The System And YOUR ROLE In The System Peer Evaluation

Respond to four of your peers’ postings; write 125 words (a half-page) for each response, for a total of 500 words (two pages).

How should you respond?

Compare your peers’ thinking regarding this assignment to your own thinking; agree or disagree with how they think, and provide logical


1.  What “the system” (the status quo (Links to an external site.)) is in the United States today.

2.  Where YOU are standing within the system; what is YOUR ROLE?  Why?

3.  Whether you think that YOU have an obligation to become informed about and actively oppose abuses the system may perpetrate against specific groups of people, as in the case of people of African descent in the United States of America–as abuses against them, now and in the past, are frequently NOT communicated in history and civics (Links to an external site.) classes in U.S. schools–and of course, deeply troubling arrests and shootings of Black men, women and children by law enforcement do not seem adequately addressed in U.S. courts.

Examples:  Sally Hemmings (Links to an external site.)Dred Scott (Links to an external site.)Tulsa’s Black Wall Street (Links to an external site.),  the FBI targeting Black Panther leaders (Links to an external site.)Redlining,  (Links to an external site.)the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (Links to an external site.), and  the verdict in the case of the shooting of Philando  Castile. (Links to an external site.)

The Shooting of Philando Castile (Links to an external site.).

4. Which of the 20 lessons–if any–from Timothy Snyder’s 2017 book On Tyranny you think critical thinkers need to learn, and how they should put these lessons into practice as they navigate their daily lives in the system.

5.  Which of the 15 Logical Fallacies listed below you think that you need to be aware of–if any–when you observe policies, procedures, rules and laws the system generates.

Quoting:  You have two sources to quote from: Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny and the fallacies in the box below.  You should also choose an additional two sources to quote–your choice as to which–to support your contentions or illustrate a point or points you wish to make.

Essay 1

125 words response


Maya M Espinal

Professor Lincke

English 103

20 July, 2020

The Corporation of The American Institution

Have you ever heard of the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871?  This act was the cause of The United States becoming a Corporation owned by the Vatican, London Royalty, Bankers and Financiers. This Act is the so-called “System” we, who live on this land are a part of. According to this Act which altered and betrayed the established rights of the original constitution,  by “law” made us  “property” of this corporation. “The Constitution of The United States of America” became “The Constitution of The Incorporated United States of America”.

When we are born we are given birth certificates and social security numbers. Some, who are born elsewhere acquire this social security number after becoming citizens. Birth Certificates and social security i.d numbers help identify us, who we are, when we were born, where we were born, who our parents are, our physical attributes, and we use this information on just about any given document. Documents used for medical, educational, financial, and work purposes. What we are not told is that these certificates and ids are actually for the purpose of the Maritime Admiralty Law tied with the Act of 1871. We are a “product” of this big corporation, hence, “property” of these foreign bankers and financiers that own this corporation. This is done to us whether we agree to it or not. Whether we like it or not.

This form of Tyranny becomes part of our struggles to live, to gain a real education, to know the truth, to survive. The struggle as they say, “is real”. It’s as real as the oxygen we inhale but cannot see. ““The real rulers in Washington are invisible, and exercise power from behind the scenes.” – Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice, 1952””(Wes Annac). Throughout my life I have had to deprogram a lot of information I was falsely led to believe and begin to relearn the truth about the country we live in. The process of relearning includes letting go, understanding, non acceptance, toleration, and determination. Many people still suffer today because of the corrupt system that tries to control and manipulate our lives. Many survive and continue to strive for a better life and future. It’s a reality most of us are a part of.

So now that we have an overview of what the “System” is, let’s dig a little deeper and see how far this rabbit hole goes, where we fall in it, why it is important to become informed, and why we must oppose this inhumane form of justice. The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 was one of the Enforcement Acts and states that the Federal government, in other words the U.S. is a corporation, not a country. ( (Links to an external site.)). So what does this really mean for us, for the treatment and education of the people? It means that we are made to think that “we the people” govern the decisions in this country but however, it is quite the opposite. What this means is that we are granted limited “rights” and “freedom”. With this Act including the rest of the Enforcement Acts in place, we are not permitted the original agreements of the Declaration of Independence, nor the original Constitution of the United States of America.

On July 7th of 2015, the following passages were written by one of the members of the National Liberty Alliance.

