I watched the Marvel spectacular that was Captain America: The Winter Soldier the day after it was released and it posed a question that has plagued me since. If you were guaranteed protection would you give up your freedom?
*Spoilers* Shield are in cahoots with Hydra and are designing drone planes that would permanently hover in the air (with a little help from Tony Stark) and eliminate any potential ‘threat’. These threats are worked out by a formula using peoples past in order to judge whether they pose a credible threat or not – if they do then they are eliminated. Captain America disputes this stating that it is not freedom but fear that will control people.
This got me thinking about which I would prefer to live in: an isolated area with guards protecting you and taking out any potential threats or having freedom at its own risk? I am not talking about a flawed judgement system as in Marvel where the threat is determined through past tests, behavioural psychology and the person’s personal history. I am talking about the sort of control you would have in institutions, prison, hospitals and other controlled environments.
Freedom does come with its own risks. It does mean that people can commit crimes and act in a way that society disagrees with but, it also gives you the opportunity to make your own fate, as said by the American Revolution during the War of Independence ‘Give me liberty or give me death’.
I have an unhealthy fear of being attacked which stems from an addiction to horror of all kinds. I lock all my doors as soon as I am in my flat, view all people as potential threats and spend a lot of my time jumping at any noise that I do not recognise. I wasn’t always like this; infact I was a nightmare growing up as nothing was seen as a threat to me; I went missing before as a girl about my age (I was five at the time) wanted to show me her new pet rats and my brother stopped me taking ‘painkillers’ from a man who I thought at the time was trying to be nice and stop my headache.
All this being said, I do not think I could live in a world where I am monitored constantly. As I reached an age where I was going out on my own; my mum taught me the basics on how to be street wise. We are protected throughout our life by agents of socialisation. These people affect an individual directly i.e. family, school, peer group and the media. These can act individually or as a group to sculpt how a person sees, thinks and interacts with the world. The mother who ensures that you know about stranger danger, the school trips to ‘Hazard Alley’ to teach you about dark alleys, unmarked cabs and your friends who tell you to not go off with the friend you just made on a night out.
The sculpting is not always this apparent, infact it can be immensely subtle so that you don’t know that this is happening. I have recently moved in with my other half and things that my mother used to do and say have clearly come with me despite the fact that I do not remember ever being told to act this way – my brother is different in many ways but we have redeeming qualities that are the same – these must come from our upbringing.
As a Journalist first and blogger second I have to argue both sides of this question, to be honest there are aspects of complete control that I find appealing. The idea of structure and discipline does seem like a good way to live – especially in a world of complete uncertainty. I watch the news with growing concern over the world’s actions and their apparent growing hate towards each other.
The idea of repression as a way of life is sobering and, with history as one big casebook, rebellions will happen as people do not like living under strict rule. But if this was done right and in a way where it looked more like a leadership and less like a dictatorship would this not be ok?
I am not defining control as the extremes of District 13 in Hunger Games: Catching Fire with guards everywhere, running people out of town and whipping those that are disobedient or that of Enemy of the State where they bug every piece of technology you have but maybe a little stricter than we currently have.
I am thinking more living through societal rules that are then re-enforced by law and government. Some of you will argue that this is what we have now: the judicial system, but when it is not enforced as much as it should be, is it really something we have?
People get away with crime a lot; I have experienced this first hand as my brother’s attacker got away with putting him in a coma due to their not being enough evidence, but with proper governmental control – would this still happen? With all the money thrown at pointless schemes that then fizzle out or (supposedly) used to fix our roads, could we not spare some money to increase security! More CCTV and monitoring so that, if a crime is committed, we know we can catch the person who did it in the act so we can convict them. Once convicted, there should be strict sentences that do not differ i.e. Murder is Murder no matter how many you killed, you would get the maximum punishment either way.
What do you think- Would you like more security or more freedom?