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Human Freedom - Research Paper Example

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Contrasting Definitions of Human Freedom: Impact on Society Human freedom has always been considered as a subject that is best dealt with in the realm of philosophy. This is understandable, considering that the subject had been tackled by many of the world’s top philosophers from the ancient times until today…
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, the human freedom is at the philosophical foundation of the contention between the liberals and the conservatives in their views on the government. Because of its apparent relevance to the most pressing social issues of the day, it is only right that it be discussed no longer in the philosophical plane alone but also in the sociological context. In American society, there are different fundamentally opposing perspectives on human freedom. The libertarians consider themselves to be the most ardent devotees of human freedom primarily because of their very definition of it. Libertarianism teaches that “action is free only if it is free from any antecedent causes or determinations other than the person acting” (Seymour, 2000, p. 12). It is because of this view that libertarians also believe that government should never play such an influential role on the life of the individual. Policies that they think interfere with the individual’s free will are considered to be infringement of human freedom. These are the reasons why libertarians are very vocal against the federal government when it comes to issues such as state rights, taxation, and healthcare. For them, taxes and universal healthcare are policies that meddle with concerns that are best left to the individual. Ultimately though, the libertarian concept of human freedom is absolutist and it does tend to negate the necessity of any form of governance. It is this particular perspective on governance that tends to alienate them from the political conservatives. The conservatives believe that businesses should be provided greater freedoms in the spirit of free market capitalism. However, they do not subscribe that individual freedoms must supersede the rights and responsibilities of the state, which is basically a notion that is founded on the conservative political principle that it is incumbent upon the state to protect business interests. To challenge the government therefore is to make business vulnerable. The liberal concept of human freedom is basically anchored on the four essential freedoms that President Franklin D. Roosevelt pointed out in his speech his 1941 State of the Union Address. There four human freedoms are freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear (Henkin, 2006, p. 4). Of the four, it is only the first two that are enshrined in the US Constitution as basic civil and human rights. It is the freedom from want and freedom from fear that proved to be contentious though and it is more so nowadays. Both freedoms require the actual intervention or direct action on the part of the government for these to be realized. In fact, administrations that have tried introducing the policies that toe the freedom from want have often been labeled as welfare statists and have been often criticized by those who believe that government funds should not be spend for those who are living in want. The current debates on the healthcare program that the Obama administration is trying to push are reflective of this. The Obama administration has insisting that that those who cannot afford to get insurance deserves assistance from the government with funds coming from taxes. This is apparently in line with the administration’s interpretation of freedom from want. However, this has been severely criticized by libertarians and the conservative for different reasons. The libertarians ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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