The first Amendment of the United States says that we have freedom of speech. But I feel like the freedom of press abuses this power because it gives different views to people towards how to view the government, the world, their lives. Which is why there’s mixed feelings with the press. The press lies and tries to influence you to think that the government is doing the right thing. Free all have free will, and we all have different perspectives in different things. The media should give their viewers information that is true, and something that doesn’t tell them to do something or not. Is the government telling the media to say lies to the public?
Former NBA player Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union have recently revealed their 12-year-old child Zaya (known formerly as Zion) as their transgender daughter.
The married couple has received a lot of backlash for this, as many have argued that their daughter is too young to make this type of decision on her own. However, many have also supported the couple, saying that they are doing what’s right by supporting their daughter’s decision.
The Declaration of Independence states that all people are born with certain inalienable rights including life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. However, do you think there should be a certain age limit until people are old enough to be allowed to make these types of decisions for themselves? Or did the parents make the right decision by giving their daughter freedom to find her sexuality on her own at a young age?
Despite there being no apparent American iconography (actually, most of them are Asian culture references) on the stickers I’m showing on my laptop (and towards the back, my hydroflask), I still believe there can be a connection made between them and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In the text, two articles resonate with me: Article 11, “The free expression of thought and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: thus every citizen may freely speak, write, and print” and Article 10, “No one must be disturbed because of his opinions, even in religious matters, provided their expression does not trouble the public order” (Declaration, pg. 239). These two excerpts connect to my having stickers on my laptop because each one, although whimsical and not necessarily referential to anything serious, symbolizes the value I place on what each sticker illustrates. Thus, my stickers are more than just aesthetic adhesives, but semblances of my beliefs and personal thoughts. This becomes relevant to the American thought of freedom because such documents, which provide a foundation for the American perception of liberty, hold that it is my right to express myself and my values (so long as it brings no harm to others). This is maintained even for interests which have an origin outside of the American world (as I’m pretty sure neither Aristotle nor the Final Fantasy JRPG franchise were created in the US).
Largely, the reason why I chose to discuss stickers for this assignment is because of their frivolous nature: by no measure is there a clear necessity for having such things. Despite their frivolity, stickers can represent two significant–and often, inextricably tied–notions which are fundamental to the American existence: freedom and expression. With this in mind, it has led me to wonder whether or not freedom and expression can indeed be separated, and, if one’s freedom was confiscated, they could still retain their right to expression. Would a similar outcome occur if expression was taken away for liberty?
This week’s reading of the Declaration of Independence focused on the idea that the government is an entity that should serve all its people and in the people should maintain their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If the government is not fulfilling this requirement, then the people have the right to create a new government that will fulfill these terms.
The picture I chose embodies the costs of securing these promised freedoms. The government we have gives its people a considerable amount of freedom, but we have to consider the non-monetary costs of what it means to be considered one of “its people.” In order to have the rights that are promised in the Declaration of Independence, the citizens may have had to give up a part of their personal identity or culture and conform to what it means to be a United States citizen and the immigrants that want to become a citizen have to consider the same things; this can be considered white-washing its citizens. So the question I have to ask is, do the things one must give up take away from the happiness that they are supposed to be able to pursue?
One aspect of Kant’s philosophy discusses the freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters.The path to enlightenment requires that one expresses oneself and allows others to express themselves freely. Kant uses multiple authority figures, ranging from an officer to a ruler, as examples of those who use their power to place many restrictions on individuals. These restrictions all come down to Don’t argue! and Obey!, which prevents one’s ability to gain enlightenment. Kant then goes on to assert that humans must freely reason with other humans to promote enlightenment, and very few restrictions may be placed on private reasoning so that enlightenment may not be hindered.
This philosophy interests me as someone who grew up feeling like they didn’t have a voice. I had been told on multiple occasions that it was never because I didn’t have much to say (which was something I believed was the case for a long time). Instead, it was the opposite; the few people I take the time to talk to on a regular basis know that I could go on about interesting topics that I have researched, and I would be more than willing to debate about them in order to gain a new understanding of that particular topic. The problem lies in the many adults in my life, and many other young adults’ lives, who belittle our opinions and cast them aside simply because they believe us to be “ignorant” or “too young” to say anything meaningful. This phenomenon is delved into by Isabel Song, now a UC Berkeley alumni, who talks about her own frustration with the issue.
The adults in the world who refuse to listen to younger generations despite the fact that they are more than capable of holding productive, mature, and enlightening conversations are (according to Kant’s philosophy) “cowardice”, “immature”, and averse to becoming enlightened themselves.
Kant’s philosophy that enlightenment is intricately connected to freedom to reason and courage to present one’s ideas is a very interesting concept. In fact, he equates laziness and a lack of courage to “immaturity” that prevents one from being enlightened. In particular, he claims that this freedom is especially important when addressing society as a whole rather than a specific audience (public), as this can lead to the enlightenment of the public. However, he later claims that freedom for the private use of reason should be restricted because one must obey their superiors at their job as well as the laws of government, or else society itself would fall apart. So overall, freedom only applies when it furthers enlightenment (public use of reason) compared to when it hinders it (private use of reason). That being said, a ruler should embrace the freedom of reason and opinions of his or her subjects to further the enlightenment of humanity. I find his opinion understandable, but do not entirely agree because I believe in certain cases, revolution is quite necessary for the enlightenment Kant speaks of. For example, the American revolution that freed the United States from British control presented many of the values (including liberty) that, over time and refinement, progressed our society to the point it is at now.
Recently, the Kenyan president, Daniel Arap Moi, passed away. Some remembered him as a kind leader who helped kids pay school fees and cared about the common man. Others saw him as ruthless toward those who did not fall in line. The latter includes Reverend Timothy Njoya, a retired Presbyterian Church of East Africa Minister. He accounts how he argued with Moi’s policy of single party rule over democracy and protested on the streets. He also urged people toward civil disobedience to force the government to rectify the constitution. Violence ensued as he was beaten by President Moi’s men for his activism. One may believe that Kant would support Njoya’s actions since he preaches freedom. However, it is likely that Kant may not support Njoya’s actions as he also preaches civil disobedience and Kant believes people have a duty to obey the government even given freedom. How about you? Do you think freedom should be restricted when it comes to obeying the government?