Category Archives: A Nation's Argument

A Nation's Argument

Can you have your cake and eat it too?

April 10, 2013, by

For my final milestone in Art of Rhetoric I created a topic to discuss, that being how can someone be fiscally conservative, and socially liberal. I was extremely interested in this project because it’s something I personally am interested in. I had the opportunity to talk to an amazingly smart entrepreneur about this topic, check it out below!
Introduction
For my final Action Project in A Nation’s Argument I studied dialectics as a method of argument. In dialectics one side forms a thesis on an issue. The other side forms a antithesis which combats the thesis. Out of this debate these two arguments create a new synthesis. I interviewed Chicago-based members of the Entrepreneurs Organization. I wanted to see how someone could be fiscally conservative, yet socially liberal. Thesis How can someone say they want to do good while not paying for the good? To test and support my thesis, which began as an interest in hearing that Warren Buffett gets taxed at a lower rate than his assistant, I listened to an interview with him. In it I found out 337 million dollars go uncollected every year in the U.S. because the top 1% use other means to avoid paying taxes. This thinking became the question, “How can you advocate and want good, without wanting to pay for it? Many entrepreneurs and upper-class businessmen declare themselves fiscally conservative, yet socially liberal. Meaning more conservative on topics including money and spending, but being more liberal on subjects like giving public goods to others. I’m interested in how people can justify wanting good without paying for good.
Antithesis
You can want to make the US a better place while wanting to keep your money. The government does a terrible job of using our tax dollars. If there were other ways to help the public good (not taxes) I would be willing to do that. I talked to an entrepreneur BB on the topic, and below is my email exchange with him:

To me, being socially liberal and fiscally conservative means wanting the greater good for society, while not wanting to pay for it.
It will be interesting to see if you still think this way after additional education and life experience.

If this isn’t what it means to you, how would you define it?
Socially liberal = freedom of gender/sexual/racial/drug preferences Fiscally conservative = believe free market principals promote the most freedom and highest economic benefits for a society Socially moderate/liberal, fiscally liberal = Democrat Socially moderate/conservative, fiscally liberal = Republican Socially liberal, fiscally conservative = Libertarian

Do you think there is a contradiction being socially liberal and fiscally conservative?
No, I think socially liberalism and fiscally conservatism produces maximum liberty. I think any other variant is a contradiction because it would produce less freedom and reduce liberty. Social conservatism discriminates against personal liberty through abdication of human rights. Fiscal liberalism discriminates against personal liberty through abdication of property rights.

Would you be willing to pay more in taxes if it was going directly towards a cause you supported, rather than toward the government to spend?
The nature of this question posits an inconsistent premise on the role of the government. The role of the government, as I see it, is four fold: 1) to protect individual rights (provide rule of law, enforce freely entered contracts, protect individuals from monopoly coercion) 2) to manage neighborhood effects (manage common resources like air and water, commission highways, basic education) 3) to provide a defense (a military to protect individual rights from other societies) 4) paternalism to advance freedom (manage members of society which are not capable – i.e. madmen, violent criminals)

How would those social goods be funded?
Social goods should be funded directly by individuals using their free will. Any other method reduces the overall impact of social goods and distorts the intention of the people (deadweight loss, coercion, corruption).

What “socially liberal” public goods are worth paying for with your taxes?
Examples from four roles of government – education through adulthood, EPA, road systems, insane asylums, prisons, courts.
Many articles nowadays talk about how being fiscally conservative and socially liberal is the new way to be, but many are against this idea.

Synthesis

After talking to BB I wouldn’t say my opinion is changed, but I now understand it. Before the interview I thought it was selfish to advocate for good and want it, but not want to pay for it. I think I now understand what it actually means, and to some extent I agree. Once extremely convincing point for me was when BB said:

I think socially liberalism and fiscally conservatism produces maximum liberty. I think any other variant is a contradiction because it would produce less freedom and reduce liberty. Social conservatism discriminates against personal liberty through abdication of human rights. Fiscal liberalism discriminates against personal liberty through abdication of property rights.

Which I thought was very well put. I think from the interview I’ve had with BB I could agree that being socially liberal and fiscally conservative is a viable option. I think that this has opened my eyes to a lot of other political views, such as the views Ron Paul has.

