Friday, April 5, 2013

It's a Free Country, Isn't It?

I worked in a Jr. High school for almost a year. It's a hard time for those young teens. They are transitioning between being children and teenagers. Wanting respect and freedom.
One girl in particular was having trouble finding the line between right and wrong. She hit another student in the class. I had a little talk with her about what she could and couldn't do.
I told her she couldn't hit people. Her response was, "It's a free country, isn't it? I can do whatever I want!" There wasn't the time, nor was her brain ready for what I wish I could have told her then. So instead I'll tell you now.
Primitive man lived in a tough but simple time. You kill the saber-tooth tiger or it kills you. You find shelter, warmth, food, and water or you die. You procreate or your species goes extinct.
As time went on, brain's developed, skills developed, more inventions were made. Man decided that survival would be easier if it wasn't each man for himself, but that life would be easier and better if they worked together. It started out with men going out in hunting groups, women gathering plants and child rearing.
This worked until man had fights about who was in charge. Who owned what property. Who would get the best meat. Who gets to mate with whom. There was a need for leadership and rules or chaos would break out.
As man organized and refined themselves and their society more, there was the ability for unique skills and a trade based economy. One person farmed, one person hunted, one person made clothes and shoes, etc.... They bartered goods and services, and this went on until the time we have now where the are very specialized jobs because we have a system of money and value.
None of this could exist without rules and laws. For man to work together, live together, exist together, there has to be definite rights and wrongs that are decided as a society and culture. When man started working together they had to lay down some ground rules.
Man said you can't kill someone and stay in our group, it leads to anger and revenge. Man said you can't take other people's property and stay in our group. Man said we need to decide on these rules together, not everyone will be happy with all the rules, but we'll find a compromise where we can all live together in safety and peace. Man said there needs to be consequences for breaking the rules so people will follow them. Man said there needs to be someone to decide the rules and enforce the laws. Man decided a communal vote would be the best way, let the group decide.
Man said you are free to live in our group if you follow these rules and laws. If everyone does what's right then we can all live together peacefully enough. If you break the rules, you can't be part of this group anymore.
This is a basic version of how our society works. Each country, culture, religion, society, and village has their own group with their own rules and laws. If you break the law, then you have to recieve the consequences of your actions. If we didn't have this order, there would be chaos, and we would return to primitive times.
The United States of America has rules and laws, but they aren't as severe in certain areas as other countries. We elect our local leaders, and they help the national government rule the states to maintain peace in our country.
Yes, it is a free country in the respect that we have many liberties that other country's citizens do not have. We can make our lives what we want them to be as long as we do not infringe on other's rights. Yes, you are free to hit the boy next to you, but since that breaks one of society's rules, there are negative consequences. If you want to be part of the group, you have to follow the rules.

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