Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

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Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Steve Brandon, PhD
Administrator
Use this thread to discuss your reactions to your peer's blog posts on the topic of American forms of social control and the notion of an American empire.
"Simplicity."
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Andrew
In the end I believe that with some that I have read I think that I don't agree with the idea the America is not like hte Empires of old. In the end I am a soldier and I've kind of come to realize that we are not only Liberators but invaders. We see it thought out our history as a nation
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Anna
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
It seems as if America shares many of the qualities of an "empire," yet it lacks others. I do not believe that there can be a definite yes or no answer, rather, it is a wide ranging discussion that can go either way only to end up in the middle.
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Will
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
During writing on my blog, I was devoted that America was a full-blown empire.  But as I really started looking into things, I started running into the conclusion that America might not really be an empire in a sense of how the ancient empires were.  I believe that America has qualities of an empire, but is not a true empire mainly because we don't enforce ideals and religions like the old empires used to... and we also have a sense of freedom and ways that we can stand up and try to change our government that citizens of the old empires were really unable to do because if you had a voice, you were pretty much the one in power.  I agree with Kelly in a sense that we still have some problems that the early empires had and that we have turned situations around in positive ways.

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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Olivia Williams
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
In my paper, I came to the conclusion that America is an empire.  I agree with Will on the whole religious side of things; it is clear that we do not force religion on our citizens.  But here's the deal: ancient empires were massive and contained a lot of different people, even some people that did not want to be there.  That is exactly what America is.  Obveously it has to be this way because the population of the earth is growing at such an exponential rate that this is inevitable, but that charictaristic cannot be ignored.  The fact that there is no way to satisfy all the inhabitnats or even take care of them points strait back to the ancient empires.  What is worse is that America's class system feeds into this just as much as the class systems of old did too.  The rich are recognised and taken care of whereas the poor are ignored and left on their own.
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Olivia Williams
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
In my paper, I came to the conclusion that America is an empire.  I agree with Will on the whole religious side of things; it is clear that we do not force religion on our citizens.  But here's the deal: ancient empires were massive and contained a lot of different people, even some people that did not want to be there.  That is exactly what America is.  Obveously it has to be this way because the population of the earth is growing at such an exponential rate that this is inevitable, but that charictaristic cannot be ignored.  The fact that there is no way to satisfy all the inhabitnats or even take care of them points strait back to the ancient empires.  What is worse is that America's class system feeds into this just as much as the class systems of old did too.  The rich are recognised and taken care of whereas the poor are ignored and left on their own.
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Tyler
Olivia, I'm not sure I agree with the last sentence in your post. While those with monetary wealth are certainly better-off than those without it, the government has subsidized the poor and lower-middle class and paid a considerable amount of attention to them. Medicaid and Social Security are two federally run programs that subsidize the poor and are run at the expense of the rest of the citizens who are not eligible for the programs. The American government pays quite a bit of attention to the poor, and uses tax money obtained from the well-off to fund their attention.
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Tyler
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
Correction to my last post...Medicaid is actually part of Social Security.
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Kelly Wood
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
I think that you can compare and contrast the characteristics of America today, but in the end I do not believe that one side is definately the right one. There are many different arguments that can be made to defend both sides, and I believe that you could argue them all until someone is "blue in the face" and still come out to realize that their is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is all based on opinion and can easily be looked at from either side.
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Steve Brandon, PhD
Administrator
Kelly, et al,

Why taking a position and arguing it is worth the effort...

Our society is based on discussion and debate.  In fact, it is the major means through which we decide policy, who gets elected, and the direction our society must take.  More important form your perspective, it is through reasoned argument and discussion that professions make their decisions and support them, so it is essential you learn the skill set involved in such argument.  

When an architect designs a building, an engineer picks the concrete for a bridge, an actor decides on a portrayal--in fact, in almost all professions--there aren't clear-cut, right or wrong answers about which everyone is in agreement.  In most cases, there is a general belief that one practice is best, but any professional will tell you that what is best practice changes over time.  You can't learn best practice by rote; you learn best practice by learning the issues involved in critical decisions and figuring out which side you are on.  One of the markers of someone who has a college education and is a professional is the ability to look at multiple viewpoints on difficult issues, pick a side they believe best, and support their position with argument, debate, and discussion.

Saying there are multiple perspectives on critical issues is a lot like saying the sky is blue or snow is cold to the touch.  It is a true statement, but it is a statement which doesn't lead to any new understanding. 

The reason we debate questions like, "Is America today like an ancient empire?," is that figuring out our take on the question helps us as individuals learn what we think on the subject.  Moreover, presenting our position helps our audience find another way to look at the question.  As the debate occurs across society, eventually someone who is participating will have a new insight, and it will propagate through those focused on the discussion.  In this way, new insights find their way into many of the critical decisions we must face. 

Often with such big questions, the discussion will make the rounds of old arguments and produce little insight.  Even these seemingly fruitless discussions have important functions for society and for you as a member.  They allow us as individuals to see with whom we side in these established arguments.  In fact, this is how groups within a society form community, and how individuals signal to one another that they are part of a group.

From the perspective of freshman English, you should take a position and support it because it is an assignment, and you are learning basic skills in professional argument, like how to take a position and construct an argument, even if the topic of the debate is not of vital importance to you.  This is how skills in how to argue have been taught to would be leaders for thousands of years, and it works pretty well.  Believe me, over the course of your college career you will participate in any number of debates and discussion about topics about which people passionately differ and which won't be resolved even if you talk about it "until you are blue in the face."  You participate in these discussions as part of your training.  The practice is as essential to your success as a piano player doing scales or a basket ball player practicing their jump shot.  Without such practice, you can't ever be a player or a professional.

Steve

Steve
Stephen Brandon, PhD
Associate Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)


On Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 12:22 PM, Kelly Wood (via Nabble) - No Reply <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think that you can compare and contrast the characteristics of America today, but in the end I do not believe that one side is definately the right one. There are many different arguments that can be made to defend both sides, and I believe that you could argue them all until someone is "blue in the face" and still come out to realize that their is no right or wrong answer to this question. It is all based on opinion and can easily be looked at from either side.


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"Simplicity."
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Kelly Wood
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
Thank you Professor Brandon for your insight. I really appreciate that, and I understand where you are coming from. When I wrote my first blog entry I was not necessarily saying what my personal opinion is on this subkect, but more of what I think would happen when being discussed by a group of people. My personal opinion is that America today has several characteristics of an empire, but I also believe that it is in many ways much different. There are many comparisons and contrasts that can be discussed, such as, the ammount of diversity we have here today, and the difference between how those people are treated once they become a part of our country through a green card. I know that there are several problems still involved in America today however, I do believe that these problems are, in many ways, much less severe.
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

Caleb
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
While I wrote and after reading others papers I find that the United States shares many characteristics with the ancient empires, but the mere connotation that the US is an empire seems kind of weird.   It defiantly walks the line between the two but I think the major thing that keeps it from being an empire is the type of government it has.  It has a government that was founded by the people for the people in which the people rule themselves and they have the power to decide how they are ruled.  It was also established in a way so that if the people did not like what the government was doing they would not have to have a revolution to change, they would simply have to wait till November and vote.  It seems that all the major rulers of the ancient civilizations were in it for unbinding power, but our government is set up so no one individual can claim ultimate power and control.
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Re: Discussion Starter: Week Four, American Social Control and American Empire

panpan2523
In reply to this post by Steve Brandon, PhD
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