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In 1948, the United Nations created the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Three important rights that were formulated in this statement are right to dignity for all people, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.
We gain a sense of how important these rights are when we see examples of their violation. For instance, the South African system of apartheid severely limited economic opportunities for black people, robbed them of their land and resources and ultimately their dignity. The result was numerous black uprisings and protests that were quelled with violence and suppressed with imprisonment of blacks. One can see how this system could have engendered painful feelings of inferiority, anger and a lack of racial identity amongst blacks.
In 1989, students in communist China pushed for democracy. The Chinese government sent tanks and troops to brutally quash the assembly and demonstration of these students in Tiananmen Square in China's capital. In order for a group to coalesce around an idea that will be beneficial to the group and to the larger population, it is often necessary for people to meet in groups.
In the Darfur region of Sudan black Christians faced extermination by Arabs during 2004-2005. Being persecuted in this manner for one's religion can lead to a culture of fear and also frustration at not being able to practice or worship what one believes.
Different people can have different opinions about this question. If you think that you are supposed to give a specific answer, you should look it up in your text or your class notes. Your instructor may have a different view of this question than we do. That said, here are three rights that are, in my mind, important for the growth of each individual.
- Freedom of speech.
- Freedom of religion.
- Freedom of the press.
In order for individuals to grow as people, they need to learn how to think and act for themselves. The rights listed above help allow this to happen. When there is freedom of the press in a society, people are exposed to information. They are allowed to get any information they want, not just what the government wants them to see or hear. This helps them to form their own opinions about various topics.
The freedom of speech and the freedom of religion allow people to form their own opinions and to express those opinions. As with freedom of the press, these two freedoms allow people to be exposed to more information. People get to hear other people’s political opinions and they get to hear about other people’s religious beliefs. They can think about what they hear and form their own opinions. Once they have formed these opinions, they can use these rights to express themselves. They can worship in whatever way they want and they can share their opinions on all topics with others.
People cannot grow as much as they should unless they are allowed to think for themselves and express themselves. Therefore, the three rights listed above are important for the personal growth of each individual.
The simplest of answers tend to be the best. The three rights that can grow an individual come directly from the philosophy of John Locke and in the context of the United States’ Declaration of Independence. The second paragraph of Jefferson’s draft denotes that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their created with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are, Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness.” The founders believed that all rights that would eventually make it into the Bill of Rights of the United States constitution derived from the Natural rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. While it can certainly be argued that the question itself is highly opinionated on what ‘rights’ are important. It can be argued that without the right to Life all other arguments are meaningless. It’s great that freedom of speech, religion and press are great ideas but without a person being secure in their right to life tyrannical powers can easily end life. The right to liberty is important in securing one self and self-exercise of contractual rights and the ability to do what makes a person happy is highly valuable. A person can only grow to their full potential if they feel that their lives will not be in jeopardy, that their liberty cannot be extinguished and what they feel makes them happy is not constrained. The problem with the natural right of Happiness that can easily have this counter argument (But doing [insert illegal act] is my form of happiness therefore as a person I cannot grow). The easy argument against the counter is within reason of yourself and society. Just because one person believes doing item, X is fun while society as a whole generally believes it’s not does a equal to removal of this right. Excessiveness is not a right, because eventually someone would be hurt by that excessiveness. People only grow knowing that these rights are secured and acknowledge moderation (for pursuit of Happiness).
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