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Liberty and Equality - Essay Example

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As a function of the society in which we live, many of the terms and definitions for the rights and freedoms that individuals have are oftentimes taken for granted. Moreover, in addition to merely being taken for granted, the underlying definitions and societal interpretations for these rights and freedoms have lost much of their original intent…
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Liberty and Equality
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Download file to see previous pages As a function of this confusion with regards to some of the core precept that help to define the society in which we live, it will be the express intent of this particular analysis to engage the reader with an understanding of the immutable nature of equality and liberty. Through such analysis and focus upon the way in which these two are related and differentiated from one another. Yet, the fact of the matter is that the interplay between equality and liberty is something that perennially exists. Ultimately, each and every decision that is made with regards to greater levels of liberty, or the exercise thereof, has a direct and/or tangential impact with regards to the manner in which an individual can experience a degree of equality. Naturally, in a perfect world, society views equality and liberty as two “goods” that should be able to exist alongside one another in equal measure. However, the fact of the matter is that one necessarily constrains the other and causes a situation by which an increased degree of equality adversely impacts liberty; and vice versa. The following analysis and discussion will more appropriately define this inverse relationship and the means by which it is exhibited within the United States; both past and present (Smith 456). One analyst noted, “The balancing of liberty and equality interests cannot be accomplished in the abstract. We cannot decide issues involving specific legislation by determining that we lack ''enough'' liberty or that our society has ''too much'' equality. Careful evaluation requires inquiry into the specific nature of the individual freedom that may be sacrificed and the value of the equality that will be enhanced if the proposal becomes law” (New York Times 1). As such, the interplay between these two seemingly competitive virtues is clearly manifest. Firstly, before delving into an active definition and understanding of either liberty or equality, it must be appreciated that neither of these terms are in direct competition with one another for a position of being the most important guiding principle of democracy; rather, these concepts are both cornerstones through which democracy is defined, upheld, and delineated. If one of these two terms had to be understood as of greater importance than its counterpart, then the entire framework upon which representative government is fabricated would topple. Ultimately, at its very core, liberty necessarily defines the state of being free. As such, this freedom has been exhibited within almost each and every aspect of the way in which the American experience of government has come to be known. Although the freedom of liberty is a defining hallmark of the way in which he United States has come to experience its own development and growth as a political and social concept, the fact of the matter is that the actual application of liberty itself is not static. Just like with the way in which equality has come to be re-defined and re-understood throughout different periods of the nation’s history, liberty and the freedoms that it entails has been defined, constrained, and redefined as different experiences have shaped the way in which this concept is reflected within the American populace. A quick example of this can of course be seen with regards to the way in which liberty came to be constricted after the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Whereas the nation itself was in a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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