Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Highest Ideal, the Lowest Standard

From time to time, I post my students' work on this blog. Previous work from students is here and here.

A homeschooler wrote and revised an essay in response to this sample New SAT writing prompt for the timed essay:
"Justice is nothing more than the interest of the stronger.
Assignment: Is it true that the strong do what they wish? In an essay support your position by discussing an example (or examples) from literature, science and technology, the artis, current events, or your own experience or observation."
The Highest Ideal, the Lowest Standard
Often our society considers the word “justice” as synonymous with the legal system, courtrooms, attorneys, and judges. If one has been wronged, our legal system boasts a thorough resolution. After all, our Founding Fathers, the creators of the judicial branch, wrote the Constitution to “establish Justice,” as written in the Preamble. Usually, however, lawyers and judges are taught ways to interpret the laws to push the boundaries of the Constitution, rather than to uphold the truth by simply representing their client. The case of Tawana Brawley and her two attorneys Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason illustrates that Justice, in its highest form, is nothing more than a means of political gain among the powerful.

The demise of America’s justice system began during the Cold War when communism became a threat to our society. In prestigious universities, Marxist ideals ran rampant, giving way to professors who believed the lie that man could succeed without the need for a Higher Being. And for what greater power can one achieve than being beyond the law? So began the transfiguration of America’s so-called “justice” system. In 1987 Tawana Brawley accused a group of Caucasian police officers of raping her in Wappingers Falls, New York. Her famous attorneys, Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason, brandished Miss Brawley’s story as a case of racism. By the trial’s end, however, the public knew that Maddox and Mason were more concerned with making a political statement than knowing the truth behind their client’s story.

During the course of Brawley’s trial, Maddox and Mason became powerful, scheduling television appearances, radio interviews, and grandiose press conferences in order to fault the justice system they themselves were exploiting. A third man, an African American preacher named Al Sharpton, also attached himself to Brawley’s case and became a part of the media circus, claiming to be a spokesperson for the victim. All three of these men used Tawana Brawley’s case as a way to forward their political aspirations, especially Sharpton, who intended to run for President soon after. Therefore, Brawley’s case was nothing more than a claim to fame instead of a call for justice.

Like God and communism, truth and greed do not mix. The principle of justice is still widely regarded as true and noble. In its highest form, however, it fails to do anything more than stimulate the minds of those too young to see past their own greed and those too old to find their way out of the glutinous monster in which they find themselves. A just system run by unjust people will frequently yield unjust results, thereby resulting in an unjust system.

Copyright 2005 E. Rice


At 1/05/2006 10:02 AM, Blogger Papa Ray said...

Well, it needs to be qualified with the grade level, and age of the student.

I do believe that the student met the qualifications of the assignment.

Very good in any case.

Papa Ray
West Texas

At 1/05/2006 10:15 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

This student is a 10th grader, but I'm not sure of the age of the student.

The above essay topic was the first timed essay of term, and I hit the students with it on the first day of class, without any instruction as to how to approach such a topic, which differs from the usual kind of writing assignment. As I expected, I received a wide range of kinds of development; SAT essay prompts are deliberately vague.

Limit was two pages, four to five paragraphs. These are severe limitations, but the timed essay must be written in 25 minutes. As I mentioned, I allowed students to take home the essays for revision.

At 1/05/2006 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the "justice" of the law courts... Hesiod, "Works and Days"

Attend thou with eye and ear, and make judgements straight with righteousness. And I, Perses, would tell of true things.

(ll. 11-24) So, after all, there was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there are two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, men pay harsh Strife her honour due. But the other is the elder daughter of dark Night, and the son of Cronos who sits above and dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth: and she is far kinder to men. She stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbour, a rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in good order; and neighbour vies with is neighbour as he hurries after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men. And potter is angry with potter, and craftsman with craftsman, and beggar is jealous of beggar, and minstrel of minstrel.

(ll. 25-41) Perses, lay up these things in your heart, and do not let that Strife who delights in mischief hold your heart back from work, while you peep and peer and listen to the wrangles of the court-house. Little concern has he with quarrels and courts who has not a year's victuals laid up betimes, even that which the earth bears, Demeter's grain. When you have got plenty of that, you can raise disputes and strive to get another's goods. But you shall have no second chance to deal so again: nay, let us settle our dispute here with true judgement divided our inheritance, but you seized the greater share and carried it off, greatly swelling the glory of our bribe-swallowing lords who love to judge such a cause as this. Fools! They know not how much more the half is than the whole, nor what great advantage there is in mallow and asphodel.


At 1/05/2006 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On "justice", Plato, "Republic"...

Must not injustice be a strife which arises among the three principles--a meddlesomeness, and interference, and rising up of a part of the soul against the whole, an assertion of unlawful authority, which is made by a rebellious subject against a true prince, of whom he is the natural vassal,--what is all this confusion and delusion but injustice, and intemperance and cowardice and ignorance, and every form of vice?

Exactly so.

And if the nature of justice and injustice be known, then the meaning of acting unjustly and being unjust, or, again, of acting justly, will also be perfectly clear?


Well then, tell me, I said, whether I am right or not: You remember the original principle which we were always laying down at the foundation of the State, that one man should practise one thing only, the thing to which his nature was best adapted;--now justice is this principle or a part of it.

Yes, we often said that one man should do one thing only.

Further, we affirmed that justice was doing one's own business, and not being a busybody; we said so again and again, and many others have said the same to us.

Yes, we said so.

Then to do one's own business in a certain way may be assumed to be justice. Can you tell me whence I derive this inference?

I cannot, but I should like to be told.

Because I think that this is the only virtue which remains in the State when the other virtues of temperance and courage and wisdom are abstracted; and, that this is the ultimate cause and condition of the existence of all of them, and while remaining in them is also their preservative; and we were saying that if the three were discovered by us, justice would be the fourth or remaining one.

That follows of necessity.


At 1/05/2006 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very good piece of writing for a student of any age, always. I know that the SATs don't give a whit about content in these essays, they only seek to analyze the "mechanics" of writing, but you have a student who seems to understand something more important than whether or not a piece of writing contains a misplaced comma or period and is well on his way to being able to historically "contextualize" our post-modern society.

Congratulations on having an exceptional student.


At 1/05/2006 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Epilogue...Plato, "Republic"

If we are asked to determine which of these four qualities by its presence contributes most to the excellence of the State, whether the agreement of rulers and subjects, or the preservation in the soldiers of the opinion which the law ordains about the true nature of dangers, or wisdom and watchfulness in the rulers, or whether this other which I am mentioning, and which is found in children and women, slave and freeman, artisan, ruler, subject,--the quality, I mean, of every one doing his own work, and not being a busybody, would claim the palm--the question is not so easily answered.

Certainly, he replied, there would be a difficulty in saying which.

Then the power of each individual in the State to do his own work appears to compete with the other political virtues, wisdom, temperance, courage.

Yes, he said.

And the virtue which enters into this competition is justice?


Let us look at the question from another point of view: Are not the rulers in a State those to whom you would entrust the office of determining suits at law?


And are suits decided on any other ground but that a man may neither take what is another's, nor be deprived of what is his own?

Yes; that is their principle.

Which is a just principle?


Then on this view also justice will be admitted to be the having and doing what is a man's own, and belongs to him?

Very true.


At 1/05/2006 1:10 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Iran Watch,
"Justice is nothing more than the interest of the stronger".

So many different ways to interpret that statement.

The multiple levels of interpreting the prompt is deliberate on the part of the test developers. Of course, that ambiguity makes the reading of the essays less boring.

At 1/05/2006 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the interest of disambiguation...

Plato, "Republic"...

Listen, then, he (Thrasymachus) said; I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger. And now why do you not me? But of course you won't.

Let me first understand you, I replied. justice, as you say, is the interest of the stronger. What, Thrasymachus, is the meaning of this? You cannot mean to say that because Polydamas, the pancratiast, is stronger than we are, and finds the eating of beef conducive to his bodily strength, that to eat beef is therefore equally for our good who are weaker than he is, and right and just for us?

That's abominable of you, Socrates; you take the words in the sense which is most damaging to the argument.

Not at all, my good sir, I said; I am trying to understand them;
and I wish that you would be a little clearer.

Well, he said, have you never heard that forms of government differ; there are tyrannies, and there are democracies, and there
are aristocracies?

Yes, I know.

And the government is the ruling power in each state?


And the different forms of government make laws democratical, aristocratical, tyrannical, with a view to their several interests; and these laws, which are made by them for their own interests, are the justice which they deliver to their subjects, and him who
transgresses them they punish as a breaker of the law, and unjust. And that is what I mean when I say that in all states there is the same principle of justice, which is the interest of the government; and as the government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable conclusion is, that everywhere there is one principle of justice, which is the interest of the stronger.

Now I understand you, I said; and whether you are right or not I will try to discover. But let me remark, that in defining justice you have yourself used the word `interest' which you forbade me to use. It is true, however, that in your definition the words `of the stronger' are added.

A small addition, you must allow, he said.

Great or small, never mind about that: we must first enquire whether what you are saying is the truth. Now we are both agreed that justice is interest of some sort, but you go on to say `of the stronger'; about this addition I am not so sure, and must therefore consider further.


