Thursday, December 11, 2014

Order vs. Freedom: The Struggle is Real

In our society, the balance between maintaining order and allowing freedoms has always been a delicate one. However, when push comes to shove, the balance has always tipped in the favor of order. Of course, the United States has given its citizens a relatively large amount of freedom over the course of U.S. history, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom to not be enslaved (you know, eventually). However in times of crisis, order has always taken precedence over freedom, and our modern America is no different. Despite the freedoms promised to American citizens, our society as a whole always turns to order when the country is gripped by fear, sometimes even going so far to strip away the freedoms legally granted to Americans in the Bill of Rights itself.

Fear is a powerful emotion that can be used as a weapon (just ask Batman, he’ll back me up) to sanction actions that would normally never be taken. This has happened countless times throughout American history, and even before the formation of the United States. The Salem witch trials, the Red Scare, and the second Iraq War are all examples of this triumph of order in troubled times. This continues in our society, with the threat of terrorism as the fuel for order to take charge. The actions the government has taken are the most prominent and obvious examples of our society’s submission to order. The President’s ability to order a drone strike on almost anyone as long as they fit the vague parameters written on a 16 page document that even Congress isn’t allowed to see. Another similar situation is the CIA’s use of torture, ehem, I mean “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Just kidding, it’s torture, which violates what Americans usually believe is a basic human right, to not be cruelly or unusually punished. Not only was this heavy handed bludgeoning of basic freedoms horribly cruel, but it also didn’t even produce any unique or important intel. These attempts to maintain order at the cost of freedom have, at least not been ignored. Many Americans have spoken out against drones and torture, proving the freedom of speech remains well intact. However, the use of drone strikes and torture prove that when Americans are threatened, they turn to order, and not freedom, to protect themselves, and it is what actions that are taken during crisis that determine the core balance of a society.

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