 

~draw picture of obama on one side, romney on other with ron paul in the middle.~



Deduction on Trial- Liberia

March 8, 2013, by

View inside Liberian Magisterial Court

UNITED NATIONS (2011)
View inside Liberian magisterial court. Internet: Flickr.

We looked at Germany and had a trial to decide if Germany had the right to colonize in Africa. We were given a specific country to represent; ZF and I had Liberia. We had a second chance to re- write history.  In the end, the judges decided to vote in favor of the African countries, denying Germany the right to colonize. 

Below you can see the argument for the trial:

What nation are you researching?

Liberia

Rule: The German government should not interfere with independent state of Liberia. We have no say in what they do with the other, un-defined parts of the continent.

Case: Liberia is a country uniquely created for freed slaves. We are starting our country over from scratch. Although we don’t agree with German people taking over a country that is not rightfully theirs, we are not at liberty to tell them what they can and cannot do. We are just starting out as a  country and we want to have the freedom to thrive.

Result: If the German government leaves us (Liberia) alone, we have no problem with what they do to the rest of Africa. We are just trying to get back on our feet. We understand that this can be frustrating for those who wish for the Germans to not colonize, but we don’t have the resources or the organization to take a staunch opinion on either side. We hope this can be understood.




A Nation’s Argument: From Nemesis to Synthesis

March 8, 2013, by

In this final unit of A Nation’s Argument, we studied dialectics and its goal, which is synthesis. I chose to investigate the conflict between Iran and Israel, specifically with regard to Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. To give some context: currently, there is a lot of debate as to 1) whether Iran should be able to develop nuclear weapons and 2) how the world should respond. This is a conflict that hits home with many Americans, so I chose to speak with one of them, my fervently pro-Israel friend, GB!

Please take some time to view my presentation below!

ERLANGER, STEVEN. “Skepticism Abounds as Six World Powers Resume Nuclear Talks With Iran.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Feb. 2013. Web. 08 Mar. 2013. <https://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/world/middleeast/skepticism-surrounds-resumption-of-nuclear-talks-with-iran.html?ref=nuclearprogram>.

 

ERDBRINK, THOMAS. “Ayatollah Says Iran Will Control Nuclear Aims.”NYtimes.com. New York Times, 16 Feb. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <https://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/world/middleeast/supreme-leader-says-iran-not-seeking-nuclear-arms.html?ref=nuclearprogram>.

 

TAKEYH, RAY. “A First Step with Iran.” NYtimes.com. New York Times, 25 Jan. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/opinion/a-first-step-with-iran.html?ref=nuclearprogram>.

 



Action project #4- A Nations Argument

March 8, 2013, by

For my final action project in A Nation’s Argument, we studied dialectics in argument, an idea which was first introduced by Hegel in the early 1800’s. Dialectics consists of three levels of discussion or argument. The first is a thesis, which is an opinion on an issue. Second is the antithesis, the counter-argument that attempts to overturn or negate the thesis. The final level is synthesis, the resolution or combined agreement of the heated debaters through the combination of both the thesis and antithesis.

I decided to have one of the underclassmen currently enrolled at GCE, LF, challenge my thesis on the legalization of medical cannabis at the federal level.

 

Thesis

The federal government should legalize the use and taxation of cannabis for medicinal purposes to increase federal income.

I believe that the legalization and taxation has more of a positive impact on our country than a negative one. Not only does medicinal cannabis have the application of an all-natural pain reliever but it can also be used for the production of clothing, sails, rope and even consumption. With so many applications for a single plant, I don’t see why the government has made it illegal. Not only does it have more applications than that of alcohol or tobacco, but it causes fewer deaths than either. There has not been one, SINGLE documented death due to marijuana use when used alone (CDC, 2012). Finally, with the taxation and sale of medicinal cannabis our nation will profit in the millions which can never hurt a nation in debt.

To symbolize the minuscule amount of danger medical cannabis poses to our nation’s people compared to that of alcohol or tobacco, I have created a pie chart showing the percentage of the combined death toll from all three drugs – tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis – which is 484,682.

 

  • Number of alcoholic liver disease deaths: 15,990
  • Number of alcohol-induced deaths, excluding accidents and homicides: 25,692
  • 443,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
  • Total combined death toll: 484,682
  • Number of cannabis-related deaths: 0

I showed my peer, LF, my thesis; below is her written antithesis, as well as our recorded discussion.

