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What is the Nature of the Liberty Desire in Singapore? Essay

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“Give me liberty, or give me Death!”
The famous cry to arms during the Revolutionary War of America has come a long way. All over the world people use adaptations of it in their bid for liberty in various forms. Scientists repressed by the Catholic Church before the Enlightenment cried ‘Tribuo mihi Licentia!’ to their captors, while the Spanish War yielded the Spanish adaptation, “Viva la Libertad”! But in each and every situation in which the word ‘liberty’ was uttered, its meaning adapts to suit a new context like the flow of water meeting a new obstacle. So what is the nature of liberty from the perspective of Authoritarian city-state Singapore?
In a country the size of Singapore, radical variations in style, culture, and preferences are few and far in between. As such, many of the different areas in which liberty can usually be applied to in places such as America may not be applicable in Singapore. Take religion for example. In America, more than 80% of the people are Christians. However, only about 15% of Singaporeans subscribe to Christianity. As such, there are fewer representatives of different groups of people, and some groups may be rendered obsolete or underrepresented and its committed form of liberty may be too minor to be considered a major form. Hence in this context, personal liberty, social liberty, and political liberty will be the main forms of liberty canvassed.
Personal liberty here can be defined as man’s freedom to act as he pleases as long as it affects only himself. As such, the nature of personal liberty in Singapore is largely a given for any individual. Singaporeans are free to do as they wished so long as the authorities ‘don’t know about it’. This may be true for any democratic country or pers...


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...y and norm for some governments to enforce their policies with force. They must keep in mind though, that compulsion cannot produce virtue; it can only produce the outward semblance of virtue. In the end, the people still have to be educated so that they possess the means to think and decide for themselves. In the meantime, some aspects of their liberty may have to be put on hold. We can thus see that liberty is not meant to be an end but only a means to allow reason to rule. The nature of liberty then is the freedom to act rationally. So is it worth the bloodshed and struggle to obtain it? Patrick Henry seems to think so, and perhaps his famous words may enlighten us on the reason why:
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"


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