Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This paragraph is what the author, Joseph Farah, uses as the basis for his argument about Free Speech. Mr. Farah conveys the points of his article through the careful use of rhetoric. His excellent diction conveys his points succinctly and is able to convince even the most vocal opponents that his points are valid and should be acted upon.
The author has carefully chosen his audience after much consideration of the arguments and rhetorical tools available to him. The goal of a targeted audience is so that his words will reach the greatest number of people possible. He has chosen to target the religious conservative base of the American people to help him accomplish this goal. The religious conservatives are a group of people that always hold strong opinions and are very difficult to sway to one opinion or another. With this specific audience as his target, he is able to bring many impassioned arguments to the paper while targeting the largest audience possible.
When the author places the First Amendment at the very beginning of the paper, he is insuring that this is the first thing that the reader sees. This is a carefully calculated tactic. When the author quotes the First Amendment, the readers develop an immediate trust because of the perceived validation given to the paper by said document. The Bill of Rights is one of the most unquestionably revered documents in American and even world history, so when the author uses it, it brings an immediate validation to his words. People do not want to question something that they see as validated by the Bill of Rights of the United States of America. With this at the head of the author’s paper, he can proceed with less caution than would usually be used in approaching a touchy subject because he has a great perceived validation backing him up. This first point the author makes ties him to the conservatives. The conservatives will see the First Amendment quoted and instantly support whatever is stated in the paper.
In the first paragraph of the author’s paper, he invokes strong language. He states: “for the life of me, I cant figure out what’s so difficult to understand about these 45 words-most of them only one syllable.” In using this carefully worded diction, the author calls into doubt the validity of people who say that the First Amendment is a complicated document that needs to be interpreted. Using this phrase makes the reader doubt the opinion of those who say that there are limits to what the First Amendment covers. The first thought that most readers will have when reading this paper is “that’s true. Why are Americans making it so complicated? It is a simple, all encompassing document. Why are there so many complicated interpretations?” So in his first 3 lines of diction, the author has already drawn into question the validity of First Amendment detractors.
The next thing that the author does is direct the attention of the reader to the fact that certain basic freedoms are not given to us by governments, but by the grand Creator of the universe. With this example, he draws in the sympathies of all Christian people in the United States. By pointing out that these rights were given by God, and not by man, the author adds a religious backing and validity to his claims that will immediately gain the unquestioning support of the Christian community. This was an excellent move by the author because the majority of the United States of America is a Christian community. Also, by drawing in the largest community in the United States, the author has also drawn in the most support at the same time. With the kind strong religious backing that we are talking about, there is no way that anything he says would be contradicted.
Another way Mr. Farah wins over his readers is by telling them that the government is trying to take away their rights. The author takes a random upcoming senate vote that is in all likelihood going to fail, and blows it way out of proportion. One thing that we know is that when Americans feel that their rights are being threatened, they come out angry and in force. This misdirection by the author is very likely to give the super-conservative Americans a reason to get very upset with the government. Even though there is no real threat, they will still come out in force. No conservative American will stand aside when their rights are being threatened. The author knows this and uses this knowledge to inflame the public’s opinion. He takes this unimportant vote and uses it to instantly get the conservative Americans on his side. These Americans would not dare to go against him or his diction when he is defending their rights.
One other thing the author does is to draw the elected leaders of the country into doubt. He asks the question: “Could it be that our elected leaders have simply failed to read the First Amendment lately? Could it be they don’t understand those simple words?” With these two simple phrases, the author instantly puts the blame on the ignorance of our elected leaders. Since there have been many problems and doubts with our elected leaders recently, this is an easy scapegoat to target. The author draws people into doubt very well. Throughout the author’s paper, he always is very effective at placing blame on the target that will potentially win the most support. The problem that this can lead to is the lack of trust in our elected leaders. Without trust and support, elected officials cannot pass new laws or enact new processes, which could help our country. This is a major danger in losing respect in our elected officials.
The diction techniques used in the author’s paper set him up to be believable no matter what he said. His diction is so effective that even if he were completely lying, he would be believed. Using the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America and tying God into its writing gave such a perceived legitimacy to the author’s arguments that it became almost impossible to argue against him. While I applaud his audacity in making it almost impossible to ignore his arguments, I am not fully convinced that it was the best way to argue his point. For many of the author’s audience, the emotional arguments are not going to have any sway. They will feel that there is too much emotion is his arguments, and not enough logic. What compels me to listen is cold, calculated logic. If the author had used calculated logic along with emotional arguments, I believe that he would have convinced a greater number and a wider range of people, not just the religious conservatives.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This paragraph is what the author, Joseph Farah, uses as the basis for his argument about Free Speech in his article, "Freedom of Speech. Period."
