D6 Class 5.1

Feb 23

Study the Opposition

Find 10 articles that take a different stance on the controversial issue you've been working on. Aim to gather articles from a variety of sources (newspapers, personal blogs, etc.) In some cases, you may find that there are several distinct kinds of opposition:

  • people who disagree with you on principle
  • people who agree on principle but disagree on method

If so, take note of that complication and consider gathering articles for both categories. You may decide to focus just on one group in your speech, but by gathering more sources now, you're prepping for either possibility, allowing you to make that big decision later on, once you know more.

Choose two articles from your collection, one that's completely wrongheaded and another that you're impressed by. Write a ¶ on each article, as follows:

  • A ¶ referencing the wrongheaded article to dismiss the logic of some members of the opposition. Note: quoting from the source will help you pin down your opponent's false logic or bad faith—or whatever other objection you're lodging.
  • A ¶ referencing the impressive article to acknowledge the strength of its argument, followed (possibly) by a refutation of some kind. You may decide to make this a 2-¶ sequence.

From these two responses, choose ONE to share with the class, under the appropriate heading below.

25 responses to “D6 Class 5.1

    • Tom Cotton, a United States senator, was sent to be an unbiased jury in the trial of Donald Trump for incitement of a riot. Cotton although understanding and acknowledging the horror that was January 6th, believes the former president should not have been impeached and should not be removed. I disagree with him. Cotton’s logic is completely flawed. In his statement, Cotton acknowledges the crime committed by the president but doesn’t believe that Trump should have consequences for the crime that he knows exists. He contradicts himself when he speaks of the sanctity of American rule and law then denounces impeachment in the same statement. If the law really were as sacred as he says Cotton would practice it in order to protect it. But he does not. You cannot have it both ways. However, that is what he implies he wants.

    • Matt Ridley, a journalist of primarily The Wall Street Journal, claims that there is no need to rush in our efforts to combat climate change, an opinion that is not only wrong, but harmful to our planet and humanity. He begins the article by stating that climate change “is real, man-made and not dangerous, at least not for a long time”. The phrase “man-made” is correct, so shouldn’t the average person work to lower their carbon footprint and practice sustainability since they were the causation? The latter half of the sentence is more problematic in that it has no regard for future generations of this world, arguing that since these changes may not affect our lifetime, it doesn’t matter. His reasoning comes from data that shows “slower warming than predicted” and believes that we should use this ostensible extra time “to develop better energy technologies” instead of developing “policies to tackle climate change” since “they are having little effect”. Presenting the average person again, upon reading this article they will feel no sense of urgency to adapt their lifestyle to help fix the climate, of which will determine the state of the world for their generations to come. This message exudes a sense of procrastination and laziness in the effort to make the planet a healthier and better place.

      Ridley, Matt. “Climate Change Will Not Be Dangerous for a Long Time”. Scientific American, 27
      Nov. 2015, http://www.scientificamerican.com.

    • In the article Why do people carry guns, the writer fails to portray her arguments. She starts off an article by stating that people need guns for certain reasons and later argues that guns play a dangerous role in our society. She should have started her article with her stance instead of starting with an article with “While there is no excuse to carry a gun, people say they carry it for different reasons.” This makes the reader automatically think that this essay is going to be about why guns should be allowed in the United States when the article’s main goal and purpose are to explain why guns should not be allowed in the United States. Also, when the author gives the reasons why people carry guns at the beginning of the article, the argument in my opinion is weak. She says people tend to have guns because of protection, fear, and peer pressure. I think her argument is just out of emotions instead of statistical and logical reasons. I think adding the second amendment somewhere at the beginning of the article would make her argument stronger and more convincing.

    • In the New York Post’s “These Black Lives Didn’t Seem to Matter in 2020” opinion piece, journalist Rav Arora argues that by focusing the Black Lives Matter movement only on police reform diminishes the importance of homicides within the black community that are devoid of police. While I do agree that all violence is equally important and that the high homicide rates within the black community should be addressed, the BLM movement is not just focused on police reform. Although the BLM movement was sparked by outrage over Treyvon Martin’s death, the motive of the movement is to recognize systematic racism as a whole, which includes the police force as well as other forms of American government. Additionally, this black-on-black crime narrative that Arora paints is very harmful, as it disregards why violence within black communities is so prevalent to begin with. His argument transpires into one where the larger problem is mainly the black community itself and moreover offers no solution. The true problem, which is what BLM addresses, is that America continues to employ a multi-century old system founded off of black suffering that has only decades ago begun fixing its oppressive nature, but very leisurely; people in positions of power still choose to overlook this, seeing today’s persecution as a black issue rather than an American one.

