Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Slavery to the American Dream

Our condolences to beautiful Aaliyah and family on the loss of her mother.

Here's a great college paper Aaliyah worked on in our tutoring center:

In this paper I will discuss John Locke’s views on government and society and how they connect with two major problems in the U.S today: our slavery to the American Dream and the hypocrisy of our law makers. Even though Locke was writing in the 17th century, his ideas about society and government can help us with the things that we still struggle with today.

In chapter four, "Of Slavery" Locke says,”The liberty of man, in society, is to be under no other legislative power; but that established, by consent, in the commonwealth; not under the dominion of any will, or restraint of any law, but what that legislative shall enact, according to the trust put in it.” This means that the laws made must be agreed upon by everyone, and we shouldn’t have to follow any other people’s rules.

Once I read this part of the chapter, the first thing that popped into my mind was the American Dream, which is a rule that was made up and that we all did not agree upon. The American Dream is an unrealistic hope of what life your life should look like. For example, that every American family should have a Mom, a Dad who works a high-paying office job, two kids – one boy and one girl – and a big house with a white picket fence and a dog. This is a very hard goal to achieve due to the fact that life has different plans for everyone and certain things happen, like death, that don't allow the American Dream family to be possible.

 The American Dream separates us into two groups, the haves and the have nots. If you are able to obtain the Dream, you are a part of the haves, and if you cannot achieve the Dream, you are a part of the have nots. This allows the haves to feel superior and leaves the have nots feeling inferior. It's a modern way of slavery without the chains and the constant beating.

The government puts out this idea of what the perfect family and life should be so we can work for unobtainable goals to keep us busy enough that we won't be able to see the major issues we face. This allows the government to keep us as slaves without us even noticing. It keeps us doing what they want us to do, which keeps many of us from being truly happy. This isn’t the kind of law that we should follow under Locke’s definition of what the liberty of a man is.

In chapter seven, "Of Political or Civil Society,” Locke describes the difference between slaves and servants. John Locke says about servants, "For a free man makes himself a servant to another, by selling him, for a certain time, the service he undertakes to do, in exchanges for wages he is to receive.” But slaves are people who, “are by the right of nature subjected to the absolute dominion and arbitrary power of their master.” I feel that working for low wages is equal to being a slave.

Some people might say, "What's wrong with someone working and getting paid for the job he or she has done?” The problem is that many people work and don't get paid the right or fair amount of money.

A McDonald’s cashier makes 8 dollars an hour. Some people might not see it as a problem because the cashiers didn’t go to school. However, in America it is impossible to live on 8 dollars an hour. Many of these workers have children, which means they have to rely on sources of public assistance, a form of government help to get by. This is a form of slavery and oppression, because someone working for this amount of money cannot support their family without help, help that can be taken away or changed without warning. This is an example of being under the “arbitrary power of a master.” 

Another thing about this help is that, most of the time, it isn't even enough to really help the person. This is also a way of keeping the have nots from being able to move up the social ladder. If someone with a family working for 8 dollars an hour wants to make more money, they would have to go to school, which would be impossible because of the hours they work. This is just one of the many ways the government keeps the masters as masters and the slaves as slaves.

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