Personalfreedom and liberty is an essential aspect of democracy. Every year,several organizations, both state and non state, releases reports onthe state of personal freedom and liberties around the world. Themain focus has been in the countries outside the western blockespecially in nations that are considered less democratic in MiddleEast, Africa and Eastern Europe. There are also instances where somenations and government institutions have been criticized forderailing personal freedoms. Over the years, there has been hugedevelopment in civil rights and freedoms. The civil right era markedone of the most important steps towards a free and just society. Thechanges in law abolished all formal discrimination and segregationagainst individuals based on race, skin color, ethnicity, religion orgender in the United States (Mary, 2012). This acted as precedent inother countries which gradually enacted laws to secure personalfreedom. However, whether the world is freer today, compared to thepast remains a controversial topic.
Theobvious answer would be the world today is freer that it wasyesterday. In the last half a century, there have been numeroussocial and legal changes that have increased personal freedom andliberties. In the past, any young man had a greater chance of beingdrafted in the military. In this regard, the government would forceindividuals against their will to join the military. The blues lawsensured that people were not able to go shopping on Sundays,irrespective of their religious believes. This is because the shopowners were required by law to keep their shops closed on Sunday.Advancement in technologies and personal freedoms has also reducedcensorship in the media. In the past, X-rated films were illegal towatch. Today, censorship of the media is almost inexistence,especially in the internet era. Traveling from one country to anotherwas limited a few decades ago. However, in the modern times,individuals have freedoms to travel from one country to another.Although there are travel documents that are necessary, getting themis not onerous (Mary, 2012).
Inthe modern world, women have more freedom and control over theirreproductive health. In some jurisdiction, abortion has beenlegalized and therefore, women have the freedom to choose whetherthey want a baby or not. Additionally, women can be able to accesscontraceptives and other birth control procedures at will. It is hadto imagine that sometimes back, it was illegal to own goal or gamblein a casino. Today, individuals have the freedom to own anything,including gold coated vehicles. Casinos are also everywhere in thecities. Additionally, recent legislations in some states havelegalized marijuana, where individuals have the freedom to buy andconsume it. Members of the minority groups such as blacks,homosexuals, women and even disabled can argue that the world isfreer compared to the past. Due to the actions of civil rightactivists, civil rights and freedoms in the society or workplaces aresecured. Communication technologies have also increased personalfreedom and liberties. For example, today, individuals cancommunicate freely with other people all over the world, withoutgovernment regulations. The internet and mobile telephony makesborderless and timeless communication, expanding the sphere ofpersonal freedom. These are some of the argument that support theview that personal freedom have expanded compared to the past.
Incidencesand situations that indicate that personal freedom has increased inthe modern society, compared to the past are numerous. However, thereare also incidences that suggest that personal freedoms are moreregulated in the modern society. For example, in the past, there wereno exaggerated security checks when individuals are entering a majorbuilding or traveling. Today, there are numerous security relatedrestrictions, some of which infringe on personal freedoms. Therequirement that all persons and their luggage should be searched canbe viewed as an infringement of personal freedom. In the past, peoplehad the freedom to smoke tobacco. However, in majority of majorcities around the world smoking tobacco is restricted in building andstreets. Also, buildings processes, including residential building isregulated by the government and other local authorities (Mary, 2012).For example, controlled development limits the personal freedom inthe use of personal property. There are also requirement thatindividuals should have health insurance. In the past, individualshad to make choices on health insurance, without being coerced by thegovernment. Other government regulations that limit personal freedomin the modern world include dumping of waste, wearing a seat beltwhen on the road or buying of raw milk or owning a gun.
Inconclusion, the level of personal freedom in a society is anindication of the level of democracy. There are some fundamentalrights and freedoms that should not be infringed by the government orany authority. Although there are controversies, there is no doubtthat personal freedoms have expanded relative to the past. However,personal freedom is not absolute. There are incidences where personalfreedoms are restricted in the modern world due to security or healthconcerns.
Mary,Vandergoot. After freedom : how boomers pursued freedom,questioned virtue, and still search for meaning, Eugene, Or.:Cascade Books. 2012. Print.