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【阅读】自由是什么?

作者:佚名    文章来源:本站原创    更新时间:2011/6/13
美国日历中最重要的日子是7月4日。自1776年以来,美国人把这个日子作为独立纪念日来庆祝。每逢这个节日,游行、野餐和烟火营造出一派节日的欢乐气氛;红、白、蓝三色彩带模仿“星条旗”的颜色;充满爱国热忱的演讲使美国人想起他们的传统。但是7月4日不仅只是个国定假日,它更代表了美国人的最高向往——自由。
  如果问普通的美国人,“自由是什么?”你听到的可能是“自由就是能做想做的事”。美国人一想到自由,通常想到的是个人主义。他们更多地把自己看成是一个个人,胜过把自己看成是某一家庭或社会团体的成员。美国式的民主力求保护个人权利不受侵犯,并保证人人都享有选择的自由。生活在其他文化里的人也许不理解这种对个人的重视。在认为社会权利更为重要的文化里,强调个人权利似乎很奇怪。
  隐私权就是说明个人权利的一个很好的例子。在美国,个人自由通常代表拥有自己生活空间的权利。在许多美国家庭里,小孩都有自己的卧室,父母认为进孩子的房间也要敲门。美国人拜访朋友或亲戚时,通常会预先打个电话。即使和拜访的人非常熟,他们也不想打扰别人,使人家不能清静。在有些文化里,人们很看重亲戚关系,他们公开地与家属分享时间、金钱和信息。美国人却不这样,宁愿私下处理“家事”。对美国人来说,一个“家庭单位”只包括丈夫、妻子和孩子,而不喜欢有亲戚或外人来干预他们的事。同样地,个人也不在日常谈话中谈及私事。如果有陌生人询问美国人的薪水、年龄、婚姻状况、宗教信仰等,他们可能会感到尴尬或不快。
  在美国文化里,自由还包含着平等的意义。独立宣言提出“人人生而平等”。这并不是指能力或地位的平等。对美国人来说,平等是指价值的均等和机会的均等。每个人都应有均等的机会来改善自己的生活。当然,美国也并非完全做到了这个理想的完美境界。这些年来,美国土著、黑人和移民一直在为他们所受的不平等待遇而抗议。但是美国文化还是教导人们,只要努力工作就能把梦想变为现实。不管这种想法是真还是假,人们会经常听到脱贫致富的事迹,这就足以使这种想法在许多人的脑海中确信无疑。
  自由可以激起美国人的强烈情感。自由的理想把这块“自由之地”的人们结合在一起。然而,问题还是有的,一个人的自由可能与他人的权利发生冲突。有人曾经说过:“你有随意挥舞你拳头的自由,但你的自由只到我的鼻子前为止。”人们也可能变得过于关心自己的权利,他们还可能会要求得到特殊的待遇。不,通往自由的道路并不是完全平坦的。即使这样,对美国人来说,除此也别无另外一条道路真正值得一行。
The heart of the American calendar is July 4th. Americans have celebrated this date as Independence Day since 1776. On this holiday, parades, picnics and fireworks create a festive atmosphere. Red, white and blue ribbons mimic the colors of the “stars and stripes”. Patriotic speeches remind Americans of their heritage. But July 4th is more than a national holiday. It represents the heartbeat of America: freedom.
Ask the average American, “What is freedom?” You will probably hear, “It’s being able to do what I want to do.” When Americans think of freedom, they often think of individualism. They see themselves more as individuals than as members of a family or social group. American-style democracy tries to protect individual rights. It also promises each person the freedom to make choices. People in other cultures may not understand this emphasis on individuals. Stressing individual human rights seems strange to cultures where the rights of society are more important.
Privacy is one good example of individual rights. Personal freedom in America often means the right to one’s own space. In many American homes, each child has his or her own bedroom. Parents feel they should knock before entering. When Americans want to visit friends or relatives, they usually call first. They don’t want to invade someone’s privacy, even if they know the person quite well. Also, in some cultures people have strong ties to their extended family. They openly share time, money and information with their kinfolks. Americans, on the other hand, prefer to keep many “family matters” private. For them, a “family unit” is just a husband and wife and their children. They dislike having relatives or outsiders meddle in their affairs. Likewise, individuals may not want to share private information in everyday conversation. If a stranger asks about their salary, age, marital status or religion, Americans might feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.
In American culture, freedom also implies equality. The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal”. That does not mean equal in abilities or status. For Americans, equality refers to equal worth and equal opportunity. Every individual should have an equal chance to improve his life. The truth is that America has not always lived up to that ideal. For many years, Native Americans, African Americans and immigrants have protested their unequal treatment. But American culture still teaches that people can work hard and fulfill their dreams. Whether this idea is true or not, people hear rags-to-riches stories often enough to confirm it in the minds of many.
Freedom arouses strong feelings for Americans. The idea of liberty binds people together in this “land of the free”. However, problems still exist. One individual’s freedom can conflict with the rights of others. Someone once said, “You have the freedom to swing your fist around if you want. But your freedom ends where my nose begins.” People can also become too concerned about their own rights. They might demand special treatment. No, the path to freedom is not completely smooth. Even so, for Americans, no other road is really worth traveling. 英文小小说Freedom
Freedom自由
【听力】Freedom parrot

【阅读】自由是什么?:https://www.ryedu.net/syy/dxyy/201106/22281.html