Before starting this essay, it must be noted that defining the concept of freedom means different things to different people, depending on the level of freedom, environment, and kind of thought that you have in life. Moreover, many people in the US, when they define the concept of freedom, give the definition of Liberty or freedom of speech (What is freedom in America, viewed Oct 17, 2021). In my view, the logical definition of freedom “is having the ability to act according to your own will, as long as it doesn’t affect the ability of someone else to act according to their own will.’’ (What is freedom in America, IBID, viewed Oct 17, 2021). Based on this introduction, and the nature of the economic system in the US (New liberal system) include the Philosophy side on this system, I consider the average American to be free but is not fully free. So, many aspects of American life are free, and which parts are not free.
The reality of freedom in the US: A historical view:
Historically, the US has known serious violations of human rights such as the bad situation of slavery. Black people lived a life of slavery in the cotton field, especially when the crop was grown in the South under full control. They could be punished for any number of “offenses,” including theft, laziness, running away, or even speaking their native language (Slavery in the American South, Constitution Right Foundation). Moreover, they did not even have freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition, but more than that, they did not have the right to mix with white people on public transportation. After the British came to the thirteenth American colonies Slavery formed a cornerstone of this Empire in the 18th century. ‘’Every colony had enslaved people, from the southern rice plantations in Charles Town, South Carolina, to the northern wharves of Boston’’ (Slavery in the British colonies, Khan Academy, viewed Oct 17, 2021). So, British freedom gained coherence for white people when they compared their situation to that of the unfree class of enslaved black people (Slavery in the British colonies, IBID) In addition, the situation of freedom was changed when the British got out and the US got independence and promote the rights and freedom of all Americans without discriminations (Wallace, M. Willard, American Revolution, Unites States History, viewed Oct 17, 2021). After that, the founders of the United States were able to establish a strong Country and liberal economic system with freedom but not full liberty.
Aspects of American life are free:
I considered the average American to be free because the American environment has real freedom such as freedom of initiative, freedom of economy, and Freedom of speech and belief. Firstly, the freedom of initiative gives a chance to all people to do anything without any difficulties. For example, in education domain, American people have many opportunities to choose Universities, and the US Government support student to continue educations like finical aid, scholarship, loans. In the field of work, the flexibility of the American economy makes the American citizenship free to get a job or change it easily since, in this kind of economy many jobs are created, many companies demand employers. So, its Possibility to combine work and study and create Business. Secondly, Freedom of the economy is a significant point to Understanding freedom in the US. ‘’The American economy, besides being termed capitalist, is also known as a free-enterprise system’’ (Characteristic of the American economy, viewed Oct 17, 2021). This definition emphasizes that all people are free to own and control the factors of production. This catachrestic makes Americans free without any hard challenges. (Characteristic of American economy, IBID). In my view, one more idea that is very important to measure freedom in US society is the value of work. This point is the structure of the liberalism system. Your value is equal to the value of your work. If you don’t have work, you could not pay taxes. So, you don’t have any value in US society. This characteristic Also gives Americans more energy to work hard and get more freedom in their society. Thirdly, Freedom of speech and belief. According to the first Amendment of the US constitution ‘’ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances’’(Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States stated, National Constitution Center, P:11) the freedom of expression, thought and belief is guaranteed in the US. Therefore, these guaranteed freedoms make the people of the United States of America the freest in the world especially if we need to compare freedom in the US with other countries. There is no comparison in this context.
Aspects of American life are not free:
I considered the average American is not fully free. So, there are many aspects of American life are not free such as the US government create human consumer and build official public opinion by the media. Firstly, the US government create human consumer because the economic system of the US it is based on continuous consumption. American people do not stop consuming the product without thinking about the quality or health of this product or even needed. In this context, those people do not have the freedom to choose the product since the kind of product imposed itself and took its freedom. Secondly, the US government build official public opinion by the media because the media tools play a significant role in controlling and shipping public opinions, including political opinion. ‘’it is very much impossible for any social structure like the government to exist, so all of the social structures exist on the media’s ability to socialize ‘’ (Governments Influence on Public Opinion Media Essay, viewed Oct 17, 2021). Moreover, the US government exploit the media tolls to direct public opinion, as the Busch administration did when it invaded Iraq under the shield of nuclear weapons and terrorism. In this case, the average American is not free since the US government directed their thoughts and opinions.
In my opinion, many people say the average American to be free if we are talking about the positive condition of life such as freedom of initiative, freedom of economy, and belief, but some of them say not free if we are talking about freedom of thought because the government directs the Americans according to her ideology.
In conclusion, I considered the average American to be free (freedom of initiative, freedom of economy, Freedom of speech and belief) but is not fully free (The US government create human consumer and build official public opinion by the media). On the basis that freedom is relative and not absolute, it varies according to context, environment, and place.
- Constitution Center.
- Wallace Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States stated National
- M. Willard, American Revolution, Unites States History.
- What Is Freedom in America? – Soapboxes
- Slavery and the Constitution | The Heritage Foundation
- Governments Influence on Public Opinion Media Essay (ukessays.com)
*Researcher in Political science; Pennsylvania ; US