At 1/05/2006 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More on the "nature" of Thrasymachus (Plato, "Phaedrus")

SOCRATES: I am myself a great lover of these processes of division and generalization; they help me to speak and to think. And if I find any man who is able to see 'a One and Many' in nature, him I follow, and 'walk in his footsteps as if he were a god.' And those who have this art, I have hitherto been in the habit of calling dialecticians; but God knows whether the name is right or not. And I should like to know what name you would give to your or to Lysias' disciples, and whether this may not be that famous art of rhetoric which Thrasymachus and others teach and practise? Skilful speakers they are, and impart their skill to any who is willing to make kings of them and to bring gifts to them.

PHAEDRUS: Yes, they are royal men; but their art is not the same with the art of those whom you call, and rightly, in my opinion, dialecticians:-- Still we are in the dark about rhetoric.


At 1/05/2006 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr. ducky,

Is an investigation into the nature of justice racist?

I guess it is ONLY if one belives in a fiction called "social justice".


At 1/05/2006 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people see the one. Others look to and see the many. Others get trapped in nomenclature, and focus on parts.

They could use a reliable process for division and generalization to help them think. Perhaps dialecticians might practice this art? Perhaps it makes no difference? LOL!


At 1/05/2006 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr. ducky likes to divide his whole into equal parts. But are his parts equal? Should they be?


At 1/05/2006 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plato, "Sophist"

STRANGER: And as classes are admitted by us in like manner to be some of them capable and others incapable of intermixture, must not he who would rightly show what kinds will unite and what will not, proceed by the help of science in the path of argument? And will he not ask if the connecting links are universal, and so capable of intermixture with all things; and again, in divisions, whether there are not other universal classes, which
make them possible?

THEAETETUS: To be sure he will require science, and, if I am not mistaken, the very greatest of all sciences.

STRANGER: How are we to call it? By Zeus, have we not lighted unwittingly upon our free and noble science, and in looking for the Sophist have we not entertained the philosopher unawares?

THEAETETUS: What do you mean?

STRANGER: Should we not say that the division according to classes, which neither makes the same other, nor makes other the same, is the business of the dialectical science?

THEAETETUS: That is what we should say.

STRANGER: Then, surely, he who can divide rightly is able to see clearly one form pervading a scattered multitude, and many different forms contained under one higher form; and again, one form knit together into a single whole and pervading many such wholes, and many forms, existing only in separation and isolation. This is the knowledge of classes which determines where they can have communion with one another and where not.

THEAETETUS: Quite true.

STRANGER: And the art of dialectic would be attributed by you only to the philosopher pure and true?

THEAETETUS: Who but he can be worthy?

STRANGER: In this region we shall always discover the philosopher, if we look for him; like the Sophist, he is not easily discovered, but for a different reason.

THEAETETUS: For what reason?

STRANGER: Because the Sophist runs away into the darkness of not-being, in which he has learned by habit to feel about, and cannot be discovered because of the darkness of the place. Is not that true?

THEAETETUS: It seems to be so.


At 1/05/2006 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

--and with that last "dart"...

my apologies to always for waxing philosophical and inundating her wonderful post with whimsical musings.


At 1/05/2006 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ohhhh, can't resist... must post one more thought.

mr ducky...

If I were to divide a man into classes, would I be wise to melanin proportions as the basis of division?


At 1/05/2006 3:01 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

my apologies to always for waxing philosophical and inundating her wonderful post with whimsical musings.

Don't apologize! E. Rice and I are privileged to have your comments added.

At 1/05/2006 3:43 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

E. Rice is very capable of self-defense, but let me interject a few thoughts:

1. This was a timed essay. Students draw on their bank of knowledge, which is somewhat limited because of youth.

2. You, of course, do not know E. Rice. This student has an unusually strong sense of justice and abhors lack of justice, regardless of race involved. I acknowledge that you said potentially the sign of a racist although that is not necessarily true.

3. Characterizing E. Rice as the little darling is way off base and insulting. You're a teacher, right? You understand connotation, right?

4. No other student in the class--at least to my recollection--was able to draw on knowledge of such a case. The fact that E. Rice could indicates a strong sense of justice and maturity, IMO.

5. A timed essay is a very difficult exercise. The SAT designers deliberately make the topic broad, and it's not easy to narrow it down to a manageable task. The test developers don't expect an erudite essay. Many students fall into triteness--Hitler, for example. This student avoided that trap.

Of course, I don't expect commenters here to be cheerleaders. E. Rice will consider your comments, I'm sure.

At 1/05/2006 4:03 PM, Blogger Dan Zaremba said...

It's a very mature essay considering it was limited to 25 minutes.

At 1/05/2006 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I ask what posting an article that is nothing more than a silly
claim that an anecdotal retelling of the Tawana Brawley incident
accomplishes other than opening the poster to very reasonable charges
of racism?

While I cannot answer this question (as I do not do the actual
posting on this blog), I would like to address your statement that
Tawana Brawley's case was reasonable. Of course Brawley's case was
reasonable, and almost every claim should deserve a trial (we have
enough lawyers to go around, why not?). The reason I wrote this essay,
however, had nothing to do with Brawley's right to a trial or
"reasonable" charges but more to do with her inaccurate charges.
I have gleaned all my information about Brawley's case from the
legal documents that can be found on the internet like here
For those that don't want to waft through the entire article, here's a
small portion of the conclusion of the case:

When discovered, Tawana Brawley was not malnourished. If an individual
had been deprived of food for four days, there is a high probability
that there would have been evidence of malnourishment…..When
discovered, Tawana Brawley did not have a bad odor to her breath. If
an individual was prevented from practicing oral hygiene for a four
day period, there is a high probability that there would have been a
bad odor to the breath….. To the knowledge of the Grand Jury, Tawana
Brawley never provided a detailed account of her allegations, a
detailed description of her alleged attackers, or named her alleged
assailants to anyone…..

There was no medical or forensic evidence that a sexual assault was
committed on Tawana Brawley. If a 15-year old girl had been forcibly
raped or sodomized by multiple assailants over a four day period,
there is a high probability that medical or forensic evidence would
have been found.

There were no bruises, lacerations, tenderness or blood in the rectal
area of Tawana Brawley; There was no trauma to the mouth or the back
of the throat of Ms. Brawley;

There were no cuts, dried blood, bruising, swelling, deep redness or
other injury to Ms. Brawley's vaginal and pelvic area or the
surrounding skin;

There was no semen found in Ms. Brawley's mouth, or on her body;

There was no motile sperm found in a microscopic examination of
vaginal slides prepared at St. Francis Hospital;

Laboratory tests on the rape kit found no blood, sperm cells, or P-30
(a prostate antigen that is a substance unique to semen) on any of the
materials gathered from Ms. Brawley's fingernails, or in the specimens
taken from the swabs of her mouth, rectum, or vagina;

There was no urine found in Ms. Brawley's mouth;

Tawana's case was a debacle, and if you read the prompt for this
perticular timed essay you would see that my essay had to do with the
powerful making a debacle of justice. I found Tawana Brawley's case a
perfectly appropriate example of that prompt. Brawley had made some
heavy claims but was unable to back them up. I'd like to think,
however, that my essay didn't dwell on Tawana's claims but more on the
power trip her attorneys choose. I'm not racist and I could almost
care less if Tawana's claims were untrue because she was obviously
emotionally unstable. I am, however, appalled that Brawley's two
attorney's (and that dimwit Sharpton) tried to use our government's
Justice System to gain media attention. s

P.S. And yes, I did use one example to try to cover a large issue;
that's called an SAT essay, ducky!!!

At 1/05/2006 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry my attempt at eloquence befuddled my point. What I meant by "A just system run by unjust individuals will frequently yield unjust result" was that our founding father's made an attempt to create a successful justice system. Unfortunately, as fallen human beings, we often mess up even the best of intentions. Nothing we can do, as humans, will be ever be perfect, and often what we do will fall far under even low expectations. That is all I meant by my final statement and I welcome your critiques of my essay.

At 1/05/2006 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Farmer John,
Thank you for your kind praise of my essay. I believe that my teacher, aow, can assess character well and I know that she respects your opinion. Therefore, I do as well. Thank you for taking the time to read and critique my essay.

At 1/05/2006 7:35 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...


Ducky you would know about obsessions. You put the Joooooz and Israel into everything. By your own standards of behavior you are a certified anti semite.

FYI my blog spends about 90% of its space bashing commies. We seldom post on Israel as there are plenty of others blogs whose sole focus is Israel. Please explain how
a discussion of your idiotic loathing of Renior gets back to the Jooooz. Do not project your foibles onto a kid.

Lost in the Brawley fiasco was the price an innocent man Steven Pagones paid . He lost his family and marriage over this sick little game.

At 1/05/2006 7:48 PM, Blogger elmers brother said...

I once took an ethics cours that involved videos of lawyers from across the country, Scalia, one of OJ's lawyers who also defended Patty Hearst others..a few libs. Bottom line we have a legal system, not a justice system. One of the questions that was asked of the panel was if you knew that a man on death row was innocent and you had prosecuted him would you work for his release? Gosh I hope I never have to face a trial.

BTW excellent job by your student, I hope they got an "A".

At 1/05/2006 8:59 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...

oustanding quick essay there. I'm impressed with indepth knowledge of a relevant topic in such an "off the cuff" style.

