Any story that concerns he sexual abuse of a child is tragic in its composition, regardless of the perpetrator or their number of youthful victims. However, there are cases which push the limits of human comprehension, especially those where the perpetrator was in a position of trust or respectability. This issue epitomises the importance of regulating these criminals when they are active within society, as they are naturally drawn to jobs or occupations where they are able to interact with children and minors.

With this in mind, it is something of a surprise that many former priests accused of child abuse are able to live unmonitored across the states of the US, despite the fact that many have admitted to their crimes at various junctures in time. The reason for this is that their crimes have either remained unproven in law or were conducted so long ago that the statute of limitations had expired long before the victims cam forward and shared their stories. Subsequently, these offenders are allowed to live without restrictions or supervision, regardless of the potential dangers to society.

Serving the Interests of Society

Those who are seeking justice and their legal representatives are looking to see information on these priests and their whereabouts enter the public domain, in the interests of public safety and well being. However, the church are set to fight this campaign, looking to impose limits and sanctions on the release of related files or data on those accused of perpetrating abuse. This debate is set to rage, with neither party keen to afford any ground to the other, as private investigators work alongside prosecutors to locate the exact whereabouts or circumstances of the 233 accused.

Doctors exist to serve the well being of society, and the role is often considered to be more vocational than merely perfunctory. Aside from the many years of dedication and academic work that needs to be invested in making a medical career possible, the role itself requires a great deal of commitment and communication skill in order to be performed successfully. Traditionally, doctors have been expected to treat patients without exception or a process of selection, and also regardless of their own beliefs or ethical values.

However, in recent times doctors have sought to take an increasingly hard line and moralistic attitude towards treating their patients, applying more stringent conditions to potential visitors. An example of this surrounds the controversial notion of vaccinating children against diseases, and a rising number of doctors are refusing to retain or treat patients who refrain from allowing their offspring to subject various vaccinations.While this action is supported in policy that allows doctors to retain a right to refuse treatment of individual moral grounds, the question remains as to whether this appropriate to their role as ethical service providers.

Why Do Parents not Vaccinate Their Children?

The statistics are less than specific, but physicians themselves suggest that there is a growing number amongst them who adopt an unswerving policy to treating unvaccinated children. In fact, there are increasing instances where doctors have spent several months advising and educating parents in the benefits of individual vaccinations, only to refer them elsewhere when they continually refuse to let their children be immunised. While some physicians claim that this decision is taken predominantly to protect other children who are considered at an increased risk of illness, there is an undoubted sense of morality and individual selection being applied to their decision making processes.

As the US continues to witness civilized protests and an increasing display of social unrest, it would be easy to assume that the nation is in the midst of a truly challenging and difficult set of circumstances. While this may be true in some respects, it may be considered a view without the requisite level of perspective, as any issue that the country is currently experiencing pale into significance when compared with those of previous generations. Social issues are always relative however, both to the time and specific demographics, and need to be considered on their own merits accordingly.

This was exemplified and drawn into focus earlier this week, as it was revealed that the last remaining US survivor of World War 1 died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday. Frank Buckles of West Virginia had celebrated his 110th birthday on February 1st, and as he passed so too did the final living reminder of one of histories most ill conceived and barbaric wars. With this in mind, it is interesting to consider the magnitude of social issues between generations, and understand the role that governments play in cultivating trust and perspective within society.

The Changing Perception of Hardship

As Frank Buckles passing comes at a time of social discord, it is an opportunity to apply this perspective to contemporary USA and draw conclusions from its current situation. The first thing that becomes apparent is how the perception of hardship has evolved over the generations, which is obviously a clear consequence of progression and technological advancement. As living conditions improve in terms of health, technology and privilege, so too individuals become accustomed to particular standards and expect more from their existence.

Currently, the political climate in the US is an unstable and divisive one, as scores of citizens protest against infringements of their rights and restricted economic conditions. An inevitable consequence of this is that the nations media has become a veritable conduit for negative and damaging news stories, helping only to further cultivate the existing mood of depression and social tension. However, these reports only serve to worsen an existing social perception, and often undermine the better aspects of daily existence that help to improve peoples standards of living.

An example of such good deeds is the Underheard in New York’ project, which was prevalent in the news this week after helping to reunite a homeless man with his estranged daughter of 11 years. The scheme, which aims to give homeless individuals a voice by creating social networking accounts and giving them a prepaid mobile telephone, is a continuing entity that gives unfortunate individuals an opportunity to make tentative steps as interactives member of society.