“The flag of Washington’s District of Columbia has 3 red stars, each symbolizing a city state within the three city empire. The three city empire consists of Washington D.C., London, and Vatican City. London is the corporate center of the three city states and controls the world economically. Washington’s District of Columbia city state is in charge of the military, and the Vatican controls it all under the guise of spiritual guidance. Although geographically separate, the city states of London, the Vatican and the District of Columbia are one interlocking empire called “Empire of the City”

The constitution for the District of Columbia operates under tyrannical Vatican law known as “Lex Fori” (local law). When congress passed the act of 1871 it created a separate corporation known as THE UNITED STATES and corporate government for the District of Columbia. This treasonous act has unlawfully allowed the District of Columbia to operate as a corporation outside the original constitution of the United States and in total disregard of the best interests of the American citizens.”

This is what the System of the Incorporate United States of America is, has been since 1871. Part of the transition of the Republic of the US to the Corporation of the US was the editing of the public educational system. The educational system was recreated by one of the Corporation’s “New Owners”, the Rockerfellers. Rich banking financiers who with the help of other rich financiers created a system to educate generations in a way that benefits their control. Sourced by Wes Annac and Wake Up The World’s article of A Brief History of the Rockefeller/Rothschild Empire, the following information is provided.

““Many years ago in the USA, for example, much money was poured into education by the Rockefeller-created National Education Association, with the help of the Carnegie Foundation and later on the Ford Foundation. The result of the efforts of such organisations can be seen worldwide today in the real purpose of the education system which is to teach children and young people: 1) Reward comes from accurate memory recall from heavy repetition. 2) Non-compliance will be punished. 3) Acceptance that ‘truth’ and what is ‘real’ comes from authority. Thus, the real purpose of the education system is to cultivate conformity and prohibit critical thinking about anything of real importance.””

Racism and lack of truth in our history lessons are also a part of the public educational system. The “Savior” image portrayed in our history books about the Caucasian, European and Spanish Colonizers have been successful. Many people know little of what really happened in the past. Some of these events not included in our “American” history books are the truths about Native American, Latin American, African American and Asian descent people’s murders, displacements, slavery, conversions, and theft. Colonizers and settlers destroyed sacred land and dehumanized people, they called them “savages” among other horrible names when in reality, they themselves were and continue to be the “savages”.  Raping, killing, and destroying not only the land but it’s people too. This is the case we still have to live with until this present day.

We are facing a corrupt system that targets it’s people. According to the system, we are categorized as “White”, “Brown”, “Black”, “Yellow”, “Red” or “Mixed”. Nonetheless, although some targeted more severely than others, we are all affected. Because of the lack of exposed truth that exists, many people remain compliant to the atrocities committed to people every day. For those who find the desire to seek the truth, to fight injustice and to spread knowledge sometimes face dire consequences.

For all these reasons aforementioned, it is important for the citizens of this country to try their best to become informed. Oppression becomes almost “voluntary” when there is lack of knowledge. Ways to become critical thinkers who are informed are by looking out for Fallacies used against our common senses. Fallacies that we the people are manipulated with. Although there are many fallacies to look out for, there are four that I believe to be most commonly used against the people in this country, including myself.  Slippery Slope Fallacy, Appeal to Authority, Equivocation, and Bandwagon Fallacy.

These Fallacies are defined as follows by TBS Staff published Article of June 9th of 2020 “15 Logical Fallacies You should Know Before Getting Into A Debate”. 

“The Slippery Slope fallacy suggests that unlikely or ridiculous outcomes are likely when there’s just not enough evidence to think so. Appeal to Authority, this fallacy happens when we misuse an authority. This misuse of authority can occur in a number of ways. We can cite only authorities — steering conveniently away from other testable and concrete evidence as if expert opinion is always correct. Or we can cite irrelevant authorities, poor authorities, or false authorities. Equivocation happens when a word, phrase, or sentence is used deliberately to confuse, deceive, or mislead by sounding like it’s saying one thing but actually saying something else. Equivocation comes from the roots “equal” and “voice” and refers to two-voices; a single word can “say” two different things. Another word for this is ambiguity. The bandwagon fallacy assumes something is true (or right, or good) because other people agree with it.”

These fallacies have been used in the past and are written in our history books. Books used to “teach” us today. Other examples of current day use of these four fallacies are lies told by congress, city councils, presidents, and government officials that tell the people that they are working to improve the lives of everyone. That there is equality. They use oratory and visual tactics to create these false ideas and images that sometimes make us think they are telling the truth. We as a people need to make sure we think critically and identify these fallacies because if we don’t, we will become part of the bandwagon fallacy that believes anything that we are falsely led to believe.

