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How Far Should We Curb The Freedom Of Individuals?

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Introduction

How Far Should We Curb The Freedom Of Individuals? There are many facets of freedom, and in my essay, I will discuss many of these such as freedom of speech, freedom of beliefs and freedom of actions. When it comes to rights and freedoms there is a paradox because without responsibilities we have no rights and without restrictions we have no freedom. But what exactly is freedom? The dictionary defines freedom as; '1. personal liberty, as from slavery, serfdom etc. 2. liberation, as from confinement or bondage, 3. the quality or state of being free, esp. to enjoy political and civil liberties, 4. exemption or immunity: freedom from taxation, 5. the right or privilege of unrestricted use or access: the freedom of a city, 6. autonomy, self-government, or independence, 7. the power or liberty to order ones own actions, 8. Philosophy, the quality esp. of the will or the individual of being unrestrained, 9, ease or frankness of manner: she talked with complete freedom, 10. excessive familiarity of manner, 11. ease and grace, as of movement. I will begin with the individual right to freedom of speech. We all take for granted that we have freedom of speech, but some places such as Communist China have heavy limits on the freedom the individual has to express their opinion. ...read more.

Middle

But should we be allowed to do that? Many people join cults in this country and other 'free' states such as America and as a result can be convinced to commit suicide in extreme cases. For example, there have been many mass suicides as a result of cult leaders instructing their vulnerable followers to do so. An example of this sort of incident is the megalomaniac Reverend Jim Jones case. In November 1978 he ordered the 911 members of his cult to drink cyanide poison after brainwashing them. In cases such as this, should the right of the individual be maintained to allow them to join a cult, or should we intervene and stop them joining in the first place? We can argue that in this kind of case the freedom of the individual should be curbed for their own safety, but in reality if we heavily curbed the freedom for one thing, maybe it would have to be curbed for other individuals for different rights they hold. I believe that everybody has the right to freedom of conscience; freedom of religion and spiritual practice, and to exercise them both publicly and privately because everyone is different and the extent and exact details of their beliefs as a result will be different. ...read more.

Conclusion

On the subject of freedom of actions, we don't have the freedom to decide whether or not we pay taxes. For example, where would we finance all of the public services that taxes pay for if they didn't exist or if individuals decided not to pay them? Taxes are spent on the National Health Service, the Police Force, Fire Service and Roadwork for example. If people didn't pay these taxes then we would have to pay for hospital treatment and to see a doctor etc like in Europe. Street lighting would not be funded and we'd walk down dark streets and roads would be full of potholes and have other problems. Peoples' freedom of choice therefore is curbed, and I think rightly so because otherwise the services we take for granted would simply not exist. So after looking at the arguments for and against the curbing of individual freedom, I personally believe that it should be curbed in a lot of ways for both the good of the individual and the others around them. Yes, we should be able to freely express our opinion, but in a civilised manner, and we should be free to conduct ourselves in our own ways as long as those methods we use don't hurt other people. Jennifer Stephens 19th September 01 ...read more.

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