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Ethics and Pornography

Warning: Please do not use my work and submit it as your own. Students have been caught plagiarizing from this site, and at least one university knows about this site due to that issue. This blog is not peer-reviewed, and thus is also not acceptable for scholarly research. Feel free to read the articles and papers here, but do your own research for your own schoolwork. Thank you!


Today I am taking notes on the last topic under Individual Rights. Specifically, the argument over regulation of pornography is an argument about freedom of speech and whether it covers “consumption” and/or production of pornography. The two views covered at the end will be utilitarianism (greatest good for the greatest number) and emotivism (my gut tells me it is right/wrong, and I don’t need facts to back it up).

My words will be in green text, and under the “My Thoughts” header. The rest are notes from the following textbook:

Mosser, K. (2010). Ethics and Social Responsibility. (E. Evans, Ed.) Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/

The argument against extensive regulation:

Adults can do many things that are not good for them- overeat, drink, smoke, etc., but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, they are free to do so. I can’t pour the old oil from an oil change down a drain because that is a threat to the environment, and everyone else, but I can eat Pepsi and pizza every day until I have a heart attack because it doesn’t hurt anyone else (until nationalized healthcare, anyway).

Adults are also allowed to read or watch whatever they want. You can read the Anarchist’s Cookbook about how to build a bomb. You can read about government overthrow. You can read or watch film about hate crimes and genocide, or conspiracy theories. Unless something poses an actual threat, all of these things are covered by the First Amendment right to free speech.

Some people find pornography very offensive, but cannot tell others not to view it. The only way it can be restricted is if the state determines there is a legitimate reason to do so.  One restriction is in child pornography. Child pornography harms children, so producing it is illegal, and since possessing it supports that illegal activity, possession is also illegal. Just like alcohol and tobacco, sale of pornography is restricted to adults, so bookstores and TV networks are restricted in what they can display or show. This is to provide access to adults who wish to view pornography, and to prevent exposure to those who do not.

Some say pornography is the exploitation and mistreatment of women (wonder what Jenna Jameson thinks about that…), so customers support exploiting women. However, this doesn’t matter when it comes to restricting adult access- it would be like shutting down the whole coal industry because of the cave-in in West Virginia, or shutting down all restaurants because some had health code violations.

Then there is the “slippery slope” argument, that if we restrict pornography, eventually the government will control all literature and art. When someone starts to restrict what others can read or watch based on their own personal bias, where will it end? Whose standards should be used, and who should do the regulation? When in doubt, free speech is held up.

Argument for extensive regulation

Love, “including its sexual expression,” is a cherished value. (Cherish is the word I use to remind me of… your love…)

Pornography cheapens and demeans this relationship, reducing it, and the people in it, to nothing more than objects to satisfy a crude desire. This also weakens the personal dignity every human deserves. People who produce, act in, or watch pornography may be less likely to be treated with respect, so it should be regulated, perhaps even censored or banned.

The traditional argument against pornography is that it is explicit material designed to generate a specific response, that it is obscene, degrading, and damaging to societal values. If most people see pornography as a violation of society’s values, they are within their rights to restrict or even ban it. Otherwise, societal values are being attacked and demeaned by a minority who has no right to force their views on the majority. It corrupts society, as well as the individual who “consumes” it. People are allowed to make unhealthy choices, but they are still heavily regulated, like alcohol and tobacco, seat belts, motorcycle helmets, etc. Harmful products can be regulated to minimize the harm.

More recently, the argument has introduced “erotica” to be distinguished from pornography. Erotica is artistic. Pornography is degrading, particularly to women, and often employs violence, such as rape, in their depiction. Other dehumanizing acts are women who are presented as “submissive victims who enjoy being mistreated.” This reduces the way women are treated in all society. Since this degradation of women is harmful to all women, the state’s restriction is legitimate. Women involved in production are “coerced, threatened, humiliated, and exploited,” so the state not only has the right, but the obligation to protect them from harm.

Recap: Pornography is an assault to the moral values of society. Pornography is harmful to women by exploiting those involved in production and by negatively affecting the way women are treated in society. Due to the potential for harm, the state should regulate pornography.

Applying the theories

“The only purpose for which power may be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant,” John Stuart Mill in On Liberty. 

The state can not prevent an individual from harming himself. The state can only prevent someone from harming others. Some say the harms of pornography on others are obvious, some say they are exaggerated.

Utilitarianism- greatest good for the greatest number

Society is better off when its members are freer, as long as one person’s freedom doesn’t interfere with another person’s freedom. Therefore, the fewer restrictions, the greater freedom, the happier the people. The “harm principle,” stated above by Mill, is the best way to determine restrictions on freedom.

One may argue that if a majority are offended by pornography, the greatest good for the greatest number would be to ban it altogether, but this may be “short-sighted” because the greatest happiness would come from the freedoms and fewer restrictions.

Emotivism- I know in my gut it is wrong

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said he could not define obscenity, but “I know it when I see it.” Emotivists do not give reason for their evaluation, but just go by how they feel. Emotivists may also be known as non-cognitivists. They deny that there are moral facts or properties, and that morals cannot be true or false. There is only approval or disapproval, thumbs up or thumbs down. If a sufficient number of people in a community give a thumbs down for an activity, those preferences should be respected, and pornography should be restricted, censored, or banned.

Some Conclusions

Some will argue against restriction of pornography as a libertarian view- more freedom is always better. Some will argue that the societal harm done by pornography is enough to warrant regulation.

Some say that pornography has a causal effect- that people will be degrading towards women, perhaps violent, because they will act out what they see. A standard situation in pornography is a woman who is forced to do something demeaning, harmful, etc., only to find out they enjoy it. What kind of message does this send? “No means yes”? It’s ok to force a woman to have sex with you because she’ll end up liking it? Will repeated exposure to such images make it more likely to act upon them? If repeated exposure does cause people to act in a violent way towards women, doesn’t the state have a right, or even obligation, to restrict it?

Some will say that it is not causal, and that even if it was, there are a lot more explicit and numerous depictions of violence throughout our culture and media. It is already illegal to rape women, the act, so why does it need to be illegal to make/watch a depiction of rape, covered by free speech?

Another argument emphasizes producers of pornography. Women (sometimes men) are coerced, threatened, and exploited into producing films. They do not choose the industry, but wind up there due to financial troubles and the promise of financial opportunity. Pornography takes advantage of women who are vulnerable financially or psychologically, so the choice is not really free. Women in pornography are often depicted in a manner that reinforces negative opinions of women, harming the image of women throughout society.

