Rubric: Essay #1
Considering the readings at the beginning of this semester (Jefferson, Marx, Carnegie and Hayek), choose a social issue to discuss from the perspective of individual freedom vs. the common good. Use the SIRS Knowledge Source database available through the LAMC Library web page to find a topic and relevant articles that deal with both sides of the issue. When you have thoroughly reviewed the readings in A World of Ideas and selected one or two articles from SIRS, collect information that seems most persuasive to support your ideas on your topic.
Write an argument essay of approximately 4 pages expressing your opinion on the subject and supported by information and opinions in the readings. Your essay must be written in MLA format with a Works Cited page and appropriate citations in the text. The assignment is due on March 11.
For example, if you chose the topic of Technology and Privacy in SIRS, you would find a group of articles that contend that surveillance technology use makes the public safer and another set of articles that argue that technology gives us a false sense of security while allowing law enforcement agencies to collect information that can be misused to violate people’s rights. While reading the articles carefully, take notes on what points seem most convincing to you.
Then, consider what is stated and implied regarding limits on personal freedom by one of the authors in A World of Ideas. For example, what does Marx say about the value of preserving individual freedom and existing social norms? What do the ten “measures” he identifies as necessary to establishing a government by the workers suggest about how technology might be used or controlled?
As another example, you might choose the topic of Affirmative Action in SIRS and then apply the ideas of Carnegie to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of free competition in the workplace and business vs. government intervention to create greater equality.
Your essay needs to contain the following elements:
– An introduction that briefly states why the topic is of interest today and summarizes current opinions on the topic and how they differ.
– In the introduction, go directly to your topic, avoiding general statements such as “Societies have always struggled to balance personal freedom with the common good.”
– A clear thesis statement that indicates (in third person) what your argument is in this format:
topic + your position + a “because” or “by” type of statement that indicates what subtopics you will include in your points of argument.
Example: Use of facial recognition technology in public places should not be allowed because it can collect incriminating information that violates the constitutional prohibition against illegal search and seizure, as well as damaging people’s reputations in ways that affect their ability to secure employment.
– Quotes and paraphrased information from the articles that support your view.
– Examples of real-life situations affected by this issue. (You may want to cite a news story or newspaper article for a specific case.) Explain what this tells us about how we should weigh individual freedoms vs. the benefits for the public.
– Discuss how your view agrees or disagrees with that of an author in our text. Use quotes and/or paraphrased information.
– Briefly quote/paraphrase material from one (or more) of the articles that you disagree with and explain why.
– Provide a synthesis of your argument: In one or two paragraphs summarize the points you have made in your essay (without repeating the thesis or other wording you have already used).
– End with a clear concluding statement that expresses an idea you want the reader to be thinking about after having read your argument.
Rubric: Essay #1