Freedom is defined as the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement. It is the power to determine action without restraint and the exemption from external control, interference, and regulation. Americans, these days, commonly regard their society as the freest and the best in the world. Their understanding of freedom has been shaped and based upon the founding fathers’ belief that all people are equal and that the role of the government is to protect each person’s basic “inalienable” rights.
The United States Constitution’s Bill of Rights assures individual rights including freedom of speech, press, and religion. America has changed dramatically from the country our founding fathers discovered. Some could even argue that we’re not really free at all anymore. Although in some ways people can argue that our country is still free, there is much evidence to prove this claim to be false. If America is so free, than why is it that we the people cannot make decisions for ourselves? Why is it that there are certain laws which restrain us from partaking in certain activities that really aren’t even harmful to us?
Regulations and laws that prevent us from doing certain things are okay if there is a good reason behind it. The laws should be in place to protect the people, not restrict them from things non-harmful. Let’s take marijuana, for instance. Studies show that marijuana is much safer than typical tobacco cigarettes and many alcoholic beverages, if not all. Not only is marijuana safer, but it has been proven to provide medical benefits. Doctors have testified that marijuana is sometimes the only substance available to reduce pain in terminally ill patients.
Shouldn’t that be enough evidence to prove its medical benefits? Yet and still Americans are unable to partake in the usage of this substance. Not only does marijuana reduce pain, but it also can be used to relax nerves as well as help people who suffer from insomnia. More people die every year from tobacco and alcohol than have ever died from marijuana usage. It isn’t so much the drug that is the problem as it is the legality of it. Why is it that crimes involving tobacco or alcohol can be taken to court whereas crimes involving marijuana and other drugs are dealt with by force?
America is certainly far from free. Many people may even claim that if there were no laws and regulations to abide by and people were able to do whatever they pleased, than there would be nothing but chaos in the world. This is definitely a false claim considering that we already live in a world of chaos. In the past few years America has been having issues with illegal immigrants which have caused chaos within the country. Each year we have about 1 million illegal immigrants coming from Mexico and about 200,000 more coming from places such as Haiti and Guatemala.
This has become a bigger and bigger problem over the years. Because of the outpour of immigrants migrating to the United States, it has become more and more difficult for the citizens who live here to get jobs. If America is so “free” than why is such a problem for others to come to this country, or better yet why can’t our government just simply provide jobs for everyone? Americans clearly already live in a world of chaos so to make a claim such as this would be unethical. Furthermore, if America was such a free country then how is it okay to assassinate U. S. itizens? Last year President Obama approved the killing of U. S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi and another citizen under his “claimed” authority. He was assassinated because in the eyes of the government he was a “partner in terrorism”. Last month administration officials affirmed that power. Now it is legal for the President of the United States to order the assassination of any citizen whom is considered to be allied with terrorists. For years different countries and nations have been criticized for such killings yet now the freest nation now abides by such law.
In conclusion, America is definitely not a free country. For anyone who believes that it is, I challenge them to think about one thing that we can do without the permission of the state. Freedom, once again, is defined as the power to determine action without restraint and the exemption from external control, interference, and regulation. There is absolutely nothing that we as citizens can do without the interference or external control of the government. For any person who believes that America is free, I say define freedom.