Becoming informed is the tip of the iceberg. We must also act. We can learn different ways to stand up to this form or any form of Tyranny by reviewing and learning some of the lessons from Timothy Snyder’s 2017 book on Tyranny. Timothy mentions this following message in his book;

“Long story short, “On Tyranny” covers the lessons on freedom that we have learned from the 20th century. During this time period, humanity had experienced many wars, political strifes and struggles of oppression and the one thing they all share in common was that it was a fight for each person or nation’s freedom. It’s often mentioned while history does not repeat itself, there are patterns to make it rhyme. Throughout the 20th century, the world has witnessed how societies evolve, governments crumble and how humans still have the tendency to fight each other over conflicting values.Despite the mistakes that were made, the value of history is that we can look back and learn from those stains in our past.”

Some of the biggest and most important lessons to live by are from Timothy Snyder’s 2017 book on Tyranny. There are many worth mentioning; “Lesson #1: Do not obey in advance It is paramount to understand that we should understand where our true principles and values lie before acting out solely because we are told to do so. Lesson #2: Defend Institutions Institutions are critical to the success and prosperity of any civilization. Protect institutions that align with your sincere care and genuine interest. Institutions can include systems such as the courts, labour unions and government. Lesson #4: Take responsibility for the face of the world Make efforts to incorporate symbols that encourage inclusivity for fellow citizens.These symbols can represent the values and principles of a nation. Lesson #6: Be wary of paramilitaries Certain systems can change over time due to violence or enforcement. Be careful and observe how acts of violence can signal a change in a nation’s system. Lesson #7: Be Reflective if you must be armed When decisions are being made, understand that it is important to stand by your principles, instead of simply conforming to the majority. Lesson #10: Believe in Truth Learn to separate between what is real and what you want to hear. Objectivity in the truth is something worth defending. Lesson #11: Investigate Let our curiosities guide us towards what we define as truth within ourselves and the world around us. Learning from multiple perspectives would allow us to better understand ourselves and what we would like to contribute to the world. Lesson #15: Contribute to good causes Support organizations that involve noble and positive movements. Be authentic in which cause or movement you are showing support for. Lesson #16: Learn from peers in other countries Build relationships with not only members in our domestic environments, but across the globe as well. Making friends in countries across the globe is always beneficial and important. Lesson #17: Listen for dangerous words Understand the difference between the smokescreen of danger and what true danger actually is. Lesson #19: Be an example for Others Set an example of what other citizens or groups should aspire to become. Lesson #20: Be as courageous as you can Be bold and brave when it comes to your beliefs and higher purpose.”

Our lives are intertwined. We are affected one by one like a pyramid scheme. It is up to us to change the course of our lives and of future generations. We must seek and learn the truth for the sake of humanity. We must teach the truth, and stand together in the face of this hateful systematic oppression. We must become critical thinkers and observers. We must make choices that lead to equality and justice for all. If we don’t we will continue to be stuck in this web of lies that grows. This web of lies spun everyday by an evil group of heartless, deceiving, murderous, controlling and lying commanders. I myself am a part of this world, surviving just as many others do. Learning and unlearning. Believing in a better future and trying to be a part of it. Looking out for fallacies and standing up against tyranny. Like Damian Marley once said, “knowledge is the key and it will set the people free”.

Essay 2

125 words


Jiaqi Lin

Prof. Lincke

Eng. 103

22 June 2020

Changing the System

The current political campaign climate presents a good opportunity to table the issue of America’s status quo. The phrase, “Make America Great Again,” known as President Trump’s infamous campaign slogan, raises some questions. When did America stop being great? Why did America stop being great? How can America be great again? Isaac J. Poole’s, in his article, These Statistics show why the status quo is failing most Americans writes concerning the United States that it “…is not that there is something wrong with the status quo; it’s the status quo itself that’s wrong.” He argues that blaming the nation’s ills on the current president, Donald Trump, and his extremist views as many do, is shortsighted and that his rise to power is a symptom of a systemic crisis, one that has been building up for decades. He makes use of the Index of Systemic Trends, published by The Next System Project at the Democracy Collaborative, to outline the indicators of America’s crisis. This publication serves to inform or guide the political debate regarding America’s degree and shape of change. What it indicates is that the current American system is in a state of chronic dysfunction, and there is a great need for change, a change you and I can be a part of.

