 12, 2014

Laws of Order (and Freedom)

To set the context of The Crucible, Arthur Miller writes, “It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom.” In both past and present America, Miller was correct in his assertion of imbalance. Within America, the clash of individuality and community is constant and brings both sides to extremes, but the idea of communal order permeates the most.

Immediately, a counter argument may be found by simply listening to a large, or at least vocal, portion of the American people. It may easily be argued that a large portion of the population is invested in personal rights, occasionally to a point of fanaticism, surrounding topics like gun control, religion, or even the right to buy unhealthy food in school. However, if one examines the views of some of the previously mentioned citizens, they also believe in communal order for topics within the spheres of abortion, religion (doesn't make much sense that it's in both, but trust me), political views, etc. Indeed, often enough the person cares not for individual rights, but for their individual rights specifically, and they desire those in their community to conform to those views. Therefore, even when arguing for individual rights, they seek conformity, and join communities based off of that conformity. To illustrate my point, think about the party associations of everyone in your "community." More often then not, people live in clumps of homogenized political views.

To cast order in another light, the government has also shown signs of security over freedom. With the war on drugs funding police militarization, 9/11 increasing all sorts of security, and the NSA spying for an incredibly long time, there is an underlying message that 'keeping the peace' is more important than preservation of rights. Some may point out the very plausible case that with 9/11 such security boosts are to be anticipated as necessary or at least justified changes. However, said security boosts are not the only restrictions of freedom, as anti-Muslim sentiment grew and threatened violence upon all those who were different. Indeed, this very sentiment is reflected in policy as "random checks" always seem to land on those who look even vaguely middle-eastern. This discrimination against all that is different is dangerous enough, but it was when domestic affairs were considered enough to merit swat teams and tanks that the freedoms of all were jeopardized. Under the justification of a "war on drugs," local police forces may request military grade equipment to fight terrorism within their sector. Tear gas along with tanks do not decrease one's desire to speak against the government, but they do decrease the likelihood. To add icing to the cake, the National Security Agency has taken it upon itself to check the email's of any 'suspicious persons.' The distrust of the people by the government heavily implies imbalance leaning towards excessive order.

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