Free «Examination» Essay Sample
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1. Is There a Tension Between Liberty and Morality?
Liberty is one of the basic concepts of human life that refers to a set of social practices and ideas. However, it is often contrary to morality, because every individual realizes his or her own freedom in a certain way. The main difference between liberty and morality is the individual nature of implementation, different understanding of social law, and the conflict between egoistic and altruistic principles. However, there is a close connection between such antagonistic phenomena as liberty and morality.
Liberty is a special method of personal selection what is right or not, and thus it is a possibility to act in accordance with certain needs, desires, beliefs, and morals. Accordingly, morality is social norms and rules that can limit personal freedom in accordance with public perceptions of good and evil. Hence, balancing between individual morality and collective freedom often leads to the fact that equal justice can be both negative and positive. On the one hand, as the ability to realize basic aspirations of someone’s own will, liberty may be perceived evil by society because these aspirations do not correspond to its moral norms. On the other hand, it is quite difficult to consider following the requirements of moral standards under the pressure of public exposure as a moral act, since a decision on the right behavior is made under pressure and therefore is not free as well. In other words, “individual liberty will probably be as much exposed to invasion from the government, as it already is from public opinion” (Mills).
Therefore, speaking in the form of evil, freedom is necessary for the approval of the good. However, the general duty to serve the ideals of goodness, formulated once and for all, does not only deprive people of their freedom of choice and makes them implementing the will of others, but also destroys the possibility of social development. Morality, which requires the failure of the freedom of choice from each member of society, transforms into the tyranny of moral obligations, and society is also transformed into a closed concentration camp without any chance to express one’s own opinion. Rejecting constraints of morality, liberty throws out conscience and humanity, transforming society in the menagerie. As a result, the individual choice to do everything is not reduced to liberty. In order not to create one more totalitarian society, it is important to develop the most possible variant of balance between human liberty and morality.
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Philosophers of different epochs and countries have tried to resolve this contradiction for centuries, seeing it as a problem of free will. The pragmatism of freedom provided a method of receiving an absolute benefit, and existentialism proposed the implementation of self-interest. In these cases, freedom is an illusion, since it gives a person the ability not to be guided by any rules. Freedom may be associated with complete self-will, but it can be identified as a conscious decision with the thinnest motivating human behavior and the perceived need.
Therefore, liberty is one of the most important elements of civilization, but it should be connected with morality. As a result, society ought to evolve on the base of freedom and morality, without giving preference to one of these elements. The egoistic presence of excessive freedom leads to anarchy, because everyone does what he or she wants, transforming society into a variant of polar human will without any social compromise. Similarly, the presence of excessive morality turns into a totalitarian society, where the freedom of thought is an expression of defiance and rebellion.
2. Is There a Tension Between Liberty and Patriotism?
Freedom and patriotism have a very complex history of interaction. On the one hand, patriotism leads to the domination of some ideas over others, the main of which is the idea of love to country, land, or some general belief. On the other hand, freedom leads to patriotism, because patriots devoted most wars to the former. Accordingly, it is the foundation for patriotic actions, but consequences of patriotism often contradict with freedom and its moral principles, as well as the right to choose comes down to a typical model of behavior.
Patriotism is a historical expression of liberty of certain social classes, fighting against different forms of ruling. Ordinary people expressed their right to have personal freedom that was realized in the historical sequence of revolutionary events. For example, the French Revolution proclaimed the key ideas of freedom, combining them with the idea of the nation. It becomes an integral part of public consciousness with the development of capitalism, formation of nations, and the creation of national states. However, with the intensification of class antagonism and the conversion of the bourgeoisie into the ruling class, it ceases to reflect national ideas, as it was during the struggle against feudalism.
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The beginning of patriotism dates back to primitive societies, which were based on the principle of blood relationships among all members of the family or tribe. With the evolution of society, the sense of natural affection for native land, language or community was connected with the realization of civil responsibilities. Patriotism was expressed in people’s desire for economic, social, and cultural development of the country to defend it from foreign invaders. In this case, patriotism conflicts with freedom, because people do certain things according to the general idea modulated by society. Accordingly, an alternative style of thinking means to lose connection with community or even to be expelled by the government. This manifestation of freedom and dissent in many countries is called betrayal, because patriotism has a great ability to form a stereotypical view.