Friday, 30 October 2015

Blog Task for meeting in Week 7 (3 November)

Compare any TWO websites, one pro-gun control and one anti-gun control.  Analyse and explain both points of view, giving particular attention to the one you do NOT agree with.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Policing for profit

Although the first a Amendment concerns freedom of speech and 'the right to peacefully assemble' it appears that the notion of freedom and liberty very much depends on the form and its interaction with the law. As Eric Foner details 'freedom has become very personalised' and in this personal way freedom can be acquired through ascension in the number of things you own which is in line with the capitalist society most are fortunate enough to live in. 

However, racial profiling in the American justice system appears to victimise those that are for whatever reason less fortunate in their socioeconomic place in society. Despite having the commodities that are essential e.g clothes, violations such as 'sagging pants' are a criminal offence with a $200 bill (on top of however much it cost to buy the pants you are wearing). Police citations such as this and the ongoing legal fees provide revenue for the municipality despite the fact those who receive these fines lose more than money and both parties in this video are clearly puzzled by this injustice. It's hard to imagine that anyone could be sent to prison for not wearing their trousers in a correct fashion or walking in a certain way. 

The Westboro Baptist Church


The Westboro Baptist Church is a group of people, particularly from one family. The church was established by Pastor Fred Phelps. The Westboro Baptist Church believe that God hates homosexual people and preach that America is being punished for their acceptance of homosexuality. They are most famous for their protests of many soldiers funerals, it is their belief that the soldiers are being killed by God because they are defending a country that accepts homosexuality. They have gained notoriety across America for their vile and bigoted protests like the ones shown in the above video. They also preach about how Barack Obama is the Antichrist and how God also hates the Jewish as they killed Jesus.
The group exploit the first amendment, which allows them the freedom of religion as well as the freedom of speech. This allows them to openly protest and discuss their views, without restriction. However this raises many issues as the fact they have the right to express their views would cause offence, and this explores whether the first amendment should be completely allowed if it is oppressive or offensive, especially as the Westboro Baptist Church openly spread messages of hate against homosexuals, the Jewish and the United States of America.

The Conflict of Liberties: Abortion

An Americans right to an abortion was ensured following the Supreme Courts decision in Roe Vs. Wade (1973) that abortions were covered by the right to privacy, under the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.

Since then, many states have put into effect laws that make it increasingly difficult to access an Abortion, despite it being both legal and a right. This includes Parental Notification, Spousal Notification, and Spousal Consent Laws, which reduce a woman's right of privacy. An extreme example of this is Mississippi, which has been attempting to make abortion infeasible without having to overturn Roe Vs. Wade. However, this is being challenged in federal courts.

The argument over abortions is also a deeply religious one. 'Religion largely determines the politics of abortion, too. White evangelical Christians are much more likely that any other group to say they'd vote against a political candidate because he or she supported abortion.' 75% of white evangelical Christians believe abortion to be morally wrong, compared unaffiliated Americans, of which only 25% believe the same.  The First Amendment states that: 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.' Despite this, many pro-life laws are created in the United States in response to many lawmakers strong christian beliefs. This could be an example of a breach of the First Amendment as Jewish law permits and views abortion as necessary in some cases. Through the banning/blocking of abortion Jewish beliefs may be infringed upon.

The founding principles of the United States included that of religious freedom. This is a prime example of how many Americans are subject to a Christian belief system, despite having the right to refrain from religious exercise, or the right to belong to a different religion. This fundamentally goes against what the founding principles of the United States were created to achieve, freedom.

The right to privacy 'is not mentioned in the Constitution, but the Supreme Court has said that several of the amendments create this right.' This shows that despite not being a founding principle, the right to privacy is a core American liberty. Which, due to government interference and the right of religious freedom, is also now being infringed upon.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Freedom of Speech

The first amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This video clearly demonstrates how the freedom of speech can limit the freedom of others, specifically the impact the Ku Klux Klan(KKK) have as they take the freedom of speech to an extreme level. When first created the KKK "became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks."

The video shows the inter-racial conflict America face, this short extract demonstrates how the lives of Black Americans are affected by the racial comments made by the KKK. As woman states, "Y'all making the race have no idea feels like to be black in this country." Not only does this show the harsh reality that Black Americans are still being segregated but that due to the first amendment the government will allow this to happen as it constitutes as freedom of speech.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Blog Task for meeting in Week 6 (27 October)

Find, post and analyse any Youtube video which expresses an aspect of American liberty and show how far this can be connected back to the founding principles of liberty. Please make sure you embed the video

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Isobelle - W. Birch & Son

W. Birch & son.

Depictions of the past are influenced by many contextual factors. The aim when retrospectively looking at accomplishment or lack thereof depends on what observation is taking place, how recognition is rationalised and then where we put ourselves comparatively to the past and present with a hope of building a better future.

W.Birch and son created a small collection of images that were reflective of these three time markers. This is evident in the use of colour and mathematical precision in the representation of the landscape of Philadelphia.
Being a Predominantly Quaker community excess was not appreciated as George Fox had so deeply instilled in Thomas Loc and 'founding father' William Penn (whilst at Oxford university where he was swiftly expelled).