Archive for A Nations Argument

Can you have your cake and eat it too?

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.~

An amendment to the school

For our English/History class (A Nations Argument) we worked on making an amendment,  specifically, something we wanted to change in our school.  This was one of my favorite, yet difficult, assignments because we had to think of something wrong in our school and provide a solution.  If you want to see what I did, read below!

If you are late the amount of time you are late is added to a tally, once the tally reaches fifteen minutes, you owe fifteen minutes of community service and must pay it back in one week.  For example. if you are five minutes late on monday, you don’t owe any time, but if you are ten minutes late the next day, your tally has reached fifteen minutes and you have one week from (in this case) tuesday to pay back your time (fifteen minutes in this case). see my full report here!

I was just one piece in the puzzle for this Action Project.  My whole group also produced amendments and then we voted on which ones we would like to go in our own GCE constitution.  You can see our compiled constitution below!  My argument didn’t make it in our final constitution because an amendment like mine was more popular.  I think the reason the other amendment was picked over mine is that it had more leeway, and allowed students to be less accountable.

The great debate

For our english class (A Nation’s Arguement) we had a debate on ig Germany should be allowed to colonize Africa.  This debate was especially difficult because it took place in pre world war 1 (early 1900’s).  I was interested in this debate because I have always loved arguing.  Myself and HD were Great Britain for this debate.  See our argument on why we think Great Britain had the right to colonize below:

1. General Rule
2. Particular Case
3. Result
4. Quotations & Evidence for Trial

1. General Rule (Some say…)

Rule: Colonization only benefits the colonizer.
Case: Great Britain is a colonizer.
Result: Therefore, Great Britain colonizing parts of Africa was for selfish needs.

However, this deduction is invalid because Great Britain colonization helped jumpstart technology and the economy in parts of Africa.

2. Particular Case (The evidence suggests…)

Through colonization Great Britain has achieved….
1. Great Britain helped it’s own people as well as Africans to become an enriched culture.
2. We prevented other countries from taking over Europe by becoming the most prominent Colonizer (the lesser of two evils).
3. We taught advanced methods of farming and made life much easier to live.

3. Result (We argue…)

Therefore, in light of these results, we, the representatives of Great Britain and its people, urge the judges to AFFIRM THE DEDUCTION ON TRIAL AND UPHOLD GERMANY’S RIGHT TO COLONIZE, for Africa’s sake.

Rule: Colonization can benefit all parties.
Case: Great Britain (among other European countries) accomplished many technological and economic milestones via colonization.
Result: Therefore Germany, as well as the rest of Europe has the right to colonize.

4. Quotations & Evidence for Trial (Sorted by…)

Relationship to Colonizer
United Kingdom was a colonizer, they tried to colonize multiple countries in Africa pre 1914. In the picture below you can see which countries in Great Britain colonized in Africa.

“In total Britain ruled over 2,678,156 square miles of land, and rules over 44,420,000 people.”
Uzoigwe, G. N. Britain and the Conquest of Africa; the Age of Salisbury. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1974.

Authority to Rule
Great Britain has a Monarchy, they have more sophisticated weapons, a larger army, a larger navy, and overall a larger presence.

How we Rule
We rule a large portion of Africa by Military and economic force. During this time period the United Kingdom is one of the most powerful countries around.

Benefits to Colonization
We are benefitting from colonization because we are the ones ruling other people. We ruled a majority of Africa and made a lot of money by using the resources they had.

Our right to colonize
Great Britain helped Europe, as well as Africa by colonizing. We taught more advanced methods of farming, and an easier way to live. We colonized because countries like Germany started to colonize and become more powerful. If we didn’t nations like Germany would become some super power that then could start to conquer Europe. If we could control Africa we knew that we could control the power and not use it for domination like Germany would have. We were preventing wide-scaled war; doing a service to all and being the lesser of two evils.

Changing the Rules

For my english class (A Nations Argument), we were given the task of looking through the GCE Code of Conduct (CoC) and picking a rule we wanted to change. This was an amazing task because we are (possibly) going to change our school by adding, changing, or removing something from our CoC.  The hardest part for me was trying to connect the U.S. Constitution and the Arab Spring.  I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone in my class goes the extra mile to trying to implement the rule, I know I will!

Read the report on what I did below!

 

GCE Amendment
Insubordination: A student will respect the directions of any staff member. Examples of insubordination include failure to comply with direction or instruction of a staff member, refusal to work in class, refusal of detention, refusal to participate in in-school alternatives, and refusal to report to in-school suspension.

GCE Amendment (my edited version)
Insubordination: A student will respect the directions of any staff member, although they have the right to respectfully discuss the topic at hand.  Examples of insubordination include failure to comply with direction or instruction of a staff member, refusal to work in class, refusal of detention, refusal to participate in in-school alternatives, and refusal to report to in-school suspension.

My Argument
I feel that with this new rule it makes our school more democratic.  With this rule currently in place, teachers have the right to tell you to do whatever they want without being questioned (if you were to question them, you could get in trouble according to the CoC).  With this new rule in place, students have a right to respectfully have a discussion about the topic if they find it to be unfair, ridiculous, etc.

Connection
In Saudi Arabia citizens are too scared to speak their mind or share their opinion because they can be thrown in jail, or killed.  Our case isn’t nearly as terrifying, but not being able to share our opinion is a huge problem.

Why This Rule is Needed
With this rule in place (for example), Tim could tell us to sit outside in the cold for thirty minutes while he takes a nap.  If any students were to say no, or to try and convince him otherwise you would be breaking a rule in the CoC.

Life with the amendment
With this amendment in place in the GCE Code of Conduct, students know that they are able to have a conversation with a teacher if a disagreement takes place without any repercussions.