    • In the Vox article, “In Defense of Cancel Culture”, written by Shamira Ibrahim, Ibrahim takes the stance that “cancel culture” is an effective tool for marginalized groups to defend themselves and gives them a collective voice to punish offenders. Ibrahim quotes from communications strategist Camonghne Felix in which she states that “cancellation isn’t personal but a way for marginalized communities to publicly assert their value system through pop culture.” Although I agree that cancel culture can be effective for voicing concerns and addressing discrimination and hatred in society, I disagree in the aspect that it isn’t personal.

      I believe that cancel culture is very much so personal in that it calls people out on their mistakes and behaviors and forces them to address it. However, the real problem lies in the fact that many a times it doesn’t allow said offender to grow and develop from their mistakes. Obviously there are certain actions that are reprehensible and cannot be condoned at any point, but cancel culture doesn’t take that into consideration. Every mistake is critiqued the same and punished the same without distinction. This breeds to a dangerous new social environment where people are no longer given the social freedom to err and grow. Without an open platform for discussion there is no room for reeducation. Cancel culture silences the masses, but that doesn’t mean that hate becomes nonexistent, rather it just lives in the privacy of the mind without being challenged ever. This is not to say one should be able to spout hateful rhetoric freely, rather its more so that we need to allow people to make mistakes so that they’re given the chance to learn from it. If they chose to disregard and continue with their offensive action and behavior then that is another matter. In the end I do believe that cancel culture is a great tool to battle discrimination and hatred, however, I think we need to be more conscious of how we use it and the effect it has. Sometimes, people can be so blinded in their moral righteousness that they fail to even give a chance for the offender to atone for their offense.

    • In Jack Kelly’s article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled, “The facts don’t add up for human-caused global warming,” he discusses how although global warming skeptics may believe that humans have created some changes to the environment, they think that they have not done nearly enough damage to be concerned about. Kelly starts off his article by stating that in the first five months of 2014, the weather has been colder than it has ever been since 1888, claiming that “If ‘climate change’ alarmists got out more, they might have noticed.” This claim does not prove Kelly’s point of arguing against global warming, as climate change does not only involve warmer than normal weather but also colder than normal weather, invalidating Kelly’s reasoning. Furthermore, Kelly continues his argument by downplaying the importance of lowering our carbon footprint, stating that “the effect of greenhouse gases on climate is trivial.” Greenhouse gases are in fact a major contributor to global warming as they trap heat, causing the planet’s temperature to gradually rise. Kelly’s arguments in his article invalidate the sincerity of global warming, as he is informing his audience that climate change is not an issue that people should be concerned about, claiming that humans do not have control over the situation. This is a dangerous message to present as climate change continues to worsen and this article will only delay the initiations needed to help reverse the damage that has been done to the Earth.

      Kelly, Jack. “The facts don’t add up for human-caused global warming.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 29 May 2014, http://www.post-gazette.com/op.....1405290275.

    • In the article, “Why I’ve Never Believed in ‘Believe Women’,” Helen Lewis explains why she extremely dislikes the slogan “Believe women.” She also talks about the job of a journalist, and the struggle of properly writing about sexual harrassment and sexual assault. Lewis claims that this slogan, a broad truth, “tells us nothing about the merits of any individual case” and “this absolutism is wrong, unhelpful, and impossible to defend.” Lewis continues on to say that she understands that the slogan was for media coverage, which is what I find to be a flaw in her argument. Many slogans for serious topics like sexual assault are used as a way to spread awareness and attention. Despite it being short and perhaps “not true,” it serves its purpose by being in the public eye. For a movement where women’s voices are silenced and shut down, publicity is the very first step to be taken into justice. Furthermore, Lewis argues about the difficulty in publishing news regarding sexual assault, insisting that her skeptisism “look like hositlity.” However, although it is a valid problem in addressing this issue of journalism, it seems inexcusable to write in an aggressive tone and describe the slogan as “terrible” and a “trap” about a movement that serves to unify victims of sexual assault.