Several aspects are considered in the Index of Systemic Trends when analyzing the current state of America. These include poverty, racial wealth inequality, wage stagnation, wealth inequality, and the cost of higher education. The index shows that the racial wealth gap exploded from a 1500% difference between the median net worth of White households and Black households in 1983 to a 4000% difference in 2016. The poverty rate has remained somewhat consistent at around 13% despite the so-called ‘longest period of economic growth’ in recent American history. The vast majority of American workers have experienced stagnation in their wages and not to mention the student loan debt crisis. Comparing the political-economic system of America with other similarly advanced systems globally does not yield better results (Poole par 6). Clearly, there is a crisis at the heart of the American system. To demonstrate this further, let us consider the recent events in America.

George Floyd, a black man, aged 46 years, was arrested by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, upon a 911 call from a convenience store that reported a purchase made with a 20-dollar counterfeit bill. Minutes after their arrival to the scene, George Floyd was unconscious, having been pinned down on the ground, and showed no signs of life (BBC News). In days following the incident, Floyd’s death has been played on a continuous loop, causing both horror and protests globally. Many have called out the officers’ actions as inhumane, and protests against the injustice done are yet to come to an end. How can they end when so many lives keep getting lost due to racial discrimination and injustice?

Philando Castile is yet another Black man who was shot by Minnesota police at a traffic stop in Jul. 6, 2016. His death also sparked nationwide protests. What’s interesting is the officer responsible was acquitted, and Castile’s death went unpunished (Ellis and Kirkos par 1). What of Stephen Clark who died at 22 years of age while standing in his grandmother’s backyard? The officers believed Clark was holding a gun and shot him over twenty times: all the while, he was holding a mobile phone. The district attorney never filed criminal charges. Then there’s Botham Jean, a twenty-six-year-old who was shot in the comfort of his own house by Amber Guyger. The police officer claimed she mistook the apartment for hers, and thinking Jean was an intruder, she shot him (Hutchinson par 2). These are but a few of the stories that exemplify the racial injustice that exists in America.

Racism in America dates back to the 16th century when people from Africa were kidnapped and sent to America through the Transatlantic slave trade. From 1525 to 1866, millions of Africans were kidnapped, with many dying along the way. For those who survived, they were enslaved and treated harshly by their White masters. Oppression was the order of the day with the enslaved undergoing harsh working conditions, beatings, and rape. While great strides have been made to bridge the racial inequality between Blacks and Whites, and other People of Color such as Asians and Hispanics, recent events show the notion of White supremacy is still an embraced concept in today’s culture.

With all this laid out, what role can I play in changing the system?

Change requires two critical aspects to effect it. These aspects, critical thinking, and ethical behavior are mutually exclusive. Thinking without ethics is insufficient, while ethics minus thought and action is insufficient. To make a change in society, I should first think critically about the state of affairs. This includes figuring out what is happening and why it’s happening. A famous author, Rick Warren, once said, “Willpower can produce short-term change, but it creates constant internal stress because you haven’t dealt with the root cause.” To tackle the issues in society and change the system, we first need to know the root cause of these issues. Knowing the root cause then helps formulate ideal solutions to the problems, rather than ad hoc solutions that never solve the problem.

After identifying the root cause or causes, the next step would be to formulate the best solutions based on the resources available at hand. This also requires one to think critically. Regarding the issue of racism, an example of a root cause would be White Supremacy. Therefore, the postulated solutions should be along the lines of fostering equality in society.

The other important aspect of the creation of change is ethical behavior. Once thought has been applied in identifying the cause and possible solutions, the next step is action. Ethics should be at the center of any action to be taken. One can define ethics as the moral code practiced by an individual or a group of people. Morality has, for long, been identified as an abstract concept. However, we can all agree that we all have a conscience and know what is right versus what is wrong. The heart of ethics is catering to the interests of other people. Ethical behavior entails showing respect to other people in how one goes about in effecting change. It also entails avoiding harm at all costs.

As seen, the system in the United States is corrupted by racism. I have an obligation to be informed about and actively oppose the abuses the system perpetrates towards specific groups of people, especially the Black people. In standing for justice, I ought to think critically and behave ethically. Given the resources at my disposal, a good means of engaging in change would be to create discussion forums that bring diverse people at a table to converse. In his book On Tyranny: 20 Lessons on Freedom from the 20th Century, author and historian Timothy Snyder gives lessons that have been learned in the past and how they can influence our thinking and behavior today. There are many lessons we can learn from him in our quest to think critically and behaving ethically.

