Monday, June 6, 2011

Social Studies 30 Diploma

Throughout the 8 months of Social Studies 30 that we have experienced, and especially in the Post-English portion, the assignments and lessons present have thoroughly tested me when it comes to trying to interpret sources and analyze their beliefs in both an economical and political aspect. Also, with this, I have also found my greatest challenge to be the relation of the beliefs of a source in comparison to the philosophers discussed throughout the Social Studies 30 curriculum. Although, I do believe that over time, my work has shown an improvement in the interpretation of presented materials.

Key Concept Assignments:

Issue 1 (Identity):
Issue-Related Assignment
Graphic Organizer

Issue 2 (Resistance to Liberalism):
Issue-Related Assignment

Issue 3 (Contemporary Liberalism):
Issue-Related Assignment
Graphic Organizer


Issue 1:
Progressivism - Promoting the concept of change and reform to improve the overall structure of things (usually political).
Collective Norms - The common expectations and behaviours of people in a given society.

Issue 2:
Baron de Montesquieu – believes in the separation of powers, relative to Rule of law.
Brinkmanship: Attempt to push an enemy to the “brink” of disaster to force them into surrendering
Neo-Conservatism: fusion of Individualism and Classical Liberalism, used by the United States (puts main focus into military power and government control)

Issue 3:
Patriot Act - Act passed in the United States which restricted the rights of citizens regarding billing information, communication through phone and email, among other things to combat terrorism.
Illiberalism - A type of government that violates the concepts of liberalism, but still holds elections.

Issue 4:
Dissent - A disagreement.
McCarthyism - Making accusations of disloyalty (normally toward pro-Communist behaviour), normally supported by irrelevant evidence.

Practice Quiz Results:

Both Quizzes

Most of my reflection was focussed on studying the political spectrum to gain a better grasp on the 'right-wing' and 'left-wing' related questions. Alongside that, just general studying regarding the philosophers and their ideals was how I worked to improve my mark. Without this, I would not have been able to gain a perspective of my own, along with the ability to interpret and fully understand the sources provided in assignments throughout the year.

Diploma Practice Assignments:

Practice #1

On my mark review sheet, no teacher comments were made. However, with the marking gradient that was provided, I was able to interpret the weaker parts of my assignment, as well as the stronger areas. The lower point of my mark was in the analysis of the source, and I do believe that may have been partly due to the fact I did not clearly interpret the actual political belief system of the second source. Considering the fact that the source expresses distrust in socialism and faith in still providing Economic Freedom and Individual Rights & Freedoms, I would mostly likely claim the opinions of Source II to be of Classical Liberalistic views.

Practice #2

Once again, I was not given any specific direction regarding the improvement of my essay with actual comments, though my analysis of source was my lowest portion of my mark. With that in mind, I would take into account the fact that I lacked to describe the actual political structure for the source's beliefs. Considering how the source expresses the urge to support the needs of the group by restricting the freedoms of the individual temporarily, I would consider this a form of Modern Liberalism, specifically with the aspect of Welfare Capitalism. Therefore, I would probably want to include more information about how Welfare Capitalism and Modern Liberalism relate to direct portions of the source, and compare those aspects to my own opinions to try and form a position paper that responds more clearly to the question being answered.

General Showcase Assignments:

Assignment #1
Assignment #2

Contest/Publication Submission:

Moore Shilleto Submission

Example of Bibliography:

Bibliography (located on Slide 8)

Visual Assignment:

V for Vendetta - Viability of Liberalism

Oral Assignment:

Hamlet & Hobbes

Technology Assignment:

James Bay: The Story of Mathew Coon Come

Quizzes & Reflection (for Portfolio)

Quiz 1 (Scored 35/59)

Quiz 2 (Same questions as above, second time given the test) - Scored 52/59

Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 Moore Shilleto Submission

Expanding World Views: Education in Developing Countries

            We cannot truly take control of our lives without being ourselves, and we cannot affirm our own identities without first learning what we ourselves believe in as individuals. Through an educational system, individuals in society are provided with the fundamental means needed to bring forth a more productive lifestyle, and ultimately, more prosperous life as a whole. Unfortunately, though many of the human beings dispersed widely throughout the continents engage in everyday educational activities, other individuals, societies, and even countries are not so fortunate in that they lack the monetary funding for even the most basic learning programs. With this in mind, I believe that developed countries have an obligation to their less developed nations to ensure that all individuals are entitled to at least a basic form of learning and insight. However, I believe there should be a few conditions regarding the funding: Developed countries should be responsible for funding the educational system, and educational advisors should be expected to create the specific learning materials, ensuring that the cultural aspects of the developing country’s citizens do not be overlooked or covered up. Also, I believe that once more educated citizens in the developing countries find means to stimulate their economy, the developed countries should slowly move out of the program, allowing the developing countries to learn to maintain their own programs and organizations.

