Is It Better to Have a Safe Society, or Free Society?

In our society, people have come to question whether safety is more important than freedom, or vice-versa. In the story The Giver by Lois Lowry, it states “If we were different, people would get envious, angry. Sameness prevents it.” In their society, the people value safety and rules more, as it protects their people from what could hurt them. Balance is harder to achieve than people think, and many opinions get in the way of things that could actually be done about it. Of these opinions, I stand on the side where safety is more important than freedom.As the old saying goes, “You give someone an inch, they take a mile” Restricting how far that inch can go can protect the people for the greater good, even if it means taking drastic measures. When freedom is encouraged, people’s emotions and physical health are in great question, but how might it be such a danger for freedom over safety?

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How Much is Too Much?

When people know too much, they take every measure they can to a point where it can overwhelm them, or even harm them. In the short story, By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet, the quotes that greatly summarize the story is, “Truth is a hard deer to hunt. If you eat too much truth at once, you may die.” and “Perhaps in the old days, they ate knowledge too fast.” This evidence shows that people can take in too much knowledge at once. When people know more, they tend to get hurt. An example of this would be in the cases of adoption. In most cases, it is better to keep this knowledge to the parents, rather than telling the kids, unless it is blatantly obvious that they are not their child. If a child knows, they may feel unwanted or unloved. Sometimes it better to keep the truth to yourself, than it is to let someone know about it. That is where safety and freedom come in. You may have the freedom to obtain knowledge and tell someone, but you also have to take into account how this knowledge might affect them. When people have knowledge, they are able to use it against others, causing them harm, or even harm to themselves.

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Protection vs. Invasion

When people have freedom, they can use it to hurt other people. In the article Watching You by Patricia Smith stated “Information gathered under Prism has helped foil about 50 terrorist plots, according to NSA.” This shows that surveillance, although a little invasive, can protect people from things that can be detrimental to not only one person, but to many people. When under surveillance, the government is able to look at all things we post, send, or message to one another. A simple Snapchat could lead to a larger terrorist organization that we may not have known of otherwise. Even if it is something smaller, like hiding a secret or starting a rumor, it could severely hurt someone’s self-love or self-esteem, even if it wasn’t meant to. Having the freedom of the use of this technology.and other things not under surveillance. When people are left to their own freedom and choices, they can take these and hurt someone.

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You Think You Know

People are able to make their own choices and learn more, making some believe that they are better than others, thus hurting someone’s interpersonal emotions. In the novel Anthem  by Ayn Rand, it states “How dared you think that your mind held greater wisdom than the minds of your brothers?”  (p. 71) Even though knowledge isn’t such a bad thing, it leads to a point when a person begins to think they are better than everyone else. They let their opinions of themselves dictate how they think of others.  This then leads to the destruction of one’s self-image, for both parties. The protection of these emotions are limited, as freedom of speech and thought are so available. When people create their ideas of others, they tend to make this idea from the comparison of themselves. When everyone is protected by the same safety, or in the same train of thought, it is very difficult to hurt others or yourself.

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Freedom Dictates Choices

Many would believe that there should be more freedom than safety, or an equal balance of both. They think that originality is more important than the idea of safety.  One might feel this way because people wouldn’t be able to make their own choices or be an individual if the government restricted their choices they could make or the things they were allowed to do. Another quote from The Giver makes an excellent point when it comes to choices, “When people have the power to choose, they choose wrong.” Especially in today’s society, people have a tendency to make wrong choices based on how they are feeling. A great example would be the debate on whether abortion should be allowed to be in place. People don’t really know where to stand, or if they do, it is because of the freedoms they are given. If they are not given the power of choice, controversial topics like this may not be such n issue if safety was put over freedom. Safety is normally out of the question once riots over stuff like shootings happen. These things happen because people know of their freedoms, but they take advantage of them. Even though it does limit individuality, it  also limits the amount of danger that could be near.

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In our society, people want and value freedom more than they do safety. This becomes a problem when everyone uses their freedom to overrule safety. If people begin to value freedom too much, will the world even be a place worth being anymore? Is it better to have a free world of anarchy, or a safe world of restriction?

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