The Good of Social Networking

Quite aside from assisting and improving the standard of living in US society, this project has also helped to reveal the role that advanced social networking can play in delivering a healthy contribution to interaction. The practice of social networking through a virtual medium is one which is often maligned as potentially disruptive, but this is largely due to the negative perception generated by media reports of instances of abuse or malpractice by users.

For those who only retain a passing interest in the current affairs of the US, they may well be aware of a certain level of hostility that presently exists between the government and its citizens. As online and television media continue to report the closing of schools, budget cuts and a continual rise in poverty across the southern belt line of the country, it is easy to assume that the nation is currently trapped in a cycle of slow economic growth and increasing social frustration.

However, to those who keep their finger pressed firmly against the pulse of US developments, there is a growing impression that the nation is faced with one of the most challenging sets of domestic circumstance in its recent history. Given the US states efforts to integrate cultures and reduce a debilitating national deficit simultaneously, they are faced with difficult confrontations with several factions of society, each with their own concerns about the future of the country and its direction.

The Perils of Contemporary Democracy

While some of these concerns are valid, others appear to be based on ill considered or disagreeable values, and herein lies the significant battle that democracy is forced to wager on a regular basis. Each individual or section of society has an audible voice, afforded to them by the privileges of democratic rule, and this remains intact regardless of the validity or potential consequence of their assertions. With the country in a seemingly permanent state of transition, this state of affairs is likely to worsen before it begins to foster the society it desires.

It was revealed this week that leading US banks are considering imposing a cap on all consumer debit card transactions, with a view to limiting the swipe fees which cost retailers valuable revenue. Although the motion has yet to be confirmed, it would go further than simply assisting retailers in obtaining a higher level of profit, and would also potentially change the way in which American citizens purchased both everyday and luxury items.

While the benefits for US companies are obvious, any potential advantages for consumers are far more contentious and debateable. Firstly, it is unclear whether this restriction on how and when consumers use their debit cards is either entirely neccessary or reflective of a democratic society, where individuals should be free to spend their wealth as they desire. However, there is also a very pertinent argument that forcing consumers to make more cash purchases would lead to an enhanced fiscal responsibility within society.

Enhancing Economic Awareness

The second of these points is the most interetsing facing the contemporary consumer, especially in an age where consumer and credit card debt has soared beyond $26 billion in the US. Although this issue was not helped by the global recession, the excessive use of debit and credit cards has also been cited as a major influence, with the clear inference that consumers are more likely to spend higher volumes of their wealth through card payments.

For those who believe wholeheartedly in the principles of democracy and liberal government, the freedom of speech is something that should subsist without any restriction or imparted conditioning. It is an accepted privilege of democratic rule, that allows individuals to express their thoughts and feelings without the fear of censorship or reprisal, and also affords them the freedom to access information in order to aid an independent quest for knowledge and wisdom.

However, if the core values of democracy are to be maintained entirely, then the freedom of speech and expression must be upheld without exception and in every viable social circumstance. If this is not the case, then the concept becomes one that actually opposes liberal rule, especially in situations where individuals are censored or punished for revealing views which are deemed to be controversial or potentially divisive. The question is whether free speech is an unconditional feature of democracy, or any applicable to those who have nothing to say.

A Case in Point

An example of this issue unfolded in the US this week, as a high school English teacher was suspending for expressing her anger and frustration on an internet blog. The text contained numerous disrespectful or insulting insinuations towards her students and the methods of teaching in contemporary society, although the writer refrained from making specific references to their place of work or individual students.

Technological advancement is something that has been a feature of western culture over the last two decades, and is considered as a concept that has been largely beneficial to society. However, the processes of change and progression also draw negative reaction and perception from those who are left in its wake, especially where it unfolds at a frenetic pace or its innovations become vulnerable to abuse by the criminally minded factions of society.

This week, law enforcement bodies reported that these advances in communications and technological interaction were impeding their ability to conduct wiretaps, in addition to repeating existing concerns over the enhanced nature of internet and computer based crime. In an address to Congress, they suggested that all new telephone, computer and wireless systems should be designed to allow easy and lawful access for police officials and representatives.

An Affront to Progress?

While the police are decidedly serious in their call to the state, notes of caution have been sounded by industry experts and affiliated parties. It has been suggested that the implementation of design restrictions will only serve to stifle innovation and limit the effectiveness of US based technological companies within the global market. In addition to this, there is a concern that specifically engineered designs would be increasingly vulnerable to the wiles of hackers, criminals and international terrorists.

