Friday, December 12, 2014

Order vs Freedom: Modern Day America

While many other governments are much more repressive than the United States government, fear sways many americans, and the government to favor order and security. The American government was created from the idea that each citizen has a set of universal rights, such as free speech, “the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury”, and the right to vote for those people that are in power. Ideally this idea of equality and justice would be consistently practiced in the the government, particularly with regard to the judicial branch. However history has proven that this has not always been the case.

When 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” he is invoking the question of if our society has truly embraced the idea of individual freedom, or are the American people to obsessed with security to care. While The Crucible takes place in Salem Massachusetts during the witch trials, Miller intended for the audience to make a connection to McCarthyism and the Red Scare of the 1950’s. During both these events rights given to citizens by the government were being mistreated. During the Red Scare anyone to speak anything other than the evils of communism was said to be a communist themselves, this takes away a persons right to free speech. This issue of security can also be seen when all the rights of Japanese citizens were taken away during WWII when Japanese Americans were put into internment camps, due to fear of spies. Trials were also extremely biased and did not fairly represent the views of those charged. Ironically communism was hated because it was seen as the end of democracy, liberty, and freedom, but in trying to fight the spread of communism the american government only suppressed its own people.

The paradox of freedom versus order is one that Americans must still think about on a daily bases. How far are we willing to go in order to protect ourselves? On December 9th, just a few days ago the Huffington Post released an article about the use of torture methods by the CIA on suspected terrorists after 9-11. I believe that torture is something that should not be used under any circumstances, especially do to the fact that in the most recent investigation of the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation program" it was concluded that “In some instances, the study finds, the information acquired proved irrelevant to stopping terror threats. In others, the use of the techniques resulted in detainees providing fabricated or inaccurate information”. This whole situation seems a little too familiar. It is clear that throughout U.S history, although America tries to be moral and promote freedom, in any situation that may be a safety threat, the American government is ready and able to use extreme tactics to create order.

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