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Fundamental Differences: A Response to Fear Shakthi Visagan
Transcript of Fundamental Differences: A Response to Fear Shakthi Visagan
Americans were afraid on an attack of civil liberties as the own American government took away their freedoms in exchange for security.
Snowden, a civilian of the United States acted out against the NSA and released information about the massive loos of liberty: "I can't in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building" (Yan)
The Cold War and
The Security Scandal
Responsibilities of American Citizenship
Seeing communism as a threat to the American way of life forced people like Ganus to take the civil duty of protecting and safeguarding American ideals into his own hands.
However, the threat of communism was more of a ideological harm than a physical one. Ganus believes that promoting the idea of capitalism and democracy in the face of growing communism was one infalliable way of controlling the spread.
Fear and Trembling
The American Adventure:
Responsibilities of American Citizenship
by Clifton L. Ganus Jr.
A RESPONSE TO FEAR
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Truman, Harry S. "President Truman's Message to Congress." 80th Congress, 1st Session. House of Representatives, Washington D.C. 12 Mar. 1947. Speech.
"How Homophobic Are You?" PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/etc/quiz.html>.
The American Adventure: Responsibilities of American Citizenship. By Clifton L. Ganus, Jr. Perf. Clifton L. Ganus Jr. and Educated Responsible American Students. Harding College, n.d. Film. <
Harding College. "Make Mine Freedom." Cartoon. Ed. John Sutherland. YouTube. YouTube, 27 June 2006. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
Luce, Henry R. "The American Century." LIFE Magazine 2nd ser. 23 (1941): n. pag. Information Clearing House. Blackwell Publishers. Web. 23 Feb. 2014. <http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article6139.htm>.
Schone, Marck. "War on Anonymous: British Spies Attacked Hackers, Snowden Docs Show." NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2014. <http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/war-anonymous-british-spies-attacked-hackers-snowden-docs-show-n21361>.
Yan, Barbara Starr and Holly, CNNs Matt Smith, and Holly Yan. "Man behind NSA Leaks Says He Did It to Safeguard Privacy, Liberty." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 26 Feb. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/10/politics/edward-snowden-profile/>.
"Make Mine Freedom"
created by the Extension Department of Harding College, hoping "to create a deeper understanding of what has made America the finest place to live."
A John Sutherland Production
Make Mine Freedom
The film starts with note saying that this film itself was "one of a series of films produced by the Extension Department of Harding College to create a deeper understanding of what has made America the finest place in the world to live" (Harding College).
In a time of fear of communism, people had to make sure that American capitalism and democracy was and always will be better than communism.
America's fear of Communism
America was terrorized by communism because of the fundamentally divergent principles it stood for. The policies of communism completely opposed the liberties and freedoms upheld by democracy and could shatter the cherished and glorious American Dream. To sustain democracy's lead in the race of ideology and to maintain the survival of the American Dream in the face of growing communism, America tries to bolster democracy to remind people that true freedom and greatness comes from having a free and capitalistic society.
In the course of history, there have been numerous events that bring out the most fundamental of emotions in humanity. Of these emotions, fear seems to be the most prevalent and dynamic. Fear, like many other human responses, is irregular in that it is an impetus that works in both opposite directions. It can be both productive and destructive, rational and irrational, deadly and revitalizing. In the Cold War, America exhibited such a fear, terrorized by the Soviet Union and almost everything it stood for, most importantly communism.
There is a constant corroboration of capitalism in the film and a just as constant degradation of communism. The civilian states that communism was a way for enemies to "rob us of our freedom, to destroy our very lives" (Harding). America saw their existing lives as normal and peaceful and anything so different meant that it was harmful. Prior to the fear, there was very little action taken domestically to inhibit the spread of communism, but ever since a threat to democracy and the American Dream was proposed, America began to safeguard its ideals. It was afraid of losing a legacy of 160 years of freedom and liberty and would try harder than ever before to maintain the superiority of democracy.
Defining Communism with Respect to Democracy
Ganus introduces his argument by noting communism was a threat to the American way of life and it becomes the utmost responsibility of a civilian to be educated about the greatness of democracy and the malevolence of communism.
Ganus then shows that communism knocks over democracy because of the fundamental differences between the two ideologies.
Communism is a godless belief, and as shown in Ganus' definition of America and capitalism, America is based on a fundamental belief in God.
However, he makes sure to note that although there are wide disparities between the two ideologies, America's is one that has provided success, happiness, and greatness for over 160 years.
Although America always had a pride in their legacy, Ganus reinvigorates this and makes it a civilian priority to be proud of everything America stands for.
Ganus concludes that the goal of communists was to shatter the American way of life, the American dream. He keeps reiterating how completely opposite communism is compared to American ideology and how the ideals of communism were encroaching upon free and American land. In fear of the collapse American society and the ideals it stands for, Ganus tries to bolster American democracy at home and asks civilians to fight communism through their pride and faith in the American dream. It is important to note, however, that prior to this fear, there was very little mention about having faith in America's legacy and beliefs.
