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1984 Deep Thought (For Willow Canyon High School)
IP: 24.251.125.206


For my “Deep Thoughts” I chose the first option, which reads: “Those who would exchange freedom for security deserve neither.” I disagreed with this, for several reasons, mostly risen from personal moral philosophy. It does, however, require a few qualifications. I do not think anyone “deserves” anything at all, for there is nothing we can ever do to truly earn anything, except, possibly, the good opinions of others, sometimes erroneously termed as “respect”.

However, that is not to say that necessary requirements, even abstract ones such as love and genuine respect for humanity ought to be denied to those who have done nothing to purchase or otherwise earn them. We are human, we are in the same predicament as our fellows, and it is not to us to be arbiters about who ought to receive and who ought not. I would go so far as to assert that a society that is full of people who think that they may all be each other’s judge is a corrupt society indeed. We should instead grant others good things as we ourselves have been granted good things, deserving or not. It has been said that we are to give because we have been given much.

Furthermore, where does one draw the line at what an individual is deserving of, and what needs to be taken away? Does it cease at abstract concepts such as freedom, or does it extend to things such as physical objects, such as food, and possessions, and then stop? Or will someone eventually bring it upon themselves to decide that others are simply undeserving of life? And what standard shall we measure others against. We measure a law against our constitution, we measure students by their grades, but how does one measure a man, especially when every man is flawed in some way or another? Do we measure against ourselves? No, because we ourselves are flawed. Do we measure against the average? How can we, if the average is made up of many flawed things. When has one flaw become perfect when added to many others?

Perhaps it is best then, to leave the judging of what a man is deserving of to God. As for us, we should worry about our own faults and problems, and help out fellow men where we can. Many will give up freedom for security, and many more will give up security for freedom. Who are we to decide who deserves them, or to take it away if we find them unworthy? We are not impartial judges, and I doubt we shall ever be, for we judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions. We can never judge someone else fairly while we deceive ourselves about our goodness, our deservingness. I know I cannot decide who deserves what, so I will not ever be the first to cast the stone, because I am not without fault myself, and I never will be.

So, by the opposite side of the coin, everyone is equally deserving, that is, not at all. Yes, governments are appointed to govern us, but they are made up of flawed people ruling a flawed people by idealized rules. And so, if one flawed person gets freedom, which he would sooner die than part with regardless of the security that is there to protect it, should not his equally flawed neighbor, who is nestled in his safe little cocoon of life, also get freedom to do as he chooses, even if that choice is to give it away for more security in life? I cannot decide, can you?


Joshua Shelton
Willow Canyon High School

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