Kakos' 6th Hour

Reactions and comments from my sixth hour Honors American Literature class.

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My favorite place in the world to be is underwater. My second favorite place is the front of a classroom.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freedom?

The questions below are provided by 4th hour's very own favorite shaggy-haired musician, Chris B. Be sure to comment on other people's comments, keeping in mind that this is a discussion, not a Q &A session.

Is freedom inherited or gained? Do you think that 100 years from now people will look back and say "Why did they do that?" about something as we say when we look at slavery? If so, what, and if not, why not?

23 Comments:

Blogger ryanp said...

I think that freedom can be both inherited or gained depending on the situation. In the case of Frederick Douglass or a slave of his caliber, freedom was gained because they were born into slavery and had to change that on their own. However, the majority of people such as you or I are hopefully born into freedom where we do not have to do anything to make ourselves free. in the future, I think that people may look back and criticize the way that this country has handled immigrants because it may look like we have mistreated them and not given them the proper rights. I think that people of the future may say that we should have given more rights to the immigrants because without them our economy would not be able to function the way that it does.

6:16 PM  
Blogger A_Nielsen said...

Freedom can be inherited or gained. There are people who think they are "superior" or have the rights to control someone's basic rights or freedom. Even though freedom is something everyone is given as a basic human right from day one it will be threatened.

Who really knows what people will say 100 years from now but I would think they would be shocked that slavery happened and took a very long time to be presented as inhumane becuase those who had slaves didn't think it was inhumane. I hope in 100 years there will be no slavery anywhere and people will respect each other and know that slavery cannot be allowed to happen to anyone or anywhere.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Ryan S said...

I believed that freedom can be inherited and gained just like Ryan said. The fact that we are born citizens in America and we don’t have to worry about things we take for granted such as freedom. I think people will look back on us and say how we took so many things for granted and we didn’t care for others and treated them with the same disrespect that we treated slaves. Freedom can be inherited because of the fact that some people are born into a terrible environment with a government full of dictators. I think it is much easier to gain freedom though because you can always find a way out just like Frederick Douglass found his freedom by escaping slavery.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Alexandra H said...

I agree with what eveyone has said so far because freedom is inherited sometimes, like when the slaves had children and their slavery was inherited, if a free family had children, their kids would be free. Freedom is also gained because people like Douglass gained his freedom through trials and tribulations. I also agree with ally because times always change and it is hard to predict what anyone will say. We don't even know what we will say about our fashion in 10 years. It can't really be determined what people will say but like ally, I hope that there will be no slavery and people will be shocked about what happened.

8:33 PM  
Blogger AaronW said...

"Freedom isn't free, It costs folks like you and me. And if we don't all chip in
We'll never pay that bill. Freedom isn't free.Freedom isn't free, No, there's a hefty BLEEPin' fee.
And if you don't throw in your buck 'o five Who will?"

That choice movie quote is from Team America, and I believe it is completely right. You have to work for things in todays world and although we are born into such a priveleged country there are still people around the world who have to work to be free. Even here in the USA people in the armed forces fight for our freedom daily.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Hannah S said...

I agree with everybody above that freedom is both earned and gained. Today, we have freedom because of what our ancestors fought for before us. However, we must gain other freedoms by fighting for them, as both our ancestors and slaves did. I do believe that people later on will look back and wonder why we did certain things because each generation has different views and opinions.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Tori S said...

Everyone one above has been saying it can be both, inherited or gained, and while I agree with that I don't know if it really should be. So many people today take freedom for granted and take into little consideration what we have compared to third world countries. If freedom had to be gained in all situations people would respect it more because they gained it themselves and didn't just have it handed to them.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Amy O. said...

Freedom really depends on how you look at it as to whether it is inherited or gained. In a physical, slave vs. free sense, freedom can be both. I believe that the personal journey for an individual to be free within themselves is most definitely something gained. People are always going to be slaves to something, whether it is unjust physical labor, a career, people, or money. I wouldn't doubt it that people will look back at our culture 100 years from now and have some questions of their own.

9:47 PM  
Blogger HUH? said...

Aaron takes an important point of view in hand. Freedom is a privelege that we hold so dearly. Individuals must fight for their own position in society for these priveleges. That is the beauty of our country. All that it winds down to is the effort that we must put to gain this freedom. Whether it may be the slavery or an American citizen, we all have to earn our freedom.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Olivia C. said...

While searching through my extensive quote journal I keep, I actually found a quote by Frederick Douglass on this exact topic: "If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."

"This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others."


