Obligations to Others On Poverty, Death Penalty, Abortion, and War

Few possess the tools of production in today’s society and even fewer actually reap the fruits of this production, this necessarily leads to a unacceptable distribution of goods and services among the people of the country. The unfair distribution of goods and services in our country has led to wide spread inequality on the social scale in the form of substandard educational opportunities, and access to medical care for those outside of the more affluent groups of society. The true extent of the inequalities placed on the heads of the lower classes reach further than education and medical care. The reproductions of lives raised to believe in a limited potential for growth due to the inequalities placed on them by a system that seems to have forgotten its poorer majority manifests themselves in ways that should weigh on the social consciousness heavily. Among these reproductions are wide spread poverty, higher abortion rates in underprivileged communities, and more people on Death Row from underprivileged upbringings than any other. Let’s not forget the popularly known fact that historically the children of the lower classes have died for rich men’s wars in higher numbers than any other. The economic system of this country has made its policies of inequality reflective in the Politics of the government that the people have entrusted to provide social justice. Human avarice must be controlled and the masses of disenfranchised people need to awaken to the harsh reality that those in control of our country don’t care about their obligations to others but are actually consumed in a generational avarice.

                Poverty has plagued the working class since the founding of the country with leaders of enterprise caring so much more for profit than people that we have come to violent conflicts in the past in order to win some measure of justice for the labor sacrificed in the name of profit. One such point of conflict was the Haymarket square massacre where police hired by company owners while dispersing a crowd of protesters fired into the crowd killing at least four and injuring many more people. The Haymarket square massacre happened at the turn of the nineteenth century seemingly long ago, but that date set a president. Our reading on poverty by Peter Singer talks about how governments turn blind eyes to the poor. The history of America is plagued with the overreaching of companies and the abuse of employees from the development of company towns that owned the very homes their employees lived in to the modern day anti-union mega corporations like Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart expects the majority of its employees to work for minimum wage with little or no health care benefits. In addition to this Wal-Mart adds to its resume the support of known human rights abusers by selling their products all of these and more have earned them recognition by “Human Rights Watch.”(3) The idea that it is lawful to employ someone fulltime on anything less than a livable wage really draws a picture of the problem of our society. The working class has indeed been forgotten in the United States along with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s dream of a Great Society. Wal-Mart is only a small part of a big problem in fact they can only exist because of this bigger problem, that problem is the acceptance of the idea that the success of the few is worth the sacrifice of the many in other words it’s a problem with what we deem to be our obligations to others.

                Planned Parenthood is a reactionary solution to a social ill created by the unfair business practices of those in charge of cooperate America and more directly of the policy makers they have in their pockets. “Seventy three percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in rural or medically under-served areas, according to the organization’s own data,” (4) most Planned Parenthood clinics are located in low income areas, why is that? These are low income area’s in a Capitalist Society where cash is king; low income area might as well mean low opportunity area. The disillusionment of people subjected to growth in a underprivileged neighborhood who attended the underprivileged public schools and are subject in some cases to the crime of these neighborhoods foster a person who doesn’t exactly believe the teacher when she might say that he or she can be anything they want to be once they are grownup. So when a unforeseen circumstance like a unplanned pregnancy comes about, how is a woman who sees necessity everywhere she turns with no clear way out, supposed to look positively on a already difficult situation, so she does the rational thing and decides to have an abortion. Yes the connection between money and personal life decisions like having children ( as unnatural as I think it is) is there and a very real problem difficult to solve if your already struggling to cloth yourself and are all of a sudden faced with the prospect of having a extra mouth to feed. Abortion is the alternative, its free to those who qualify, your parents don’t even need to know and it’s not easy but at least this way you still have the chance to succeed. ( make enough money to live the life style you want)  This is where the idealization of those who we perceive have satisfied personal avarice comes into play and it may seem crude or of poor taste to put it this so bluntly but our lifestyles are undoubtedly linked to pop culture. I stress, I place no value judgment on Abortion for these reasons and I’m by no means attempting to make light of what is undoubtedly a incredibly difficult situation. Yes abortion happens for other reasons, but these are not of importance to the discussion since we are not debating the legitimacy of abortion but whether socio-economic conditions factor into the decision of actually having a abortion. The example is only used to describe how deep the blade of social inequality cuts; it is the society that shapes us how we react to it is up for debate. But the fact remains that we don’t treat others as equals, and it reflects in every facet of life from national economic policy to foreign policy and even in our personal social spheres.

