The Harm of Irresponsibility

In today’s society it seems as if what is ethical is up for debate. The line between right or wrong in some’s eyes is becoming thinner and thinner.  However, looking through the eyes and ideology of John Stuart Mill , the line is drawn pretty clear in which there is no gray area. In Chapter 4 of John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty”, Mill introduces ‘The Harm Principle’ in which an individual may act as they please, as long as it doesn’t harm others. Mill goes on to talk about certain acts such as self-
regarding and other regarding. Mill believes other-regarding acts that are bad are punishable while self-regarding bad

John Stuart Mill - Photo taken from

John Stuart Mill – Photo taken from

acts are disapproval legitimate. Mill also believe that although one may acts as they please, they must take care of their distinct and assignments to others. Failure to do so will result in punishment.

Earlier this year in March, a woman from the state of Arizona, Shanesha Taylor was arrested for leaving her two children in a hot car she went for a job interview. It was reported that Taylor left her children in the car for over an hour. She was later charged with felony abuse and would potentially face imprisonment. After her arrest, Taylor’s teary-eyed mugshot went viral, sparking huge conversation on her case as well as supporters from all over the country. Many petitioned for all charges to be dropped and an estimate of $114,000 has been raised on the single mother’s behalf. Homeless and living off of welfare, Taylor was in search for a better life for both her children and herself. Although she left her children unattended in a hot car, many people believe that Taylor’s acts should not be punished, because it seemed her overall goal was not to harm her children but rather care for them.

Mugshot of Shanesha Taylor. Photo taken from

Mugshot of Shanesha Taylor. Photo taken from

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Is Conservatism a Choice?

Now that I am a college freshman at the University of Michigan, I often reflect back to the stressful times of completing my college applications. Although, the process was difficult, I can say I am very happy with the outcome. It was amazing and even a bit astounding of how great Michigan. Here was this amazing university in my own backyard, and I would have to honestly say, I didn’t really know it existed until I was in the 9th grade. I attended an art school in Detroit, that has faced, and still faces problems. In the Detroit Public School system, money is a big issue. Because resources are limited, administration only focuses on schools who perform the best. This structure creates a cycle in which there is no better outcome.  In Detroit, school must pass yearly progress report called AYP. If a school fails to meet AYP for more that 3-5 years, they can be shut down. Few to none of the schools in the Detroit Public School system are up to par and can compete with others in neighboring counties, let alone the country. And with the current system in place, there seems to be little to no change.

In Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on  the Revolution in France”, Burke expresses his conservative ways in which he does not support the French Revolution. He fully advocates classical conservatism and favors hierarchy. Burke believe we should look to the past and follow tradition.

Edmund Burke Photo taken from Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Edmund Burke
Photo taken from Intercollegiate Studies Institute

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The Continuation of Value Barriers

I remember the day so vividly. During the time of 2012 Summer Olympics, I was 16 years old. My mother and I had our eyes glued to the television screen as Gabby Douglas took the floor. I remember the two of us being so happy for this great accomplishment, not only for Gabby Douglas, but African American history as well. After Gabby had won I didn’t stay in the room to see her receive her medal. I can recall the next day my mother having a conversation about some comments made by Bob Costas after Gabby Douglas had won. My mom criticized Costas’ comments as well as opened my eyes to ideas I had not noticed before.

During his coverage for the 2012 Summer Olympics through NBC, Costas made the following statement:

You know, it’s a happy measure of how far we’ve come that it doesn’t seem all that remarkable, but still it’s noteworthy, Gabby Douglas is, as it happens, the first African-American to win the women’s all-around in gymnastics. The barriers have long since been down, but sometimes there can be an imaginary barrier, based on how one might see oneself.” 

Bob Costas of NBC photo taken from

Bob Costas of NBC
photo taken from

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Who Decides What?: How Family Institutions Play a Role in Educational Paths

It seemed like when I was younger, my brother and I would always be late for school. After a hectic morning due to oversleeping, disorganization and the never ending search to find my left shoe, we managed to get to school in the nick of time (Thanks to my father running a couple of stop signs). No matter how late we were to school my father always managed to squeeze in his daily “I love you” and inspirational quotes. Some days my father would look through the rear view mirror and say to us, “Try to make an ‘A’ today. And if you can’t make an ‘A’, make a ‘B’. But if you can’t make a ‘B’, well at least try to have a good day.”  With that in mind I would head into school with my Barbie backpack, Hello Kitty lunch box, and my head held high, ready to make an ‘A’.

One day, I did very well in school. I couldn’t wait to get in the car and tell my father about the “A” I made. Greeted by my father’s warm hello, I would eagerly respond about the good news. “Hey, that’s great!” He said, “Now tell me about something new you learned.” To this question I had no response. I knew I learned something new that day, but I couldn’t particularly remember what. My father would answer my silence with “Come on, now. Don’t tell me you didn’t learn anything. If that’s the case we need to turn around and take you back to school.”

As I got older, my father would reward my brother and I with money for good grades. A’s were worth $2, B’s were $1 and C’s didn’t count at all, but if you had a D or F, not only would you get one of his long lectures, but you would also have to owe him money. All quarter long I would work my hardest because I knew in the end, the better I did, the greater my reward would be.


Morpheus from The Matrix

After reading Louis Menand’s Live and Learn, I would often relate back to father’s methods with questions. If my father wanted me to ultimately learn something new, why didn’t he just tell me to do so. And why at the end of each quarter did he ask us for report cards, rather than book reports? Why did he have to bribe us with money to do well in school? My father’s methods didn’t just keep me on my toes academically, but also instilled a competitive nature in me at an early age. Continue reading