The determined and successful people of the world fight for what they want or believe in. Freedom is an essential right and therefore, people’s natural instinct is to fight for it. H.L. Mencken is incorrect in stating that the average man does not want to be free but simply wants to be safe. Safety can come with freedom but freedom can not come from safety. The amount of fights, disputes, and wars are proof of the extremes people will go to for their happiness. The key difference between freedom and safety is that equality is associated freedom but not necessarily with safety. People of different ethnicity’s, religions, and gender, fight for their equality and if possible, their independence, knowing that safety will then follow.
Throughout history, there has always been a group of people of a minority, struggling against a large and powerful rest of the nation. There have been countless battles, some with success, many ending in failure. The African American’s struggle is perhaps the best example of the fight for equality. Beginning as slaves, blacks began their fight for freedom. The mistreatment that the whites showed them, encouraged many blacks to look for lives independent from the whites. Blacks usually began by attempting to run away and the violent acts by the whites that followed, served either to punish the blacks for running away or to scare others to not think about leaving. This only strengthened black’s desire to leave. The danger blacks faced at this time convinced them that freedom from the whites would mean safety, the whites were their enemies. Only until more and more whites began to realize that blacks were in inhumane conditions, did equality become a more realistic fight. This struggle began around the 1500’s and continues in the present day. Blacks knew within themselves that the treatment they were receiving was unfair and knew that the only solution was to be liberated, the future of their race depended on safety through freedom.
Similarly, indians were shown brutal treatment and frequently given no real choice in leaving their homelands. Whites believed in manifest destiny and although indians inhabited America first, white gave indians illegitimate decisions to make and more commonly, force. Indians weren’t necessarily looking for freedom, although they too were often victims of slavery. More importantly, their freedom translated into isolation. Like blacks, they knew their safety would come from solitude, land out of white’s hands. The separation of the words, freedom and safety, is critical in truly understanding what each means. Once one truly understands the meaning of each, they will see that no where in each others definition is the other word. Since both are conditions, the relation can simply be implied.
People commonly mistake an adjective for a noun. A word describing another word can easily be pushed together, and substituted for one another. This quote from Ben Franklin exemplifies how people substitute these words for one another but stresses the vast difference between the words-“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” There is also the question, is safety worth giving up for freedom? Since freedom means safety, there is nothing to be sacrificed. Freedom and safety are not necessarily incorrectly placed together, people do not however want safety over freedom.