Here is a 1,200 word essay required for my Ethics class describing what I would refuse to do or refuse to stop doing if it meant being executed. Read this if you love me. Enjoy.
Imagine this. You are one among the millions of people in your surroundings. As you glance at each individual passing by, the difference between you and I seems minuscule and everyone looks frighteningly similar. Haircuts are the same, voices are the same monotonous tone, clothing is the same boring color and every face lacks any form of expression. Who are you and why do you live in an environment conducted like this? I refuse to live in a setting without self-expression and if I am forced to live this kind of lifestyle I would rather be executed for moral reasons than live in a society where having the freedom of expression does not exist.
The freedom of expression is an underrated concept and not appreciated and valued to its fullest degree. Living in the United States, Americans have every right to dress the way we want to, eat the foods that make us feel great and listen to any genre of music we appreciate anytime we want. We are not limited to certain rules and restrictions regulated by our government. Across the Pacific Ocean, however, the setting is terrifyingly similar to the society I described in my opening paragraph. North Korea has turned into a Stalinist society of social order and authoritarian state. The government decides what the population in North Korea listens to, watches and reads. The censorship is so outrageous that American journalists are also restricted and limited to the information they collect and share. Individuality does not exist in a social organization like North Korea’s because North Korea abolishes self-expression and originality in their country. Having a higher force control how an individual expresses their thoughts and feelings and not having the ability to have thoughts and feelings to express are equally immoral and wicked limitations.
What makes dying for your right of expression more noble and reasonable than dying for a family member or something you dearly love? I have asked myself this question several times before writing this personal essay, and I would want nothing more than to preserve the practice of self-expression. It is our duty as human beings to protect our spirit and fight for our expression. We would not be who we are without our individuality. How you decide to cut your hair and style your clothes make you stand out from every other individual. We are called individuals for a reason. I am me and I am me because of my originality. I have no hesitation when it comes to making the decision to be executed for this value I hold central in my life. If it came down to making a decision between living as a clone of everyone else or simply not living at all, I would choose death.
One might object my reason for execution over life and may think that living without self-expression can actually benefit society. While living with the freedom to express yourself sounds like an ideal theory for a diversified society, people are unpredictable when they are able to think for themselves and express themselves in whatever way they choose to. Conducting a society of uniformity can give power to the government and could possibly end violence, censor crime and avoid protest. Stripping people away from their freedom of expression also makes monitoring the population easier to do. This type of society would be the ideal society. Whether or not you desire to have the freedom of expression and individuality is actually a form of self-expression. Living in a regime like North Korea, or any other country who limits their population to these standards, you would not be allowed to desire anything at all because the regime would desire things for you. Under these circumstances North Korea is doing just fine, right?
Being a leader and not a follower means refraining from acting in a way you believe to be morally wrong. I love getting dressed up and styling my hair synonymous with my mood. I love telling someone I favor or disagree with their opinion. I love sharing what I think is morally right and justifiable. Not having the ability to express myself in ways like these would be degrading to myself and against my morals. I would be lost without my identity and I refuse to take part in a civilization where the majority of beings cannot identify themselves. My goal is not to be killed. My goal is to live a life of self-expression, but if there comes a point in time where I cannot fulfill this goal then I will beg for execution.
Having the freedom to express oneself is the core of our existence. It gives us the right to make our own decisions, whether good or bad, and learn from the consequences of our decisions. How else is there supposed to be human development? I believe in the value and enrichment of individuality. According to Marx, “To assert one’s individuality is the vital manifestation of one’s being.” A person’s individuality and self-expression should be held at the highest degree of respect because America is one of the few countries who gives unquestionable freedom to its people. Self-expression is associated with positive concepts such as freedom, individuality, style, self-awareness, courage and spirituality. It individualizes cultures. It is what makes this country a place where different cultures and races form an integrated society. We are at liberty to determine our own existence rather than have it be determined by external forces. Living in a world where we are restricted from determining our own existence would be a world not worth living in.
If I was condemned to death because I wished to express myself and find my essential being I can righteously say it would be a morally justified death. Wanting the freedom of expression is not the same as desiring money or power. The freedom of self-expression should be a guaranteed privilege to everyone, no matter what the color of your skin is or what country you live in. The development of a human increases by discovering himself or herself through their expression. What would be the point of living if it was impossible to be a better person than I was yesterday? If I was stripped away from my rights I would not have the opportunity to develop and enhance my individuality through my interests and experiences.
Furthermore, I would not be able to write this personal essay of my beliefs and moral justifications without the freedom to express myself. The lifestyle of a totalitarian and Stalinist society is unbearable and it is depressing to think these social orders which conserve, maintain and enforce “normal” ways of relating and behaving still exist in a world dedicated to globalization and furthering our development and knowledge. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution grants Americans the freedom of speech, religion, press and assembly for a reason. These are the most important factors of self-expression. Every word I say is mine, not the government’s or some supreme power’s. Self-expression is an important influence to the laws of society and development of human beings. Living a life of uniformity sounds boring and uninspiring. So hang me, poison my body with the venom supplied by the government, but please do not take my freedom to express myself the way I want to.
Music Choice: “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)” – All Time Low This song was actually dedicated to my homework. I’m damned if I do you because I am wasting valuable social time. I am damned if I don’t because then I’ll fail college.