My Thoughts

I spent several years of my life in a heavily male-dominated world. In this world, that of a male-dominated portion of the military, there are many “cultural” specifics that are not understood by the mainstream population. In this world, pornography was regarded as normal. My male counterparts would have a video playing in their berthing, and refer to it as “training videos” as a code word. They used USB drives to copy their personal collections from one laptop to another.

In this world, women are underrepresented. This is partially because our field only opened to women relatively recently, but also because the job itself is very much in the “masculine” realm of wrenches, grease, schematics, and valves as opposed to the more “feminine” military jobs like nursing, or the “secretarial” work of personnelmen.

There was more misogyny in this world than I have found in any other time in my life. When I was there, I rationalized it as being like a men-only club-house. Even with the few women we had, we were thought of more like one of the guys, so it was a “safe” place for these men to rant about their wives and girlfriends, pass gas indiscriminately, wear nothing but a jock strap in their work place, or otherwise be repulsive, where they may not be able to otherwise because of “political correctness.”

This world was interesting, in a way, because one man would treat you like dirt just because of what you didn’t have between your legs, but if you called him out on it, others thought you were playing the “girl card.” You had to put aside all the emotion and femininity of your personal side, or be teased mercilessly about it. We had one woman on our crew who cried over something the men thought was trivial, and from then on, a small portion of the group would try to make her cry as often as possible. At the same time, if you try to be a strong woman, as opposed to one of the guys, then people would call you “slut,” “whore,” or “bitch.” Every girl was accused of sleeping with, or trying to sleep with, any guy she talked to.

Not all sailors were like that, but one of the generalizations about this group was that everybody teased everybody else about something, and if you gave them something easy, they’d focus on you until you broke.

I was required to spend a large portion of time in our workplace, by myself, in the middle of the night, but I never feared for my safety. In fact, the only time I was even nervous about staying in the plant alone was when we had shipyard workers onboard that we didn’t know. I was never sexually attacked, and I don’t know of anyone who was, though harassment was a fairly regular issue. I don’t mean people making comments towards any one person in particular, but just a general attitude of telling offensive jokes or accusing someone of sleeping with another.  You had to have thick skin to work in such an environment.

A specific instance of misogyny I encountered involved two guys I worked with. One, we’ll call him “Arnold,” was effectively an amateur body builder. He prided himself on the size of his arms and chest, and once broke a valve trying to turn it. The other, “Ryan Seacrest,” was a small guy, shorter and thinner than I ever was. “Ryan” was arguing with me about whether women should be allowed in the military. I prided myself on being a competent operator, and very knowledgeable about how all the equipment worked together. When I was qualifying, one of my superiors in particular forced me to open all the valves myself, without help, even though one valve in particular usually had two or three men open it together for speed and efficiency. “Ryan” made the mistake of asking me if I could do the same job “Arnold” did. I asked him if he could.

In this case, the men I worked with were somewhat misogynistic and watched pornography regularly, but I don’t believe it was causal. I think pornography was more the way men who are separated from their sexual relationships at home cope with being surrounded by other men constantly. While some men were misogynistic and others just didn’t like having to “clean up” because there were “ladies present,” it never ended in actual physical assault, though there was quite a bit of emotional or mental abuse. Those abuses were perpetrated against the “weaker” of both sexes, though, not just women. However, nearly all of the few women were considered “weak,” while only the males who exhibited a tendency to be “different,” whether by being more feminine or otherwise not like those in the majority, were targeted specifically.

Another way in which my viewpoint is unique is that I grew up in Sin City itself. Growing up in Las Vegas, I was raised in a place where I saw girls’ butts in thongs on billboards on the way to Grandma’s house. I can’t say if that has affected me in some way that would have been different if I had grown up in Iowa. People in the Navy told me I was a “sheltered child.” I left home and joined the Navy at 18, never having been drunk, high, or had sex. Maybe the early introduction of these topics in my life left a “good” impression on me. These things were not new or exotic to me in my teens, so I felt no need to experiment with them. My parents taught me that such things were bad, bad for you, or bad for kids, so I never did them.

This is all a round-about way to say that I think adult stores should not be an eye-sore to the business around them, and should be restricted to adults. Just like anything else in this world though, if people want it, they are going to get it, and pornography is no different. I don’t think it shows itself as big a danger to others as to be extremely regulated, and as always I am for less restriction, less regulation, more freedom, more personal responsibility.

05/31/2011 Posted by | College Papers, Learning, Thinking | 1 Comment

Ethics and Workplace Rights

Warning: Please do not use my work and submit it as your own. Students have been caught plagiarizing from this site, and at least one university knows about this site due to that issue. This blog is not peer-reviewed, and thus is also not acceptable for scholarly research. Feel free to read the articles and papers here, but do your own research for your own schoolwork. Thank you!

I’m skipping a chapter that takes a historical look at the debate over women’s suffrage. Tonight’s chapter, then, is about the workplace and individual rights. Everything above “My Thoughts” comes from notes taken from the textbook, everything in green will be my personal commentary, and everything under “My Thoughts”… are my thoughts!

Once again, the textbook is:

Mosser, K. (2010). Ethics and Social Responsibility. (E. Evans, Ed.) Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/

The issue:

What legitimate restrictions an employer can put on a worker’s rights, and what limits there are to those conditions.

Argument for broad restriction of individual rights

The main job of a manager is to run a company smoothly and efficiently, create a return on investment, and create profit. A company that cannot create profit will not stay in business.  Anything that interferes with that job should be avoided by managers, or minimized as much as possible.

Employees have certain rights, guaranteed by the Constitution or by laws that cover both employees and employers. Employees cannot be expected to work where they are likely to be injured or killed. Employees cannot be expected to work overtime without compensation. Employees cannot be fired for refusing to break the law.

However, there are certain rights that may be restricted. A worker at KFC can have their free speech limited so that he cannot tell Church’s what the secret ingredients in the breading are. This information is called “proprietary information,” and consists of competitive advantages of one company over another. Federal agencies, like the FBI or CIA, can require secrecy from their agents. Airlines can require drug tests. School employees can be required to live in a specific area. Many corporations require employees to act in a manner that does not bring bad publicity to the employer. Obviously working in a place that requires such limits is voluntary. The employee does not have to accept the job, and if they cannot function under those requirements, they are free to leave. (Unless your employer is the Navy…)

“At will employees” may be fired without cause. If they are not working under written contract, or working for the government, they are typically “at will.” It is usually in the company’s best interest to keep workers satisfied, if not happy, to keep job satisfaction up, which keeps productivity up. Employees cannot be allowed to violate conditions of employment or prevent smooth operation of the company.

