Blog 17

I do not really agree with the idea that “that government is best which governs least.” This statement gives the idea that people can fully take care of themselves and that they would keep the peace and do the right thing even without laws in effect. Nobody is perfect which can lead to people doing things that would cause the government to step in but not if they don’t govern. A role of the government is to punish those who do wrong to keep them in line. If we didn’t have this structure in our live then all hell would break loose and people would go around doing whatever they please when they want to do it. They do not have a direct role in relation to an individual citizen, except for telling them the do’s and don’ts.

Thoreau states that “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. . .” Some governments want our respect in order to rule in their own way such as dictatorships and monarchies. They need our respect and fear to operate the way they want to.

I think that the role of civil disobedience today is to influence people to have a voice and stand up to unorthodox or unjust things among the government. It is not meant to give all power to the people but to instead help them speak up. It is still effective especially today because people are becoming a lot more open and protesting more and more every year within the laws. Their protests continually influence the government to change for the good and do the right thing.

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Blog 15

Image result for embracing natureAfter reading/struggling through both excerpts of “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” and “The Conclusion” by Thoreau and excerpts by Emerson, I have found out that they both have the same thoughts/ideas about nature. They both connect on the ideas about nature and the impact they have on people’s lives. They both think that life is what you want it to be which basically means that what you do determines what will happen to you in the future. They both really link on the fact that living with nature can benefit man and bring us closer to God in which would change our lives. They also say how you should go your own path and appreciate everything around you. The main idea of “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” is that you should live your life as simple as you possibly can. Having less stress and just living life gives you the most satisfaction and joy out of it. The main idea of “The Conclusion” is kind of the same as “Self-Reliance”. Thoreau says that you should live on your own terms and be thankful for your life. He also says to not be reliant on what society has to say because then God will notice you staying away from society and its problems. Thoreau’s woods experiment had shown the simple things in life. It seems to be like leaving society and taking a personal day, just focusing on yourself. You then would not have to worry about the problems you face from society like trying to fit in. Everyone needs a personal day to recollect themselves and find themselves a little more because society is blinding us from being able to pay attention to our own mental health and well-being. If everyone kept to themselves and did not care what others say though, I do think that life would be somewhat boring because us as people are geared towards aggravation in some way, shape, or form. We want the drama and the conflict. I do believe people can take some things away from transcendentalism like embracing our own self worth but I do not think we should exclude ourselves from everyone else. With that said, I also do not think we should be worried about pleasing other people in life, but their individuality is what keeps everyone form going insane and it does help us love life a little more.

Blog 15: Independent Reading

In my opinion, the purpose of independent reading is for many to gain knowledge in different areas of interest. I think for many it also calms them down and helps people relax. I think we should get more people to read by having them fill out surveys about their interests in books and for every quarter read one or two books and fill out detailed papers on them. You can not really lose knowledge by reading books and it can help you in all aspects of life. For my first book of the 3rd quarter I chose to read “Ready Player One” because there is a movie coming out based on it and the book is almost always better then the movie so I wanted to read it before I go see the movie version. The first chapter of the book gives background on Wade Watts and how his parents are dead. He is found and has to move into another form of a house. He then plays the OASIS. I think the idea of making a trailer for the book is cool but I know it will become a pain in my butt. Image result for ready player one

Blog 14

When I read the excerpts by Emerson, I did not understand them at all. There were so many big words squeezed into every sentence that it made my head hurt. I had to read everything at least three times…okay I only read it twice but I still needed to read it thoroughly to even get an understanding. Transcendentalism looks like a complicated word because it is. The definition my group came up with was “being unique, improving yourself, learning new things, and trying to become a better person every day”. In smarter terms, rebelling against nature or normal actions of society to understand more of what it is to be human. I liked how Emerson compared nature and man as though they were one in come ways. I believe that transcendentalists beliefs in man being naturally good are somewhat correct. I mean, I can not really argue with something I do not understand all that well. I think that man is good because of society keeping them in check (not saying they are evil) but I do think that society also plays a role in man doing wrong. For example, money can influence a man to seem to have become powerful and go out and do stupid things, or a woman who might tend to keep control over the man and prevent him from living his own life. Nobody comes out of the womb shooting guns and killing people. I do believe that even as adults, men are good at first. Innocent until proven guilty if you will. Society also gives every man their differences in life. It gives them those certain characteristics that distinguish them from the crowd. Society is meant to help us or make us go against the grain but it does not define us 100% and create who we are. Rules are meant to be broken sometimes and having society bear down on some people will cause them to break out and seem different. Society is a big factor in life, it can help you or destroy you. It makes everyone different but exactly the same in a weird metaphorical way. 