 

Antithesis

Medical Marijuana is a drug where the negative effects greatly outweigh the positive effects and therefore should not be legal.

“Marijuana is a gateway drug!” LF began. She felt its use always leads to other more serious drugs that could be fatal. When you’re under the influence, you lack inspiration and drive in your daily life, in terms of school and work. It is also bad for your lungs and can cause cancer. It also can impair your motor skills and could possibly cause a serious accident, if a user was operating a car under the influence.

Click the SoundCloud recording below to hear excerpts from our dialogue.

 

Synthesis

The United States should be able to legalize medical cannabis, within strict limits on age and medical conditions.

After a long discussion back and forth debating whether legalization is morally right or not, and what the consequences would be, we came to an agreement. Although we agreed to legalize it on a federal level, we decided to have very high restraints on its distribution and sale. Our new rule would allow people who are both 1) in extreme medical conditions and 2) over the age of 21 to possess and use medical cannabis. Therefore, those who truly need the medicinal purposes of cannabis have access to it, but its use would be restricted enough so that it would not be abused by others.

GL (2013) Medical Cannabis, GCE Voices.

GL (2013) Medical Cannabis, GCE Voices.

 

References

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012).  Alcohol & Tobacco; Retrieved 3/6/13.
  • CHAPKIS, Wendy; WEBB, Richard (2008). Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine. New York, NY: New York University Press.
  • HENNINGFIELD, Dr. Jack E. (1994). “Is Nicotine Addictive? It Depends on Whose Criteria You Use.” [Reported by: Philip J. Hilts, New York Times, Aug. 2]


Abolish Capital Punishment or Keep It?

March 8, 2013, by

photo

For my last action project, I had to pick a political issue and find someone to debate  the issue with. The issue I picked was capital punishment. My question for the debate was: Should states abolish capital punishment ? I did this debate with my father. My thesis was, that capital punishment SHOULD be abolished. My opening statement was, because a lot of innocent people are executed capital punishment should be abolished. I later gave two other reasons why capital punishment should be abolished based on certain facts. My father’s antithesis was that states should NOT get rid of capital punishment. His opening statement was an eye for an eye. If you kill someone you should be killed. He later gave other reasons why states should keep the law. At the end of the debate we came to terms that we could agree on. Instead have having capital punishment a good resolution would be to give a person life in prison.

My image above represents three things. First my Dad’s antithesis saying we should keep capital punishment. Second my thesis that we should get rid of the law. And last an infinity symbol showing what we agreed on at the end of the debate. The infinity symbol represents life in prison. Below is a podcast of my debate:


Citations:

“Five Reasons Why Saudi Arabia Must Urgently Abolish the Death Penalty.” Amnesty International. Amnesty International, 5 Mar. 2013. Web. 7 Mar. 2013. <https://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/abolish-the-death-penalty>.

“Facts & Figures.” NCADP. National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2013. <https://www.ncadp.org/index.cfm?content=5>.

Staff, NPR, and Wires. “Illinois Abolishes The Death Penalty.” NPR. NPR, 09 Mar. 2011. Web. 08 Mar. 2013. <https://www.npr.org/2011/03/09/134394946/illinois-abolishes-death-penalty>.



Let’s Argue!

March 8, 2013, by

photo (26)For our final project we were ask to conduct an argument on a political issue with an opposing view. Then we were asked to find a perfect medium for the argument. In american society cannabis has had a negative connotation. I enjoyed being able to get the chance to argue with someone. Usually when people think of an argument they think of two sides. I learned that people can meet at a good medium for most situations. Overall it was an interesting experience.

My Thesis: I believe that the United States should legalize cannabis as a medical remedy for agressive cancer. It allows the chance to give pacients a less painful recovery. Studies have proven that it does prevent nausea and lessens the pain chemotherapy causes.

Antithesis: There is no reason cannabis should be legal for any purposes at all. It is a gateway drug which can effect the patients and give them a new problem. It can as well become very addictive.  We have been taking care of the symptoms that cannabis cures for years. No need to risk the chance of  addiction.

Synthesis: We found a perfect medium by deciding that cannabis should be legalized in the United States for serious medical use only. Such as HIV/AIDS and agressive cancer.

Below you can see a presentation I created, within the presentation you can hear all 3 sides of the debate.

