Making Freedom “Stick”

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?