Lesson 7 calls us to stand out, and this “… may feel uneasy at first, but someone must stand and set an example for certain values” (Snyder). To make a change, we must first stand out. Standing out requires courage, which is captured in lesson 20 of Snyder’s book, which calls for boldness and bravery when it comes to our beliefs and higher purpose. In doing this, we end up fulfilling lesson 19, that is, being an example for others. Championing for change will entail engaging with other people who have different perspectives. It is essential to be open-minded and learn from people of all backgrounds. Snyder captures this in lesson 16; learn from peers in other countries. This has been exceedingly easy thanks to globalization.

Besides learning from others, an understanding of the diverse backgrounds and cultures when presenting our viewpoints is necessary. What others believe may be against our beliefs, and how they reason may be different from how we reason. We should, therefore, be careful to present reasonable arguments that are not riddled with fallacies. Examples of fallacies that we ought to avoid include ad hominem, strawman argument, and hasty generalization. We should not make personal attacks towards people, attacks that are unrelated to the argument at hand, thus avoiding the ad hominem fallacy. We should also not attack a position that our opposition does not hold by oversimplifying or misrepresenting a claim they made, thus avoiding the strawman argument. Finally, we should not make hasty generalizations such as “All White people hate Black people.”

The heart of America’s system needs surgery aimed at rooting out the bad and planting anew. This calls for change in many facets of the system; administrative, culture, religion, and ethnicity, to mention but a few. While a single individual cannot impact all these areas, one can work with what they have, where they are, and propagate change. To quote the former US president, President Barack Obama, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek” (“Barack Obama’s Feb. 5 Speech”). In pursuing this change, we should learn to think critically and behave ethically.

Essay 3

125 words response


Tara Polley

July 20, 2020

Critical Thinking English 103

Professor Lincke

Challenging the Status Quo

What is the definition of status quo and how does it relate to the system in the United States today? The definition of status quo is the “existing state of affairs” (Merriam Webster). The status quo regarding the United States of America is the way the government is being run, the existing laws and regulations in federal and state policies to essentially keep order of the citizens and businesses that are inter-dependent on one another. Usually these laws, regulations and policies are put in place to benefit the majority of the population however things can slowly change over time and all of the sudden certain laws or regulations may not be benefiting the majority of the population anymore. In this case, the status quo can start to deteriorate our country.

A study was done at Cardiff University of Psychology where subjects were asked to throw a ball with their dominant hand into a bucket and receive one candy bar and then given the opportunity to earn two candy bars for throwing the ball into the bucket with their non-dominant hand; That was the control group. The experimental/variable group was offered the exact opposite, asked to throw with their non-dominant hand and then offered to throw with their dominant hand for only one candy bar instead of two. The experiment determined that everyone favored their original option regardless of the high-risk high-reward versus the low-risk and low-reward. One might conclude that people are resistant to change or deviation from what is considered normal.

Those that are doing well in society may be resistant to change because change poses a risk that they do not want to take. Innovation usually comes from an outsider who is not profiting from the status quo and the outsider may have a lot less power in a system that they are not benefiting from (simplicable). Pertaining to law makers, and other people who hold high ranks in politics, the majority of their educational backgrounds are in law. As we all know, the cost of law school is an extreme deterrent for people who do not have the financial means to pay for it. Even the thought of paying off student loans is overwhelming. So, there is a big correlation between having a privileged education and going into a career that handles law-making, legislations, and influencing policies in the United States.

During these last couple months, we have seen many Black Lives Matter protests with thousands of people walking the streets. After the murder of George Floyd, people protested in the streets against police brutality especially against African Americans. It is not even a question that black people have been oppressed and have disadvantages in every aspect of their lives due to systemic racism that has been passed down from generation to generation and perpetuated in our social groups. A movement has been sparked to better regulate what restraints are acceptable when detaining a person. Again, these regulations will be heavily influence by the people who hold the power to change them and chances are that these people (often white), will most likely have a privileged educational background in law and may not even be aware or ever have been exposed to how black people are treated so unfairly in our society. This might be the reason why it has taken up until now to address and change the policies and regulations. This is why I mentioned earlier that people who are benefiting from the current status quo are less inclined to make changes that would potentially disrupt their current “success” or make their jobs somewhat harder or more challenging.