Example: Jim works for Random Work. He goes on his blog and rants about the crappy work conditions at Random Work, and publishes some critical letters in the paper. Now Random Work’s reputation is tarnished, and their competitors have a new weapon to use against them. Random Work’s profits fall, and Jim gets fired. Is that ok?

Jim was an “at will” employee, so termination doesn’t have to be justified. Even if it did, Jim was wrong to do damage to the company, especially how he did it. So which is more important? Jim’s right to free speech, or the company’s right to maintain a profit? Not only was the company damaged, but all the employees of that company and all the investors in that company were as well. Such restrictions are legitimate and justified to “protect the company’s reputation, profitability, and responsibility to stockholders. ”

Argument for narrow restriction of rights

Workers have rights guaranteed by the Constitution and by labor law. Those rights cannot be violated without proof that restrictions are absolutely necessary for the company to function.

There are still some legitimate restrictions. An employee has no right to divulge proprietary information to a competitor. National security and public safety are also concerns that a small number of workers may have to be restricted to protect. Pilots do not have the right to fly while impaired, so drug tests have been demonstrated to be legal in court. The burden of proof is on the employer to show a legitimate and substantial need for restriction of rights. If they cannot, all “at will” employees retain all rights guaranteed them by the Constitution and all relevant state and federal laws.

Example: Susan lives in a small town with few jobs. She is interviewed by a local nonprofit agency that promotes strict gun control. Susan’s family hunts regularly and owns several shotguns. The agency offers her a job, with the stipulation that she does not own guns, and that she disposes of any that she does own. The agency is worried about the image portrayed if a member does not live by the same lifestyle it is promoting. Can it demand Susan’s agreement?

Susan’s choice is between taking the job, but having what she sees as her 2nd amendment rights violated, or not taking the job and placing her finances in jeopardy. (But not the game show, because that would be awesome!) There is extra pressure on her because there are no jobs in a small community that is already struggling in the current economy.

This is a plausible reason for restriction of rights, even outside the workplace. However, there is worry that those conditions go farther than what is legitimate, and cannot be shown to lead to company damage.  In the current economy, the danger of companies overstepping their bounds is even higher, since companies know the likelihood (or lack thereof) an employee would be able to find another job. This fear of being unemployed for an extended amount of time may lead some employees to accepting heinous conditions just to maintain a steady paycheck. This could easily lead to abuse of the worker’s rights.

Applying Theories

In legalese, a company is considered a person. Thus, a corporation can be held up to “virtue ethics.” Virtue ethics holds the ideal virtuous person up as a role model for all others to be judged against (sort of like the Christians’ “What would Jesus do?”). So what is the ideal virtuous corporation?

The number one focus of any corporation is profitability. However, acknowledging this goal, it must meet the needs of its employees, stockholders, investors, the community, and any other support mechanisms. A virtuous company “lives” by a Golden Mean, a good balance between all its virtues. A “good” corporate citizen is generous and charitable, supporting charities and other philanthropic work, but cannot give away more than it earns. The company must maintain a balance between worker happiness and profitability. Pay must be competitive, or workers will leave. If pay is too high, it reduces profit. Rights are also in balance. They need to be fair to workers, but also minimize potential damage to the bottom line.

Companies should be honest, with both employees and the community. Lying, cheating and stealing are never acceptable, while too much honestly could lead to competitive advantages being squandered.

Virtue ethics: striking a balance between all virtues to be the best well-rounded person possible.

Deonotology is a Golden Rule school of thought. The fundamental purpose of any company, again, is to carry out its mission, whether for profit or non-profit. There are certain rules that must be followed in pursuit of this mission: treat employees, community, and even competitors with respect. Do not develop strategies or policies that you would determine to be unfair if they were used against you. If an employer wants to develop a set of rules, would he mind working under them as well? People who demand drug tests are typically willing to follow them, so they suit the Golden Rule.

How does the Golden Rule fit unions, specifically the requirement to join a union (or not join a union)? This demand could not be universalized (everyone has to join a union, or nobody can join a union), so it seems morally wrong to demand membership (or non membership) in a union, at which point the notion of a union is pointless.  It is also possible that the employers who force membership (or non-membership) would not be willing to work under those conditions, so it does not meet the Golden Rule test.

Therefore, a deontologist would determine that any restriction that cannot be universalized or conflicts with the Golden Rule is unfair, unjust, and immoral.

Some Conclusions

The virtue ethicist and deontologist don’t really disagree- they both agree that some restrictions are necessary to maintain competitive advantage over other corporations, and that the main goal in a company is to make profit. The argument comes from where along the slider a company has the right to limit individual rights.

Example: Random Arms gets most of its profits through government contracts, and has a close relationship with Senator Smith. Senator Smith is from the state where the corporate HQ is located. Senator Smith tries to reward Random Arms with government contracts whenever he can influence the outcome. The company and Senator are mutual beneficiaries of their relationship. Senator Smith is up for reelection, and the CEO of Random Arms is the director of his campaign. Anne works for Random Arms, and is a supporter of Senator Smith’s opponent. She contributes money and quite a lot of time, outside work, to the opponent’s campaign. What can the company do about this?

Can the CEO ask Anne to remove a political sticker from her cubicle? Can he ask her to remove her bumper sticker, since her car is in the company parking lot? When a company picnic/Senator Smith fundraiser is planned, attendance is $25, and clearly attendance is not required, but expected, should Anne refuse to attend even though she feels she will be passed up for promotion if she does?

My Thoughts

I must admit, I’m not really sure where the line is supposed to be drawn between the two arguments. Obviously it makes sense that companies should be able to protect their secrets. My default, as I’ve said before, is to lean towards more freedom, more individual rights, and less restriction, which to me is the common sense answer in most cases. I suppose I would need a particular example to really choose a side. For Anne, I think she should be able to express her political views as she wants to, within certain common sense limits. For example, when I was in the Navy, I was allowed to say that I support one candidate over another, however, I was not allowed to go on TV in my uniform and say the same thing, because it would appear as though the Navy was endorsing a particular candidate. We were not allowed to march in protests or anything else like that while in uniform, or really identify ourselves with the military. I think that makes sense. You shouldn’t shop in Target wearing your Wal-Mart greeter vest. I don’t see a problem with the bumper sticker or cubicle sticker because it is private or within the realm of the company itself. Outsiders don’t see her cubicle, and can’t see her disapproval. 