            Though I firmly believe that developed countries should assist their developing counterparts, there is always the condition of when to quit providing funding. However, considering the fact that knowledge and education is an invaluable resource, funding for such a program is something that should not be halted. Therefore, developing countries should only cease their assistance once the receiving country has the means to continue the educational programs on their own. Through this, not only will the country be able to continue providing access to education for all its citizens, but also, the country will begin to learn the techniques needed to sustain their own organizations, a skill that will benefit them countless times in the years to come. In addition, the educational programs could also be used as means to stimulate that country’s economy, providing for even more advantage. Then, not only would the developing country be able to create and influence its own culture with the concept of enlightenment, but also, the citizens would be able to contribute feedback and take control, allowing for both the implementation of program maintenance, as well as a stimulant for their own economy, resulting in greater financial stabilization.

            Putting the financial aspect of the educational implementation aside, there is another condition that can be brought into perspective that is crucial to the learning system’s success. In regards to the content material being taught, there is always a risk that the material creator’s opinions and beliefs may be forced upon the recipient of knowledge, making it so that the receiving individual’s opinions may not actually be of their own choice. Through this, education is not being used to help make people more confident in their own identities, but rather, the receiving end becomes a sponge, obtaining any information that the influencer enforces. Considering the Residential schools of the 19th century in Canada, where natives became forced out of their own cultural backgrounds and ways of life for the sole purpose of blending in with mainstream Canadian society, we do not want to force our own lifestyle and beliefs upon a culture once again. When creating the material to be learned in a developing country, the subject matter must be understanding and respectful toward the specific culture of the target individuals. If this criteria is met, the people will then be able to retain information to form their own values and beliefs, all while still maintaining the aspects of their culture that form the other portion of their identity.

            The power of knowledge and education is an irreplaceable tool that carves away the unknown and assists us in countless ways to forge our own futures the way we see fit. As no man or woman is more or less equal than the last, the ability to acquire understanding and use it to benefit oneself is something that every human being should be blessed with, regardless of where the individual resides. So long as developed countries who contribute to the educational systems of developing countries ensure the prevention of cultural masking, then financial assistance is a viable solution. Also, considering the possible likelihood of financial dependency, a limit should be placed on the amount of monetary assistance being provided to the developing countries once said countries begin to establish the means to provide for themselves and create a sustainable educational fund for themselves. With a wider variety of people originating from unique lifestyles sharing their own insight with the rest of the world, especially with a new foundation of learning, the potential for discovering new concepts in any given field will be even more likely than ever before, and in doing so, a better future will be created for all human society as a whole.

Diploma Writing Assignment II

            Individual Rights & Freedoms are a principle of Liberalism that are commonly taken for granted in everyday society, but to lose such privileges that we use on a daily basis would truly make us consider how much we value democracy as a whole.  In the included source, it is expressed that there may be times when the rights and freedoms may need to be restricted for the possibility of a democratic future. However, the need for such action may be deemed necessary or not, depending on the situation of the specific country. If, by chance, the country and its people are experiencing grave circumstances, then such drastic forms of action may be necessary to put the country back on the right track. Although, if a country is in less-severe political and economical standing, then by no means should the revocation of the citizens’ rights and freedoms be the first course of action to protect democracy.

            Despite the reservation that people may have to give up their own rights, if the entire country is in a crisis, it may be deemed necessary to prolong the lifespan of democratic principles. In post-WWI Germany, the Treaty of Versailles had left the country and its people deprived of even the basic means for survival. During this time, Adolf Hitler made his rise to power through the promise of a solution to the serious dilemma that Germany faced, at the cost of the citizens following his orders and giving up their own rights and freedoms. Though Hitler ended up running Germany as an Authoritarian leader, the citizens felt the need to sacrifice their own freedoms for the sake of a more prosperous future for all. In a situation like this, to try and salvage the remains of Germany from the shambles that it was in was a nearly impossible task, and though the rights of the citizens were being temporarily taken away from them, drastic measures were needed to try and ensure that there would even be a future in Germany.

