Americans have a delicate balance between individual freedom and the authority that governs them (Larabee, 1962). Personal freedom is valued above all else. Under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Freedom of expression is considered a human right, and therefore it is constitutionally protected (Stephenson, 2018). Everyone has the right to freely express themselves without government interference and receive and share information through any media.
The Relationship between Individuals and Their Governments
The absence of a government or failure in its operations would damage its relationship with individuals. An ideal government is responsible for providing social services, order and security to individuals while also guaranteeing the rule of law, justice, and equal treatment. The fulfillment of these roles would enable the government to avoid interference with individual autonomy or freedom because the government should grant everyone a chance to achieve self-realization with minimal challenges. The government’s sole purpose in interfering with individual freedom is to prevent harm to others. Therefore, the relationship between individuals and their government becomes reciprocal. Citizens take advantage of the freedoms and rights guaranteed to them while also accepting their share of responsibilities to the government.
Freedom of Speech and the Social Contract Theory
Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau considered the relationship between people and their governments and social institutions in terms of social contract theory (Crawford, 2020). Thomas Hobbes’s social contract theory suggests that whenever a person does what is expected, they are safe, since they are not violating the social contract. On the other hand, John Locke’s theory suggests that people have the right to life and property protection. Therefore, violation of the social contract would contribute to a state war with fellow countrymen. Lastly, Jean-Jacques Rousseau described toe features of society which include; political authority not being based on force and that man lacks innate sociability, meaning the society is not a natural occurrence.
The advantage of the social contract theories is that they call for a harmonious community where an individual treads carefully on the rights of others. The social contract theories relate to the freedom of speech because it allows an individual the right to broadcast his opinions without racially insulting his counterpart. An individual can sue if his neighbor is slandering him without evidence (Crawford, 2020). The authority will have protected the liberty of life while restricting the freedom of free speech. The government is careful to create boundaries and promote fairness and equality under the freedom of speech.
The disadvantage of the social contract theories is the government has too much power control. The social contract theories relate to freedom of speech because free speech standards change as society changes. U.S law recognizes the restrictions to freedom of expression, including obscene language, fraud, harassment, hate speech, threats, copyright laws, and child pornography. The social contract binds the physical freedom, but citizens gain civil privilege. However, the phrase freedom of speech has been distorted, misused, and used to defend against hateful comments and improper labeling.
The U.S constitution as a contemporary issue is an example of the application of social contract theories. It underlines what the government should or should not do. Unites States of America residents agree that the moral and political obligations present in the Constitution’s social construct should govern them.
The continuing tension between individual rights and the authority that governs them is still high. Speech is not free from government regulation. Freedom without authority is not tolerable in the demand of social order, for it teaches self-control that promotes a person’s relationship with his neighbor (Stephenson, 2018). Civil freedom comes with social contracts and civil society. Society agrees to live by a set of rules and look out for one another for the common good of all.
Larabee, L. W. (1962). The papers of Benjamin Franklin. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Stephenson, R. (2018). Restoring Accountability in Freedom of Expression Theory: Public Libel Law and Radical Whig Ideology. Osgoode Hall LJ, 56, 17.
Crawford, C. (2020). Access to Justice for Collective and Diffuse Rights: Theoretical Challenges and Opportunities for Social Contract Theory. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 27(1), 59-86.
Freedom Of Information Act Writing Sample
The core purpose of this case was to check on how easy it would be when accessing the information on the hygiene standards of eating places that are open to the public. Through the Freedom of information Act 2000, all food places in South Wales had been required to provide information regarding their eating joints. This information would be assessed to determine how useful it would be for an individual who needs to get information about the food joints.