    • Larry Bell writes in a Newsmax article warning about the possibility of the Biden administration rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. His main argument consists of stating that other countries don’t meet their emission reductions and discussing job losses he associates with the phasing out of traditional energy. These are all valid concerns and any climate policy worth its own weight needs to address these, as ideas such as the Green New Deal tackle. The problem is, however, Bell treats these problems not as opportunities to address them but rather as opportunities to say addressing climate change isn’t worth it at all. When other countries avoid reducing their emissions, America ought to use its leverage as the world’s sole superpower and its power as one of the biggest markets to compel them to do so. We must acknowledge the side effects of switching to a green economy as Bell brings up, yes, but so too we must also acknowledge the side effects of not switching to a green economy and the effects of climate change which he fails to bring up even once. Disregard all the scientists and all the studies, which Bell swats all away under the term “Climategate,” the effects of climate change can be seen today. It’s no hoax that the Sahara is expanding; it’s no hoax that, due to increased water temperatures, fish have been moving habitats; it’s no hoax that the average global temperature has seen an increase since the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century. Climate change does not care whether or not you believe in it or that it is manmade, and it will not go away if you just keep denying it.

    • In Brophy’s Student Newspaper, writers Reece M. Krantz and Chase L. Manson claim how social media could be considered beneficial for democracy. They claim how due to social media, there is another outlet for people to share their opinions and bring attention to causes. The authors claim that social media brings upon an onslaught of multiple perspectives. In fact, they strongly declare how “social media’s role in this was purely democratic; it raised awareness to the majority about a social or political injustice”. During that time, they called upon examples from Hong Kong’s for democracy and protests in Ferguson, MO, to reveal how through the use of social media people became more aware of the issue and stood together to fight for causes. While in some cases it may be true as mentioned above, however, as technology continues to advance, there is a limit to how much perspectives are actually shared. Due to the advancements in algorithms, information cocoons form. In turn, people only see content from social media that they are interested in. Thus, it causes people to become biased as they think everyone thinks the same way and are not aware of the other side. Granted, because the article was written six years ago, it means that the extent they believed in social media would vary from now. Because technology has been changing a lot recently, it results in the writers having outdated information.

    • In the Fox News article, “What Trump’s zero policy means for children separated from families at the border”, author Kaitlyn Schallhorn attempts to discredit the struggles children endure by explaining the current laws in place. She states that according to DHS, “children in HHS ORR care are given medical and mental health attention if needed, as well as educational programs”. These laws however do not ensure children of illegal immigrants will receive an education. Schallhorn fails to understand that these laws in place do not positively correlate with children’s education as these kids have trouble focusing on school when they live in constant fear of being separated from their parents. I believe this article does not do a great job because it provides the laws without providing the actual reality of immigrant children.

      https://www.foxnews.com/politi.....-at-border

    • In the article “The Negative Impact of the #MeToo Movement” by writer Heather Mac Donald, she asserts that the #MeToo Movement will set limitations on the diversity of gender and races across various categories of industries. She describes this effect caused by the #MeToo movement will be “sweeping and destructive” if all mainstream institution will start to conduct exquisite calculations of gender and diversity ratios when they hire people. Then, in order to persuade her readers, Mac Donald goes on to explain how white males are now disadvantaged in industries. However, simply presenting merely several examples of companies which are now criticized for being “entire white” and “all white males” doesn’t seem to be compelling enough to persuade readers to support her argument. Indeed, she even reveals her own discrimination towards women workers. Specifically, when she mentions the story of how companies like Windows and Hiltons are trying to help promote females and minorities in their own industries, she asserts their behaviors will end up with less qualified employees. By doing so, she puts women workers in an inferior state as they are “less qualified” than white male workers. Without presenting solid evidence, or even no evidence, Mac Donald merely brings panic to the audience of this article.

    • In my last response, I argued for the detrimental side of social media and specifically how economist Robert Frank used economic theories to illustrate its harm to society through spreading misinformation, hate speech, and conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really find any impressive articles that can eloquently refute my previous argument. It seems to be common knowledge that social media does indeed spread misinformation and bring negative influences to our society.