            On the other hand, when a country isn’t struck down by as drastic of circumstance as life-threatening recession, sacrificing rights and freedoms should not be deemed “necessary to guarantee the preservation of democracy”, or at least not until the situation becomes worse. With the United States’ Patriot Act, the government attempted to implement a plan to combat terrorism both inside and outside of their home country.  The United States’ condition was in no way comparable to the disaster that unfolded in post-WWI Germany, the Patriot Act enabled the government to take action instantly, in case a risk were to suddenly arise. Through the premise of the act, rights and freedoms such as privacy in regards to communication and financial matters are sometimes violated, but only if a particular individual is deemed suspicious in regards to potential terrorism. This way, rather than instantly limiting the rights and freedoms of the entire country’s population is avoided, and only the individuals that may pose a potential threat to the well-being of the remainder of the country are inspected, though they are presumed innocent until found with means to incriminate. Along the same conditions is Canada’s Emergencies Act, which was the replacement to the War Measures Act. The Emergencies Act, like the Patriot Act, allows Canadian Parliament to suspend the rights of citizens deemed suspicious, for the purpose of ensuring the security of the country during a crisis.  To ensure that the citizens’ rights aren’t being taken away unnecessarily, declaring an emergency must be reviewed by Parliament first, and also, laws that are temporarily put into effect are subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ensuring that the rights of the citizens will be maintained one way or another. With both of these Acts ready for the time when an emergency may come forth, the people can feel safe, without having already lost their rights.

            We must be careful when deciding upon whether or not to take away the rights and freedoms of the citizens of any country, and also, whether such a drastic course of action is truly necessary. If the country is in need of radical improvement, then the end may justify the means. However, if the country is only caught up in a slight dilemma or even in no trouble at all, then by no means should they be considering individual rights and freedoms as a mandatory sacrifice. The government must be capable of taking a step back and fully evaluating the situation before deciding what is truly necessary, if their main intention is to keep the concepts of Democracy for the long run.

Monday, May 30, 2011

"3 Source Response" Assignment

            The first source directly supports and promotes the concept of Welfare State, and how it enables people to pursue their own ideals and individual greatness, though Economic Equality and John Maynard Keynes’ system of Keynesian Economics are there to provide a safety net for those who are unsuccessful in their individual endeavours. Also, it is stressed that people cannot find their own happiness and “cannot be free if they are beset by fear and security”, showing distaste for authoritarian governmental styles that revolve around fear and power control, such as one-party states like present-day North Korea and Germany from the era of Adolf Hitler. Through the source, Liberalistic principles such as Individual Rights & Freedoms are supported with negative connotations in regard to oppression “by reason of race, creed or color”. Economic Freedom and Human Rights are also being emphasized by referring to allowing people to “develop their individual capacities”, and additionally with the allowance to “receive just awards for their talents and to engage in the pursuit of happiness”. Specifically with the discussion of the “pursuit of happiness”, it can be said that Utilitarianism is also being suggested, considering that the creator of Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, believed that the best thing for the people is to promote as much happiness in the people as possible.

            Source II expresses its negative opinion of Socialism, as well as the entire Left wing of the political spectrum, by stating that Collective and Socialistic ideals are simply to take from the wealthy and provide to the less fortunate. Also, through the heavily opinionated statement, “Assuming that production occurs by magic”, The source speaks of the lack of productivity for creating amenities that the people need, resulting in “domestic poverty” as a relentless form of economic recession and “spread[ing] hunger around the globe”. Though few supported concepts of Liberalism can be derived from direct quotations in the source, it is implied that principles that stimulate the economy through individualistic views are being emphasized, such as Economic freedom and Individual Rights & Freedoms, as well as aspects such as Competition through the thought that the source is negatively commenting about socialism being responsible for “taxing the producers and subsidizing consumers”.

            In the final source, the political cartoon blatantly supports Capitalistic ideals through the direct promotion of Economic Freedom, as well as the negative feedback toward Economic Equality through the people in the cartoon’s disgust for everybody receiving a profit during the described “economic boom”. Through this, the people portrayed in the cartoon receive no rise in the economic hierarchy, creating the basis for their dissatisfaction. Even though no individual is being placed in economic deficit, the men depicted are still not content, due to the fact that they have no profit in comparison to the people around them in their society, and possibly in the business industry that they may reside in.