Cites:

“News Release.” Smoked Cannabis Reduces Some Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. UC San Diego Health System, 14 May 2012. Web. 08 Mar. 2013. <https://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2012-05-14-smoked-cannabis-reduces-symptoms-of-multiple-sclerosis.aspx>.

Hecht, Peter. “Health and Medicine.” The Sacramento Bee. N.p., 12 July 2012. Web. 08 Mar. 2013. <https://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/12/4625608/california-pot-research-backs.html>.


Arguing to Agree by HM

March 7, 2013, by

 

HM (2013). Drug Bar Graph, GCE Voices

For our final action project in A Nation’s Argument we finally got to put all the arguing skills we’ve learned to use!  Our task for this project was to choose a political issue we have a specific stance on and interview someone who has a different opinion on it.  This was a really interesting project because there was so much that was left up to us in it, we were able to pick our topic but we were also able to choose where the person we interviewed stood on the spectrum on the issue compared to us.  The stance I chose to take was that I don’t agree all drugs should not be illegal because it will create a more unhealthy lifestyle than the one so many people are already leading.  I really enjoyed this project because dialectics is easily the most interesting type or argument and it was really cool to be able to argue with someone and then come to a final synthesis that we felt would actually be able to work.

Thesis:  The stance I have is that all drugs should not be made legal because it would result in a much more unhealthy population and generation of people.

I have done a lot of research on the effects of drug use, anywhere from marijuana, prescription pills, to heroin and every single one has a handful of negative effects, although some more than others and some far more severe.  The legalization of all drugs will result in a far less physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy people all around the world.  As a world that is already becoming rapidly more unhealthy by the minute, we should absolutely not legalize something that could only put us, as human beings, at higher risk for unhealthiness.

 HM (2013). Thesis, GCE Voices

Antithesis:  My opponent and friend offered me with a very different outlook on the stance I had previously been so clear and strong about.  His main point was that the legalization of all drugs wouldn’t have as widespread of a negative effect as I seem to be afraid that they might.  He feels as though that as human beings we have gone too far with being cautious, that our fear of dying has kept us from living at all.  The most important excerpt from my friends response was, “This is quite cliche, however, in this day and age people try to avoid death at such great length that they almost forget to live.”

HM (2013). Antithesis, GCE Voices

Synthesis:  The most important takeaway I had from this conversation was that in my research of just cold, hard facts, I overlooked that there is an emotional side to this issue that definitely needs to be considered.  If we were to live in a world where everyone was always cautious, it would be incredibly boring.  No new ideas would come about, nothing would ever change.  Something so beautiful about us, as creatures, is that we aren’t afraid to take risks and try something new, no matter how scared we are and that is definitely not something I think should be lost.  So, after some thought I decided that the best synthesis for this topic is that maybe more recreational drugs could be made legal, such as marijuana and maybe even ecstasy.  There would obviously be a great deal of laws to make it as safe as possible for that circumstance but not so safe we are forgetting to live and experience.

HM (2013). Synthesis, GCE Voices

 

Works Cited

1. “Prescription Painkiller Overdoses.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 03 July 2012. Web. 08 Mar. 2013.

2. “Welcome!” Madison.com. N.p., 24 Sept. 2011. Web. 08 Mar. 2013.

3. Shaw, Jerry. “Negative Effects From Drug Abuse.” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 08 Mar. 2013.



The Appeal of Service

March 7, 2013, by

 GGIA (2010) Refugee Immigrants in Fylakio Detention Center, Thrace Evros Greece

Introduction:

For our third action project in the class, A Nations Argument, we created solutions to problems we have had at GCE using abduction. In abduction, a form of argument, you use the syllogism Result, Rule, Case to format your argument. While drafting my solution, finding a good, realistic solution was most challenging! I’ve always enjoyed having my voice heard, so working on a project like this was pretty amazing. My solution  using the art of abduction is below. Enjoy reading!

 

Result:

A detention system addresses the problem of tardiness of students at the beginning of school.

Rule:

Instead of the unrealistic and drastic punishment of forced, manual labor for GCE students, I have devised a rule that follows the guidelines of most public schools. We should implement detentions to address tardies building up. Under my system, three (3) tardies will result in one (1) detention. Detention is served by staying after school to do work for the school. Students could receive 3 tardies in one day and be given a detention – it could go that quickly. Being late 3 times to any class(es) in a day or over time results in detention. There is no forgiveness.