In the coming years of the war, America was stricken by terror, afraid of what an unknown and rising power The public was faced with something so fundamentally and ideologically different, that the fear itself came to influence America's actions and decisions. It responded by trying to reinforce the ideals of democracy and its superiority over communism.
However, this fear and its accompanied response is not only limited to the period of the Cold War, but can be examined in modern times too. A similar fear, one born out of coming face to face with something fundamentally divergent, can be seen in some of the American public's reaction to the NSA and the current security scandal. In both situations, America pushed itself to do abnormal things hoping to maintain an apparent order and peace that exist before the said dissidence, be it communism or a loss of security. The likeness between the fears and the reactions to such fears essentially tell us something of the American condition in general.
The introduction of the video examines parts of the stereotypical American Dream, where people live their ordinary,yet happy, content, and complacent lives. Life is good for these Americans because America offers opportunity, freedom, and liberties. Such ideals is what has "made America strong" (Harding College).
Not mentioned in the video, however, are that the ideals aforementioned such as the freedom to work anywhere, freedom to vote, and having the ability to worship God are ideals absent in communism. Communism was known for its labor-less, classless, and godless society and the narrator tries to make a point that American greatness comes from these liberties while other ideologies cannot warrant or facilitate such success.
The film then shows a class warfare occurring and highlights this as a consequence of imperfect capitalism. However,a stranger approaches them selling to them an ISM, short and sarcastic remark for any non-democratic, unfree state of government such as MarxISM, SocialISM, and CommunISM. The salesman offers ISM as a drink, hence the name of the cartoon, "Make Mine Freedom," comes from ordering a drink of freedom, as opposed to an ISM. The stranger offers that ISM brings a utopia just at the price of a penny, their loyalty, and ultimately, the loss of their liberties.
The civilian states that the capitalistic system and the liberties America provides to its citizens, are what makes America and its citizens great. The anecdote of the man using his ingenuity, his dream, and his opportunity to dream shows how well American capitalism is beneficial for not only him but for the many other Americans that he influences. The drink of ISM seems to be utopian, but the drink of freedom, which America has been ever providing has and always will be free and plentiful.
Such sentiment only arises when America is stricken with great fear, like that of Pearl Harbor or like Henry R Luce when he states that "we Americans are unhappy...We are nervous - or gloomy...we are confused" (Luce). The American public, in times of trepidation, is almost always asked to fall upon its ideals and faiths.They are asked to corroborate the views of Democracy and to match their actions to that of the Founding Fathers and act in their civil duty through and through. Fear, more often than not, becomes that sobering reminder to Americans of what America really is. Before fear attacks, America is the malt shop to the seventeen year old kid, the front porch for Grandpa, Church for mother, and golf for father (Harding). But when fear does set in, America and America's leaders are reminded that she is capitalism, democracy, and most importantly freedom.
Modern Connection: National Security Agency
America was terrorized by the NSA because of the fundamentally divergent principles it stood for. The policies of the National Security Agency completely opposed the liberties and freedoms upheld by democracy. To sustain democracy in the face of fear of losing liberty, an American civilian, Edward Snowden and the rest of America tries to remind people that true freedom and greatness comes from having a free and capitalistic society.
In the Cold War, communism was found only abroad, in places like the USSR and its satellite countries. However, in the age of the Security scandal, the dissident is present at home. The harm to the American way of life was not growing, it was already at its full extent.
The US had to come face to face with the fact that those ordained to uphold the ideals of democracy were the ones acting directly against them.
However, like the response to Communism, many people today are trying to re-investigate the ideals on which America stands for, the fundamental ideology.
Like the revolutionists and the founding fathers who created this country, many have taken it upon their own hands to fight back against this apparent and unlawful abuse of their rights. They "charge the government with overkill, saying that such actions were unnecessary and superfluous. America has preserved liberty and privacy in the face of threats far greater than terrorism has so far posed (based on the number of people actually killed in terrorist attacks), and we've been better off for it. Many more people have died to harms like those of diabetes and guns, but America has failed to make any legislation in those areas because they know of liberties that would take away from citizens. So why focus terrorists?" (Schone).
To Americans today, freedom was having a privacy and they, like the civilians of the Cold War, would empassion themselves with the ideals it stood for to stay strong in the face of opposing malevolence.
The evident similarities of America's response concerning the disparity in ideologies of democracy and communism, and democracy and the NSA show something remarkable about America when under great pressure and fear.
When fear arises, and a threat to the American way of life is apparent and seemingly inevitable, America retreats to the past and to the fundamental and seeks for answers in its origin and at its base. Therein lies what America means to every American citizen, freedom, and the undying hope that America will succeed.