Essay on Freedom and Responsibilities

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598 words
Harvey Mudd College
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Human rights and freedoms are key concepts in the study of human history. Indeed, the contemporary societies have been built through progressive debates that focused on equality of human beings, the respect for the fundamental rights, and the position of an individual in all these. A person, as a member of the society, has a responsibility towards his environment, and most important towards the advancement of social interests and the welfare of fellow human beings. Walter Hubert Annenberg, the voice behind A Philosophy of Freedom and Social Responsibility, placed freedom and social responsibility at the center of human existence. He posited that man must first enjoy all his alienable freedoms before he succeeds in life. He also suggested that once a man becomes successful, he ought to strive towards the advancement of his fellow kind. Similar sentiments were aired by Margaret Sanger in 2009. She said that it was her responsibility as a woman to bring peace in homes by raising strong families. This social responsibility, she says, placed her at odds with the police, but she succeeded because she was true to her course. The two social activists spark an important discussion question. Their works point to an observation that pursuing social responsibility may curtail individual freedoms, but how is this so?

Freedom and social responsibility must not only complement each other but must also coexist. Annenberg after his observation of the resilience of man concluded that man must have an area of freedom in which to develop his fullest potentialities, including not only his creative ability but also that insignia of his maturity, social responsibility (Annenberg n.p) Due to political injustices and the evident loss of accountability by the government towards its people, freedom is not easy to come by, and so social responsibility is hampered.

There is an apparent disagreement between what the public gets from the government and the actual needs of the people. Social support and welfare, for instance, needs to come from the government through different programs. However, many families break up under the watch of the authorities who should otherwise prevent them. Sanger notes that she was baffled at the tremendous personal problems of life, of marriage, of living. When she intervened in these problems, she went in and out of police courts and higher courts, meaning that the government did not appreciate her work to the society. Her struggles are evident that social responsibility may at times be traded with an individuals comfort.

Fortunately, after observing the reluctance of the government to serve their interests, the people side with social activists to bring change that is direly needed. Despite facing opposition from the government, Sanger noted that women and mothers whom she wanted to help also wanted to help her (Sanger n.p). She succeeded in her endeavors due to the support she received from women that she eventually convinced to want children before they gave birth to them.

There is evidence that lack of freedom may prevent people from being socially responsible. Although Annenberg places social responsibility next to freedom, Sanger proves that one can be forced to forego the latter in pursuit of the former. Due to the difference in wealth and service distribution among the population, people eventually decide to follow the path that contributes to their social and economic emancipation regardless of the costs involved.

Works Cited

Annenberg, Walter Hubert. "A Philosophy of Freedom and Social Responsibility." This I Believe Inc., 2007. Web. 22 June 2017. <>.

Margaret Sanger. "When Children Are Wanted." This I Believe Inc., 2009. Web. 22 June 2017. <>.

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