Frederick Douglass, 1857

I realize the quote is quite long and difficult to understand at points but I really like the ideas it makes. By reading this quote, freedom is entirely gained. Earlier people have made comments that by being born an American citizen, we therefore inherit freedom. Although this is true to an extent, that freedom was most certainly earned: earned every day by Americans who fight in foreign (and domestic) land to ensure that liberty is protected. Freedom is most certainly gained. To inherit freedom would suggest that freedom is free, and going along with Aaron's comments, freedom is everything but free. Freedom, in a sense, is priceless; which is not to say it has no price, but is so valuable that one cannot place any amount of lives or money directly upon.
Relating to the second question posted, I am a little unsure what he means?! Is he referring to what our views on slavery are today or simply things modern society does today? If it is the latter, I think there are certainly things in modern society both religous and societal that could be viewed wrong or odd in 100 years. A strong example of this might even be our criminal punishments, or the order in which we control domestic violence. As technology expands I think that the way in which crime is dealt with in 100 years will be very foreign to us. Through this I do believe that the manner in which society is conducted 100 years from now will be so foreign, that the modern human in today's world might be viewed in a sense that parallels our view of the ancient Neanderthals today. Most certainly the humans in 2106 will question our actions, ideas, etc much like how we question slavery.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Michelle S said...

Americans have and value a freedom that encompasses our lives: the freedom of choice, the freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc. This freedom was absolutely gained by somebody, but I think there are people who are born into it, like we are, whose freedom is maintained by others (i.e. the military, like previous commenters have said). Freedom can be inherited or gained depending on the person, the time period, and the place. I do agree with Tori, however, when she says that perhaps people would value freedom more if they gained it, because they would appreciate it more. However, I don't think inheriting freedom is a bad thing, we just have to find an appreciation for it, which is a hard task if it's taken for granted.

It is very hard, like Alex H. said, to predict what people will think in one hundred years. Southern slave owners probably wouldn't be able to comprehend this discussion. Perhaps our treatment of immigrants will be criticized, or of the environment, or animals, or even the way we deal with foreign countries. But who knows what will happen?

4:32 PM  
Blogger KristinC said...

I totally agree with what Tori said. Freedom should be something we all have but because it is inherited it becomes misused. Nowadays people don't even care to vote and take advantage of the civil liberites that they have "inherited." I believe that you can never truly appreciate something if you've never experienced its enemy. Frederick Douglass fully appreciates his freedom because he was once a slave. You always appreciate something more if you have to work for it. A grade doesn't mean anything unless you leanred the material. Same with freedom, we'll never fully understand and take advantage of freedom becuase we've always had it.

4:32 PM  
Blogger allison n said...

I agree with Olivia on whether freedom is inherited or gained. I believe that currently yes, it is inherited, but it would not be this way if our founding fathers hadn't fought for it. As for the second question, there is so much happening today where people will hopefully look back is and think, "Wuh?!" I'd like to think that people will become tolerant and accepting of homosexuality, and there won't be as much religious focus on the issue, as it is already falling apart with scandals regarding Ted Haggard and others. The genocide in Sudan could also be another event because it's turning into a second Holocaust. But that’s only two; the problems are almost endless.

4:38 PM  
Blogger brianc said...

I believe that freedom is gained more than inherited. This doesn't necessarily mean that we gained it for ourselves, but somebody had to gain it for us. It is our job in respect to them to use that freedom as best is can be and to take advantage of all the privleges that it provides. We must do this because it is likely that someday we will have to fight for a freedom that is not ours. Whether it is that of a poorer and oppressed country, or that of our children. We must fight for the freedom that we have, for as it is said, "freedom is not free". We must gain it and earn it and only then will we truly appreciate it.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Andie R said...

I think it depends on what freedoms are being discussed on whether they are inherited or gained. Certain freedoms, like speech, etc., are inherited. However, I agree completely with Allison on the issues of religion and homosexuality. Currently they are not free because of the discrimination and lack of legal rights. These are freedoms that need to be gained. I hope that will be changed and people 100 years from now will look on that debate as ridiculous and they will probably wonder why there was so much focus on this and not on the numerous genocides and conflicts occurring around the globe. There was no intervention in the Rwandan genocide, and it seems that the genocide in Sudan will also go on without somebody stepping in. Allison made a reference to the "2nd Holocaust" and that may be where it is heading. We don't know how much worse it can get or how far it will progress, but now is the time to act before it has the chance to be a second Holocaust. What good are the lessons learned from the first Holocaust if they are not applied in order to prevent these things from happening ever again?

8:04 PM  
Blogger LindsayS said...

I think that freedom has to be gained. I see the view that freedom can be both but overall I think that our freedom, while inherited to most of our generation, was not just handed over on asilver platter. Our ancestors had to fight for our freedom and rights. Today some people are still fighting for the right to have freedom and be treated equal.

8:04 PM  
Blogger nicci c said...

I think that freedom is gained. Though someone can certainley be born into freedom and inherit it, they still have to work to maintain the right to be free. Everybody must work to be free of their own causes or they will be shut down. Also, for the second question, I think people will definitely look back and think that some of the stuff we have done is unbelievable. All of the racisms we hold towards people and how we have treated certain members of society will most likely be held against too.

