Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Create Your Own Charter

Our Charter:

Fundamental Freedoms
  • Lifestyle Freedoms
    • Freedom of religion .
    • Freedom of association with any individual or group.
    • Freedom of your individual.
  • Communication Freedoms
    • Freedom of the press.
    • Freedom of other forms of media communication.
    • Freedom of expression.

Government Relations with the People
  • Equal representation in the government between minorities and majorities. (also applies in minority rights).
  • Individuals have the opportunity to have an educated vote in the election
  • Government can be re-elected every 4 years.

Equality Rights
  • Right to be free of discrimination regardless of race, gender, age, religion, culture, sexuality, or any other factor.

Minority Rights
  • Regardless of any factor, if there is a substantial population that requires a service the government is required to provide it.

How we made it:

Our Charter is similar to the Canadian Charter but also slightly different at the same time. If our created charter looks lacking, it is because a) we had some trouble thinking of things that were important to all of us and b) we wanted to create a concise document to exemplify our personal belief in what our ideal charter would contain. First of all we kept in the section titled “Fundamental Freedoms”. We believed that this is an imperative area of Canada’s charter, and something that was severely lacking in our GINS books (which often was the cause of the major conflicts). The 2 aspects of fundamental freedoms we felt strongly about were lifestyle freedoms and communication freedoms. The former was obvious because we all believed that this is every person’s basic right- to conduct their lifestyle as they see fit (as long as it does not harm others). Communication freedoms might seem stranger, but in my GINS book Fahrenheit 451, this is the central cause of conflict. The freedom of not only self expression, but the press through a variety of media forms is something we often take for granted in Canada and is something i definitely learned to appreciate more after finishing my novel. Communication is something that connects us, that spreads idea’s and creates a commonality between people and cultures. It’s an inherent trait of human kind, and something everyone can relate to.

We made a section titled “Government’s Relation with the People” to demonstrate the importance of a fair democratic society. We didn’t just want to call it Democratic rights as we think it’s important to have a healthy government - citizen relationship. We clarified that equal representation in government would be had with both minorities and majorities as to avoid unfair bias. We also clarified that you must cast an educated vote. In Fahrenheit 451, it was shown that because the society is so vapid, many people voted people into office based on looks and no regard for their political platform. We thought this important because often an uneducated vote can cause more harm than no vote at all, as it does not exemplify your identity and values. We also have a section concerning minority rights. Though this might not be everyone’s immediate choice to include in their Charter, it is an important one. It often is the majority does represent your country, and if you are in a minority (of things like religion, gender, or language) it should not change your ability to access essential resources. This was not an issue in my novel especially but was in my peer’s novels. We did want to add more to this section but because of our limited time, we weren’t able to, though I would like to in the future.
We also included the same equality rights as the Canadian charter because this is something we all found great importance in, and something we think that with this ideal we can make a great society, but without it can break a society (we added in equality regardless of sexuality).

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

GINS vs. The Canadian Charter

GINS & The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Guiding Questions: 
  • Is there a similar document for the nation in which your issue occurs?
  • If so, what rights and freedoms are guaranteed in the document?
  • If not, why do you think this is the case? Have there been any attempts to remedy this?
  • How might the issue be different if the Canadian Charter were applied?
  • Be specific! Which sections would be relevant?

My take on the possible document similar to the Charter in Fahrenheit 451

(I will only thoroughly discuss the most relevant which is mostly fundamental freedoms and partially equality rights and democratic rights.)

Because my book is fictional and is not set in a specified country or time, I decided to take a spin on this assignment and instead of discussing a specified document that contains the rights and freedoms guaranteed, I will be comparing the society to the Canadian charter to try and discover what their founding document could possibly look like.

Throughout the book we hear of this mysterious Constitution, nothing is really said about its specifics but this quote from the book provides insight to its core values:
 “No one is born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against!” (Beatty, page 55-56. Bradbury, Ray)

Fundamental Freedoms

In Canada, we have fundamental freedoms, all of which are not evident throughout the novel. Some of the fundamental freedoms in the charter that are most contradictory with the society in the novel include:

·     - Freedom of thought/expression.

Sure the shallow and facile gossip droned by the citizens is expressing their opinion, but is that really freedom? Since you are born, you are raised not by your parents, but by your school. The government raises you to be two-dimensional, without depth or understanding of the world around you, and sucks out your inherent human trait of curiosity. Their thoughts are not their own, but fabricated for them to be “happy” and muted citizens. 

 Freedom of the press as well as other media communication.

Of course, as evident by book burning, this is lost in the governments need of control. This quote from the novel explains why they use this form of oppression:
  “Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo? Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. …. Burn all burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.” (page 57. Bradbury, Ray)
The government equates knowledge with unrest and ignorance with bliss- literally. When Mildred is in the hospital recovering from her attempted suicide, they give her drugs to forget she was unhappy, and she ends up not remembering she ever tried to kill herself. Using methods like this to manipulate people, I’m sure their Constitution says the polar opposite of this fundamental freedom.

The absence of these freedoms makes for a very constricting and dictatorship-like society. Conventions such as books being an illegal commodity or eliminating expressive/open-minded members of society such as Clarisse are evidence that this is by far a government oriented (or planned) society.
“She [Clarisse] didn’t want to know how things were done, but why.” (page 57. Bradbury, Ray)
This demonization and eradication of inquiring and curious people led to the death of creativity and individuality.

Equality Rights

Throughout the book, it is obvious that the government prioritizes this over any other rights or even freedoms. The main points from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is applicable to the society Bradbury brought to life:
  • ·       Everyone has the right to be free of discrimination because of race, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, or mental/physical disability.
  • ·       Every individual is equal under state of law regardless of factors such as ethnicity, language, gender, or religion.

Guy Montag consistently muses about the similarities between everyone. No evidence is shown to suggest that financial inequity or discrimination based on gender, race, or age, ext.

Democratic Rights

Little about this is discussed in the book, but there is discussion on politics, which gave insight to the societies/government’s stance on the extent of democratic rights. The online charter mainly prescribes democratic rights as having a right to vote as well as being able to appoint a new government every 5 years by election. By using evidence from the novel, it think it’s fair to insinuate that they have a similar system in place (see following quote):
“I voted last election, same as everyone, and I laid it on the line for President Noble. I think he’s one of the nicest looking men who ever became president.” (page 93. Bradbury, Ray).

Would my novel’s issue be different if the Canadian Charter was used in this society?

            Yes. Concerning areas of the document such as equality and democratic rights, it would probably be quite similar but the big difference would come from introducing the fundamental freedoms. Because the people had little to none of the fundamental freedoms included in the Canadian charter, this would produce drastic changes. Without the limitations on what you could and could not express, people would have the freedom to think and do as they want (as long as it did not breach the charter). The freedom of the press and other media communications would introduce the spreading of knowledge and ideas, creating a more inquisitive people. To need think for yourself or to share inquiring ideas is a trait human’s carry with them, and the issue sprouted from denying that trait from being free.