On occasion, one local authority refused to disclose the information despite intervention by the Freedom of information Act Commissioner. The information released was variable because it was through inspection of and a written report that was incomplete, illegible. The reports from the food joints failed to give clear information involving the food place. Through the inspection period of the food places, the commissioner of the FOI Act appeared through the retail sellers of food where there is a high likelihood of consumption of food. They collected data from the retailers through the questionnaires conducted orally. (Sheffner, 2020). Some retailers seem to be biased to release the information about the hygiene requirements about the food they cook, hence making it hard for the researchers from the regulatory authority to get accurate information that would be reliable. Following the above challenge of inaccurate information from the food retailers, the FOI Act commissioner had to change its collecting data and collecting samples from the real consumers. They have had a chance of consuming food there.
The researchers used face-to-face questioning techniques and observation to obtain data about food hygiene. For them to get accurate information about food hygiene, they carried some food samples, which were to be examined to ascertain that the food joint was maintaining hygiene standards. From the information they gathered, they noticed that most consumers said that after eating the food from the food place, they developed stomach problems for about 72 hours. Some consumers even provided deeper information where they said that after taking the food, they started developing skin rashes. The researchers visited the nearest hospital to ascertain claims from the consumers about the problems they stated. They were allowed to visit the records with the help of the doctors. The report from the record showed that most people who visited the hospital that month were being diagnosed with stomach problems. Due to the reports released, the Commissioner of FOI Act had to conclude that the food place was acting unprofessionally due to a lack of hygiene standards. In the ruling, it was agreed that the food place should seize its operations.
Another thing that led to its closure is that they were never willing to give information involving hygiene of the food place. The decision from the Commissioner was not accepted because the food place felt that it was an unfair decision. Due to lack of satisfaction, the two parties were now heading to a court of law to seek intervention about the decision made earlier by the FOI Act Commissioner.
The case began at the trial court, where both parties presented their issues. Both the accuser and the defendant had their team of lawyers who were there to represent the interests of their parties. During the case, the regulatory authority was the one to present their allegations against Swazi distributors. (Mizen,2018). The allegations stated that the company had been found acting unethically; hence it was required that they had to give information regarding the procedures and ingredients they use in preparing their meals.
According to FIO Commissioner, some of their products had not met the required standards, so they were considered unhealthy for human consumption. In a situation where the food place does not honour the Freedom of Information Act, it is considered to act against the law. The accusers’ side had allegations that the company was in the process of interfering with the evidence found. In trying to interfere with the evidence, the food place would make it difficult for the court to have the case determined reasonably. Lack of giving out information about hygiene status of the food place was considered unethical. For this reason, the regulatory authority was requesting the court to give out a court order that would ensure the company hands over all the required information.
On the defendant’s side, they were on a tough corner because they had acted against the constitution and were cooking substandard and unhygienic food. In their defence, they said that it was wrong to declare their products harmful because they had acquired all the necessary documentation before starting any activity in the food joint. The food place also said that they were not in a position to give out the information about their cooking procedure because it was to put them at risk of competition with other competitors in the same industry who, in the process, would end up copying them. The defence team also argued that considering their products harmful was an act of malice, and all this was meant to paint a bad picture for them.
After listening to both parties, the court had to make its final decision. The court ruled out that the food place acted against the constitution when they refused to give out information regarding the hygiene status of the food place. According to the ruling by the judge it was agreed that for the Commissioner of FOI Act authority to ascertain that they were maintaining hygiene standards, they must give all the information required so that it can be investigated whether the products are safe or not. In my opinion the decision by the court was appropriate because it had given both parties time to ascertain their truth.
Sheffner, D. J. (2020). The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): A Legal Overview. Congressional Research Service.
Mizen, A. R. (2018). Investigating the impact of GIS modelled daily exposures to the retail food environment on routinely linked child health data.
Fundamental Principles Of Democracy Essay Example For College
Democracy refers to a system of government where laws and policies of a state are directly or indirectly made by individuals who are elected to represent the people. The fundamental principles of democracy include popular sovereignty, whereby people are the cornerstone of the constitution, and Federalism, where power is divided between national and state governments. The separation of power between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches ensures checks and balances as no branch of the government becomes too powerful. The judiciary ensures that laws made by both state and local governments do not violate individual rights.