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Blog 13: End of Argument

My thoughts/understanding of arguing has changed a lot but there is still room to improve. I did not realize it until Mr. McGarry said something but we do argue all the time and do not realize it. i am good at that kind of arguing but I am NOT good at debating apparently. Everybody argues all the time because everybody wants to get a point across or to just always wanting to be right. Me personally, if I already know I am right, I get flustered and can not say what I want to say fast enough because I am thinking faster than my lips are moving. Anyways, so I usually let the other person, or persons, say their point and go right to explaining why they are wrong and then hit them with the facts. I argue with many people so I do not really pay attention to how they argue but they usually always want to argue first and that helps me out more. When we were debating, we had to have an opening statement and basically say why we were right and state facts and what not about our topic. When my opponent was going, I was having such a hard time listening and typing out things to use against them. I was getting flustered because of being in front of many people and having to do stuff on the spot. When she was asking me questions I literally froze and did not know what to say. Looking back at it after having time to ponder, I figured out what I should have said. When I had to talk, I pretty much threw away everything I had written down and blurted out whatever came to mind. Again, looking back at it, I did not get to say HALF of the stuff I wanted to say in the first place. I think differently about how to attack my opponent and to listen to their side a lot more than I did and to do a LOT more research for both sides of the argument. Developing a persuasive speech was hard for me because I am not good at typing out what I want because then I overthink and get very flustered very quickly. Overall, my viewpoint on debates and arguing as a whole has changed and hopefully I can come back better prepared for the next debate/argument  than my last one.Image result for arguing

Blog 12: Debate

For my debate i had to defend that policemen are not racist. At first I was like “well crap, I’m not winning this. It is impossible” but then I did more research and I started to believe in my side more. My opinion on the topic has definitely changed since I was introduced to this debate. I look at it in a new way now.

One of the most interesting and/or compelling factual piece of information on my topic would have to be the cases involved. I like it because there is such a variety of actual cases that happened and an argument either way could be backed up sufficiently by statistics. I think it should be interesting or compelling to others because it is a very controversial topic and one that will not go away any time soon. Before doing research and looking up all of the cases, I did not know many things that I know now such as massacres that happened to policemen in Dallas or killings of police in New York. I got my information from many sources but I found most of it on the Daily Wire, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

I do not have a preferred side to this topic. I came into the debate preparation thinking that I would lose the actual debate but in present time, I am not pro or con racism in police. I do believe it is a rising concern but not an immediate problem to our society. For my topic I think some big emotions are sympathy and guilt. My topic activates these emotions because it is talking about people, citizens of the United States, losing their lives for possibly no reason at all except for the ever misunderstanding racism. I definitely had to figure out how to reach people on an emotional level because I had to defend how the police are not racist and it is extremely hard to connect on that level. For my opponent’s side, they have it easier because they can say “do you really want police officers to get away with taking innocent lives?”. How do I come back at that?

This debate topic is extremely important right now because of how relevant it is. There have been controversial shootings of blacks in the past few years and the awareness is constantly rising. Without the awareness of this topic there would be little justice, fairness, or legality in our system, against the police forces or not. For the pro side, police officers know what they are doing when it comes to putting the law into effect which shows fairness in their acts. For the con side there is the fact that cops have to follow every lead to the full extent of the law and that if they do find the person no matter who it is if the person refuses arrest and puts up a fight then the officers will do what they seem fit to protect themselves.  That goes into the justice and fairness as well as Right vs. Wrong categories.

I think of the three appeals, logic is the most important for this debate. The most commonly used one is also logic and the most common argument for and against is also logic. Logic is the most useful here because the facts are impossible to argue with if used correctly. The most common fallacy would be red herring because it strays away from the facts the most and does not aid the person arguing much at all because of the opinions.

I learned that if you think you have finally done all of the research you can to win an argument, do a little more because there is always more out there for you to learn and to help you. The more prepared = more confident = better game plan = defeated opposing argument. Feel great, debate great. I will definitely DEFINITELY be doing a LOT more research for my side and my opponents side of our argument.

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Blog 11: Topic Selection and First Thoughts

The topic for my debate is racism in police. I am going to argue that police are not racist. It is not my personal opinion on this controversial topic but I think I can find enough information to win the debate. I know racism in police is a big, current controversial topic around the United States especially and that it is not really being solved right now. I also know that there have been a large number of African Americans being killed by policemen compared to white people, at least from what has been plastered on the news. Articles on police racism and white power. I mostly see articles on a class at Florida University and having police be assigned to them. Don’t you see that police are only trying to help? Among the rest, about half of the URLs lead to articles of police not actually being racist. I plan to use logical appeal by bringing up past killings of African Americans who seem innocent to the public but was in fact endangering others or breaking the law. Many past killings have gone against the police and they have received heavy fire from the pubic. I plan to talk about the statistics of white cops actually killing innocent African Americans and African American cops killing white men. I will also point out statistics on killings of other skin that were only necessary to help keep citizens safe. To utilize ethical approach I would say how the policemen were in fact just doing their job and following orders. Not every cop is a bad cop and some news reports get blown out of proportion. Everybody deserves the same rights and cops are only trying to help enforce that. Cops also have to enforce the actual laws and the events that happened, happened to involve people of another color. If a person was committing a very serious crime that endangered others and would not stop, do you really think that a cop would care about what skin color that person had to keep the peace?Image result for no racism in police