I became a Certified Addictions Counselor with the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California (ACCBC),  after struggling with substance use for a prolonged period of my life. I have struggled with mental health issues for the majority of my life and with my addiction issues, I have experienced many hardships throughout my life. In fact, when I was in the depths of my addiction, I felt that the system was against me and that there was no way out. I could not get and keep a job, I had very few resources I could utilize or even be aware of to get help and it just felt like a never-ending cycle of hopelessness. I had been arrested countless times for possession of an illegal substance and convicted of felonies. After many years of struggling, I finally was able to get into an addiction treatment center that was ran by a charity which enabled addicts to be able to get addiction treatment that didn’t have the means or the health insurance to pay for it. During my recovery from substance abuse, I learned a lot about how the system has failed many people. The Justice system was flawed, the educational system was flawed and there was a huge stigma for people who struggle with substance abuse so its hard to get a good paying job. Nevertheless, I started taking classes and took on a major at community college called Addiction Studies. It was a brand-new major that had just been created and I knew that this was my calling.

After a few years of studying and becoming a Certified Addictions Counselor with the ACCBC, I found myself excelling in my career. This was the first time in my life that I (and my credentials) had been highly desired in the workplace. This was an extremely empowering experience for me. Although I have completely turned my life around, I still am affected from the wreckage of my past and know that others in my position have hit a wall when applying for a job and being denied due to having a criminal history. Despite this, I have still been able to secure gainful income, so I feel that I am somewhat privileged compared to other recovering addicts who happen to have darker skin than I do. Working the addiction field, it is noticeable that there is a majority of non-blacks that dominate the workplace and even looking at the percentage of black persons seeking treatment is extremely low. Where I am at in the system, I feel that I am in the middle; not privileged but also not oppressed.

I feel that I have an obligation to become informed about and actively oppose abuses the system perpetuates against persons of disadvantaged demographics. I intend to do this by educating myself, thinking critically, identifying fallacies and to put myself through school in order to help as many people as possible, regardless of their skin color or demographical background. Out of the 20 lessons from Timothy Snyder’s 2017 Book On Tyranny, I feel that lesson #3: Beware the one-party state, Lesson #7: Be Reflective if you must be armed, Lesson #10: Believe in Truth, Lesson #15: Contribute to good causes are the most important lessons that critical thinkers need to learn in order to promote fairness and equality in the system.

Lesson #7: Be reflective if you must be armed is important since the second amendment gives us the right to bare arms and protect ourselves. But there have been countless shootings such as Las Vegas and Columbine where people were senselessly murdered. I think that this is especially important to police since they are always armed. The number of shootings that happen and the number of officer-involved shootings is at an all-time high in the United States and being able to reflect when it is necessary to draw your weapon is imperative. I believe that being more reflective will help reduce the number of casualties caused by gunfire. With how much social media has become the center hub of social connection in many of our lives, it is easy to read misinformation such as memes, and falsified and subjective articles and interpret them as if they are true. Lesson #10: Believe in Truth is important for us to fact check and do additional research of reputable sources of information to be able to make accurate judgment about politics. We need to be careful not to believe something just because someone you follow on Instagram posted it. We should all take the time to back up our thinking based on facts that are verifiable through a reputable source. I think this is the best way to be able to base our opinions upon sound facts and will create more sound judgement in all of us. Lesson # 15: Contribute to good causes is something that is vital for change and reform in the system. If everyone were to become the change that they wish to see, it will help movements become large enough to become a permanent change.  As Timothy Snyder’s 2017 Book on Tyranny states “Support organizations that involve noble and positive movements. Be authentic in which cause or movement you are showing support for” being a part of a movement will empower you and the people in which you will effect positively.

Since the system has its way of influencing people based on what seems normal, we need to be aware that what seems normal to us may not be as ethical and humane as we feel it is; this is especially true if we are benefiting from the current status quo while others are suffering from it. To prevent this, there are a few Logical Fallacies that are important to be aware of while we observe policies, procedures, rules, and laws in the system. The first one I will mention is the False Dilemma Fallacy. It is also known as the black and while fallacy or the bifurcation where the choices are presented as an either-or option when in fact there are more choices to choose from (Bestschools). This is used in politics a lot and is known to further polarize the right-wing and left-wing parties- which escalates conflict. I feel that this fallacy is especially damaging because it prevents us from being able to find a solution because we are so caught up with the false dilemma. Another fallacy that I think we need to be aware of is the Sunk Costs Fallacy. This fallacy is dangerous in politics because we are susceptible to a sense of accomplishment when we have invested into a project even if the long-term benefits may never come to fruition (Bestschools). We can become distracted from the objective of our project when we become sidetracked by all the effort and money that has been put into something and wanting to finish something. This can lead to prolonged time and energy wasted and never accomplish our original goal.

