American creed, culture, and values are not a set of finely tuned definitions or principals. Rather, they mean something different for each individual American. For example, for an immigrant escaping religious persecution during the Nazi Reign, an American value might mean the ability to practice your religion freely, without fear of being killed or hung. For a rural farm kid, American culture is the ability to live off the land and be dependant on you and only you. Lastly, for a poor, inner city family, two American values might be hard work and dedication. In addition, having hope that those values will lead to a better, happier life for themselves and their prosperity. In my opinion, a value that most people would agree upon is the idea of freedom. In America, each citizen is guaranteed freedom from oppression.
Freedom, in a modern definition, means freedom from oppression, not responsibilities (Fish). In America, we have numerous rights that protect us from oppression, but not responsibilities. For example, embedded in the US constitution is the Bill of Rights. These rights are meant to protect us from the government, various political and business leaders, and other citizens that are abusing their power. However, the Bill of Rights does not protect us from our civic responsibilities. Nowhere in our constitution or bill of rights does it prevent US citizens from voting, paying taxes, and obeying the law. Those are all duties that we should and/or need to do in order to maintain our freedom. Fish is a famed philosopher and has written numerous books, essays, and articles regarding topics such as freedom, politics, and mathematics. In addition, his Jewish heritage gives him insight into a time when people of Jewish descent experienced little or no freedom at all.
Now, let’s take a look at some other countries in the world, ones that do not offer freedom from oppression. These places are all over the world, but one in particular is North Korea (The People’s Challenges). In such countries, they do not give their citizens the freedom to be themselves. In many cases, they are not given a choice of where they can work, where they can live, and who they can interact with. In addition, a powerful elite can oppress the people because they have few rights. They are not free to do what they please because there is little in place to protect their freedom. The goal of The People’s Challenges Group is to rescue refugees without cost or condition and ensure their safety on their journey to freedom. They have rescued over 3,000 refugees from the country of North Korea and brought them safely to freedom and safety. Many of these people will do anything for freedom from oppression.
We Americans tend to regard our country as the best in the world. Why? In America, we are granted so many freedoms that people in other parts of the world are not. All of these freedoms protect us from oppression. For example, we have the right to free speech, to protest peacefully, and speak what is on our minds. We do not have to fear for our lives if we speak out against the government. We don’t have to worry we will be enslaved or killed. Our idea of freedom is based around our founding fathers belief of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (US 1776)”, also known as our “inalienable” rights. This rights are given to us by God and guarantee our freedom, which cannot be taken away. In addition, the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights guarantees individual freedoms, such as the freedom to keep and bear arms as well as the freedom to practice our own religion, and protects us from oppression. The idea of ‘freedom’ is what sets America apart from all other countries on earth.
“The Value of Freedom.” Shlomi Fishs Homepage RSS, Sholmi Fish, 24 Jan. 2004, www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/the-eternal-jew/the-eternal-jew/freedom.html.
(US Const., preamble)
“The People’s Challenges.” Liberty in North Korea, www.libertyinnorthkorea.org/learn-nk-challenges/.Tags: Okemos High School