Blog 10

I came across many articles about artificial intelligence becoming “friends” with children but one stood out to me and it nearly convinced me to join the other side of the argument. My original argument was that robots could not and should not be allowed to help children with their feelings. The counter argument that I came across was that robots that teach our children isn’t such a bad idea. It brought up many facts to try to convince me. The robots can be used to help analyze children’s emotions as said in an nbcnews article “Consider Pepper, a 4-foot-tall interactive robot able to recognize human emotional states by analyzing voice tone, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues.” I’m not too sure how absolute the robot is at scanning our emotions but I still find it sketchy. Later on in the article, it talks about robots starting to help out as assistant teachers, “Placed in preschool classes, social robots like Pepper could use their powerful emotion-recognition engines to spot minor squabbles, which would allow teachers to focus on the larger meltdowns that occur. The robots may also be programmed with established negotiation strategies to better resolve conflicts and further reinforce skills children are developing” and I somewhat agree with it. I think the robots can help out with younger children especially since they portray emotions more. Another study shows that special needs students respond better to technology, “For one thing, a vast body of research shows some kids with autism respond well to technology in general, including computers, phones, tablets, and robotic toys. Studies also suggest robots are appealing to special needs children because they’re less complex and more predictable than people, less intimidating, perpetually patient and consistent in the tone of voice and mood, and highly customizable and adaptable to children’s specific needs.” I found this very interesting and it started to persuade me to think that robots aren’t so bad after all. Many people against robots will say that all a child needs is their parents but their parents may not ALWAYS be around for the kid(s). The author of the article brings up a good point about the robots that I didn’t think of, but it is definitely right, “Once you repeat something for the 10-millionth time, you’re not going to want to do it again. But robots don’t have that problem and children love the repetition”. After reading through both articles from apposing sides, I still think that robots are not quite ready to take on the real world yet.

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Blog 9

I followed some of our 15 virtues but not all of them. I followed temperance from Friday to Sunday. I ate just as much as I need  which kind of sucked because I am trying to gain weight so I need to eat more but it is whatever. Silence just did not work out for me at all. I like to say what is on my mind no matter the subject so I broke this virtue many times through the course of three days. I did well with order. I was on time to everything and I even cleaned my room *gasp*. Although, on Sunday I has to be somewhere and I left my house a little early to get gas and be there on time just to find out that that event was cancelled for the day. My resolution virtue came up short on Sunday. I told myself I would do  all of my workout but I ended up not following through. Although I do have gym class on Monday and I could make up that missed workout then. For frugality I did not complete my three day experiment of not violating the virtue because I bought candy at a dollar general for no reason at all, but I did buy gas for my car which was much needed. Industry was a fail from the start. I was on my phone these past three days way more than usual and I do not know why because I knew I was doing this experiment. If you know me, you know that sincerity does not float too well with me. I like to say whatever is on my mind whenever and I should have just kept my mouth shut 99 percent of the time. I followed justice over the three day experiment and completed it with no problems. For moderation I think I completed it pretty easily. I did not rush into anything over the weekend and I did, in fact, take my time on things. I failed at tranquillity because I was making a big deal on what candy bar to get and I did not even need the candy bar. I do not believe I need to state my case for chastity but long story short, I followed the virtue throughout the experiment over all three days. I am pretty cocky when it comes to certain information I know, but my humility stayed strong over the break. For generosity, I let my friend borrow my xbox so we could all play together and that made me feel good about myself. Again, I am cocky at times but I was also very confident in my arguments over the weekend and I ended up being right every time. The only thing I could count for patriotism is that I played an American soldier in a video game of mine.

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Blog 8: Final Poem

Before even reading the poem “A Smile” I knew it was going to be hard to understand. No poem with that simple of a title is going to be understood right away. I first read it and I do not know if I was just having one of those days or if McGarry is just that good at making poems because I did not get it at all. I “read” the whole poem and when I was done, I looked up, and thought “wow. I understood none of that”. After reading it again and with a little (a lot) of help from classmates I started to understand the poem… I think. I am completely kidding. I understand nothing about this poem. I have read it about 4 times because two and a half pages is way too much for my young eyes at this point. I honestly could not tell you what happens besides the fact that there are allusions in just about every other line of the poem. I did have McGarry help me and he just pulled up like three different songs by The Eagles and there was a line from within those songs that were put into the poem but worded differently. Like are you kidding me? How was I supposed to know that? All I have pieced together is in the first stanza the speaker is driving on a road and listening to The Eagles only because McGarry helped me with it. Then it goes downhill from there. I know that “dynamo of light” and “Thoreau’s quiet desperation” are allusions added in for meaning and depth but that is all you could probably get out of me. I noticed in the middle of the poem the speaker talks about being on a stage and being chased off by a bear, I think when they say about being on the stage for an act or two and then being chased off I personally feel it is talking about having your moment in life, like your fifteen minutes of fame, and then coming back to reality. Hmmm… oh, when the speaker says “To do to don’t but never try” that is an allusion to Yoda from Star Wars when he says “do or do not, there is no try” but yet again it is worded so weird that most people would probably skip over it. All in all, this poem is confusing to me but probably good if I understood it more.