The American sense of freedom is one that is emphasized in various parts of the world. The country, often referred to as the Land of Freedom, has sparked much thought on the concept of freedom, especially how it is depicted in the worldwide perspective. This paper investigates the American concept of freedom as compared to other countries and concludes on this particular state of affairs.
According to the Human Freedom Index, America was ranking at number 20 according to the broad measure of human freedom which lacked any possible restraint. This was in comparison with Germany at twelfth place, Japan at twenty eighth place, South Africa at seventieth place and Zimbabwe and Iran holding 149th and 152nd place respectively Iran was the lowest ranking country in the Human Freedom Index as the study was only conducted for one hundred and fifty two countries (Mitchel, 2015). With this study providing some insight into the rankings of freedom and a definition of its being the lack of constraint on persons we begin to consider various aspects of freedom that could differentiate the concept of freedom in the United States as opposed to other countries. In this index, personal freedom and economic freedom was considered as a measure to determine the overall freedom of the person in the country.
Therefore, concepts of freedom may be in many ways, including personal freedom and economic freedom. Personal freedom depicts a situation where the person is able to amply engage themselves in social and political movements without fears of crackdown by a governing body. This is relatively high in America as the constitution and the Bill of Rights are major dependents upon which citizens rest on to assert their rights and civil actions. In other countries such as Iran, this is largely limited because of the type of government that is in place and social norms towards expression that are diverse. When it comes to the restraint of freedom, matters of national security will take priority over personal matters. Therefore, restraint of freedom may be exercised in the interests of national security. This includes the exercise of arbitrary powers including arrest and detention. However, the constraints of local and international law bar countries considered civilized from practicing acts of torture and extremities in the interests of public safety.
Economic freedom, on the other hand, reflects the peoples ability to economically sustain themselves in terms of employment levels, personal and family incomes as well as the GDP of the country. These measures determine the wealth circulating in the country. Different approaches of wealth gathering have been used by different countries including cooperative and competitive approaches. Countries considered free have always been open to trade agreements with other countries for the interests of the growth and development, asserting that freedom means the ability to freely engage economically. The larger number of people having the characteristics of a stable economy caused the country to rank highly in the index. Hong Kong and Switzerland, having a lower population with high income (representing higher economic freedom) ranked highly in the index. Their overall economic prosperity led to their being crowned winners.
In conclusion, the definition of freedom can not only be relegated to the celebration of independence day, but also to the tangible and intangible characteristics such economic and socio-political factors. A wholesome definition will thus accommodate the peoples ability to fend for themselves in that country as well as their propensity to express themselves freely.
Mitchel, R. (2015). U.S. Barely Cracks Top 20 in Ranking of Nations for Overall Freedom. Retrieved May 16, 2016, from CNS News: http://cnsnews.com/commentary/daniel-mitchell/us-barely-cracks-top-20-ranking-nations-overall-freedom.
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