As for Susan (and the example about joining an animal rights group and having to give up eating meat), I would have to be in some pretty severe conditions to take a job that goes against what I believe. I wouldn’t take a job with Greenpeace, PETA, Planned Parenthood, or any anti-gun organizations, just because I know I wouldn’t be able to keep that job for long anyway. I’d be way too tempted to mouth off about my personal views, and the likelihood of being fired would go up daily. Don’t work for companies if you don’t agree with them. It is a recipe for personal disaster.

05/29/2011 Posted by | College Papers, Learning, Thinking | , , | 4 Comments

Sleepy Thoughts

Sometimes when I’m lying in bed, whether falling asleep or just waking up, I have some really random chains of thought. Last night, I was thinking about how I was so caught up in playing games that I forgot to do a chapter of my Ethics reading. I started thinking about utilitarianism and deontology, the two main schools of thought on ethics, and somehow made the leap to Ender’s Game. It’s a really good book, if you haven’t read it, and I do recommend it. Anyway, I can’t tell  you why that book would come up in thinking about ethics without ruining it, so we’ll leave it at that. Ender was skilled in strategy, and it made me think of what the right word for that would be… strategician? No. That’s not right… strategist? Half-asleep, I wasn’t sure. Then I started thinking about the difference between -ician and -ist. -ist seems more like a scientist- biologist, physicist. So why does mathematician share the same ending as magician? Is it because math is like magic? But math is the most concrete of all “sciences,” or so some people will say. Physics and biology may differ in different places or times, but math is always constant. It transcends culture and location. That’s not magic at all!

Turns out that the dictionary says -ician denotes what a person’s profession is: beautician, physician, etc., while -ist denotes a person’s field of practice: chemist, strategist. Of course, most of us would just pick the one that “sounds” better, since they are so similar as to be confused. Manicurist, typist, and dentist are all professions that end with “ist” (bet you never thought of dentist as being dental-professional, huh?), while obstetrician can refer more to a “practice.” Either way, a strategist is also a tactician, so what is the big deal?

If that wasn’t bad enough to be thinking through while falling asleep, this morning I woke up with a combination of The Giver (also a recommended book) and Idiocracy (a dumb-comedy movie that may be closer to true than anyone wants to admit). I was thinking about a graph I had seen that shows that as a culture’s death rate decreases, due to better medical care and overall health, usually, the birth rate also decreases to maintain a general equilibrium. Some post-industrial nations, like Canada, actually have a negative birth rate, so they have to import immigrants to maintain the work-force.

I also saw some statistics stating that the more accomplished a woman is outside the home, whether through career or intelligence, the less likely she is to have many children. Usually women with career aspirations will have children later, fewer children, and with more time in between because she doesn’t want to put her career on hold. (Huge respect to those women who can balance career and mommyhood!) On the other hand, women who are less accomplished, particularly those who are closer to the poverty line, tend to have more children. Some people think it is because they can’t afford to “splurge” on birth control, some because it is a way to continue to get Welfare checks, and some because they can’t afford other venues of entertainment, so they just stay home and… oops!

Idiocracy is a Luke Wilson movie that basically says only stupid people had kids for so long that the collective IQ of America dropped tremendously, and now the idiots are in charge. If you’ve seen the chain email about an 8th grade final exam from 1895, you can see this may not be so far from true.

The Giver, by Lois Lowry solved its birth rate problem in an interesting way. Every child is given a job as they graduate. Some children, those who are strong enough and not well suited for the “white-collar” jobs, become birth mothers. They give birth for a living for several years, then “retire” to a life of luxury, since their job is the most important of all. These birth mothers are the only people allowed to have children, and “couples” apply to raise a child. There is no emotion in this world, so couples are not in love, but matched together based on compatibility. It is really an interesting take on how far people could go to eliminate suffering in the world. Most of us are aware that the suffering is what makes the beauty in life so beautiful, and as you erase extremes in the negative, you have to also erase the extremes in the positive.

So, these were my sleepy thoughts last night and this morning, and I just felt like sharing.

05/29/2011 Posted by | Thinking | Leave a comment

Ethics and Prayer in Public Schools

Warning: Please do not use my work and submit it as your own. Students have been caught plagiarizing from this site, and at least one university knows about this site due to that issue. This blog is not peer-reviewed, and thus is also not acceptable for scholarly research. Feel free to read the articles and papers here, but do your own research for your own schoolwork. Thank you!

Day Two of my ethics reading. I’ll present the arguments as they are explained in my textbook, and at the end, I’ll provide my personal thoughts on the matter. Interspersed are green words in parentheses that indicate my words, vice the words of the text. Again, the textbook I am taking notes from is as follows:

Mosser, K. (2010). Ethics and Social Responsibility. (E. Evans, Ed.) Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/

The issue:

Whether organized prayer should be allowed in public schools, and distinguish between allowing prayer and promoting prayer.

The argument for allowing prayer:

For a religious or spiritual person, the relationship between himself and God is “the most precious relationship of all.” To respect that relationship, our First Amendment prohibits any interference with religion. Prohibiting school prayer is prohibiting the free exercise of one’s religion. (First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”) It follows, then, that eliminating prayer from public schools is wrong and unconstitutional.

Many religious values, like honesty, charity, and nonviolent problem solving, are important to society, and public schools should reinforce those virtues. Reinforcing moral lessons can reduce teenage pregnancy, STDs, gang violence, and drug/alcohol use.

The argument is not to force a specific view (which would violate the 1st Amendment and the Establishment Clause), but provide voluntary prayer for those who want to participate. For example, the Golden Rule is found in many religions, in many cultures, and is fundamental to “good” society.

History and current practice are in line with this argument: for 200 years, public schools allowed voluntary prayer. Thomas Jefferson refers to the Creator in the Declaration of Independence (one of my personal, favorite arguments to bring up about whether this country was founded on Christian values). The Senate and the House both maintain a chaplain, who opens sessions with a prayer. Money says “in God we trust”, the Pledge of Allegiance says “one Nation, under God,” and American presidents usually end speeches with “God Bless America.” (Our graduation at boot camp and most major military ceremonies also opened with  “Let us pray,” where even if you were not religious, you were still to bow your head for the duration, due to being in military formation) Most (sane) people don’t see these as violations of the First Amendment.