I think the question itself is pretty deep, or shallow, depending on your mood. If I had to answer that in an essay, I'd get lost in trying to explain too many different tangents and depths.

Good job by you though.

Nice AOW, they must have a good teaher.

At 1/05/2006 9:01 PM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Amazing you have a student with any awareness of the Brawley hoax.

After all, it's never mentioned in the mainstream media in connection with Al Sharpton.

I would have probably included that the policemen wrongly accused had their lives basically ruined by this overt race baiting fraud.

I was in New York at the time and can tell you how it poisoned race relations and built up hatred by blacks, some of whom I have no doubt still insist the story was true.

At 1/05/2006 9:06 PM, Blogger Mike's America said...

P.S. Off topic, but have you seen the long but very excellent Mark Steyn essay on the death of Western Civilization, mostly due to low Christian and high Moslem birth rates?

I excerpted most of it at Mike's America.

At 1/06/2006 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The injustice in your case would depend upon the extent that each of the governments named meddled in the private affairs of men. The extent that they prevented men from "doing their own business" and "meddled" in those businesses.

Should rubber remain in trees? Should oil remain in the ground? Is the man who begins to extract and use tree sap instead of leaving it in the trees and who subsequently sells it bad? Does his government "deserve" a portion of his profit from doing so?

Is a man who first uses a machine for doing likewise with oil in the ground also required to share the profits of his labors with others? When the government takes away a man's equipment and "nationalizes" his business is THAT justice?

The "profits" of enterprises should belong to those that worked to achieve those profits. And by definition, profits are "good". For both buyers and sellers "gain" from the exchange (Plato, "Hipparchus" -aka "The Profiteer")

You seem to be suffering from Hesiod's version of "harsh strife" sammy. The kind of envy that causes one to think he is entitled to "take" from others. And is "taking" from others, without their consent, just?



At 1/06/2006 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Immanuel Kant once proposed a "universal" morality. He defined it as "treating others as ends unto themselves, not means to ends". Government, by definition, is a "means" of expeditiously achieving "ends". In this respect, almost everything government does contrary to the universal, is immoral and unjust.

What the founders of America sought to achieve was to make government a "protector" of the "ends unto themselves" and to minimize or prevent others from meddling into the private affairs of their citizens. They sought to "establish justice". And to a large extent (at least at first), they were successful. But then, power tends to corrupt. And so our system has become less and less "just" as time goes on.

And the larger government gets, the more it meddles.


At 1/06/2006 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and again, apolgies to e. rice for responding in his/her stead.

sammy set me off with his "duplicitous" crack and attribution of "ill motives" to the ex-President of the United States... an offense that would earn him a "rebuke" on the floor of the Senate were he to speak it there.

For how can anyone claim to have actual knowledge of one's "motives". And IMHO, RMN's motives were "pure". But I admit to mere speculation on the matter.

Democracy is an "unjust" system. It convinces us that we have a duty to meddle into the affairs of others and to perform TWO jobs. One that earns us our bread and butter. And the other of "governing" our country.

In the interest of "justice", we should allow our politicians to run the country and refrain from attempting to influence them. After all, that is THEIR job.


At 1/06/2006 10:32 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

That Steyn article is very sobering.

At 1/06/2006 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, there is no need for apologies, for I was planning on thanking you for responding when I couldn't. I had to work most of last night in an area without internet connection. I had hoped either you or AOW would cover my back, but I was expecting that everyone would go completely off-topic so that it wouldn’t even be necessary for anyone to defend my essay (Which is why I’m so surprised to see I still have some loose ends to tie up with Ducky and his name calling).

P.S., Your point about the government being an “end in itself” rather than “a means to an end” is well taken.

At 1/06/2006 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few more thoughts on the nature of justice...

There is no such thing as justice--in or out of court. -- Clarence Darrow

The sentiment of justice is so natural, and so universally acquired by all mankind, that it seems to be independent of all law, all party, all religion. -- Voltaire

The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong. -- Winston Churchill

Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just. -- Blaise Pascal

In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery? -- Saint Augustine

Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero

The more laws, the less justice. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero

Knowledge which is divorced from justice, may be called cunning rather than wisdom. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero

What we have in us of the image of God is the love of truth and justice. -- Demosthenes

Justice is incidental to law and order. -- J. Edgar Hoover

This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers. -- H.L. Mencken

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer. -- Robert Frost

A jury is composed of twelve men of average ignorance. -- Herbert Spencer

The efficiency of our criminal jury system is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read. -- Mark Twain

Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens. -- Plato

Think how different human societies would be if they were based on love rather than justice. But no such societies have ever existed on earth. -- Mortimer J. Adler

Justice is the firm and continuous desire to render to everyone that which is his due. -- Justinian

When we ask for love, we don't ask others to be fair to us-but rather to care for us, to be considerate of us. There is a world of difference here between demanding justice... and begging or pleading for love. -- Mortimer J. Adler

Nobody is poor unless he stand in need of justice. -- Lactantius

Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace. -- Saint Thomas Aquinas


At 1/06/2006 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, "little darling" now "indoctrinated fascist in training"???? Duck, you are absolutely ridiculous!!! Am I "indoctrinated" because of my essay or because you know AOW is my instructor? You act like everyone else on this blog is a moron when you're the one resorting to name-calling of a high-school student!!!! Give me a break! I wrote an essay that I could accurately back up, and yes I do believe that the lefties mentioned in my essay were responsible for the injustice perpetrated against Steven Pagones (and others). Al Sharpton especially used Tawana Brawley’s claims as a “means to an end” (media attention) rather than an “end in itself” (defending the truth).

At 1/06/2006 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The chain of causality in the perpetuation of injustice since the beginning of time is long and unbroken. To the extent that force and deception are or have been used against others to achieve ends without the consent of those affected is unjust. But to boldly state that "the French" somehow are responsible for "interfering" in the lives of the Vietnamese and the "cause" of injustice is disengenuous.

I am unfamiliar with the history of the colonization of Vietnam by the French. But if some guy went there, bought some land, planted rubber trees, and hired some locals to "milk" them, there can be no claim that any "injustice" has been done or that the locals are somehow being "exploited" and not "receiving their due".

Now if that same colonist became "rich" in the process, and some Vietnamese official started to "milk" the colonist for some of his "rubber profits", one can hardly believe the colonist is being "unjust" if he were to resent and oppose those officials efforts.

But like I say, one can't just simply pick a point in the causal chain of injustice and say... "There! That's where it all started! with the Frogs!". For eventually the chain would extend to Adam & Eve and the very creation of the universe itself.

Besides, did the Vietnamese prosper under French colonial rule, or whither. Again, I would tend to believe that they prospered. And in helping the Vietnamese people to prosper, did France perpetuate an injustice? Perhaps. But only if the Vietnamese did not wish to prosper or "prospered against their will".


At 1/06/2006 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr. ducky,

Non-renewable resource. What is THAT? All resources are renewable and eventually get recycled. It's just that sometimes the cycle is longer than others. Isn't our local star a example of "recycled" solar material?

...and if some energy company "sucks the resources of Bolivia dry" you seem to be implying that the energy company has no right to operate there. If the people of Bolivia don't want the energy company to operate, pay taxes, employ labor, let them commit the injustice of shutting them down and confiscating their properties. But please, don't try and tell me that this too would not be an "injustice".

The energy the companies are extracting is hardly benefitting anyone while it lays below the ground. And lets face it, couldn't some Bolivians themselves "compete" with said company and thereby profit? And if they did so, would they be "evil" corporate entities too?

You quack me up. Your Marxist aspirations are getting the better of you again. "Harsh" strife is getting the better of you. Tell the Bolivians to get off there lazy backsides and begin to exercise Hesiod's more "wholesome" variety.


At 1/06/2006 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and finally mr ducky.

Nobody forces people to work for corporations and corporations are not "evil" for offering people the opportunity of working for them.

You just hate the fact that the owners of the corporations get the "surplus profits" for thinking up the enterprise and capitalizing it instead of the "workers".

If the workers feel they are "due" more than the salaries they get they are at perfect liberty to find something else to "do".

You would choose to satiate your "harsh strife" through the wrangling of the courthouse and government "re-distribution" towards achievement of YOUR ends instead of excesizing the wholesome strife of increased activity.

You must have stored up a years worth of Demeters grain. Perhaps if you used it as seed capital to come up with some new ideas, you wouldn't feel so compelled to envy what belongs to them through their exercise of wholesome effort. And if you did so, you'd be free to keep all the "surplus profits". Honest injun!


At 1/06/2006 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, mr. ducky, companies use people as a means towards an end. But at the same time, they don't force anybody to pursue those same ends. They pay people to "enlist" in pursuing their ends and thereby make their ends "common" with those of their employees.

And those employees that are paid thereby achieve THEIR own ends (in the form of compensation). Using your logic the employees would also be exploiting the companies.

What you miss is that the contract is mutual and voluntary and that they have been treated as ends unto themselves and have chosen to pursue the same ends as their employers.


At 1/06/2006 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and finally...

Having and pursuing "ends" is not immoral or unjust mr ducky. What is unjust is not allowing individuals to pursue their own ends. And if they voluntarilary choose to pursue ends in "common" with others, no injustice is commited. For they are ends unto themselves.


At 1/06/2006 1:03 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...