      Nevertheless, I did manage to find one recent article that claims somewhat on the opposite spectrum. Laura argues that active consumption of social media is beneficial for mental health because “being clear on what we need and want to consume means we are spending less time on the content we don’t care about” based on the result of a study done by Dr. Lee Smith at Anglia Ruskin University. However, the author does not take the danger of active consumption into her account, and she ignored the fact that tech companies actually want people to actively seek out the content they enjoy for their algorithms to be effective. I strongly disagree that active use of social media is necessarily good for our mental health. In fact, that’s exactly how many conspiracy theory groups and extremist minority groups are formed nowadays: people inadvertently practice confirmation bias and find certain content on whatever niche idealogy they believe in. This can result in many harms to the well-being of individuals as they become more and more narrow-minded by enclosing themselves in their own echo chambers.
      Link: https://uk.style.yahoo.com/act.....48463.html

    • Maurizio Bifulco and Simona Pisanti highlight the use of cannabis throughout Europe and how it is slowly becoming legalized for medical use and for recreation use back in the US in Oregon and Washington. They clearly state their viewpoint that cannabis should not be legalized, is a palliative treatment, and that it has no therapeutic benefits. While this may be true for the research done back in 2015, current-day research has shown that THC has helped cure issues like insomnia, multiple sclerosis, seizures, and eating disorders like anorexia. While it is also a palliative treatment for some users there are medical benefits that come along with it that cannot be ignored. There are economic benefits to marijuana as well as medical benefits. Legalization will decrease the reliance on cartels as a source of cannabis and will add a much-needed regulation and tax. So along with medical benefits, there are also other economic benefits that both individuals and communities will benefit from.

      https://www.embopress.org/doi/......201439742

    • Richard Heinberg, in his article “Why Climate Change Isn’t Our Biggest Environmental Problem, and Why Technology Won’t Save Us”, questions the nature of the ecological crisis concerning climate change and global warming, by arguing that it results from systemic factors. Heinberg suggests that the environmental problem, which humanity is currently facing, has deeper roots, including our sociopolitical systems, the desire for economic growth, overpopulation, and other related occupations and interests. He argues that the technological approaches often offered by scientists, aiming at the overcoming of global warming, are not, in reality, effective. On the contrary, these solutions are said to be discussed in order to urge people to take action, without risking the possible neglect of such a serious issue, owing to the fear of the need of economic and political reformations. In fact, his ideas are based on the impression that the ecological crisis is deeply a moral rather than practical issue.

      Heinberg criticizes current environmental movements, due to the fact that their effort “fell short because it was not able to alter society’ s central organizing principle, which is also its fatal flaw: its dogged pursuit of growth at all cost.” This is undeniable, and a very splendid argument since its occurrence is accompanied by the industrial revolution. Also, the idea that the moral approach is the environmental movement’s strength is correct. However, even if it is not wise to entirely depend on technology as the ultimate solution, it is still needed, and it is a great way to influence common beliefs, exactly because people believe in its achievements. Even if not utterly effective, as a first step in combination with an underlying and gentle systemic change, it would effectively alarm people, and be impactful. Not to forget, technology is what made humanity aware of climate change and global warming in the first place.

    • In the article written by Anna North, she explains the views some people have against the #MeToo movement. For instance, when referring to the allegation against former Los Angeles Times reporter Jonathan Kaiman, one critic, Emily Yoffe, determined that it was the fault of the women that came out against him that caused Kaiman to lose his job. Although Kaiman had digitally penetrated a woman without her consent, Yoffe claimed that Kaiman was following a promising career path, and the women who had been sexually assaulted by Kaiman ruined his career. Another argument mentioned was in a report by New York investigator, Jane Mayer. Mayer tackled the question dictating whether it was right for actress Leeann Tweeden to be upset that Senator Al Franken mimed grabbing her breast. Mayer insisted that it wasn’t necessary for Tweeden to go public with her story, whereas her situation could have been dealt with better in private. North explains these arguments in a factual manner rather than with her personal opinion, which allows for a clear understanding of these perspectives. Even though these arguments oppose the #MeToo movement, they offer a controversial opinion that is important to recognize in regards to the movement itself.

      Although Yoffe and Mayer believed the women were in the wrong for their accusations, it’s never acceptable to blame the victim of a situation. As a result, their arguments are flawed due to their acceptance of sexual misconduct. Suggesting that the victim is liable for what happened to the predator, proposes the idea that sexual misconduct is acceptable, whereas it is definitely not. Mayer does advise that women deal with their stories in a private setting, however, there have been too many instances where women are not respected and are never granted justice because they’ve allowed people to diminish the significance of their story. Bringing issues, such as sexual misconduct, to a larger scale audience, assures that their stories will be heard, providing a better chance for justice.

