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My favorite place in the world to be is underwater. My second favorite place is the front of a classroom.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freedom?

The questions below are provided by our very own favorite shaggy-haired musician, Chris B. Be sure to comment on other people's comments, keeping in mind that this is a discussion, not a Q &A session.

Is freedom inherited or gained? Do you think that 100 years from now people will look back and say "Why did they do that?" about something as we say when we look at slavery? If so, what, and if not, why not?

19 Comments:

Blogger Kelly O said...

Wow...first comment!!! This is exciting!

Anyhoo...I think freedom can be both inherited and gained. We (Americans) inherited freedom by simply being born in the right country. We did not have to work to get the freedoms we were born with. Other people in the world who are born in places like Africa must work to gain their freedom. They are not born with their basic human rights like we are. I think many Americans don't realize how lucky they are to have freedoms. In Africa, people are killed for speaking their mind or simply existing. If those people had been born in American, they wouldn't be killed for that. Some people, like those in Africa, spend their whole lives fighting for basic freedoms that we in America are simply born with.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Monique R said...

I think freedom is both inherited and gained, just like Kelly said. We're pretty lucky not to have to fight for our basic freedoms, but some stuff we do fight for and this is what makes our generation unique. If we want things like social change and I know many teenagers want opportunities for things adults get, we have to fight for them and even though this isn't exactly the same as slavery, its still a fight for freedom in a way.
I don't think there is anything going on right now as drastically wrong as slavery, just little things. Also, I think in the future generations will look back on the problems we are ignoring (like AIDS starvation in Africa) and say, "Why didn't they do anything?" We look back at the Holocaust and say things like this, so who knows what people will say in the future.

7:10 PM  
Blogger kaitlinb said...

I agree with the other two in that freedom is ingerited and gained. However, I also think that in the future their will be issues that are looked on upon as wrong. I think like Monique said it will be little things but maybe in the future they will be bigger than we thought. For example, most schools are either majority black or majority white and maybe that may be looked upon as wrong in the future. I do not know for sure but that is a possible example. Good night!!

7:27 PM  
Blogger mackenzieL said...

I agree with Kelly about how freedom can both be inherited and gained. Also like she said, I think that in America many people inherit freedom. However, I also think that this “inherited freedom” is not inherited equally. Here in America everyone is said to have free speech and everyone’s ideas are considered equally correct/important. However, when someone says something that many people agree with, their ideas get slammed down again and again and considered stupid and ignorant and are not taken into account. This is like what happened last night on the blog with how Kyle said that Douglass wrote the book only for monetary gain. Only like one or two people tried to see and argue the way Kyle saw things. Everyone has equal rights and la-de-da until someone disagrees with what we think, and when this happens that person must fight to gain their freedoms.

I do think that when people look back on the decisions that are being made right now they will have many things to say “Why did they DO that?” about. I’m not really sure what they will say that about though. I could be about the big issues about abortion or the new scientific advances. Now that I think about though, I think they will ask that question about our involvement in the Middle East and other countries. In that wonderful packet The Lonely Superpower that Knaflc gave us it talks about our involvement in various countries. In almost every country that we lend a helping hand toward, American forces never come back out; this might lead to some problems. Therefore I think that political issues might be one of the big things that people might regret in the future…hmmm

7:47 PM  
Blogger Jordyn S said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Jordyn S said...

I think that no freedom is ever gained, rather that it is given. I think people inherit all of the freedom that we will ever be willing to give, and when you form relationships with people, you assess the type of person we feel that they are, and the amount of freedom that we deem them worthy of within your life. We then give freedom in small amounts, but I don’t think that anyone ever trusts someone fully, with all of the freedom they are willing to give. We only are made to believe that we have gained freedom, but I feel pretty confident in saying that if you mess up badly enough, you'll lose most of the freedom as well as trust that you've ever "gained.”
In the case of the slaves, they proved themselves worthy of being free many, many times, but they were never granted freedom until years later, no matter how hard they worked or tried. Some were even born slaves, and died slaves. So it takes work to gain freedom, but that doesn't always mean that freedom is ensured by working. Relating to most of our lives, we are sophomores, which means that the majority of us have, or will soon be proving to our parents that we deserve the privilege of having a car, and the freedom to drive it. This is quite scary to our parents, but as they know, as honors students, most of us have worked pretty hard to be in the positions we are and to accomplish some of the things that we have so far or are destined to in the near future. These two are not directly related though, just because we’ve worked this hard doesn’t mean that our parents HAVE to give us freedoms such as this. On the other hand, however frightening this may be, they will probably give us this freedom, but if you start slacking off in school, or get in a wreck or break their trust, they yank back your privilege, and thus leave you to think you never fully gained it in the first place. But of course, if we lived with such a caution on how easily we think we have freedom and how easily we feel that we lose it, that would take the fun out of the whole game. This little game of pretending you have something you really don’t, something completely conditional. Your freedom can never be set in stone; it changes constantly because of your own actions. We are set up to choose our own destinies, some will make good choices, others bad, but that is self determined, as long as you remember that your freedom may be taken away or lessened due to your so called "good" decision.

