Free Summary: H. L. Mencken's Free Society

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Free Society Essay
As a scholar of German-American english and one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists, H.L. Mencken observed human tendencies that can be translated into modern societies. He wrote “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.” Today, in general freedom and safety come hand in hand, but when both are in jeopardy, only one will succumb. Freedom is attainable anywhere in the United States, there are considerable amounts of laws created to ensure these rights, which is the discrepancy between freedom and safety. In a contemporary society in which freedom is an accustomed right, the common man will unquestionably relinquish any number of these liberties in order to forge an already
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soil. This horrific atrocity wreaked havoc, striking fear into every American’s heart. Sixty years after Pearl Harbor, four planes were hijacked with the intent to end the lives of as many unsuspecting Americans as possible. Before that day in 2001, the idea of terrorism on our land was only a distant and seemingly improbable idea. However that morning on September the eleventh, the sort of fear that oppresses mental, physical and emotional freedom struck nearly every American head-on. With such safety compromised, citizens and government officials were overly eager to set a plan in place to re-establish the lost security. With freedom being such an accustomed concept, civilians were not hesitant to surrender some of those freedoms to regain composure in their lives. Created from 9/11 was the USA PATRIOT act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) which gave the government access into Americans lives, now brought to light as possibly violating the first and fourth amendment rights: prohibiting unreasonable search and seizures and freedoms of speech and association. Opponents to this claim declare these lost liberties “simply calibrated the proper balance between security and liberty in a dangerous world of international terrorism,” but nonetheless revokes liberties. It was this travesty that put Americans in a state of mind to renounce …show more content…
When Mencken asserts his claim that the average man will choose safety over freedom, it can be backed by proven psychologist’s and biologist’s theories. According to Abraham Maslow, the "father of humanistic psychology," there is a hierarchy of needs illustrated by a pyramid that demonstrates the path to self-actualization, and declaring one cannot move to the next tier without fulfilling the previous one. The first tier encompasses physiological needs, which is satisfying biological demands such as hunger and thirst. Next, the second tier is comprised of safety needs, “the need to feel that the world is organized and predictable: the need to feel safe, secure, and stable.” Maslow’s guidelines articulate that without these safety needs met, one cannot feel belongingness, love, nor freedom found in the next tier. Even if there is no physical threat of safety, the need for security will always present itself before the need of freedom. Further demonstrated, according to the biological science behind fear, when a human feels threatened or unsafe, the body will react by enhancing the nervous system and diminishing any bodily functions that does not pertain to survival. This heightened state is only healthy for a precise amount of time. In order to feel safe again, it is vital to release the panicked energy imprisoned in our

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