8:09 PM  
Blogger katie_r said...

I believe that freedom must be gained. However, once it is gained, I do not believe that it is just inherited, I believe that it must be continually gained throughout life. We have certain freedoms because our ancestors fought for them, but if we misused them, or didn't care enough, who's to say that our country would still be free? If we didn't care, it could easily be taken over by a dictatorship. So in order to continually gain our freedom, we must want to have it, and respect it, and not just abuse our privileges. It is like when you're finally old enough, that your parents let you pierce your ears, or get a cell phone, or a new car... You finally have those things, but in order to keep from having them taken away, you have certain obligations everyday.

When people look back 100 years from now, I am sure they will ask questions like that, like we do now. Because people's thoughts and the way they picture life and, for example, the way they view the different values of people, are always changing, and each generation changes the thinking a little bit more than the previous. So they would not be able to understand the thinking of someone a century earlier, unless they were able to talk to that person and ask them questions.

9:00 PM  
Blogger christineT said...

I agree with the idea that freedom is gained, not inherited. Throughout the history of mankind, in revolutions, rebellions, and wars, freedom is gained. In the American revolution, the colonists were not free, they were taxed by the government that ruled them, the government thousands of miles away. They fought for their freedom and their rights as anyone can. Anyone can start their own revolution or rebellion if they think that something is unjust or unfair. In the class discussion of the "trick" Kakos played on last years sophomores, they told us about the rebellion they would lead, leaving school early. You can see it in the annual senior class sit-ins (which no longer have a point, but at one time did have a purpose), it just takes one leader, it only takes one person to make a difference.
I disagree with Katie R on that the future generations of America will not understand our thinking. Fredrick Douglass was a previous generation to us, but we are understanding his thinking, and not talking to him. If we just look at history, and literature written, we can understand what they thought and how they reacted.
100 years from now, I think it is impossible to predict what people will think about this. I think they will learn about it in history, but it will have happened much longer time ago then now. But I do think that if they study it, and think about it, they will be able to relate it to the civil disobedience of their time. But again, I think that it is impossible to tell what will happen in the future, the slave owners did not predict that the slaves would eventually obtain complete freedom when they brought them to America, and we could not predict that the World Trade Centers would be hit, by two planes. We can just try to relate the thinking of ourselves to people of the future because their human brain will still think similarly to ours.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Aubry P. said...

Some people have said that we have to gain our freedom. For people born in America, that is not true. We did nothing. Others do have to fight for it and so I would say that it is either inherited or gained if the individual is willing to fight for it.

If people are going to fight for freedom, they must know slavery. To truly know light, you first must know darkness. We appreciate our freedom because we see what is going on in other countries. People in other countries will continue to strive for freedom because they see what we have. Would freedom be as great if everyone had it? What would the world be like if everyone was free?

11:17 PM  
Blogger corey c said...

I agree with a lot of the people who say we often take our freedom for granted. We have been talking about how we take it for granted and that in the future we may look back and hope we didn't take it for granted. Well, if you're worried about it why don't you just start valuing it? If you are worried about not helping others then help, if you are worried about looking back at bad decisions then make good decisions, if you think you will look back and be ashamed then CHANGE. We act as if these things already happened, we need to realize that they haven't, if we want to look from the future with pride then start changing, even just a little bit.

In response to the main question: There is always something to be ashamed of, but to me letting go of your faults and changing yourself shows the true courage. Forgiving yourself of what you have done is far better then remorse, it means you face what you do, and dismiss it by changing how you act. We will of course have things in our past we wish we have changed, but we need to realize that these things help us grow, overcoming our faults shows the courage and strength. If you are concerned about what you will think in the future, then do things you will be proud of.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Thomas_N said...

I agree with Ryan that freedom can be inherited and gained. For some people their freedom needs to be gained even if it means risking their own life. Currently freedom is inherited in America and no one really has to earn it but they should definitely be thankful that past generations had to earn it. In 100 years from now there are definitely going to be people saying why did we do that? or why was that necessary? It is very hard to say what people will people regretting in 100 years since in the present most things seem necessary. There are only a couple things that I could probably justify for why people would be saying why would they do that. This includes the genocide in Rwanda and other parts of Africa. Even now just 10 years later some people say why did we not help out in Eastern Europe when genocide was occurring and people wanted their freedom.

9:26 AM  
Blogger rbeckett said...

I believe that freedom should be gained and not inherited. Having to work to gain freedom makes it all the more meaningful. When freedom is inherited, it is taken for granted. In the next 100 years I do think that poeple will look back and criticize some of our problems, but not to the extent of slavery. While current social injustices do exist, the human rights violations of slavery far exceeds the ones today, even by the future's standards.

12:18 PM  

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