            All three sources have basic similarities in the sense of promoting the allowance for people to provide for themselves and move themselves upward on the economic ladder through the principle of Economic Freedom, whether it would be for the purpose of making the people happy, obtaining a profit, or just plain avoiding the values of socialism. Though their purposes may be varied, all the sources describe their opinions in that Economic Freedom is a quality in an economic style that is used to benefit the people by allowing everybody to practise their own tactics toward climbing the financial ladder. Regardless of why the sources have motive to point out the usefulness of Economic Freedom, however, is irrelevant, because they all underline the basic thought of giving every individual the chance at greatness and financial glory, so long as the individual takes the chance and works towards his or her own benefit.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Part 4 - Position Paper

Individualistic Thought and the Potential for Equality

      Friedrich von Hayek was a loyal classical liberal, believing strongly in such concepts as a free-market economy, economic freedom and self-interest, while also strongly opposing the possibility of socialism in politics, as well as collectivist thought altogether. With the quotation provided in the source, von Hayek emphasizes his ideals in that the concepts of socialism cannot provide society with a true form of equality, due to the fact that even when the people will not follow through on the concepts of liberalism like self-interest and economic freedom, the governing power will take their place. Through this, an “enforced equality” will always present itself. I believe that even though there is logic to von Hayek’s words, there is a limit to the extent to which his ideals would benefit society without being blended the principles of collectivism that help form the overall ideals of modern liberalism. Taking von Hayek’s concept into consideration, prosperity becomes a possibility, but only at the cost of leaving others behind.

      The concept of economic freedom is a critical component in von Hayek’s argument, especially through his statement, “authoritarian determination of status of each individual in the new hierarchical order”. With this quotation, he explains that even with the concept of having a Government in control of the economical ranking and placement of individuals, there will always be a form of segregation between people in regards to their economic placement, or rank in society. Due to this imbalance, socialism becomes an unlikely fix for a gap between the social and economical classes. There will always be individuals with the desire to make their own lives better, and to move up in society into greater economic prosperity. I can agree with von Hayek in the sense that the possibility of having all individuals in a society maintaining the same economical status is very unlikely. Although strict economic freedom provides the opportunity for anybody to improve their own quality of life, the flaw with that ideal is that people with less means to success may result in a poorer quality of life. To fix this, a more complete and thorough plan must be implemented, such as bringing modern liberalism into effect instead. Then, von Hayek’s ideals on economic freedom are still kept in tact, while other principles such as welfare capitalism can create a safety net for those who are less prosperous, using specific things like minimum wage, unemployment benefits, and other things to ensure that everybody is given a chance at success.

      Going hand-in-hand with economic freedom is the principle of self-interest, and Friedrich von Hayek stands firm in his belief that self-interest is simply how the economy exists. Being a supporter of free-market economics, he believes that the economy is fuelled by self-interest. Keeping this in mind, von Hayek also expresses that equality cannot be achieved, even with a government-directed economy, due to the fact that it “can only result in an officially enforced inequality”. This means that an extra driving force or form of bias will always arise, resulting in the individual temptation to break free from the lower ranks of other groups of people. I believe that these aspects of Friedrich von Hayek’s ideals are reasonable, considering the materialistic desires of the majority of individuals even to this day. However, without even partial government intervention, the economy becomes completely at the mercy of the entire society; when the people suffer, so does the economy. During the Great Depression, the economy was being maintained with a free-market system, although the people had no spending money to continue stimulating the economy itself, resulting in the American market plummeting. The fact that the economy ends up being completely reliant on the constant fluctuation of spending patterns by the people creates the consistent chance for another crash like the Great Depression. This is why, despite the free-market’s positive aspects, I believe that the governing power should at least have the power to implement some form of defence against the possibility of another recession. This way, communities and individuals can still indulge in their own desires and interests, while still having confidence that their entire economy will not collapse overnight.

      Though Friedrich von Hayek brings forth realistic and sensible ideas to promote a more successful economy, his ideals provided in the source seem like a half-constructed plan. His promotion of the individualistic-based principles of Liberalism create the possibility for success, but the lack of collectivist ideals create an even greater possibility to form a margin between the successful and the individuals who fall back into economic deficit. Even with the concept of economic freedom, the possibility of everybody benefitting is a large stretch, which is why concepts like welfare state make up for its shortcomings. Also, in regards to self-interest and free-market economics, the relentless fluctuation from strength to weakness in a country’s finance brings forth a much more fragile economy altogether without a safety net to play a supportive role during difficult times. Therefore, though we may be able to agree with and acknowledge the principles that von Hayek presents as understandable and insightful, and even though a society built on a foundation of equality is unlikely, a comfortable zone in between the two extremes is, in my opinion, the greatest likelihood for prosperity to benefit the everyday individual, as well as the overall society.