I do not think that people 100 years from now will look back and say “why did they do that?” I think people currently look back and sort of think to themselves, “Man, what in the world were we thinking?” and “Boy were we WRONG about that one!” and I don’t see that carrying on into the future 100 years. But you must remember that we have primary sources that document exactly what they were thinking at that time, and you just have to deal with the fact that this kind of thing was accepted at that time. That was life, and we should be fortunate that we have overcome this, and made such strides in a better direction, instead of looking back and saying “oh that was so stupid.”
People move on, it’s instinctive. I think that one hundred years from now, it will be recognized, yeah, America messed up with slavery, but currently we are one of the strongest world powers, I’d like to think that is something positive to be recognized. We certainly didn’t get here without some difficult times. Also, slavery was ended about 140 years ago, so my guess is that 100 years from now, people will be talking about things that are happening in our generation. Think of how many huge discoveries have been made, the war that is going on, etc. We can never predict what they will be saying one hundred years from now. The only people who even really came close to accurately predicting anything were the Mayans, and according to them the world will end way before these people come into existence. One thing to think about is the possibility that the black people could enslave whites in the future, you never know. Listing any more things would be foolish of me, this whole blog would turn into pages and pages of what if this, and what if that. I personally dislike the what if game, so I’m going to say live for now, let them talk then, people in the future will have their vices as well, nobody’s perfect, this was just a collective deficiency. I also like Monique’s point that people may look back and wonder why we were so passive about issues that may be chief concerns in future times. My only hope is that we will forever learn from that time period, and learn to see imperfections perfectly.

8:04 PM  
Blogger EmilyL said...

To begin, there is a difference between physical freedom and an inherent mental freedom. While one can gain a physical freedom (as in slavery) I don't think that mental freedom can necessarily be "gained." If you look at Douglass' life, for example, even when he was stripped of all his basic rights, he still had the freedom over his body to decide whether to live or die, and whether to succumb or to struggle. He could not make decisions regarding his line of work, salary, or living situations until after he was freed, but he was never forced by an outside influence to not think, or not to breathe. With regard to physical freedom, I like Jordyn's idea that freedom is not just "gained." In order for one to "gain," another must "give." It is a two-sided process.

I wonder where the United States will be globally 100 years from now (Knafelc’s lectures on China are starting to affect me.) If we are still in a strong position of power, I think that we will still have the same attitude that we have embraced throughout our existence: “why didn’t we do more in this and that area?” America has a trend to skim over major events that are occurring NOW and instead criticize the lack of action that our forefathers and predecessors took (an example is the Civil Rights movement and the Civil War. The slave owners were criticized, yet we as a nation turned a blind eye toward blatant racism until it was too obvious to ignore.)

It is really quite cyclical.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Spencer Z said...

Hoo boy, do I ever have a lot to say! I'll try to make this as coherent as possible.

Though I agree with the thought that freedom is both inherited and gained presented in the first few comments, I disagree with how the ladies described it. I believe freedom can be inherited, as in the United States like Kelly mentioned, but I think in any country, including the US our freedom must be gained and constantly zealously fought for. The day that we become complacent is the day that we allow our freedoms to be taken away from us. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." This is where my philosophy, surprisingly, begins to differ from Jordyn's. I interpreted her blog as saying that we must be careful with our liberties lest they be taken from us. I am thouroughly opposed to this. When given the chance to sacrifice your liberty for security, you must break through the langorous contenment of complacency just as B-Frank advocates. It is my opinion that we must constantly push authority to see what is acceptable. I am certainly not saying you should go about this with pernicious intentions, but it is surely something that done now and again to make sure we have a strong grasp on our freedom.

Here I must tragically disagree with Jordyn again (though I do like her line about seeing imperfections perfectly, much as I believe that is impossible). Human rights abuses today seem to me just as common as they were in the time of slavery, only today they are veiled under the impenetrable cloak of righteousness and political correctness. Civil rights and common respect are frequently not afforded to hispanics, the youth, homosexuals, the elderly, and the disabled. In place of real issues, our legislature wastes much of its time on frivolity. Fanatics of every race and creed, be they evangelical or islamic, preach fire and brimstone to those who don't conform with as much fervor and intolerance as Jonathan Edwards. We must remove the veil from our society and discuss the important issues; years from now we will have wished we did.