Preventing prayer in public schools (or any other public place for that matter), is to require people to follow the dictates of the non-religious minority (over 70% of Americans claim to be religious). Short prayers at ceremonies or other large get-togethers (football games and assemblies) remind students of moral values and reflect the wishes of a large part of the student body in most public schools. To prevent it is against their wishes, the wishes of their parents, and the Constitution itself. Denying the opportunity for prayer prevents moral lessons from being reinforced in children who need it, ignores our history, and conflicts with a large majority of the population’s desires.

The argument against prayer in public schools:

The United States is very diverse in many ways, including religion. All Americans have a right to religious expression, or no expression for atheists. To impose prayer on those who do not pray is to violate their rights.

Prayer at a ceremony or game may seem innocent, but if the prayer specifies a particular belief of God, it does not fit all religions. On the other hand, if it is vague and general, it doesn’t really serve a purpose, and will still single out some students who do not share that view. If prayer is included at mandatory events, the prayer is not voluntary. Also, students are very much influenced by peer pressure, and may not bring up alternative views for fear of embarrassment. They would rather “belong” than leave a venue due to prayer, so the prayer is not truly voluntary.

Public schools should not impose specific religious values on students. Schools can teach the history of religion, the differences in religion, and its role in society, but may not endorse one over another. Our public school system is failing, and students are achieving less academically than students in other countries, so the time spent in prayer and specific religious viewpoints would be better spent on the educational mission.

Many parents prefer to leave specific religious and moral education off the curriculum. Many religious parents do not want religion taught in public school so that those ideas do not conflict with what they are teaching their children at home and in the church- where religious teachings are appropriate.

“The Constitution does not allow public schools to promote any specific religion or religious viewpoint.” Any prayer in public school would either violate this ideal, or be so vague it is pointless. No view can encompass all religions as well as atheists, and schools have more important things to spend time on. Many parents do not want their religious views conflicted at school, and prayer in public schools cannot be seen as voluntary. Therefore, prayer in public schools should be prohibited.

Application of Theories:

The utilitarian view is “do the greatest good for the greatest number,” but what is the greatest number?

There is a saying “As long as there are math tests, there will be prayer in school.” This says that individuals cannot be prevented from engaging in private prayer. Such prayer is voluntary. The Supreme Court has also ruled that students may organize voluntary religious clubs, which can include prayer and Bible study, at public schools, like any other club.

This is the difference between allowing prayer and promoting prayer.

Act Utilitarianism

In a given school, district, or community, it is likely that a majority of its members belong to a specific faith. The greatest good for the greatest number, then, would be to allow that majority to pray how they wish. To prevent this is to hold the majority hostage to the will of the minority. It is clear that the greatest good for the greatest number means allowing the majority to practice their faith the way they choose.

Rule Utilitarianism

Not only are the minority’s views being ignored, but many in the majority will be upset with the fact that the minority are not being accounted for. This brings down maximum happiness (or utility), so the greatest good for the greatest number would prevent organized prayer.

Some (Textbook) Conclusions:

Religion is very personal. It is often a cornerstone of a person’s understanding of himself. Because a person can define himself by his religion, that person may feel his rights are restricted when he is not free to express his beliefs when he desires to. It is unlikely, however, that all people, of all faiths, and non-faiths, will be happy with any outcome.

Thinking about the issue legally and generally, people are paying more attention to the “voluntary” part of prayer. Individuals cannot be prevented from praying in public schools. Religious clubs cannot be denied. These are both voluntary acts. However, school-sanctioned events, like football games and graduation, are usually seen as “inappropriate locations” for prayer, because it automatically means the school is endorsing that view. Insisting on general prayers tends to make the prayer pointless to those who feel strongly about their beliefs.

There is no answer that will please everyone, but the two words to really learn from this debate are “sensitivity” and “tolerance.”

What Would You Do?

“You are a high school principal, and some students want to organize a school club devoted to studying and discussing atheism. You are concerned that they may spend some of their time mocking the beliefs of other students. Some of the students in your school have already expressed to you their concern that such an officially recognized student group represents a view that many find offensive.

“Do you allow the students to organize the atheist club? What restrictions, if any, do you impose on what they can do and say? What do you say to parents who call to protest the existence of such a club?”

My thoughts:

When I was in school, we had thirty seconds of silence after the Pledge of Allegiance. You could pray, you could study, you could do whatever you wanted, as long as you were quiet. It was a time for reflection, and a pause in the beginning of a hectic day. There was a guy in my first period class who used to say the Pledge with “under Gods.” I think he did it as a joke, but I didn’t take offense to it. There were some who would refuse to say that line altogether. Now, there are some kids who don’t even want to stand or put their hands over their hearts. That’s a different issue for a different day though.

Of course, especially growing up, I didn’t consider myself religious. I knew the thirty seconds was “supposed” to be for prayer, but that didn’t mean I had to pray. I didn’t take offense to it either. Everybody, whether Christian, Muslim, or atheist, can take thirty seconds out of their day to think. I think this is a perfect way to satisfy most people.

I know the text is specifically talking about during ceremonies and such, but why can’t any prayer be replaced by a moment of silence? Those who wish to pray, can. Those who don’t, can just wait. It is respectful to those who wish to pray to stay silent. I think respect is a big piece of the puzzle that seems to be missing in our society today.

If everybody treated everybody else with the respect they expect, I think there would be fewer issues in this world. Christians, or more generally, religious people, are the majority, and for a reason. I am not saying that the rights of minorities should be ignored, but I do not believe that ninety-nine people should be denied their wishes because the one doesn’t like it. I don’t like the minority taking the majority hostage.

In this particular instance, I think a moment of silence is the “right” thing to do.

As for the atheist club, I don’t think it would be appropriate to prevent the club. As far as I am aware, all school-sanctioned clubs had to have a teacher present, though. If they had an instructor, they’d be allowed to have a club, just as a Christian group would, and that is exactly what I’d tell concerned parents. The instructor would be expected to maintain civility and respect in the club, just as any other club would be expected to do. I wouldn’t allow another group to be disrespectful of any other, so this group would be the same. Respect and civility towards all.

