Sunday, June 5, 2011

Diploma Writing Assignment II

            Individual Rights & Freedoms are a principle of Liberalism that are commonly taken for granted in everyday society, but to lose such privileges that we use on a daily basis would truly make us consider how much we value democracy as a whole.  In the included source, it is expressed that there may be times when the rights and freedoms may need to be restricted for the possibility of a democratic future. However, the need for such action may be deemed necessary or not, depending on the situation of the specific country. If, by chance, the country and its people are experiencing grave circumstances, then such drastic forms of action may be necessary to put the country back on the right track. Although, if a country is in less-severe political and economical standing, then by no means should the revocation of the citizens’ rights and freedoms be the first course of action to protect democracy.

            Despite the reservation that people may have to give up their own rights, if the entire country is in a crisis, it may be deemed necessary to prolong the lifespan of democratic principles. In post-WWI Germany, the Treaty of Versailles had left the country and its people deprived of even the basic means for survival. During this time, Adolf Hitler made his rise to power through the promise of a solution to the serious dilemma that Germany faced, at the cost of the citizens following his orders and giving up their own rights and freedoms. Though Hitler ended up running Germany as an Authoritarian leader, the citizens felt the need to sacrifice their own freedoms for the sake of a more prosperous future for all. In a situation like this, to try and salvage the remains of Germany from the shambles that it was in was a nearly impossible task, and though the rights of the citizens were being temporarily taken away from them, drastic measures were needed to try and ensure that there would even be a future in Germany.

            On the other hand, when a country isn’t struck down by as drastic of circumstance as life-threatening recession, sacrificing rights and freedoms should not be deemed “necessary to guarantee the preservation of democracy”, or at least not until the situation becomes worse. With the United States’ Patriot Act, the government attempted to implement a plan to combat terrorism both inside and outside of their home country.  The United States’ condition was in no way comparable to the disaster that unfolded in post-WWI Germany, the Patriot Act enabled the government to take action instantly, in case a risk were to suddenly arise. Through the premise of the act, rights and freedoms such as privacy in regards to communication and financial matters are sometimes violated, but only if a particular individual is deemed suspicious in regards to potential terrorism. This way, rather than instantly limiting the rights and freedoms of the entire country’s population is avoided, and only the individuals that may pose a potential threat to the well-being of the remainder of the country are inspected, though they are presumed innocent until found with means to incriminate. Along the same conditions is Canada’s Emergencies Act, which was the replacement to the War Measures Act. The Emergencies Act, like the Patriot Act, allows Canadian Parliament to suspend the rights of citizens deemed suspicious, for the purpose of ensuring the security of the country during a crisis.  To ensure that the citizens’ rights aren’t being taken away unnecessarily, declaring an emergency must be reviewed by Parliament first, and also, laws that are temporarily put into effect are subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ensuring that the rights of the citizens will be maintained one way or another. With both of these Acts ready for the time when an emergency may come forth, the people can feel safe, without having already lost their rights.

            We must be careful when deciding upon whether or not to take away the rights and freedoms of the citizens of any country, and also, whether such a drastic course of action is truly necessary. If the country is in need of radical improvement, then the end may justify the means. However, if the country is only caught up in a slight dilemma or even in no trouble at all, then by no means should they be considering individual rights and freedoms as a mandatory sacrifice. The government must be capable of taking a step back and fully evaluating the situation before deciding what is truly necessary, if their main intention is to keep the concepts of Democracy for the long run.

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