      Link: vox.com/2019/8/27/20833421/me-too-sexual-misconduct-al-franken-kaiman

    • In his opinion piece through USA Today, Philip K. Howard presents an aggressive view on public unions. He first attacks police unions, stating that the strength and political power police unions possess makes it impossible to hold individual officers accountable. He presents the example of Derek Chauvin, the officer that murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis during 2020. The murder “touched off protests around the country” and had a terrible effect on race relations around the country. Howard then uses this situation to attack the power of police unions, stating that Chauvin “likely would have been terminated or taken off the streets if police supervisors in Minneapolis had the authority to make judgements about unsuitable officers”, citing 18 complaints filed against Chauvin and a reputation for being “tightly wound”. Here, the author is not incorrect. Chauvin should never have been on the streets; in fact, he should never have been a policeman at all. The lack of accountability in police forces is a major issue, and it is one that is exacerbated by the power of police unions. Just recently, in my hometown, Chelmsford Massachusetts, the police union got into a spat with the town manager about their contracts. This nearly resulted in the town manager losing his job; signs went up around town saying “Bye Bye Paul”, the Select Board voted not to renew his contract before narrowly voting to extend it months later, and his position is still unsafe as of today. Police unions do have too much power; they can take over a town and do so solely in the interest of more lucrative contracts for themselves, whether or not there is space in the budget.

      However, Howard subsequently came for teachers’ unions, and did so extremely aggressively and nearly entirely incorrectly. He attacked teachers’ unions for “refusing to teach” during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing the CDC’s decision that schooling was safe and the reopening of private schools to attack public school teachers’ unions for “harming millions of students” by “refusing to allow teachers to return to work for a year” and “impeding our ability to reopen the economy” by preventing parents from returning to work as they returned to their position of primary caregiver with no school to ship their children off to every day. However, it is ridiculous to equate teachers’ unions to police unions. For one, teachers are paid table scraps compared to police officers, and teachers’ unions are necessary if we ever want to empower teachers to receive more wages. Teacher’s wages and quality of education often go hand in hand, and collective bargaining is a great way to support teachers in their quest for higher wages, which would in turn attract better candidates to the field, boosting the quality of education. Additionally, Howard uses a quote by Lori Lightfoot, the current mayor of Chicago, in his attack on teachers, stating that “after 80 meetings trying to cajole teachers back to work” that Lightfoot’s takeaway was that the teachers would “like to take over… running the city government”. This is an absurd thing to say, and it’s forwarded by an unpopular mayor with an atrocious record. She was elected as a lukewarm safety candidate endorsed by many establishment forces including the Chicago Sun-Time and the Tribune, despite her record of failure in police accountability and protection of the lower-class Black community. She also has had a history of antagonism with the Chicago Teachers’ Union, making taking her at her word on teachers’ unions farcical. In all, while police unions are a problem that need to be addressed, it is absurd to put teachers’ unions on that same level of problematic, and actively detrimental to the quality of education in this country.

  1. In my last response, I argued for the detrimental side of social media and specifically how economist Robert Frank used economic theories to illustrate its harm to society through spreading misinformation, hate speech, and conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really find any impressive articles that can eloquently refute my previous argument. It seems to be common knowledge that social media does indeed spread misinformation and bring negative influences to our society.
    Nevertheless, I did manage to find one recent article that claims somewhat on the opposite spectrum. Laura argues that active consumption of social media is beneficial for mental health because “being clear on what we need and want to consume means we are spending less time consuming content we don’t care about” based on the result of a study done by Dr. Lee Smith at Anglia Ruskin University. However, the author does not take the danger of active consumption into her account, and she ignored the fact that tech companies actually want people to actively seek out the content they enjoy for their algorithms to be effective. I strongly disagree that active use of social media is necessarily good for our mental health. In fact, that’s exactly how many conspiracy theory groups and extremist minority groups are formed nowadays: people inadvertently practice confirmation bias and find certain content on whatever niche idealogy they believe in. This can result in many harms to the well-being of individuals as they become more and more narrow-minded by enclosing themselves in their own echo chambers.
    Link: https://uk.style.yahoo.com/act.....48463.html

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