In the debate about whether protecting individual liberties is of greater importance than protecting society, I believe that individual liberties is the greater of the two. Without individualism what is society? It is simply a mass of people who have no sense of oneself or uniqueness. Dissecting the definition of democracy and tying it into idea of individualism can support this opinion. There are also many cases where individual liberties were threatened yet came out victorious. With these cases, the definition of democracy and even the bill of rights, we can make a strong argument as to how individual liberties should be our highest priority.
When I say it needs to be our highest priority, I do not mean that we should completely push aside the support of the protection for society. In my view you cannot have a society made up of individuals without the feeling of individualism for each and every member. If you took a society with no sense of self, you get communism. Everyone is equal; there are no unique characteristics that make you different than the others. Much of what I believe is the very ideas of the man who came up with civil liberties. John Locke’s idea was that each “individual is entitled to liberty under the natural law that governed them before they formed societies”. Of course we can look at this and say that it clearly talks about the formation of societies. But in order to maintain and form the society that we know, each
Individual must be entitled to the same liberties. What is this liberty? The basic freedom from restraint, being able to act how you think is appropriate while acting within the laws of nature.
Another approach to the argument is that of democracy and how individual liberties tie into it. When we think about a democratic government we think a government for the people by the people. A government where the people or a majority of the people who vote in some action, decide how the country is ran. If you do as an individual under the democratic government do not have the freedom to express your views and make decisions without the scrutiny of others, then the entire idea of democracy is tarnished. Without the ability to protest, vote, or petition, also known as civil liberties, we would have an illegitimate democracy. Civil liberties can be used in another sense where they diffuse the concerns about governmental power. An example of this is how the government may listen to any given phone conversation at anytime. To many this is an infringement of privacy, but should the government be able to have this power? I think only in certain circumstances should a government be able to do something like this to a citizens. Sometimes civil liberties can refer to the powers that we maybe think an individual should have when he or she is being charged or some sort of punishment brought against them.
When speaking of punishment and the judicial system, we can look back throughout history to a plethora of court cases where civil liberties was the main attraction and in many times the driving force for the defendant against a state ruling. Steven Rosenfield, the author of 8 Civil Liberties Cases Supreme Court Will Tackle in 2013, states that “ Same sex marriage, federal voting authority, race in university admissions, and corporations being sued for over seas abuse as the top 4 areas where civil liberties is threatened in the year 2013.” The main one of focus here being the same sex marriage because based on civil liberties, all citizens should have the choice and not be restrained on whom they marry. However, America is mostly dominated by the Christian faith whose holy word is the Holy Bible. The issue is that in the bible it does state marriage should be only between a man and a woman, this is the argument that will go back and forth for years to come. In my point of view, I may not like the idea but I cannot argue with the basis of what...