Case:

With this new implemented rule, I not only believe students will be more obliged to come to school on time, I also feel the rule can help students in detention. During detention, students stay after school but are offered the choice of either manual labor (e.g. previous rule) or work on class work instead, as in public school detention. I believe that this will not only improve students grades but lessen tardies as well.

Conclusion:

I believe that mandatory community service specifically, or consequences generally, for tardy students is unreasonable, and in my eyes, drastic. Being late 1 minute should not result in 30 minutes of manual labor. In addition, students should be able to improve their grades through detention.



A Nation’s Argument: Abduction

February 28, 2013, by

This unit in A Nation’s Argument, we studied both abduction and the Haitian Revolution, and let both concepts inform one another. Abduction is a way of solving an issue by looking at several different solution and seeing which is best fit to fix the problem at hand. This is appropriate to use as a template for understanding the Haitian revolution because there was much abduction being done when the Haitian government was being redrafted. At the end of this process, we decided to follow in Haiti’s footsteps. As a class, we went to a Haitian restaurant and drafted our own GCE student constitution. This process consisted of each student using abduction to solve a problem that they personally have with the GCE code of conduct– we then proceeded to have an open discussion about which of the students’ rules we’d like to be admitted into the student constitution, and which ones we’d like to see left by the wayside.

Below is my proposed amendment that was eventually voted to be added into the GCE Student Constitution.

Result:

“If you are late to school, no matter the circumstances, you must serve 30 minutes of community service…The way this rule was constituted was completely illegitimate. It is not in the Code of Conduct. This is a sign of a lack of organization and unity– and I am disappointed that a rule of this severity would be executed in such a cavalier manner. But the real underlying issue that I have with this rule is the failure of participatory government; It neglects the greater interests of our community and the well-being of our students.” (excerpt from GF’s amendment. Can be found in student constitution below: Article IV)

My amendment proposes a new system in which rules and or amendments are put into place that requires an open dialogue with the students about how they feel about the rule before it can be implemented.

Rule:

I propose that every amendment that teachers want to make to the code of conduct should be discussed with the community upon which it is enforced. This can be done by utilizing the system that we already have, either through community circle, service, or study hall. All of these are perfect windows of opportunity where we can have these discussions.


Case:

The implementation of this rule would be a blessing to GCE, and would provide a lot more harmony in how things work. This open dialogue between students and teachers is essential to maintaining balance in our environment! Students will be accountable for themselves, while, at the same time, not stifled by a tyrannical rule such as the one we have in place.




A Nation’s Argument: Deduction on Trial!

February 28, 2013, by

 

This unit in A Nation’s Argument, we studied the WWI era, specifically Germany’s colonization of Africa.

Each of us were put into groups, and assigned countries to represent in this great global debate. LN and I were assigned German East Africa, the area particularly in question regarding this historical debate. Below I’ll be exploring the points and counterpoints this argument through the lens of German East Africa using the method of Deduction..

  • General Rule
  •  Particular Case
  • Result
  • Quotations & Evidence for Trial

1. General Rule (Some say…)

Rule: Africa is a country of barbarians.
Case: Europe is a clean and developed country that is not barbaric.
Result: Europe must teach Africa the way of being civilized.

However, this deduction is invalid because the regions of Africa they aimed to colonize (German East Africa) had very developed ancient cultures of their own, and they only began to have clashes in culture and widespread violence AFTER the Germans colonized their land and mashed together many extremely different groups of people.

2. Particular Case (The evidence suggests…)

Or German colonization has had the following devastating effects on German East Africa…

  • Widespread Violence
  •  Turf War
  • Disease
  • Dependence on foreign resources/Inability to be an autonomous, independent nation(s).

3. Result (We argue…)Therefore, in light of these results, we, the representatives of German East Africa and its people, urge the judges to OVERTURN THE DEDUCTION ON TRIAL AND STRIKE DOWN GERMANY’S RIGHT TO COLONIZE, for Africa’s sake.

Rule: German East Africa is far worse than it was before being colonized by Germany.
Case: German colonists/military use tactics like mass crop burnings and slaughter of innocent casualties to intimidate and coerce the people of German East Africa.
Result: Germany should not be able to colonize.

 

Please view my prezi for more details!