The inability to shake the idealization of the supposed satisfaction of avarice thought to be found in the upper classes of society has negative effects that eco throughout. It is a tool that some use to help us discriminate and develop the “I”  “thou” relationship that society feeds on. Someone may have grown up in the ghettos of the country but dreams of obtaining success, that same success that the woman who decides to abort is dreaming about.  The dream of making it out of the ghetto and living among the most affluent of the capitalists is the dream that keeps the masses from coming to the collective consciousness that Marx dreamt of, but more than that. The capitalist pipe dream makes the subscriber believe that he/she is a individual, it tells him/her that no matter how bad the situation around him/her is if he/she is smart enough to play by the rules they can become one of the affluent one of the successful. This is how discrimination among the classes is built, no the subscriber sees people who don’t play by the rules as people who will never achieve success. People don’t want to be associated with these members of society we don’t even want to accept them as part of anything that we are a part of, and so we have prisons. Of the three thousand five hundred inmates on death row nearly all of them are poor, how long can society ignore men and women who they might have been playmates at school at some point. Some may say that the death penalty is a necessary evil. Since nineteen seventy six there have one hundred thirty people set free from death row upon proof of innocence, how many innocents have we killed?. Somewhere along the line society swallows the innocence of seen each other as people trying to find our ways through life and perverts us. Society perverts us to the point that we are complacent with rationalized, institutionalized, murder.  

The most extreme and final action of society functioning as a whole is the most disturbing. War unites the nation into what Freud would call hatred of the outsider. This final perversion of humanity and the utter disdain of assuming any responsibility for our obligation to others is war. “Dehumanization occurs across several domains, is facilitated by status, power, and social connection, and results in behaviors like exclusion, violence, and support for violence against others.”(7) In war we dehumanize the enemy so that we can kill them with a diminished weight on the psyche. But to dehumanize more loosely defined as making someone seem less human than your-self or than a pre-established notion of humanity. It is a form of discrimination similar to the discrimination carried out between classes in class warfare. Indeed the price for dehumanization is the same with casualties of both the war of inequality among the masses and in war. This is the most extreme form of perversion of society’s consciousness of their obligations to others because war not only dehumanizes the enemy, it tends to ignore and divide society along those who favor the war effort and those who oppose it, fooling them into thinking that they make a difference. Protesters and supporters in reality are both paying taxes that fund the war effort, in effect turning every transaction into a donation to the war effort. In this way the true injustice is revealed and the underclass becomes again or rather remains the slave of the bourgeoisie all the while helping oppress another people. Proponents of war may argue that defense of the nation is in the common interest of the country; to this I suppose I would ask how many deaths has he/she supported the realization of. The inequality that subscribers to the capitalist dream accept enslaves them and binds them from any true realization of their obligations to others.  

So what are our obligations to others? Our obligations to others cannot be fully defined, but at the very least we should be allowed to partake fully in the fruits of our labor. The inadequate distribution of wealth is as we have seen at the root of many of our social ills. In a society where cash is king a man’s worth is in many if not all instances based on his bank account.  So it falls onto society to come to a level of consciousness where it can safely say that man/woman has an intrinsic worth and deserves rights accordingly. Only until we come to a place where we don’t refuse the best available medical care to the poor and reserve it for the rich in a negation of avarice at least in some instances can we say that we have met our obligations to others.          




1.)    Reiman, Jefferey H. “From Justice, Civilization, and the Death Penalty: Answering van den Haag”    Philosophy and Public affairs, 1985 pgs. 306-312



2.)    Wikipedia ”Haymarket affair” 24, March 2013‎ 



3.)    Human Rights Watch “US:Wal-Mart Denies Workers Basic Rights” Human Rights Watch 1,May2007



4.)    Bassett,Laura”Planned Parenthood Plays Key Role For SomeLow-Income, Rural Uninsured”, Huffington  Post. 25,May 2011



5.)    Johnson, L. Jeffrey “Does a person’s income level affect the likelihood of him/her receiving the death penalty?” ProCon 8,August 2008



6.)    Statistic Brain “Death Penalty Statistics” Static Brain 6,May 2013



7.)    Wiki “dehumanization” Wiki 22,May 2013


The Ultimate Injustice.