Previous to this I had no idea you were of the ilk that truely belived in the Free Mason/Illuminati style of conspiracy theory. While I myself have not studied this in depth, I conceed that the topic is believable. However, I contend that it is believable for the same reason the Enquirer sells magazines... because we love that idea of dirt, gossip, and conspiracy.

I think the entire notion that WWII, the Vietnam War, and Iraq war have all been a series of events, contributed to by generations, in a goal to achieve some prize. While there are many reasons for wars, and there is most definately dublicity in the motives of the United States leader's motives, I think you are assuming a bit much in that FDR, Kennedy, LBJ, and Nixon were all in collusion to dominate the rubber market... over 50 years!

seriously... do you realize how close to moon-bat status that puts you? You and Farakhann can soon go to the mother ring with that circular argument. This is like some bizare selective history lesson where you've uniquiely pulled out convientent coincidences to string together an impossible theory.

How about we went to WWII because we knew that should the Axis win, we'd be next? How about we went to Vietnam because we honestly did think that the Soviets were far too successful in spreading their Iron curtain? How about we went to Iraq because Bush and company thought that a serious perdigm shift had to occure?

You are tyring to find the needle in a haystack, and thus missing the forest for the trees. I know you think that what you presented was an "over view" perspective, but in actuality, it is very selective and narrow in scope.

At 1/06/2006 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Uncle Ho eventually won, didn't he? Are the Vietnamese people better off and more free to self-determine their own fates under the current government than they would have been under the French? And so, was America's position more or less "just" in choosing to support the French?

And please.... Ho had no greater right to govern S. Vietnam than I do. Who elected him? Who elects their leaders today? Oh, thats right. The chosen few.

and IMHO John Kennedy was a patriot and a great American. I may not approve of many aspects of his personal life, but I honor his public service. He served his country as best he could, as best any American could.

and you really should read some Thomas Malthus before you start blaming Nike for Vietnam's ills. Corporations like Nike or Michelin Rubber aren't the source of nor responsible for the poverty of Vietnam today. What would happen to all those starving villagers if Nike pulled out tomorrow? Would you blame Nike if they all subsequently died?

You disliked being forced to go to 'Nam. Did anybody force you to go work for Boeing? And so now we begin to perceive a difference between corporate and government potentials for control.

I too have witnessed the "baser" aspects of life. I've lived in first, second, AND third world countries. And it wasn't corporate exploitation or colonialism that made those second and third world countries poor. The rot resides in the head. And in one case (Venezuela), it has gotten much worse.


At 1/06/2006 1:29 PM, Blogger Mark said...

This is an excellent essay. Especially so since it comes from someone at such a tender age! It shows true understanding. Please congratulate him/her on my behalf.

At 1/06/2006 1:59 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'll let E. Rice respond if the student so chooses--or has time, with all the work I assign. LOL. (Classes resume next week)

I tell that kids to get out their and do what they do with conviction. Don't worry about being judged.

You and I agree there, though our ideological orientations are different. E. Rice has strong convictions, as is obvious from this essay and some comment-responses.

And, of course, Duck, you also have strong opinions.

E. Rice: I do not do the actual posting on this blog

True enough. I invite selected students to let me post their writings here from time to time so that their education is less insular. I always give students the choice as to whether or not comments should be enabled. So far, all students have opted for comments, and that choice is theirs.

A certain amount of bravery on the part of the student is required because comments in a forum such as this are often acerbic. But responding hones critical-thinking skills. Furthermore, writing is a personal pursuit, and every reader/critic may see different aspects. None of us who write ever get it 100% correct; we get it the best we can in the time allowed. I would guess that the same in true in film making. The two media, writing and film making, have certain aspects in common.

At 1/06/2006 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I will respond to the questions in your comment later when I have more time. Right now, I have to work on a book report. Perhaps if I have some free time later tonight I will post a comment responding to your critiques.

At 1/06/2006 2:18 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

E. Rice: Right now, I have to work on a book report. Get it done! LOL.

At 1/06/2006 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr ducky,

The prosecution in the Brawley case used the courts as a platform (read "stage") for the pursuit of a political agenda. Justice for Ms Brawley was probably the furthest thing from her lawyers, or Mr. Sharptons, minds (just as justice in the DeLay prosecution in Texas is the farthest thing from Ronnie Earle's mind).

You and I, mr. ducky, both know that the point of the case was to focus media attention on a supposedly "corrupt" white-racist system of black oppression. Bore me later.

Unfortunately for the prosecution, the accusations turned out to be completely baseless. The girl, like many others before and since, simply needed an "excuse" for an unapproved absence from a loved one.

Race was made an issue simply to the extent that the prosecution deliberately MADE it one. And so the "noble" pursuit of justice was once again used as an excuse for the pursuit of "base" political gain.

And the lawyers and politicians involved in exploiting the case attempted to paint the executives of our court system (police and district attorneys both) as self-serving power abusing hacks of a broken a corrupt legal (aka justice) system.

Their target audience was the "court of public opinion". Fortunately the truth eventually emerged out of the very "legal system" they were deliberately attempting to discredit and subvert.

And lets face facts mr ducky, the Marxists in America have been trying to discredit our "System" for the establishment of justice, as defined by the US Constitution, since the day they decided to we needed something "better". They continue to fail to recognize the fact that as Winston Churchill once stated, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for every other form."


At 1/06/2006 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Better check your facts. Nobody would be working in Vietnam's Nike factory today if it were true as you say that Nike didn't pay "as much for a day's labor as a day's supply of food for one person cost."

Logic informs me that thousands of Nike's former workers would now be dead from starvation if THAT were the actual case. And so I find your whole "chisler" argument a bit "weak".


At 1/06/2006 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Logic also informs me that if what you said were actually true, Vietnam should hope and pray that the French come in to their country tomorrow with guns and tanks to start milking their rubber trees for sap.

One would only accept starvation wages in the absence of any viable alternative. Obviously, the Vietnamese government must be doing a lousy job of "sheep-tending" if starvation wages at Nike is the best pasture they can provide.


At 1/06/2006 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yes, sammy, sometimes it becomes evident to all that Epimetheus has defeated Prometheus when it comes to hitting the "Login and Publish" button.

At 1/06/2006 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad link... "Do over man!"



At 1/06/2006 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Facts? How about these...

"Nike began manufacturing in Vietnam in 1995 with five contract footwear factories and currently works with nine footwear and 30 apparel factories. Over 130,000 Vietnamese citizens are employed by factories manufacturing Nike-branded products. In 2004, total exports of Nike products (both footwear and apparel) accounted for nearly USD 782 million, or 3 percent of Vietnam’s exports."


article from "The Spectator" on Nike... from 2003

Today Nike has almost four times more workers in Vietnam than in the United States. I travelled to Ho Chi Minh to examine the effects of multinational corporations on poor countries. Nike being the most notorious multinational villain, and Vietnam being a dictatorship with a documented lack of free speech, the operation is supposed to be a classic of conscience-free capitalist oppression.

In truth the work does look tough, and the conditions grim, if we compare Vietnamese factories with what we have back home. But that's not the comparison these workers make. They compare the work at Nike with the way they lived before, or the way their parents or neighbours still work. And the facts are revealing. The average pay at a Nike factory close to Ho Chi Minh is $54 a month, almost three times the minimum wage for a state-owned enterprise.

Ten years ago, when Nike was established in Vietnam, the workers had to walk to the factories, often for many miles. After three years on Nike wages, they could afford bicycles. Another three years later, they could afford scooters, so they all take the scooters to work (and if you go there, beware; they haven't really decided on which side of the road to drive). Today, the first workers can afford to buy a car.

But when I talk to a young Vietnamese woman, Tsi-Chi, at the factory, it is not the wages she is most happy about. Sure, she makes five times more than she did, she earns more than her husband, and she can now afford to build an extension to her house. But the most important thing, she says, is that she doesn't have to work outdoors on a farm any more. For me, a Swede with only three months of summer, this sounds bizarre. Surely working conditions under the blue sky must be superior to those in a sweatshop? But then I am naively Eurocentric. Farming means 10 to 14 hours a day in the burning sun or the intensive rain, in rice fields with water up to your ankles and insects in your face. Even a Swede would prefer working nine to five in a clean, air-conditioned factory.

Furthermore, the Nike job comes with a regular wage, with free or subsidised meals, free medical services and training and education. The most persistent demand Nike hears from the workers is for an expansion of the factories so that their relatives can be offered a job as well.


I saw all the lefty propoganda about Nike. Who you gonna believe sammy?

At 1/06/2006 3:30 PM, Blogger Dan Zaremba said...

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for every other form."

How very true.
And we cannot find a good,just and brightly glowing example of any marxist system (past or present).

At 1/06/2006 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

question for sammy,

If Nike's paying three times what the state-run enterprises are paying, what's that tell you about Uncle's Ho's paradise?


At 1/06/2006 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In seeking to justify a labor wage rate hike for Nike workers in Vietnam... a Lefty Stanford professor makes the following slip when discussing his financial analysis...Source

Now, considering that each Vietnamese worker only needs a $1.40 wage rate per day, and each worker produces several dozen items of clothing a day, retailers, manufacturers, and contractors still have enough to make a good profit.

