The Rights to Speak Up in a New Society

The Enlightenment Period, otherwise known as the Age of Reason was a period in time when intelligent individuals believed if given the ability to reason from God or nature, they would be able to unveil truths and find answers in any proposed question (Background Essay). The Enlightenment period started in France where thinkers from Britain, France and throughout Europe questioned the eccentric traditional authority and took in the idea that humanity could be improved through rational change. French philosopher Voltaire who appraised and promoted freedom of speech believed it would lead to a stable society and was the best weapon against bad government. A new society should prioritize the Enlightenment ideas of freedom of expression because there are different groups of people who struggle to gain full access to speak up because of reasons including poverty, racial discrimination and cultural pressure. Although a strong case could be made that freedom of economics would be better to focus on, this argument is unconvincing because the wealth would eventually be unevenly distributed, limiting freedom of the many unfortunate others with less luxury. To begin with, all men are created equal and independent with their own natural inalienable [life, liberty, property] rights to have their opinions heard.

Their freedom to speak up would not only encourage social evolution but would also lead to better ideas and promote the world with no misunderstandings. Henry David Thoreau once said and believed that a person’s obligation was to follow what he/she believed was right, not what the majority or the government dictated. In his book “Civil Obedience”, it states when the citizen is under an unjust and corrupt government, the righteous thing to do for the country may be resistance against it. He actively did his job as an abolitionist, meaning, a person who wishes for the abolition of a practice or institution, typically, government’s form of punishment or slavery. “Disobedience is a form of liberty” – Henry David Thoreau.

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This quote is stating how sometimes the best thing to do is to go against the government, for the betterment of an individual’s well-being and future. Disobedience against something which a person believes is corrupt and to be able to stand up against it should also be a part included in freedom of speech. To debate is to argue and talk through a specific subject in a formal manner, contributed by many people. If the topic were to be racism, a wide group of people concluded with different ethics from different parts of the world would be fair for they can all contribute their ideas into the crowd without getting judged or looked down upon by their status, but to be accepted and acknowledged by every individual. “..

. creatures of the same species and rank should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection [lowering of position]…”.

This was an excerpt from John Locke’s book, “Second Treatise on Civil Government” (Doc A). The excerpt further supports the inalienable rights a human being can have from the moment they were born until they take their last breath. The permission to allow free flowing ideas and debates worldwide will only do nothing but further contribute to creativity, innovation, education and cultural acceptances. Prioritizing the idea in which every individual may have their own voice will lead our society to further heights and polish our world brighter than ever. As George Washington, the first president of the United States of America during the Enlightenment once said: “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter”.

Therefore, to clearly sum up, with freedom of speech, there will be joy, there will be happiness, without, then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter. A few might say freedom of economy should be something prioritized in a new society, however,this argument is unconvincing because the wealth would eventually be unevenly distributed, leading to the limitation of economic freedom of a few unfortunate others who have less of a luxury. In Adam Smith’s idea to support individual decision-making, he stated that an individual should be able to construct an industry and to make a decision of their own (Doc C). However, without the intellectuality and wisdom, it would only limit the range of decisions one can make. For the intelligent individual will always be intelligent, and the not, depending on their circumstances, will not have as good of an opportunity as the fortunate.

“As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital [money] in the support of … industry” – Adam Smith in his book “The Wealth of Nations”. This excerpt from the book very simply shows that eventually, wealthy industries will try to prevent other industries getting into their way, obstructing the economic freedom of many other small industry owners. Given the evidence, some conclude that freedom of economy is important, and, therefore, needs to be the priority for the new society. Nevertheless, this argument fails to consider the fact that while freedom of economy is important, it’s a step to be taken after the priorities. As said in advance, having the ability to speak up would not only prevent misunderstandings from happening, it would also lead to better ideas due to constructive criticism or debate.

It’s essential to point out that there are still cruel and unfortunate things going around happening with people around the world, and without freedom of speech, it would only furthermore limit the ability of one’s being able to speak up for their own rights. This leads to the conclusion that while freedom of economy is needed indeed without a doubt, it’s not an idea that should be prioritised for the betterment of our government’s, our world’s future, for that freedom of speech should be.