The ACLU makes many arguments against capital punishment, among them the claim that minorities are more likely to be sentenced to death than whites. Among the charges the ACLU raises the one I found most concerning was the statistic they threw out claiming that out of every ten people sentenced to death one person is exonerated. We justify taking lives in this country by a imperfect system of judgment. It seems to be the very essence of unjust to sentence someone to death when we have no way to know if we have judged correctly we are willing to execute an ultimate punishment without ultimate or infallible judgment. Statistics like the one aforementioned really drive home that point, if one out of ten figures out how to prove his or her innocence how many innocent people has the government put to death for lacking the ability to prove their innocence? The crimes that people can be sentenced to death for are usually sensationalized crimes that invoke a passionate response from people who are made aware of them, in effect the crime begs for punishment because it is wrong. These passion invoking crimes can taint the image of the most innocent man simply by being accused of committing the crime; what I’m saying is that these are modern day which hunts and trials. They are far from fair and are usually decided by prejudices of a wide variety since we have no way of actually knowing what happened in many cases. So, the only civilized thing to do in my opinion, in order to stop the sacrificing of innocents to our need for closure is to take the death penalty off of the table for any crime. We need to admit to ourselves that we don’t have all the answers, and we need to value human life  more than pride, prejudice or the need for closure.


What happened to Julian Assange

The section in our text book that spoke about government censorship was particularly interesting. I think this may be the first time that I see examples of Government censorship so blatantly listed in a text book I’m surprised it’s not censored itself. The book briefly mentions how since September eleventh in two thousand one the government has through the freedom of information act been able to keep the media from probing into parts of the government it once could. Some of the examples given as to the implementation of the freedom of information act talk about Muslims that were deported without the media’s and therefore the public’s knowledge.  The examples of government censorship of the media is troubling to me, it makes me question what they really meant by freedom of speech and the press. So how are we to know what the government is really up to are we supposed to believe in the good natured people of the CIA or FBI not to abuse their now seemingly unchecked authorities? So when the president says something  is going to be done we the public should just take him at his word since there is no guarantee that what the media is feeding us is anything other than government censored jargon. One other topic that this section of the book brought up in my mind was the case of Julian Assange the founder of Wikileaks, a man that made headlines for reporting on things no one else would touch. Mr. Assange made lots of enemies from the underground headquarters of wiki leaks enemies in high places. The U.S. wanted him for releasing classified documents to the public but they couldn’t  justify his capture with that alone, next thing you know hes arrested on sexual abuse charges and the hottest news item in the world just disappears. What happened to this guy I believe that his disappearance from the main stream medias eye was just another example of government power and censorship. As far as anyone knows, Britain has him locked up  and will not grant him safe passage to Ecuador  who has granted him political asylum. 



Extreme sports and Energy drinks

Products depend on advertising having the ability to reach consumers in such a way that we not only want the product being offered but also remember that we want this product later when we’re ready to buy it. The concept isn’t difficult to understand, the idea is to make the biggest impression possible on the consumer so that we can’t help but remember whatever s being sold to us. Advertisements hold nothing holy when it comes to making money. The entities that push advertisement campaigns have and will use strategy’s that are meant to get emotional responses from the audience, fun, acceptance, fear,  and sexuality are only some of the more popular tools that advertisements use to get this deep recognition of a product. The most effective advertisement strategies are the most functional; they’re concerned with ethics and morals only in the most legal sense of the word to avoid liability. The profits over people approach that most advertisements take can mislead and even hurt people.   

Advertisements aren’t only used to sell you products; they are often used to sell concepts, ideas, and life styles. Almost every social issue has some type of special interest group funding a commercial around the time of election that attempt to sway public opinion in their favor. The military has long used advertising techniques to make joining the military seem beneficial, and even desirable. Although it may be difficult to understand, the link that I provided is connected to a television commercial made for a energy drink. The commercial shows a multitude of extreme sports highlights, everything from mountain biking to sky diving. The commercial does very little to show the connection between the drink it ‘self and the activities shown but  demands that the only limitations we have are the ones we set ourselves as it flashes the energy drinks’ logo.  This commercial is loaded with plays on weaknesses, emotions, and fears though it makes no promises it does imply a connection between all of the activities and the energy drink other than the obvious financial sponsorship. The reasoning implied with the evidence giving invite us to reason fallaciously. I seriously doubt that all of these athletes have had the way to anyone of their sports facilitated in anyway by the drink it ‘self.  