If I have offended anyone who bothered to read this comment then know it was not my intention, and I would love to discuss it with you if you have any questions.

9:14 PM  
Blogger christine b. said...

I have a question for Jordan regarding this... What is the difference between trust and freedom? Trust is given in my mind and although freedom can be given, it in my mind is usually inherited. I believe that trust can easily be gained through friendship and devotion however freedom is very difficult to gain when not inherited. The US, for example, has stereotypes for who should and should not have freedom, as illustrated with the slaves. If one does not fit those stereotypes and is not born in the US, despite our efforts to hide this, they have little chance to gain real freedom from this country. With that said, I also believe that the freedom given depends on the situation. For example, as Jordyn states, parents are reluctant to give their children freedom, but with trust can escape this natural instinct. This situation differs completely from nation wide freedoms as I showed above.

In 100 years, expanding on Emily's idea, I believe that the US will fall behind in the world to countries such as China, Japan, or similar. We will then look back and question what did we lack in education, technology, etc. that we must now make up for in order to re-enter the world as a super power.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Lauren F. said...

I agree with what a bunch of other people have said; in that freedom is gained and inherited. First, it has to be gained by the people that fight for it, and then is inherited by younger generations because of the gain from the older generation. Honestly, I'm not sure if Americans in 100 years will be able to say, "Why did we do that?" Sure, they will be able to question some of the actions and their reasons, but the people that lived during the time of slavery might have thought that it was acceptable. There might be things that Americans are doing that are considered acceptable now, but who knows if it is the right thing.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Jordyn S said...

To Spencer: I find your opposition to my comment both enjoyable and enlightening. I truly appriciate your different perspectives. I feel that my last line is virtually impossible as well, though I really find no harm in hoping for it.

To Christine: I would define trust as having confidence or faith in, to allow without fear, whereas I would say that freedom is being able to act without restraint, and I believe that we fear by instinct, and this limits us in fully using all of our freedoms because we are afraid, which makes us often cautious.


So far we've had some really great comments here! Good job 4th hour keep it up!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Jessica K said...

Like most that have commented before me, freedom can be inherited and gained. Since we were born in America we have inherited our freedom but our founding fathers were the ones that gained the freedom that we inherit. They worked and fought risking everything in hopes one day the people after them will have freedom. To inherit freedom someone at some point had to gain the freedom for us to have. I also agree that there are still many people that don't have freedom even in the U.S. and we should be constantly pushing the boundaries to gain freedom for the ones that don't have it. We have the ability so we should try to help others who can't fight for it themselves.

Most of America is oblivious to the problems that plague the world; we need to open our eyes and see that people are suffering and are without freedom. America is one of the most powerfull nations and with that we need to help the people who don't have power. This way maybe we can prevent the question "Why did they do that" 100 hundred years from now. I'm sure all the problems will not be solved but if we just open our eyes and see what's going on we can get a better grasp of the situations in the world and attempt to keep from making big mistakes that people will look back on.

3:27 PM  
Blogger BessieS said...

I agree that freedom can be both gained and inherited. By having parents who are American citizens and/ or being born in America we are given rights and freedom that many other countries don’t have. I think that it is possible to gain more freedom then we currently have by fighting for what we believe in.
I think that people will look back and ask, “Why did they do that?” They might ask this about social changes and I think that they will look at the Iraq war and ask about some specific events leading up to the war and during the war. I don’t think that they will really understand why we acted as we did on Sep. 11 and the weeks following similar to how our generation looks at the events at Pearl Harbor.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Erin G said...

I agree with Emily that we have mental and physical freedoms, but I disagree that mental freedom is always present. I believe that just as we gain physical freedom, we must work to gain mental freedom. People can live their entire lives in America with every right that we have, but still feel condemned. It is a bit like transcendentalism and quiet desperation. I think that some people, through psychological "actions" and thoughts, make themselves theoretical "prisoners of life". In that case, I do believe that we have to work at mental freedom, and allow ourselves to be our own self. Sadly, I think few people live truely free. I think that we condemn ourselves to society, allowing ourselves to, instead of being "free," conform to the general mold of others.

Adressing the future: People will question our actions, there is no doubt, but they do not have the right, in my mind, to criticize our actions. Will we be any different? Are we different, now, than we were 100 years ago? I don't think the validation of our actions will ever change, just the actions themselves change.

Also, a question:
What if society digresses? Is there always a price of progress? What if they say, "Why didn't they do that?" instead of "Why did they do that?"

5:28 PM  
Blogger emilee p said...