A Global Exchange study further illustrates this point. Nike has a marketing budget of $560 million, some of which is paid to famous athletes who promote their products. If they were to cut only 2% of this marketing budget, the wages of 25,000 Vietnamese workers would raise from $1.60 to $3.00.

ooops, so much for the $3.00 a day minumum "living wage" argument. Seems $1.40 is "plenty".

sammy, mr. ducky... go sell your "living wage" dreams of labor oppression to someone who's buying. Wages are a relative thing. The sneaker markets are a relative thing. Vietnamese workers don't pay $100 for a pair of Nike sneakers. The law of the one price. Don't Bogart that joint my friends...pass it over to I can put it out.


At 1/06/2006 4:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're way over my head. Exploitation of Vietnamese by foreigners "bad". Exploitation of Vietnamese workers by Vietnamese government "good".

followed by... US and Vietnamese governments both "bad shepherds". Only one shepherd leads his sheep to a place where it takes 3 years to earn enough money to pay for a bicycle, and the other leads his sheep to a pasture where he earns enough money to pay for a bicycle in a day.

Yep, neither shepherd is perfect. But I do think that one is SIGNIFICANTLY better at his job than the other. Guess which one.

You and Thrasymachus ought to get together and do some barbeque.


At 1/06/2006 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All war is bad sammy. All wars are morally reprehensible. Only some (like Vietnam) could NOT be avoided. We weren't the only ones with our "fingers in the pie", so to speak.

Do you say that we should avert our gaze as others do "injustice" to our friends? Or once hostilities break out, should we assist them in defending themselves? The French "cut and ran" after DbP. We cut and ran and abandoned our friends in '75, when a Democratic led Congress cut off funds for the S. Vietnamese government.

America had a LOT of friends (indigenous=good?) in S. Vietnam... in fact MOST of them supported us in our efforts to help them. Was it moral to abandon them in their hour of need?


At 1/06/2006 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


In my perfect world, my America would import nothing and export nothing. It would "vacuum seal" the borders and shoot down anything that crossed. Everyone currently here would be able to would earn a "living wage" and no one would either starve or die. And the rest of the world could go down in flames, for all I cared, as long as it didn't affect us or ours. But my perfect world ain't the real world.

In the real world markets are limited and regional and merchantilist exploit these differences to their own advantage. And western civilization has probably exceeded all others, bar none, in exploiting this simple economic fact (although ALL do so, and have always done so)

The Chinese government allows prison and slave labor, and encourages foreigners to use it, for a "fee". A "moral" man might refuse to trade and deal with China for these reasons.

The Vietnamese government ships 1,000,000 workers a year overseas because it can't afford to feed them. It then rents out the rest of its' domestic labor force to foreign companies for "near subsistance" wages. A "moral" man might refuse to trade and deal with the Vietnamese for these reasons.

But let's get one little thing straight before we proceed. In nature, every living being must fight and compete against all other creatures for the land on which it stands and MUST consume or destroy some other form of life in order to continue to live. Plants compete against one other and many animal life forms for water and sunlight and place to sink its' roots; animals compete for food by consuming plants or one another. It is often a violent struggle. And man sits atop this vast food/resource chain (although I know of a few virus' that might contest the point).

Malthus, in his "Essay on the Principle of Population" postulated two truths. First, That food is necessary to the existence of man. Secondly, That the passion between the sexes is necessary and will remain nearly in its present state. From this he deduced that... Assuming then my postulata as granted, I say, that the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.

Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will shew the immensity of the first power in comparison of the second.

By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man, the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal.

This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall somewhere and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind.

And so if I give a man MORE than subsistence wages, will this not encourage population growth and the consumation of greater and greater quantities of resources in regions greatly lacking them? Population expands at exponential rates... Food supplies at only linear rates. Is it moral to encourage population growth in poor, starving, third world countries by paying "over-market" premiums? I have my doubts. So unlike our leftist and our "international capitalist" friends, I refuse to "meddle". But I also don't lose any sleep when I go to the mall and buy a pair of Nikes.


At 1/06/2006 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

e. rice has got homework to get done.

Thrasymachus is bringing a sixpack for each of us older folks.

And I'm baking some more "pies" for dessert.

Only a strict materialist would argue that the only thing that motivates men is money, sammy. It surprises me to hear that rather "cynical" outlook from you.

I think most American's would truly like to help others. I don't think our country "profits" much by fighting wars like Iraq. If they do, the profits are both indirect and really, really, really long term.

And I think that most Americans support our principles of freedom and liberty and wish to extend them to as many people as possible (peacefully).


At 1/06/2006 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


If what you say is true, which is motivating mr. ducky to lobby for third world labor and to frequently end his posts with the epitaph..."The struggle is eternal". Is it fear? or Greed?

I don't believe it is either. I think he is truly concerned for his fellow man and believes that by pursuing his path, he will benefit all of mankind.

Like it or not but "ideals" like his and mine may be borne of ignorance, yet we still pursue them.

And just what is happiness, anyway? I always thought it was born of satisfaction fom the successful exercise of my own power to implement or satisfy the desires born of my own body and will. Either that of blissful ignorance of my true condition. Is that what you mean by greed?

and is there no love? or empathy born from neither fear or greed?

Freud's motivators were "eros" and "thanatos" (love and death). Pleasure vs reality principle. Are these both children of fear?

Nietzsche's motivator for ALL energy systems, including inert so-called matter, was "will to power".

Just wondrin'. Hesiod's genealogy is also a bit different from yours.

Me, I trace most motivators to residence in the brain's limbic system... hypothalmus, amygdala, septal nuclei, and the need to satisfy the bodies needs... eat, drink, reproduce, self-preserve against threats, breath, excrete wastes, sleep and repair itself, etc. I also attribute much to memories and thoughts.... some true, many false.


At 1/06/2006 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


So mr. ducky, what part of America's commitment to crass materialism lead to all those donations to the American Red Cross after Katrina or to Indonesia following a tsunami? I wonder what makes people put money in the collection plate at Church, become a priest or social worker, or offer up tax dollars to those less fortunate than themselves. It is a puzzlement.

Either that, or Americans have too much damn freedom to indulge their own pet ideals.


At 1/06/2006 9:55 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Wow. That is mighty freakin' impressive. Kudos to the author....and the teacher. :)

At 1/07/2006 6:27 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Many comments back, you posted some excellent quotes about justice. Thank you!

At 1/07/2006 6:42 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

To those who have posted positive comments for E. Rice and/or for me,

Thank you for your kind words!

And we appreciate well-elucidated critiques as well.

At 1/07/2006 6:42 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

To all commenters,
I've been away from my computer for 14 hours (Much as I hate to admit it, there is a life outside the blogosphere. LOL), and comments here have exploded. I've got to catch up on reading all of this--and likely does E. Rice. I have to work this morning. I don't know E. Rice's schedule, other than to say classes resume on January 10 and that book reports are coming due.

I have, however, scanned the comments. Interesting discussion going on here! Frequenters of this blog know that I have no problem with tangential discussions; in fact, such discussions lead to my learning things I wouldn't otherwise know of.

Truly, however, much of this discussion is not tangential. I suspected that my posting of this essay might lead to an interesting discussion about justice. In the comments here, we see consideration of the essay's title "The Highest Ideal, the Lowest Standard." See how much a title can matter, E. Rice!

Before I have to leave this morning, I'll address a few comments Samwich made.

Pearl Harbor? Long ago, I heard that, a night or two before December 7, 1941, FDR locked down the employess in the Treasury so as to print different money. I may not have this exactly right because my hearing this comment goes back over 30 years. I don't recall ever hearing much more or ever seeing anything in print.

The men I killed in Vietnam deserved to die. But that fact does not wash their blood from my hands.
You've alluded to this matter many times. The psychological burden must be heavy, but God forgives. Maybe my saying that is Pollyannish, but I believe in redemption and forgiveness, and nothing is beyond God's mercy--if we but seek it in accordance with what He has told us in His Word. Nevertheless, forgiveness does not mean that one's life hasn't been changed by experiences--sometimes the bad ones matter most of all.

At 1/07/2006 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive me for not thanking you sooner for your compliment. I suppose your comment lost it's priority when Ducky called me an "indoctrinated facist in training." All the same, I hope you'll except my gratitude even this late in the game.

At 1/07/2006 10:13 AM, Blogger LA Sunset said...

Outstanding essay E. Rice. Pay no attention to that man with the duckbill, webbed feet, and covered with feathers.

At 1/07/2006 10:24 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Attention, All!

I am restoring word verification because I've suddenly stopped receiving email notification of comments being posted. Sorry for any inconvenience to you.

Anyone out there have any ideas as to why my email notification suddenly stopped working the evening of January 6, 2006?

At 1/07/2006 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well e. rice, let's critique the essay and see how well it holds up.
Just as a note, my essay held up better than your critique. :-)

You start out by indicating that the Tawana Brawley case was a Constitutional issue. As I recall it was a case of potential criminal assault (falsely charged true but initially it was an assault). How do you link that with the Constitution?

When writing, Ducky, the thesis statement serves as a roadmap for the rest of the paper. Therefore, since I never mentioned the Constitution in my thesis, I never linked the constitution to the Tawana Brawley case or even meant for the Constitution to be a main point or part of my essay (and just to be clear, my thesis statement is the last sentence of the first paragraph).