United States of America constitution and challenges encountered.
Civil liberties in the United States include freedom of religion, as the government has no right whatsoever to interfere with one’s religion of choice. Freedom of speech as everyone is obliged to communicate with relevant institutions and individuals to ensure that they are not discriminated against. Freedom of the press as portrayed by the New York Times versus United States of America government case held in the Supreme Court in 1971. A guarantee to a fair and unbiased trial is also another of the civil liberties exercised in the United States of America.
United States of America citizens also enjoy many civil rights, including voting, a free and fair trial, government services, public education, and the right to use public facilities. These were put in place to protect the minority population, such as the African Americans, from discriminative policies created by government institutions (Christiano & Thomas 2018). Several civil rights struggles are going on right now, including employment discrimination of members of the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender Community (LGBT). Human trafficking, where individuals are transported from their homes to a foreign land to participate in forced labor, and sexual exploitation, is another civil rights challenges Americans face today. The use of excessive force by the police, particularly when dealing with African Americans, and discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace are also some of the challenges being faced by the civil rights community.
The majority rule in the United States of America starts from the electoral process where Congress representatives are elected into the house by most residents of a state. This rule extends to the judiciary, where the supreme court requires the support of at least ten judges out of the total of twelve judges to make a decision. Citizens of the United States of America are encouraged to participate in elections to elect suitable candidates to represent them and their interests. Although the United States of America uses a multi-party system, there are two major political parties, namely the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
There are four hundred and thirty-five elected members from the fifty states into congress, the house of representatives, and one hundred senators. Each state elects two into the senate. Congress members are tasked with making laws that affect citizens’ daily lives and holding hearings to inform the legislative process or conduct investigations to oversee the executive branch. These elected individuals’ primary purpose is to act as the people’s voice from the states.
Individuals who have been convicted of criminal offenses in the United States of America are disenfranchised by suspending and withdrawing their voting rights. It is argued that individuals who have been convicted have broken the social contract, therefore, losing their right to get involved in civil society activities like voting. The electoral college is a process that involves the meeting of electors with the sole purpose of electing the president and the vice president. Approximately five hundred and thirty-eight electors are selected from each state as the District of Columbia is allocated three electors, thus treated as a state. Electors are picked by individuals running for the presidency, forming a group known as a slate. A political party chooses Slates, and their responsibilities vary according to their states of origin (Janda, Kenneth, et .al., 2021)
Protests against police brutality, particularly towards African Americans, have led to the rise of the civil rights movement in some states. Citizens now call an end to the famous “broken windows policing” where police should abandon making arrests for non-violent crimes such as sleeping in parks, looking “suspicious,” and having mental health crises. Law enforcement agencies are also supposed to be regularly evaluated on their mental health to ensure they are in the right state of mind to perform their duties.
The first ten amendments of the United States of America spell out American rights concerning their government. This Bill of rights has made the Citizens of America be named the freest people on earth. These amendments were put in place to ensure the government does not interfere with individual rights, such as expressing one freely to the press—the right to protest against government policies and prevent them from favoring one religion over the other.
Individuals who have been accused of a crime are protected by the sixth amendment of the ten Bill of rights. This amendment indicates that accused individuals have a right to a speedy and public trial involving a fair and reasonable jury not related to the court. This amendment also states that one should be informed of their charges before being arrested. The accused is allowed representation by a lawyer and their witnesses. For one to be indicted, a witness should be presented, and the crime proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The United States of America constitution also protects its citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures of property exempted only in case of national security or risk of public safety.
Christiano, Thomas. The rule of the many: Fundamental issues in democratic theory. Routledge, 2018.
Janda, Kenneth, et al. The challenge of democracy: American government in global politics. Cengage Learning, 2021.