I agree with those (which is pretty much everyone) with the fact that we can both inherit and gain our freedom. However, freedom is only inherited because people in the past have gained it. (It differs in other countries, but right now I’m just speaking of America).I like Jordyn’s definition that freedom is being able to act without restraint. But what kind of freedoms are we talking about here? Is it those five basic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution? Is it freedom from slavery? Or just freedom, as adults, to make our own decisions? Yes, the freedoms, made by the government are inherited because those laws were made by our founding fathers and in my opinion, they will always be in place. However, other types of freedom, in social situation for example, are defiantly gained; you must build trust to gain freedom.

On the subject of "Why did they do that?" I think that this question will be asked numerous times in the future. I you asked anyone of older generations, I’m sure they could come up with more then one way how the government “messed-up” when they were kids. Everyone has regrets in their past, but you should not try to forget these mistakes. Instead, people, individuals and the government, should try to learn from these mistakes to help better future generations. By looking and the effects of the Cold war, abolitionism and other large events in American history, I think that the US has done a fairly good job of fixing their mistakes.

-Sorry, for that I do tend to ramble a bit.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Jennifer W said...

Freedom is definitly not inherited, it is gained. Although it may seem as though it is inherited, it just appears that way because we as individuals haven't really done anything to gain freedom except from our parents. As we grow up we gradually gain more freedom from them, your bedtime goes from 7 yo 8, 8 to 9, and so on. You don't just wake up when your two years old and say, i'm staying up until midnight tonight; it doesn't work that way.

I completely agree with Kelly in that people in Africa who speak their mind get killed and if they were here, they wouldn't be and how lucky we should all feel for this. But we can never feel their pain, suffering, and wants to express themselves, so how are we supposed to know how lucky we are? How are we supposed to be so thankful for this when we don't know what it's like to be on the other side? Sure it's easy to say you are thankful for your freedom or that you take it for granite, but how do you not? We just don't know what it's like.

I agree with Kelly and Monique when they say that in 100 years they will be saying why didn't we help out people in Africa. Well, we are so consumed with helping out the rest of the world, it's hard to do that and we can be sad all we want, but the truth is, hardly anyone will do anything about it. So you can say all you want, but unless your doing something about it, don't complain about others and about us as a country not doing anything about it.

8:06 PM  
Blogger shannon a said...

I agree with kelly but some other stuff to say haha. I feel that most people are borne into freedom but it because in the past people had to work for that freedom. Like blacks had to gain their freedom so that their children today who are brone in America had that freedom. And because of this i feel that they are able to appreciate their freedom more; well not so much today because i feel that we are all equal but in the past they were able to cherish it. I feel that people in the future will even be more equal because there are still some racial issues and they look at what people had to go trought to be like that. And they

8:46 PM  
Blogger clay w said...

I just have to say that I know this isn't before 10:00 but I was at a funeral for a pastor who passed away a couple days ago at our church. Anyway...

Freedom, as most other people have said, can be inherited and gained. But I also believe that when it matters the most and is the most appreciated is when freedom is fought for and earned. Now there are many ways of fighting for freedom: war, suffering, even deception can gain freedom sometimes. But I say that to make the point that freedom is never free. No matter how much one is allowed to do, whether by their government or by their religion, or simply by any authority in their life, all those options of what one can and cannot do do not come without a price. Now being children of people born in America, most of the kids that we surround ourselves with are free because they have inherited it from someone in their family who decided to move to this country. And whoever that person was probably gained it through either fighting to create it or fighting to be accepted into it. As Spencer said, many minority groups are denied some of the freedoms today that are given to other people, but at the same time I have to disagree. I must ask how he can call righteousness a cloak covering human rights abuses and how he can say that they are the same today as they were back in the days of slavery? When we look at our society today, we can focus on the negative aspects, i.e. someone being a suspect for terrorism just because they are from Iraq, or we can focus on the positive aspects, i.e. black people not being whipped to the point of almost bleeding to death simply because their master is not satisfied with the amount of work that has been done in one day. I can see a little bit of where he is coming from in that the more new social groups that arise, the more issues and violations of civil rights are brought with them. Spencer quoted Ben Franklin in talking about the fact that those who give up their freedom for a temporary security do not deserve that freedom or that security. If homosexuals or blacks or young people or old people or any other minority group are willing to challenge their freedom and the authority from which it comes (as Spencer said, "push authority to see what is acceptable") so that they can gain a little more appreciation from that authority or a couple new laws admitting them to do something that right now they cannot do, then they do not deserve the freedom or the security. I believe strongly that "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few." I believe that freedom is much more valuable and much harder to attain than temporary security and therefore occasionally that security must be sacrificed in order to keep that freedom intact. Hindsight is 20/20 so I am confident that in the future we will look back on this and say, "Why did we spend our time arguing over these issues when _____ was happening right in front of our eyes?" Hopefully we will be able to figure out what fills in that blank before we find ourselves asking that question.

9:37 PM  
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6:37 AM  

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