My take is that anytime something happens that the right feels is unjust it is a "constitutional issue" because the right has a damn tough time handling the hurly burly of life and they can't understand why lawyers and judges want to make the help uppity.

This paragraph is not aimed me therefore I have no reason to argue it.

Why do you call the Brawley case justice in its highest rather than lowest form? Was Brown vs. Board of Ed. a high or low example of justice?

Duck, you’re definitely confused. When I say that the Brawley case was “justice in its highest form” I mean that because usually Americans refer to a state or federal supreme court as the highest form of Justice because it is the highest level of the Justice system. I was not referring to the Brawley case but where it was held, in the New York State Supreme Court.

Demise of out justice system? Begging so many questions here that I'll just give you a chance to rough out a 25 word outline. Demise? You sure?

Yeah, Duck. I’m sure. As Farmer John said, “Bore me later!”

Tawana Brawley was beyond the law because she made a false charge? She was beyond the law because her case was thrown out and she was later prosecuted? You are making no sense whatsoever. None whatsoever. You know where my bias lays, you think that a black acting uppity indicates she thought she was beyond the law. Race cannot be ignored here.

Again, Duck, you’re very confused. As I’ve said in an earlier comment to you, my essay is not about Brawley or her false accusations. My essay has to do with Brawley’s attorneys Maddox and Mason who attempted to reach beyond the law. That’s the reason why I made no sense, Duck. You were seeing only what you wanted to see. I never said Brawley was beyond the law. In fact, I actually said, “The demise of America’s justice system began during the Cold War when communism became a threat to our society. In prestigious universities, Marxist ideals ran rampant, giving way to professors who believed the lie that man could succeed without the need for a Higher Being. And for what greater power can one achieve than being beyond the law?” I mention attorneys here, Duck, not Brawley. Please read my essay more carefully if you wish to critique it!

What is a Marxist idea? What is Marxism? Venture into those questions if you have the courage. I will not be kind if your answers are dumb aphorisms.

Baiting? First name-calling now baiting? Your behavior in this blog towards me has showed more cowardice than most politicians. You’ve given me two options; either I answer this question and you immediately label it a “dumb aphorism” or I can decline and you will call me a chicken. If you had been quicker about giving this critique on Thursday, I would have given you an accurate description of Marxism. Heck, I would have put much more time into this response. But you wrote this critique Friday, however, and I do not have much time to respond. Therefore, I’m just going to say that I don’t need to waste time trying pretending that my answer to this question even matters to you.

You then go on to mention abuse of the media Especially by Sharpton (notice how he's become much more media wise lately? Smooth like Bush crime syndicate member Dick Cheney). What does that have to do with the justice system? Wouldn't they have used the media regardless of any ongoing trial? I see no relevence in the paragraph.

“What does this have to do with the justice system?” Well, Duck that was the point of my entire essay. Again, you saw only what you wanted to see. Sharpton used Tawana Brawley’s case in order to gain media coverage for himself. The prompt for the essay was “Is it true that the strong do what they wish?” I believe that Al Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason became at least influential and did what they wished, showing blatant disregard for their own client and the system that was trying to solve her disappearance.

“Wouldn’t they have used the media regardless of any ongoing trial?” NO, DUCK!!!! How in the world would two attorneys and a preacher get on television to rant about racism without a victim of racism? No, Maddox, Mason, and especially Sharpton used Tawana to appear on television, on the radio, and in the newspaper. Without Tawana Brawley, or another victim like her, these media appearances would have never occurred, Duck.

"Like God and communism, truth and greed do not mix." Seems to tell me that Libertarianism is a false philosophy. We agree there.

Oh joy. I’m so glad we agree.

I can't put a propositional calculus on your last sentence. It makes no sense.

I’ve already addressed the meaning of this sentence to Samich. I suggest you find my comment to him if you wish to understand my last sentence.

So in short you have been well trained in the use of cliches but if I have to give the essay a sober analysis I do believe it is biot ted more than informative.

Through most of this critique you’ve quoted my essay, but when you say there are clichés I’m surprised to see that you didn’t even quote one. Are you sure? lol Regarding this essay being informative, most of the students in my class don’t know about Al Sharpton or the Tawana Brawley case. My audience is not of the over 30 variety. Needless to say (or at least I thought), this essay was not supposed to be very informative to you, one who already knew about the debacle. I kept the details simple so that an SAT examiner could see that I followed my thesis statement.

Duck, you enjoy arguing rather than discussing which is why I’m ending this debate. I have schoolwork to do, and I don’t have the time to discuss (and especially not to argue). I’m reminded of a Dilbert comic when Dilbert said to his pointy-haired boss, “I respectfully decline the invitation to join your hallucination.” Later, when Dilbert relayed the incident to Dogbert, Dogbert said, “You should have just said, ‘Bah!’” So, I could say to you “I respectfully decline the invitation to join your hallucination,” but it’s much easier for me just to say “Bah!”

At 1/07/2006 3:51 PM, Blogger LA Sunset said...

Looks like E. Rice cleaned Ducky's clock. KO, 10 count, off in a stretcher.

Good job E. Rice.

At 1/07/2006 7:56 PM, Blogger Dan Zaremba said...

Oh my Gawd this was rather embarrassing. ;-)

At 1/07/2006 8:47 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

she is still unwilling to acknowledge that what bothered ere about the Brawley case was uppity blacks. She hates it when those field hands try to move up to the house.

I have the advantage of knowing the student. Your imagination is working overtime.

Sounds like the system worked.

I'm not so sure about that.

Maybe you'd have been more satisfied with the essay had E. Rice used To Kill a Mockingbird, but an essay based on that book would have been more typical and not likely to have caught the eye of the test evaluators, who favor dramatic or poignant personal anecdotes, which some students might use in a testing situation but not in a classroom where students have to read their essays aloud for peer evaluation, or lesser known examples. Brawley's case definitely qualifies as the latter.

I'm in no mood to argue, so I'll close now. You're welcome to your opinion as are others here. To a certain extent, all essay-evaluation is subjective. Writing is an art, and so is critiquing.

Good night, all.

At 1/07/2006 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought when you first asked about the Vietnam War that your question was rhetorical. I see now that I was wrong and for my misunderstanding I apologize. Responding to your question would require me to pretend that I actually know a great deal about the Vietnam War, which I don’t. Therefore, I’m open to your opinion of the war but do not agree or disagree with your view. All the same, thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt.

At 1/07/2006 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will not be making any further comments on my essay and I hope that anyone who wished to critique my essay has already done so. I have a book report on Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World due soon, so as one can imagine, I will be very busy over the next week. Also, I’d like to thank everyone who has given me support for either my essay or my comments defending my essay.

At 1/08/2006 1:29 AM, Blogger maccusgermanis said...

I do apologize for the tardiness of this comment, as I am sure that E. Rice's time shall be better spent studying rather than responding to another list of loosely related pet peeve's of another faceless blogger. And honestly, I am not trying to cherry pick the last word that is to be tatooed on a well beaten and long deceased horse. Rather critisism in this case, if at all, I feel should be constructive. To which end:

I believe this essay, like many of the comments that followed, displays an impatience to say all that is on one's mind, rather than a focus to with clarity and concision make one lucid arguement. Too much of the article is devoted to how justice came to be perverted when, unless I mistake your purpose, this is not central to the claim that justice "is nothing more than a means of political gain among the powerful." I feel my understanding of this situation would have been better served by reading how the lawyers were able to, if at all, consolodate any political power (ie where are they now?). Also, such statements such as "Like God and communism, truth and greed do not mix." only make diversionary attacks such as a discussion of the early Christian Church's communist tendencies too easy.

I belief the conclusion that "A just system run by unjust people will frequently yield unjust results, thereby resulting in an unjust system." could be infromed by Robert D. Kaplan when he writes that, "Americans can afford optimism partly because their institutions, including the Constitution, were conceived by men who thought tragically. Before the first president was sworn in, the rules of impeachment were established. James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51 that men are so far beyond redemption that the only solution is to set ambition against ambition, and interest against interest: "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Our seperation of powers is based on that grim view of human behavior. The French Revolution, conversely, began with boundless faith in the good sense of the masses-and the capacity of intellectuals to engineer good results-and ended with the guillotine." Like greed, the unjust ambition of people is a truth, not to be ignored.

At 1/08/2006 3:04 AM, Blogger Dan Zaremba said...

"all essay-evaluation is subjective."
Especially that nobody really expects these super important issues to be solved in school essays (especially with time limits).
AOW, and especially E.Rice thank you very much it was very good and lots of fun.

At 1/08/2006 4:02 AM, Blogger David Schantz said...

Good job E. Rice. While I was reading this postand all the comments about justice one name kept coming to mind. Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

At 1/08/2006 9:49 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Referring to your comments about the Constitution...

Would the abuse of rights and corruption be worse without the document?

At 1/08/2006 10:02 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Maccus Germanis,
You said, I believe this essay, like many of the comments that followed, displays an impatience to say all that is on one's mind, rather than a focus to with clarity and concision make one lucid arguement.

Is this an inherent flaw in the prompt and the time limit of 25 minutes? Many of my students, especially E. Rice, often complain about the prompts themselves, especially when the prompt has a philosopher's quote as the springboard.

Other prompts are more reasonable. The class also wrote essays for a prompt which amounted to "Who Is Your Hero?"