05/27/2011 Posted by | College Papers, Learning, Thinking | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ethics and the 2nd Amendment

Warning: Please do not use my work and submit it as your own. Students have been caught plagiarizing from this site, and at least one university knows about this site due to that issue. This blog is not peer-reviewed, and thus is also not acceptable for scholarly research. Feel free to read the articles and papers here, but do your own research for your own schoolwork. Thank you!

The next five weeks of my life will be spent in an Ethics class, and we will be swiftly covering many hot-button topics in politics. What better way to take notes for class and formulate my own ideas than by sharing with all of you?

The text is:

Mosser, K. (2010). Ethics and Social Responsibility. (E. Evans, Ed.) Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (part of the Bill of Rights) reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The odd capitalization and punctuation are in the original.

The argument against restrictions: 

The Constitution specifically says people have the right to “keep and bear Arms.” This means that there should be few restrictions on what is seen as a constitutionally protected right. We should look at restrictions to this Constitutional right the same way we look at restrictions to free speech, only needing to be limited to guarantee public safety. Just like freedom of speech, the only regulations should be those that have “overriding public interest,” explained to be for the good of the vast majority of the public. However, these restrictions should be “absolutely minimal” and “absolutely necessary.”

Beyond the Constitution, our history also gives good reason to have few restrictions on individuals’ rights to own guns. The Revolutionary War was won by farmers and other civilians who were comfortable enough around, and knowledgeable enough about, guns that they could wield them against the enemy.   We may not have to worry about another nation invading us (we hope), but what about home invaders?  Americans have the right to defend themselves and their families, as well as their homes.

In addition to self/home defense, many Americans shoot for sport. Target shooting, skeet shooting, hunting, etc., are all lawful ways to use guns. According to the text, Americans own an estimated 250,000,000 guns, and more than 25% of Americans live in a household that possesses a firearm. (My household has five.)

Most people agree about certain restrictions, such as prevention of gun ownership by convicted felons, and those with a documented history of criminal violence. Many will also agree that anyone with documented mental illness that may inhibit the ability to realize when gun use is in appropriate should not have access to deadly weapons. However, many people are wary of giving government too much control, and say that allowing restrictions today means allowing greater restrictions in the future.

Imposing “unjust” restrictions on law-abiding citizens is unconstitutional and only hurts the people who have lawful, legitimate, interest in gun ownership, whether for sport or self-defense. Criminals care about gun laws as much as they care about the other laws they are breaking.

The argument for restrictions:

Sixty-eight percent of the people murdered in America in 2005 were killed with guns. Thirteen people were killed at Columbine with guns. Thirty-two people were killed at Virginia Tech with (a?) gun. Ten people were killed by the DC snipers. Sixteen were killed in Dover, Arkansas. Thirteen were killed in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Eleven, including the killer, were killed in Geneva County, Alabama.

NY Times writer Bob Herbert says: “Since the assassinations of Senator Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, more than a  million Americans have been killed by guns in the U.S.. That’s more than the total number of U.S. combat deaths in all the wars in American history.”

There are many guns in the U.S., and they are easy to get. In some states, the minimum age is twelve for purchase of a firearm. Background checks and waiting periods don’t work as intended. Easy access to conceal-able weapons has led to a culture in the U.S. that leads the developed world in violent crime and murder. Reasonable restrictions, like substantial background checks, waiting periods, trigger locks, etc., as well as limitations on the kinds of weapons and ammunition available, are necessary to stop this assault. The 1980s and 90s saw an increase in controls on gun ownership, and a corresponding drop in violent crime.

In Miller v. United States (1939), the Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment clearly means the right of well-regulated Militias, not individuals. (There is a later conflicting ruling as well.)

“Supporting substantial restrictions should not be regarded as an illegitimate attempt by an oppressive government to seize all guns.” Background checks, trigger locks, and limits on types of weapons and ammunition do not prevent law-abiding citizens from sport shooting, hunting, and self-defense. They do minimize access by criminals, the insane, and “others who should not have access to deadly weapons.”

The Theories:

Utilitarian view (Greatest Good for the Greatest Number):

A fundamental duty of a government is to maintain the security and safety of the governed. Potentially violent intruders and oppressive governments are both threats to that security. The “Greatest Good” is the feeling of security and confidence that is gained from the knowledge that they have a weapon to defend themselves with. Robbers face significantly more risk breaking into an armed home than an unarmed home. If a robber believes you may be armed, and pose a threat to him, he may rob a different house, or give up crime (though that is not incredibly likely). Thus, people with guns, who know how to use them, feel safer in their own homes. If criminals fear home-owners with guns, crime, theoretically, would go down because the benefits of the items stolen would not outweigh the risk of loss of life. Restricting weapons means the risk for robbers drops markedly, and crime would rise. Therefore, the “greatest good for the greatest number” would be minimal restrictions. Following that, restrictions must be proven to increase public safety and security, such as preventing actual criminals and mentally incapable people from owning guns.

The relativist view (people in different cultures view things differently, so what might be wrong to one group may be right to another):

In Nigeria and the Philippines, gun ownership is 1% and 4.5% respectively. In Switzerland (yeah, the “neutral” guys) it is 50%. The United States has the highest rate- 90 guns for every 100 people. Some cultures have few guns because they didn’t play an important part in that culture’s history. (Try taking a samurai sword from a Japanese guy, though… yikes!) Some cultures, like ours, have guns in an important part of our history, like the Revolution and Westward Expansion. Beyond saying “neither is right or wrong,” relativism is fairly useless in solving moral dilemmas.

(At this point, I am surprised that they don’t offer an example of a specific theory of ethics that would be for restrictions…)

Some conclusions:

When does one person’s right to possess weapons infringe on another person’s right to keep their children safe? Some restrictions are actually relatively popular- like those on fully automatic weaponry and “cop-killer” armor-piercing rounds. 

My thoughts:

When in doubt, I err on the side of less legislation, less restriction, less government, less interference, more personal responsibility. As a whole, I am against restrictions on gun ownership. I do not personally own a gun, but my father had them growing up, my husband owns several, and my grandfather had a case of hunting rifles in his den. I know how to shoot, and I have been to a gun range to practice on occasion. I think that first and foremost, to own a gun, people should know how to handle it. If I didn’t know how to use a gun, I wouldn’t pick it up (unless it was a life-or-death-armed-robbers-at-my-daughter’s-door sort of situation).