In conclusion, if we all were able to actively seek out and eliminate the False Dilemma and Sunk Costs Fallacies in our daily life choices, we would be able to open our minds up to outside-of-the-box ideas that could bring innovation and revolutionized movements into our government, where we can help and benefit the majority of U.S. citizens. Many of the current laws and policies in our government were made centuries ago when the times were very different and it seems that we have failed to evolve our laws with the times that have changed so drastically over the decades. I feel that a collapse of our economy and government is imminent if we do not start to think critically and become aware of how our current system and status quo will fail us as the world and people in it evolve. This change can start today with one person: you, me, our children, or our friendly neighbor; and if we each do our part and begin to foster the values and morals that support the intrinsic value of each living soul on this planet, we can begin to repair our status quo so that everyone can have a chance at a happy life.

Essay 4

125 words response


Justin Chen

Prof Lincke Ivic

English 103

23 July 2020

My Role in the System

The United States of America is experiencing a definitive period in its history. Coronavirus pandemic has spread and killed scores of tens of thousands in the country and hundreds of thousands all over the globe since the turn of the year and yet there persist issues that continue to define the country. In recent times, the political issues have heated up amid several protests around the country, protests that chiefly address racial profiling and discrimination, especially towards the black community. The harsh and untimely death of George Floyd, murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, sparking protests. However, tensions between the black community and police are ever-present in the country because of unlawful and excessive use of force targeted at the black community by the police. It’s not just the recent Floyd case that can be talked about as similar cases against the black community have been reported.

The police force has inherent problems within its walls, and the revelation comes out in the form of systemic racism against the black community. High profile police incidents have been in the department. For example, in 2014, Michael Brown, a school going teenager, was gunned down by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri (Shoichet, par 2). In 2016 Philando Castile, subject of interest for our analysis in cases of police brutality was repeatedly in his driver’s seat while with his family in Falcon Heights, Minnesota (“The Shooting of Philando Castile”).

As an Asian-American, judging at the incidents many fellow black Americans have endured and suffered, I would say I have some form of preferential treatment. It’s a sad state of affairs, knowing that black Americans who fought for Asians and other immigrants who led to the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 are mistreated and judged based on their skin color. My role is to ensure that I promote and participate in campaigns, whether inactively or actively, to advocate police stop using unnecessary force against the law, especially against the black community. I stand strong on advocating and ensuring adherence to the rule of law and the inviolability of human rights, including the right to life and fair judgment. I support that those who kill unlawfully must be held accountable, and justice is brought to them. We all have the responsibility to keep fellow Americans safe and that their rights are respected.

I must become informed because the reality is that racism is a problem in the country. Racism has affected our nation even after the black Americans had been given rights and freedoms. It is almost as if the black community is being punished for being citizens of the country. The thought that the same people entrusted to enforce law and order are the same people violating the rules and order. It is my responsibility to oppose the systemic abuse and mistreatment perpetrated against all blacks and African Americans because we are all Americans. Therefore any form of excessive force, be it lethal or otherwise by law enforcement on innocent children, black men and women must be condemned at all costs.

Timothy Snyder’s “20 Lessons on FREEDOM from the 20th Century” in his book On Tyranny  Proposes important lessons that critical thinkers need to learn and practice as part of their daily lives.

Critical thinkers must learn to “believe in truth.” As a critical thinker, you learn to criticize ideas objectively and identify existing weaknesses in ideologies to “separate between what is real and what you want to hear,” and you defend the truth. How do you separate reality from fantasy, by investigating hence, learning Snyder’s lesson on “investigate.” Critical thinkers are always curious to know what, why, and when something happens. By studying arguments for and against a given situation, they unearth new dimensions of thought (“On Tyranny: Book Summary”).

Once you have the truth, as a critical thinker, you must “be as courageous as you can” because it takes courage to be defiant and confront the abnormal in society. As Snyder described, we need to be “bold and brave when it comes to your beliefs and higher purpose.” To be courageous means we also need to consider the lesson “stand out” because, as described, “it is a lot easier to conform and follow along instead of standing for your own decisions, even if it may be difficult.” In doing so, we are similarly following the lesson “[b]e reflective if you must be armed,” because deciding to stand out from the crowd means you devote yourself to standing “… by your principles, instead of simply conforming to the majority.” Additionally, you become someone that others would want to aspire to grow because of the values and principles you have set out for others. You, therefore, become an “example for others” (“On Tyranny: Book Summary”).