The author has carefully chosen his audience after much consideration of the arguments available to him. He has chosen to target the religious conservative base of the American people. With this audience, he was able to bring many impassioned arguments to the paper while targeting the largest audience possible.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
For years Brigham Young University has been known throughout the world for the Honor Code that its students adhere to. It has been a hallmark of the university and what it stands for. It stands for integrity in academic and personal life. Its values are an excellent guideline for students both temporally and spiritually. While I value the Honor Code and the people who live by it, I think that some elements, like facial hair and visiting hours, are outdated.
Many people wonder where the Honor Code comes from, or how long it has been in effect. The Honor Code dates as far back as the Brigham Young Academy. President Karl G. Maeser created a group of teachers who would visit students’ homes to check if the school’s moral rules were being followed. However, he relied largely on the students’ sense of honor to enforce the rules. Over the years, as the Brigham Young Academy converted into Brigham Young University, the Honor Code changed and evolved until it became what it is today.
The BYU Honor Code: http://saas.byu.edu/catalog/2010-2011ucat/GeneralInfo/HonorCode.php
In the 1960s, there were several rules added against longer hairstyles in men. These rules were added at the time because of current national events. At the time, communism was a major problem in the United States. Long hair was seen as a sign of communistic sympathies and emulation of undesirable contemporary characters, so it was outlawed as part of the Honor Code. Currently in America, long hair has nothing to do with communism. To continue to ban long hairstyles in men because of this long-dead prejudice would be pointless. We are not communist, and do not desire to emulate undesirable contemporary characters. Men at Brigham Young University should be allowed to wear their hair long if they so desire.
Very closely related to the issue of long hairstyles is the ever-prevalent issue of whether or not to allow facial hair, specifically beards to be worn by men at BYU. There is a constant battle between the male students and the testing center in regards to taking tests while not being clean-shaven. I had always heard stories from people about these constant battles between test takers and testing center employees, but I had never really believed any of them. Then one day a few semesters ago, I woke up late. I had a test that morning, and I had no time to shave, but I didn’t give it a second thought. When I got to the testing center, I was handed a nasty, cheap razor and told to go to the bathroom and shave because I was not completely clean-shaven. No shaving cream, just a cheap razor and a bathroom sink. It was very painful. I did not even have very much stubble at all. What confuses me about the rule about beards is that in the church beards are acceptable.
A bearded member of the church, when worthy, is even permitted to enter into the most holy place on earth: the House of the Lord. I do not see why I can enter into the Temple and perform sacred ordinances, but I cannot take a test on chemistry. If I can enter the Temple with a beard, I should be able to do anything on campus. There is nowhere on campus that is more sacred than the House of the Lord, not even the testing center. The rule that requires me to shave before I take a test is outdated. While beards were thought to emulate undesirable contemporary characters back in the late 70s, they do not now.
Another Reason that could be argued in favor of allowing beards is the dating factor. One of the focuses that Brigham Young University has is helping students find their eternal companions. We hear abut it all the time. At church, in class, during FHE, and basically anywhere you can imagine. I have spoken to many girls who say that beards are very attractive. You would think that Brigham Young University would allow, or even encourage, something that would help its students get married faster.
Another part of the Honor Code is not just outdated, but downright confusing. Why is it that Friday nights are different than every other night of the week? The fact that it is acceptable to be in a member of the opposite sex’s apartment until 1:30 am on Friday nights and only midnight every other night is ridiculous. What is the difference? We students here at Brigham Young University are adults. We should be treated as such. There is no need for a curfew, or if there is one, it should be uniform. I just can’t fathom why I am trusted until 1:30 on Friday nights, but only until midnight the rest of the week. It is interesting that in the Church, we always hear the joke that the spirit goes to bed at midnight. I just did not realize that it went to bed later on Friday nights. We are being trained to be the future leaders of the church and the future providers for our families. If we cannot be trusted to be prudent with what time we leave the apartment of the opposite sex, can we really be trusted with the future?
Many people would argue that the Honor Code is timeless and that it needs no changes. One thing we strongly believe in this church in is modern day revelation. While correct principles never change, programs and how they are implemented do. I have witnessed this many times, as have all of you. One example of changes in the church is the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet. Over the years it has changed many times. This shows that rules that are given are not set in stone, but that they can change over time. I believe that this is the case with the Honor Code. It has been a long time since it has had any changes.
While the vast majority of the Honor Code is great and is a benefit to the students who abide by it, there are definitely a few small changes that the board of trustees can make to bring the Honor Code up with the times. Some people would say that it is timeless and it does not need change, but everything can be improved. I urge the students of this university to go to the Honor Code office, to the administrators, in order to petition these changes in the Honor Code. I believe that making these alterations to the Honor Code would make everyone’s experience at Brigham Young University much more pleasant.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
So, the purpose of this blog is twofold. First of all, it is for my Writing 150 class, and as such will often have posts that will not make sense to people not in my class.