Education is one of the most important aspects of gun ownership. Simple things like always treating a gun like it is loaded, never pointing it at anything you don’t want to kill, and don’t shoot yourself cleaning it (you know who you are…). Obviously you should keep your firearms in a place where children cannot access them, preferably a safe or other secure location. However, this all falls under personal responsibility. If you need the government to tell you not to let your kids play with your guns, you probably shouldn’t have kids in the first place.

Also, just because some yuppie in a New York city apartment feels he doesn’t need a gun doesn’t mean the guy in Alaska or Montana who hunts for food, or doesn’t have a police officer within 15 minutes of his house, doesn’t need one. I do feel safer in my home because I know we have firearms. Guns are the only weapons in the world that favor the victim. It levels the playing field between invader and defender, and it may give someone pause before breaking into your home.

When we lived in Virginia, we lived in a not-so-great neighborhood. My husband used to go target shooting frequently with a rifle on his shoulder, two pistols, and two cases of ammunition. The neighborhood kids referred to him as “the sniper guy.” As soon as you entered the apartment, there were two human targets on the wall- one  a close range shotgun blast with the center torn out, the other a long-range rifle target with neat holes in center mass and the head. You can bet if someone was getting robbed in that neighborhood, it wasn’t going to be us.

I agree that people with violent crime or mental illness documented should not have firearms. I also agree that people should not have ready access to, say, bazookas. However, I do believe that you should be able to have a permit for pretty much any type of firearm, if your location supports it. I see no reason why you shouldn’t be able to go out to the middle of the desert and fire off an AK-47. What is it hurting? The dirt? Properly used, properly trained, firearms can be fun. That doesn’t mean killing people. One of my dad’s favorite arguments about gun control is, “It’s already illegal to kill people.” We don’t have to make it “more against the law” to kill people with guns.

WARNING: I found this picture while Googling gun images, and could not pass up the opportunity to spread it further… but if you have a weak stomach, just ate, or get easily disturbed, avert your gaze. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.











05/26/2011 Posted by | College Papers, Learning, Thinking | , , , , , | 5 Comments

We, the Tikopia: Isolated Island Chiefdom

Warning: Please do not use my work and submit it as your own. Students have been caught plagiarizing from this site, and at least one university knows about this site due to that issue. This blog is not peer-reviewed, and thus is also not acceptable for scholarly research. Feel free to read the articles and papers here, but do your own research for your own schoolwork. Thank you!

We, the Tikopia: Isolated Island Chiefdom


As Americans, we are always looking for a way to grow, get better, and increase our lot in life.  The horticulturalists of Tikopia, on the other hand, are perfectly content to live by a Zero Growth policy.  Horticulture has influenced the people of Tikopia a great deal, increasing the yield of the land as much as they can, while minimizing their own consumption.  This is seen through their belief in their manipulation of their small island’s goods, the ideal of zero population growth, and the social changes they have enacted to ensure their survivability.


This paper was compiled using secondary sources, retrieved from Ashford Online Library sources, and the Internet using the Google and Google Scholar search engines.  A large majority of the information found comes from Jared Diamond’s book Collapse.  Most of the sources cited Raymond Firth’s authoritative work We, The Tikopia, which Professor Firth wrote after living on Tikopia in 1928 and 1929.  One of his protégés, Judith Macdonald is also represented briefly in this paper.


Social Organization

There are four chiefs, each ruler of a different clan of kinsmen (Diamond, 2011), but where some chiefdoms elevate their rulers above the status of mortals, chiefs of Tikopia work their own land to feed their families, and actually have the largest gardens to fulfill their ritual responsibilities (Nowak & Laird, 2010).  Tikopia have a patrilineal society, with land ownership and power being passed from father to son (Diamond, 2011).  As is common in patrilineal cultures, women are not afforded much prestige.  Women have to enter the home on hands and knees by a separate entrance, and are not permitted to stand inside their own hut (Aikman, 2006).  Whenever a man walks by, women are expected to drop to their knees (Aikman, 2006).  Division of labor is primarily by sex: men fish in canoes and do woodwork, while women do domestic work (Tikopia, n.d.).  Both men and women tend to cooking in the earth ovens, fishing on the reef, and planting the gardens, but men do the more strenuous work of breaking the earth while women are the weeders (Tikopia, n.d.).

Economic Organization

Tikopia is a small, isolated chiefdom that, over thousands of years, has micromanaged its environment to best suit their lives.  The people of Tikopia grow food for their own families, they have cultivated a land where every plant is edible or useful, and they have contingency plans for disaster.  Chiefs “own” all the land, and give parcels to each family (Nowak & Laird, 2010), but sale of land is an unknown idea, and no land is owned by any outsider (Tikopia, n.d.).  There are communal orchards, which anyone can harvest, and each family has its own garden to feed the household (Nowak & Laird, 2010).  While the gardens are allotted to each family, if one is not being used, another person can plant their crops in it, without asking permission, and the reefs are free for anyone’s use, even when they are right outside another person’s home (Diamond, 2011).  Because the island of Tikopia is so isolated, trade journeys are long and performed in small canoes, so imports and exports are very limited, thus importing food is not a valid option.  The most significant imports are unmarried young people and stone to make tools (Diamond, 2011).

Every plant on Tikopia has a purpose, leading some to call their technique “permaculture” rather than “horticulture.”  The trees in the artificial rainforest all have edible fruits or nuts, like the almond, coconut, breadfruit, sago palm, Burckella ovovata, chestnut, betelnut, and vi-apple, and the bark of the Antiaris toxicara tree is used for clothing (Diamond, 2011).  The people of Tikopia not only grow giant swamp taro (Cyrtosperma chamissonis) in their swamps, but have specifically adapted a genetic clone to grow on the dry hillsides (Diamond, 2011).

To keep their food sources continuous and sustainable, they turn away from slash-and-burn farming, and impose taboos on fishing- the chief’s permission is required to catch or eat fish (Diamond, 2011).  For protein, the islanders used to raise pigs, but, as will be discussed later, they have since shifted to seafood and ducks (Diamond, 2011).

The islanders control every bit of their environment that they can, but they cannot control the weather.  Tikopia sits in a very active cyclone zone, with about 20 cyclones each decade (Diamond, 2011).  These storms destroy gardens regularly, and combined with the two-three month dry seasons each year, the Tikopia have to find ways to survive, so they put breadfruit into pits, fermenting them to make a starchy paste that lasts two to three years, as well as eating the wild fruits and nuts from the wild trees on the island (Diamond, 2011).