Americans need to create an environment that is inclusive of all despite racial differences. Law enforcement agents are tasked with ensuring law and order. However, a greater responsibility is ensuring the streets are safe for all, and not just the white community. Black communities also need to feel protected by the same agencies they pay taxes. Discrimination based on race discourages the inclusivity. A country that is deeply rooted in racial discrimination is likely affected by inequality that leads to an inability to provide basic services like healthcare to all its people and is, therefore, a disservice to its citizens (Lockwood, par 8). To avert such situations calls for all critical thinkers to “[t]ake responsibility for the face of the world.” Snyder points out that as a result, these efforts “…encourage inclusivity for fellow citizens” (“On Tyranny: Book Summary”).

Every American citizen who is a critical thinker needs to learn to “[b]e calm when the unthinkable arrives.” Emotional tensions within an individual always spark unnecessary actions, that could be fatal. In the case of Philando Castile’s shooter, the police acted out of emotions even when there was no need, instead of remaining calm. This lesson teaches the need to have self-control in such cases so that we can act rationally as the lesson describes so that we “[r]emain steadfast and calm when situations spiral out of control … to ensure that you are acting rationally instead of emotionally.”

When observing policies, procedures, rules, and laws of the American system, we need to be aware of three fallacies; the hasty generalization intended to stereotype members of the society, appeal to pity fallacy that manipulates emotions and the bandwagon fallacy for popularity.

The hasty generalization fallacy is described as making “… a rush to have a conclusion, leading the arguer to commit some sort of illicit assumption, stereotyping, unwarranted conclusion, overstatement, or exaggeration” (Best_Schools). Philando Castile’s case gives an illustration of stereotyping evidenced in this fallacy. The incident involved the white policeman shooting a black man multiple times in the presence of his girlfriend and his young child. “When in doubt, let their principles and ethics guide your moral actions” (Best_Schools) Had the police been guided by ethics while performing his duties, he would have acted calmly (lesson “be calm when the unthinkable happens”) and guided based on standards that reflect his profession. By acting rationally, the policeman would have known otherwise that Philando was not “endangering” his life, and would have lead to zero fatalities.

Some redlining policies and laws are withdrawn, but still, racial based preferential treatment exists. The New Deal, created in 1934 by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), is an example of a withdrawn policy. This policy ensured segregation of housing properties by race, and that the black community got the worst zones with little or no insurance. Such systems were removed after being declared unconstitutional. With the introduction of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, that “explicitly prohibited racial discrimination, put an end to legally sanctioned redlining policies like those used by the FHA” (Lockwood, par 5-6). But decades later, exploitative and racial redlining are still pertinent in society, even when they are outlawed. In this case, such procedures and laws are fallacious since they appeal to pity, a fallacy used “when the emotions are used in substitution for facts or as a distraction from the facts of the matter” (Best_Schools)

Critical thinkers need to be aware of the procedures that police agencies use to enforce laws. They are susceptible to the status appeal fallacy, which is a type of bandwagon fallacy. After the Assassination of Malcolm X, To Director Hoover of the Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to be seen as successful, “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and otherwise neutralize” black-led organizations.” The crackdown of the Black Panther Party, an all black-led and established political movement, is one involved the complete disregard of human rights and freedoms. So Hoover in directing the FBI to crack down on the movement was, therefore, promoting a status appeal fallacy, described as “when something is considered true, right, or good because it has the reputation of lending status, making you look “popular,” “important,” or “successful.” To bolster his image, Hoover targeted Black Panther Party members in a raid of the black movement headquarters in Cook County. The FBI eventually killed its leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark (Taylor, par 4). Here, a lot is revealed not only on how police forces are entrenched in impunity and discrimination but also on how the black community does not get justice for crimes.

What Thomas Jefferson’s contentions reveal in the article, The Life of Sally Hemings could be right about the prejudice against the black community. America is entertaining racism by not addressing the inherent problems following the law. What remains is a deeply divided country, on one side, is the white American, and the other the black community enslaved by its rules and policies. We can all act to end prejudice and the responsibility must come from within us. I am playing my part.

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