Of course, on any given SAT test, the feasibility of the prompt is a roll of the dice. Personally, I think that the testing service would do better to have students read an article, then summarize it; so much of college work, especially before the junior years, has to do with such an activity.

BTW, the timed essay is a recent addition to the SAT (as of March, 2005). Colleges still aren't sure how to interpret the scores.

I won't get started here on the politics of the SAT Test. A whole tutoring industry has burgeoned in reaction to the SAT's.

Thank you for your constructive criticism. E. Rice may not get much time to read your comments until we have Easter break. I plan to keep my classes very, very busy. LOL.

At 1/08/2006 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nietzsche, "Genealogy of Morals", Essay II - Guilt, Bad Conscience, and Related Matters...

On the justice... of the "criminal justice system" variety...

Have these genealogists of morality up to this point allowed themselves to dream, even remotely, that, for instance, the major moral principle "guilt" [Schuld] derives its origin from the very materialistic idea "debt" [Schulden] or that punishment developed entirely as repayment, without reference to any assumption about the freedom or lack of freedom of the will—and did so to the point where it first required a high degree of human development [Vermenschlichung] so that the animal "man" began to make those much more primitive distinctions between "intentional," "negligent," "accidental," "of sound mind," and their opposites and bring them to bear when handing out punishment? That unavoidable idea, nowadays so trite and apparently natural, which has really had to serve as the explanation how the feeling of justice in general came into existence on earth—"The criminal deserves punishment because he could have acted otherwise"—this idea, in fact, is an extremely late achievement, indeed, a sophisticated form of human judgment and decision making.

Anyone who moves this idea back to the very beginnings is sticking his coarse fingers inappropriately into the psychology of primitive humanity. For the most extensive period of human history punishment was not meted out because people held the instigator of evil responsible for his actions, nor was it assumed that only the guilty party should be punished. It was much more the case, as it still is now when parents punish their children, of anger over some harm which people have suffered, anger vented on the perpetrator. But this anger was restrained and modified through the idea that every injury had some equivalent and that compensation for it could, in fact, be paid out, even if that was through the pain of the perpetrator.

Where did this primitive, deeply rooted, and perhaps by now ineradicable idea derive its power, the idea of an equivalence between punishment and pain? I have already given away the answer: in the contractual relationship between creditor and debtor, which is as ancient as the idea of "someone subject to law" and which, in itself, refers back to the basic forms of buying, selling, bartering, trading, and exchanging goods.


It's true that recalling this contractual relationship arouses, as we might expect from what I have observed above, all sorts of suspicion of and opposition to primitive humanity which established or allowed it. It's precisely at this point that people make promises. Here the pertinent issue is that the person who makes a promise has to have a memory created for him, so that precisely at this point, we can surmise, there exists a site for what is hard, cruel, and painful. In order to inspire trust in his promise to pay back, in order to give his promise a guarantee of its seriousness and sanctity, in order to impress on his own conscience the idea of paying back as a duty, an obligation, the debtor, by virtue of the contract, pledges to the creditor, in the event that he does not pay, something that he still "owns," something over which he still exercises power, for example, his body or his wife or his freedom or even his life (or, under certain religious conditions, even his blessedness, the salvation of his soul, or finally his peace in the grave, as was the case in Egypt, where the dead body of the debtor even in the grave found no peace from the creditor—and it's certain that with the Egyptians such peace was particularly important). That means that the creditor could inflict all kinds of ignominy and torture on the body of the debtor—for instance, slicing off the body as much as seemed appropriate for the size of the debt. And this point of view early on and everywhere gave rise to precise, horrific estimates going into finer and finer details, legally established estimates, about individual limbs and body parts. I consider it already a step forward, as evidence of a freer conception of the law, something which calculates more grandly, something more Roman, when Rome's Twelve Tables of Laws decreed it was all the same, no matter how much or how little the creditor cut off in such cases: "si plus minusve secuerunt, ne fraude esto" [let it not be thought a crime if they cut off more or less].

Let's clarify the logic of this whole method of compensation—it is weird enough. The equivalency is given in this way: instead of an advantage making up directly for the harm (hence, instead of compensation in gold, land, possessions of some sort or another), the creditor is given a kind of pleasure as repayment and compensation—the pleasure of being allowed to discharge his power on a powerless person without having to think about it, the delight in "de fair le mal pour le plaisir de le faire" [doing wrong for the pleasure of doing it], the enjoyment of violation. This enjoyment is more highly prized the lower and baser the debtor stands in the social order, and it can easily seem to the creditor a delicious mouthful, even a foretaste of a higher rank. By means of the "punishment" of the debtor, the creditor participates in a right belonging to the masters. Finally he himself for once comes to the lofty feeling of despising a being as someone "below himself," as someone he is entitled to mistreat—or at least, in the event that the real force of punishment, of inflicting punishment, has already been transferred to the "authorities," the feeling of seeing the debtor despised and mistreated. The compensation thus consist of a permission for and right to cruelty.

...and so now we have perhaps a little Nietzschean insight into what might motivate the left to use the criminal justice system, even in proferring false charges, against its' enemies.


At 1/08/2006 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...for they are the Shylock's of a "new" Venice.


At 1/08/2006 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a faq abouth the future plans of Brawley attorney Alton Maddox...

29. What will Maddox do next?
He intends to sue in federal court to secure exculpatory files in the possession of the state attorney general which will expose the cover-up and support Maddox's automatic reinstatement to practice law. Otherwise, he intends to gather grassroots support to conduct an international campaign to expose the judicial racism in the United States and, particularly, in New York.

30. Why is Alton Maddox still suspended from the practice of law in New York?
Maddox was suspended from the practice of law in May 1990 amid his representation of Rev. Al Sharpton in a 67-count indictment ostensibly because he failed and refused to disclose files involving Tawana Brawley and Rev. Al Sharpton. Facing defeat during the lengthy trial, the government became desperate. Only a client can waive an attorney-client privilege. Maddox was put in a Catch-22 situation.

The political establishment had doggedly pursued Maddox for years including a criminal prosecution, grand jury investigations, disciplinary proceedings and administrative investigations because he was a master at his craft and he consistently used it to defend the down-trodden, the dispossessed and the despised and, invariably, pro bono.

Among other things, he had successfully represented scores of unpopular defendants and causes, he had exposed corruption and he had caused the removal of many white officials from public service and public office. He became a one-man wrecking team.

Once it ensnared Maddox in 1990, the political establishment decided that New York would be safer if Maddox were muzzled. Initially, it suspended him for a period of nearly ten years which exceeds the seven-years maximum penalty for disbarment before a disbarred attorney can apply for reinstatement to practice law.

Once Maddox served the ten years and beyond with continued community support and his continued community activism, the political establishment is now seeking to have him disbarred for refusing to show remorse and for still being too defiant. Through pro bono defenses, since 1990, Maddox's legal skills have only improved. There is still no rust in his transmission and no reverse gear.

In a white supremacist society, no Black leader, Black elected official, lawyer or judge is allowed to take this attitude. The hallmark of a democracy is the right of representation. Even though Blacks are nominally allowed to be politically present in the three branches of government, Blacks still must stay in their place and not challenge white authority unless they are, in effect, acting as comedians or entertainers.

Alton Maddox, shylock attorney?


At 1/08/2006 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shakespeare, "Merchant of Venice", excerpts...

I'll have my bond; speak not against my bond: I have sworn an oath that I will have my bond. Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause; But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs: The duke shall grant me justice. I do wonder, Thou naughty gaoler, that thou art so fond To come abroad with him at his request.

I pray thee, hear me speak.

I'll have my bond; I will not hear thee speak: I'll have my bond; and therefore speak no more. I'll not be made a soft and dull-eyed fool, To shake the head, relent, and sigh, and yield To Christian intercessors. Follow not; I'll have no speaking: I will have my bond.



I have possess'd your grace of what I purpose; And by our holy Sabbath have I sworn To have the due and forfeit of my bond: If you deny it, let the danger light Upon your charter and your city's freedom. You'll ask me, why I rather choose to have A weight of carrion flesh than to receive Three thousand ducats: I'll not answer that: But, say, it is my humour: is it answer'd? What if my house be troubled with a rat And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats To have it baned? What, are you answer'd yet? Some men there are love not a gaping pig; Some, that are mad if they behold a cat; And others, when the bagpipe sings i' the nose, Cannot contain their urine: for affection, Mistress of passion, sways it to the mood Of what it likes or loathes. Now, for your answer: As there is no firm reason to be render'd, Why he cannot abide a gaping pig; Why he, a harmless necessary cat; Why he, a woollen bagpipe; but of force Must yield to such inevitable shame As to offend, himself being offended; So can I give no reason, nor I will not, More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing I bear Antonio, that I follow thus A losing suit against him. Are you answer'd?


At 1/08/2006 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and so we expose some of the "roots" of a plant called "social justice".


At 1/08/2006 1:04 PM, Blogger maccusgermanis said...

It is a challenge inherent in the prompt, which I would not deem as a flaw, to in a short space of time write this essay. This challenge makes even more important the ability to say one thing well. And to say it without inadvertanly making new thesis statements that the writer hasn't enough time to build on or defend.