Boston Marathon Bombing and its unwarranted assumptions

 After the bombing of the Boston marathon today a tidal wave of news reports poured onto the public stage. So many reports came out so quickly that it was hard to keep track of them all. Some reports threw out unverified figures of injuries and fatalities. All sorts of misinformation was being thrown at the public, many of which I’m sure were taking them without a second thought. When I first turned on the television the finger pointing had already started, news reporters on Fox11 were mentioning that police had been guarding a man of Saudi decent that was at the bombing. It’s not hard to see why a news agency would find a tidbit of news like that worth reporting when we take into account the stigma our Arab compatriots have been given ever since the world trade center attacks on nine-eleven. They seem to be the “go to” scapegoats for all things horrible. These allegations were unfounded at the time they were presented and although the news reporters did mention that the man’s connection with the bombing had not been disclosed it wasn’t very responsible on part of the agency and the reporter when we consider the consequences of stirring hatred toward an ethnic group. A talk show host named Alex Jones also threw in his two cents about the horrible attack on Boston and the JFK library. At a time when the President himself was reluctant to give out any information about who may be responsible for the bombing Mr. Jones was already talking about what he called the “tell tell signs of a government cover up” charging the government with staging this to push through arms reform. Personalities with broad influence as the ones aforementioned are assumed (by the general public) to have an obligation to provide the public with facts as unbiased as possible. The problem is that they also have an obligation to pay bills and that means becoming popular, which in turn means catering to public opinion. Readings like the one we covered this weak help us keep our eyes open so that we don’t simply accept unwarranted assumptions or oversimplifications especially in situations like the one in Boston today where because of the emotional investment people are starving for answers .  I’ve included links to the Alex Jones show The Fox11 news website and another report that i found to be the most accurate. ( by acurate i refer to the information about the matter at hand , and that it seems to be free of Unwarranted Assumptions) 





thesis’ that doesn’t describe the article

The Los Angeles Times article states a thesis that asserts Californians have Powerball fever and does a poor job of making its thesis believable. The thesis could have stayed more focused on the thesis rather than detract from the purpose of the article by mentioning other facts about the lottery. The author seems to feel that the initial assertion is enough to prove itself, possibly the relying on the credibility of the paper to back his claim rather than proper proof. Giving only one example of a local convenience store that was swamped by customers buying lottery tickets hardly gives credence to the claim that the entire state has been anticipating this new power ball game and that before that the populace of said state felt left out. The very rare instances if not outright fictional stories of people driving out of state to buy lottery tickets also fail to prove the claim that our entire state is waiting anxiously for the new lottery game. The article short as it may be has plenty of material that one could skip because it doesn’t pertain to the initial thesis, although positive information is given about the benefits reaped from the income generated by the lottery thus far, it fails to show the desire for more that would lend another point of strength to the assertion that California is waiting for this new lottery. The tone of the report has a tone that leads the reader to view it more like an advertisement than a report  to be taken as informative, if so the article may achieve its purpose poorly written as it may be.  Chapter eight helped streamline the process by which I’ve evaluated this article it gives clear guidelines that one can follow to assure the correct and efficient evaluation of the material at hand.  





The slant in this story is subtle but nevertheless apparent. The article seems to be in favor of the pro choice movement in that it made the front page and feels like a call to arms for those who advocate for women right to choose. maybe more notable is the tone of the article that seems to focus on a few states that leave the reader feeling a a sense of spite for the overbearing laws as they are described in the article. The subject matter is obviously meant to tug at the emotional connection and pre-established position the reader may have on this hot button issue and by saying that we understand that the article makes good use of emotive language. The subtle slant of the article seems to me to convey the idea that the author knows that this is a very controversial issue and the points he makes come across more as weasel words than  an olive branch actually being extended to the people that counter the position. The reading made the  authors slant much more visible. Where at first sight the article appears to be balanced the definitions and importance of tone, slant, and emotive meanings in  enabling us to read between the lines and see the authors true intent. though in this case it might have simply been to draw the would-be customer to their newspaper rather than another in which case the intent is benign in my opinion. the title of the article does lend it’self largely to the emotive meaning ive charged it with, it has a negative one, an example of a title that would have led the reader to expect a positive article would have been something to the effect of , ” New abortion reform” maybe a more neutral title could have been “abortion and the new laws” . I personally see the bias of a particular author as a important part of their work and wouldn’t believe it realistic to expect it not to come-through in writings but for that very reason the importance of identifying it as such can not be undervalued.


States Harden Views Over Laws Governing Abortion