Values and Beliefs: Zero Population Growth

Horticulture is less intensive than agriculture, and provides less produce for the same amount of land.  Since the Tikopia are horticulturalists, the carrying capacity of the island is fairly low, at around 1200 people (Nowak & Laird, 2010).  Rather than developing the land more, and shifting to agriculture to increase the carrying capacity, they believe in “zero population growth” (Diamond, 2011).  Every year, the chiefs perform a ritual that instills the ideal of zero population growth in their people (Diamond, 2011).

There have been many methods used in the past to maintain the population at a sustainable level.  Parents will typically stop giving birth once their eldest son has reached an age where he can marry, or if they have a certain number of children, which may be four, one of each sex, or one boy and two girls (Diamond, 2011).  Celibacy on Tikopia does not mean abstinence, but not having children (Diamond, 2011).  Many people, whether parents of children who can continue the line, younger male siblings, and unmarried women who do not want to enter polygamous marriages, practice celibacy (Diamond, 2011, Nowak & Laird, 2010).  The easiest method is coitus interruptus, followed by abortion or infanticide if it is unsuccessful (Diamond, 2011, Nowak & Laird, 2010).  Abortions were performed by pressing on the belly, or placing hot stones on the belly of a pregnant woman near term, and if the baby is born alive, infanticide was executed by smothering, turning the child on his face, or burying him alive (Diamond, 2011).  During lean times, some people will resort to committing suicide rather than causing strain on resources, whether by hanging or swimming out to sea to drown (Diamond, 2011).  Others may volunteer for risky sea voyages with no hope of return, called “virtual suicide” (Diamond, 2011).

The last method of population regulation is war.  This method has happened twice in Tikopia history, in the 17th or 18th century (Diamond, 2011).  The salt-water bay was closed off with a sandbar to create a brackish lake, which killed off a lot of seafood, and the result was starvation in the Nga Ariki clan (Diamond, 2011).  To acquire more coastline, the Nga Ariki attacked and annihilated the Nga Ravenga clan (Diamond, 2011).  A generation or two later, the Nga Ariki chased the Nga Faea clan into the ocean, resulting in the virtual suicide of the only competition on the island (Diamond, 2011).

Social Change

Finally, there have been two major changes in Tikopia society, both from within and from without.  Previously, the chiefs of Tikopia raised pigs for protein, and to raise pigs was a status symbol (Diamond, 2011, Drolet, 2006).  Essentially, these pigs were a luxury item.  However, around 1600 A.D., the ancestors determined that pigs were unsustainable (Diamond, 2011).  Pigs competed with humans for food, often destroyed gardens, and were inefficient as food supplies, since it takes about ten pounds of vegetation to produce one pound of pork (Diamond, 2011, Drolet, 2006).  Every pig was killed, and the bay was turned into a brackish lake to facilitate a more seafood-rich diet (Diamond, 2011).

The other major change was the introduction of Christianity to the island.  As can be expected, there was often friction between the new believers and the traditionalists, but by the mid-1950s, everyone on Tikopia was Christian (Nowak & Laird, 2010).  The remaining pagan chiefs of the Tikopia decided to convert to Christianity because so many commoners had converted, and they recognized that to maintain unity throughout the island, they had to have the same beliefs (Macdonald, 2000).  With a new religion came new taboos.  Abortion, infanticide, and suicide were no longer acceptable, and the British government, which had colonized the Solomon Islands, which included Tikopia, banned sea voyages and warfare, which reduced population control to one method- coitus interruptus (Diamond, 2011).  Previously, younger male siblings often did not marry, and unmarried younger people had a relatively carefree sexual life, but were expected to not have children, whether through coitus interruptus, abortion, or infanticide (Diamond, 2011).  With the Christian missionaries insisting people marry before sex, younger siblings were marrying, and thus also having their own children (Aikman, 2006).  As can be expected, population on Tikopia boomed, but when a cyclone came through and destroyed crops, hundreds died in famine (Aikman, 2006).  Now the government transfers some of the “excess” population to less inhabited islands nearby, and the chiefs limit the number of Tikopia to 1,115, much closer to their ancestral population, and the island’s carrying capacity (Diamond, 2011).


Many societies have fallen into what Professor Diamond called “progress traps,” where people feel the need to continue growing, expanding, and consuming, even to its own detriment (Peacock, 2006).  The people of Tikopia, for three thousand years, have lived in a careful balance between what they can provide for themselves from horticulture and how much they consume.  Through manipulation of the environment, the ideal of zero population growth, and the changes is Tikopia society, we can see how horticulture has shaped their lives.  In the recent past, Tikopia has been influenced by well-meaning outsiders who indirectly caused disaster among the people.  Now we look to the future to see how the changes in their religion, and thus their population control, will truly affect their lives and sustainability.  Will the islanders be able to maintain their tiny island’s economy, or will they too turn to the Western ideals of consumerism?


Aikman, T. (2006, August 12). Life's a jungle for anthropologist. Waikato Times, p. A14. Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Diamond, J. (2011). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed [Kindle version] (2011 ed.). (Original work published 2005)

Drolet, D. (2006, October 19). Tiny Pacific outpost can teach us about limits to growth. The Ottawa Citizen, pg. A. 16. Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Macdonald, J. (2000). The Tikopia and “What Raymond Said. In S. R Jaarsma & M. A. Rohatynskyj (ed/s), Ethnographic Artifacts: Challenges to a Reflexive Anthropology (pp. 107-123). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Retrieved from http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/bitstream/10289/3340/1/the%20tikopia.pdf

Nowak, B., & Laird, P. (2010). Cultural Anthropology (S. Wainwright & D. Moneypenny, Eds.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUANT101.10.2/sections/ch00

Peacock, K. (2006). Progress traps. Alternatives Journal, 32(3), 38-42. 
   Retrieved from ProQuest database.

Tikopia. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2011 from http://www.everyculture.com/Oceania/Tikopia.html

05/23/2011 Posted by | College Papers, Learning, Thinking | , | 2 Comments

May 20

Today is the anniversary of the signing of the Homestead Act by Abraham Lincoln, in 1862. For five years of living on the land, the government gave settlers 160 acres of land. By 1900, 38 years later, 80 million acres were distributed.

05/20/2011 Posted by | Learning | , | Leave a comment


200 views! Thanks, all!

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May 19

Today is the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s beheading. She was the 2nd wife of Henry the 8th, and was beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.

05/19/2011 Posted by | Learning | , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful mom!!

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