BTW The irony is not lost on me that I often take as much or more time to consider my comments that have much less bearing on my future than this essay has on the future of E. Rice. And, I suppose that in that time I should get in the habit of doing a spell check. "I belief" sheesh

At 1/08/2006 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and just for sammy on "purposes"
from the Jowett introducion to Plato's "Phaedo"...

The philosopher desires death--which the wicked world will insinuate that he also deserves: and perhaps he does, but not in any sense which they are capable of understanding. Enough of them: the real question is, What is the nature of that death which he desires? Death is the separation of soul and body--and the philosopher desires such a separation. He would like to be freed from the dominion of bodily pleasures and of the senses, which are always perturbing his mental vision. He wants to get rid of eyes and ears, and with the light of the mind only to behold the light of truth. All the evils and impurities and necessities of men come from the body. And death separates him from these corruptions, which in life he cannot wholly lay aside. Why then should he repine when the hour of separation arrives? Why, if he is dead while he lives, should he fear that other death, through which alone he can behold wisdom in her purity?

Besides, the philosopher has notions of good and evil unlike those of other men. For they are courageous because they are afraid of greater dangers, and temperate because they desire greater pleasures. But he disdains this balancing of pleasures and pains, which is the exchange of commerce and not of virtue. All the virtues, including wisdom, are regarded by him only as purifications of the soul. And this was the meaning of the founders of the mysteries when they said, 'Many are the wand-bearers but few are the mystics.' (Compare Matt. xxii.: 'Many are called but few are chosen.') And in the hope that he is one of these mystics, Socrates is now departing. This is his answer to any one who charges him with indifference at the prospect of leaving the gods and his friends.

Still, a fear is expressed that the soul upon leaving the body may vanish away like smoke or air. Socrates in answer appeals first of all to the old Orphic tradition that the souls of the dead are in the world below, and that the living come from them. This he attempts to found on a philosophical assumption that all opposites--e.g. less, greater; weaker, stronger; sleeping, waking; life, death--are generated out of each other. Nor can the process of generation be only a passage from living to dying, for then all would end in death. The perpetual sleeper (Endymion) would be no longer distinguished from the rest of mankind. The circle of nature is not complete unless the living come from the dead as well as pass to them.

The Platonic doctrine of reminiscence is then adduced as a confirmation of the pre-existence of the soul. Some proofs of this doctrine are demanded. One proof given is the same as that of the Meno, and is derived from the latent knowledge of mathematics, which may be elicited from an unlearned person when a diagram is presented to him. Again, there is a power of association, which from seeing Simmias may remember Cebes, or from seeing a picture of Simmias may remember Simmias. The lyre may recall the player of the lyre, and equal pieces of wood or stone may be associated with the higher notion of absolute equality. But here observe that material equalities fall short of the conception of absolute equality with which they are compared, and which is the measure of them. And the measure or standard must be prior to that which is measured, the idea of equality prior to the visible equals. And if prior to them, then prior also to the perceptions of the senses which recall them, and therefore either given before birth or at birth. But all men have not this knowledge, nor have any without a process of reminiscence; which is a proof that it is not innate or given at birth, unless indeed it was given and taken away at the same instant. But if not given to men in birth, it must have been given before birth--this is the only alternative which remains. And if we had ideas in a former state, then our souls must have existed and must have had intelligence in a former state. The pre-existence of the soul stands or falls with the doctrine of ideas.


At 1/08/2006 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and a word of advice to all you SAT test takers out there...

I doubt you'll get much credit for brevity in your responses. Preliminary SAT writing section score analyses indictate that the longer your answer, the higher your score.

I doubt they much care "what" you say or how well you say it...just that you use big words and correct grammar and most importantly, are verbose.


At 1/08/2006 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I envy the brevity of the Laconic and Roman (latin) forms of speech. How much more active might our people be if 20,000 words were tomorrow expunged from the English dictionary?

Fortunately for me, brevity is no longer prized as highly as it once was. Perhaps we moderns hold our thoughts, minds, and time less valuable.

Paucis verbis...

Intelligenti pauca.

rem tene, verba sequentur

Verba movent, exempla trahunt (acta non verba)

Rident stolidi verba latina


At 1/08/2006 6:11 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Maccus Germanis,
You said, I often take as much or more time to consider my comments that have much less bearing on my future than this essay has on the future of E. Rice.

I don't know about you, but I can type faster than I can write in longhand. I think this same problem faces many students. And no spell check, either. LOL.

Fortunately for the class, this essay was practice. But the SAT essay in a the real testing situation does have an effect on students' futures. To what extent, the colleges are keeping to themselves.

I believe that one purpose of the New SAT is to "weed out" students who make grammar and spelling errors; the latter isn't tested in any other portion of the test. And the fact that grammar is now tested on the SAT (instead of on the SAT II) is an attempt, after many decades of deprecation, to force public-school systems to cover an area of English which has suffered so much neglect.

This is another guess on my part: in essay-writing, particularly in longhand, learning disabilities manifest themselves quite blatantly. For all the pr to the contrary, colleges generally do not want a large percentage of such students. Of course, some of which falls under the heading "learning disablities" actually could be better defined as "learning differences" and often has no connection to IQ, whatever that means. Howard Gardner (sp?) wrote quite a bit about multiple intelligences.

At 1/08/2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

You said, I doubt you'll get much credit for brevity in your responses. Preliminary SAT writing section score analyses indictate that the longer your answer, the higher your score.

I doubt they much care "what" you say or how well you say it...just that you use big words and correct grammar and most importantly, are verbose.

Writing one page or less results in a very low score. Some of my comment above to Maccus Germanis deals with grammar.

I instruct students to shoot for 500 words. The test allows for a maximum of two pages, handwritten on provided lined paper. Running out of time before beginning the conclusion paragraph and not allowing time for proofreading are deadly. Could I get a two-page essay organizing, written, and proofed in 25 minutes? Only if the prompt allowed me to find my voice or if I'd been coached in how to beat the test.

E. Rice's essay is about 450 words.

the official site:

...The high school and college teachers who will score your essay have seen it all before. These teachers are not going to give high scores to an essay just because it is long, or has five paragraphs, or uses literary examples. The scorers are experts at identifying truly good writing--essays that insightfully develop a point of view with appropriate reasons and examples and use language skillfully.

BTW, according to the test-preparation textbook, the winning sample essay provided for the topic which E. Rice wrote dealt with unfairness toward an employee at the pizzaria. It was an anecdotal first-person essay.

Ah, Merchant of Venice! What a great possibility for developing this essay prompt!

One student in the class used Julius Caesar in answer to the prompt.

At 1/08/2006 7:31 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

....the question of why she picks the Brawley case and looks at it in isolation instead of including say, Chuck Stewart or Susan Smith

At the time the prompt was administered--without any warning, of course (And here we all are here, with much more time to consider what we have to say)--SCOTUS was in the news. E. Rice follows current events and has an interest in law. Furthermore, students in the class tried to come up with a unique example; the Brawley case qualifies in that regard. As to why E. Rice knew of this case, I'll have to ask.

There's more of me than you in the world and she needs to discover that.
E. Rice knows there are many of you. However, this student is not one to compromise commitment to personal beliefs and is averse to pandering to the essay graders. I suspect you don't compromise either.

Kid's been shielded. A year in an inner city school would do wonders for her.

Frankly, it is one parental responsibility to shield (i.e., protect) their children to a certain extent. Considering your belief system, would you put your child in a Christian academy just to give your child exposure to other ideas?

And remember that E. Rice participated in this forum with comments enabled, thus having access to the Internet. As you know, the Internet provides a lot of exposure to different ideas.

Who knows? E. Rice, who has a strong sense of fairness, may well end up working in the inner city. I have one former student who is a social worker in D.C.'s Adams Morgan, but this former student didn't go to the inner city until after graduating from the university.

Why do you keep referring to E. Rice as "she" or "her"? Just curious as to your reasoning there.

At 1/09/2006 1:11 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...

You guys know that Duck gets his panties in a wad when someone violates the PC rule that his entire left-legion worship. Now, if E. Rice was a black female, she'd be well within her rights (according to the Duck) to criticize this matter. But being that she is white, and most likely a (gasp!) Christian, it Must (by liberal rule book) be ignorance, bigotry, short-sightedness, and probably just plain racism that would generate that comment.

At 1/09/2006 1:12 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...


I was pretty sure there was some Free Mason/Illuminati work there... lol, I can pick em out pretty good.

At 1/10/2006 5:42 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I asked E. Rice about interest in the Tawana Brawley case. The student reminded me of interest in musicals. At the last Tony Awards, Al Sharpton performed with the cast of the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The student was curious as to Al Sharpton's background and researched him. That research was the basis of this essay.

Timing matters a lot here because oftentimes recently acquired info or a recent book read is the basis of students' essays. The Tonys aired in early June, and the class did their first SAT timed essay in our first class of this term.

To be fair here, the Brawley case didn't pop immediately into E. Rice's head during the timed essay, but rather on the take-home revision. After the essay, I had mentioned to the class that the choice of a lesser-known supporting example is often favorably received by the evaulators of SAT essays, and my mention probably had substantial influence. Also, the essay prompt mentions using historical and/or current-events examples as well as personal observation. One might say that this student's choice of supporting example covers more than one base. This covering more than one base is one way to finesse fulfilling the prompt.

I am not making any direct accusations.

If not, some of your comments certainly come across that way.


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