If you consider the intricacies of democratic government, then there is no doubting the size of the tasks that face officlals in the US and similar civilized societies. From attempting to represent their citizens in the most fair and balanced way to seeking to impart the principles of democracy on affiliate countries afflicted by war and by conflict, their resources are often stretched in an attempt to create a more functional world and individual societies within.

While their intentions are good, you can not help but question whether the same democratic principles that define them are also taken advantage of by certain factions of society. As the US government look to battle a range of financial and health issues, they must face up to two especially prevalent aspects of contemporary culture. Firstly, that they are unable to appease everyone in a country of such diverse cultures and requirements, and secondly that a consequence of liberal government is the diminishing of personal responsibility.

Changing Circumstance Through Education

To give an example of the inhospitable situation that democratic officials find themselves in, you need only address the range of social issues that currently blight local and global societies. As obesity, consumer debt and instances of violent crime have shown general levels of oncreae over the last 3 years, there has been intense pressure to create resolutions and move the country forward. However, there is often little done to question the individuals own responsibliltiy for their personal plight, leaving them largely absolved an any accountability.

One of the most contentious issues that surrounds the World Wide Web is the surfeit of information that can be published and accessed by anyone. The intended purpose of the Internets swathes of resource is to empower and educate individuals within society, and prevent them with the factual data, opinion and objective information to aid them in an individual quest for wisdom. This is with a view to liberating society and giving each individual member the tools to further their own education on desired subjects.

To this end, Wikileaks is an international non profit organization that was founded in 2006, and strives to deliver anonymous submissions of private and covert news to a wide and uncensored audience. As they protect the source of the information they are able to seek and publish highly controversial and topical information, which is served in the greater interest of keeping the public updated with relevant data. In keeping with the nature of their operation, they have been involved at the centre of several well documented international incidents.

Freedom of Speech and its Consequences

If anything, Wikileaks is the evocation of the freedom of speech and democratic values. In its purest form, it provides a platform through which it is able to deliver entirely relevant information that would otherwise be suppressed and censored by government bodies. In effect, it takes control away from governments who wish to control what information is fed to society, and ensures that people are empowered to be as informed as they wish to be. Of course, this concept is one that has produced a vast differential in terms of its reception and response.

Every fair minded and reasonable individual would advocate a democratic society, and champion a government regime that takes its peoples opinions and needs into consideration. This guarantees that a government acts in the interests of society at large, and implements legislation and policy to protect and serve the voting demographic that brought them to power in the first instance. While this is not only desirable for individual countries and communities, it would be wrong to suggest that this methodology of rule would not improve the perilous and hostile state of the world and its factions at large.

With this in mind, it is natural that many of the democratic super powers in the world seek to intervene and impart the democratic wisdom on others, and often go to great lengths to modify countries regimes to comply with their own. The US and the UK have historically taken a keen interest in foreign politics and regimes, both as a way of ensuring the safety of a global community and improving international politics at large. However, as western culture strives to battle hampered economic growth and frequent instances of violent crime, there is growing concern that domestic issues are not receiving the attention they deserve.

The Demands of Foreign Policy

The recent unrest and political protests in Egypt have only served to highlight the vast and significant role that the US continues to play in global peace. While reducing its representative presence of diplomats in the country, it is continuing to pledge aid and support to Egypt during its period of transition. In addition to this, the US is seeking to take a keen and considered interest in political reform in the country, by encouraging diplomatic values and the regulated processes of election.

The concepts of crime and punishment have been well versed and discussed for generations. In civilized society, the purpose of implementing penal sentences for criminal acts is to rehabilitate the offender, educating them through various programs that aim to modify their behavioral trends. This is opposed to the primal and less evolved attitudes towards prison, which focus solely on punishing the perpetrators of crime and attempting to deter them through the severity of consequence.

It is widely accepted that the former is the most conducive towards reducing crime over a period of time, as well as creating the best environment to change attitudes rather than hardening a prevalent criminal ethos. However, this methodology of attempting to correct behavior rather than punish it is vulnerable to several criticisms, most notably that it is open to abuse from career criminals who observe captivity as an occupational hazard and one that can be endured for financial reward.

Serving Time and Rehabilitation

Opposed to this, there is also criticism from those who deem aspects of criminal law to restrictive in a democratic environment. This observation applies to legislation that continues to restricts the movements and activity of individuals after they have been released from their sentence, and therefore regulates behaviour for far longer than their original punishment. While this may be necessary for specific and compulsive natures of crime, it is not entirely appropriate or ethical for others.

Discusses Democracy and the right to choose in detail. Explores in depth the evolution of Democracy and different political systems. Compares Democracy with other political and religious systems. Uncovers the role of money in modern Democratic systems.

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