Critical Thinking - Sample Essay
What is the goal of the argument you are reading? What is the author trying to accomplish? The article intends to convince its readers that it is necessary to sacrifice certain liberties for the sake of security. The author attempts to achieve this by laying down the inevitability of sacrificing liberty for the sake of security. He streses the point that since 9/11, terrorism has escalated to catastrophic levels raising alarming concerns on security in countries across the world. As a result, many countries have taken measures to tighten security, however, these measures have resulted to the deprivation, to some extent, of civil rights.
While the article admits that the 9/11 tragedy had more to do with ineffeciency than liberty, however, the article emphasizes that 9/11 was the advent of a more sinister form of “terrorism. ” In order to combat a faceless enemy that is willing to utilize unconventional warfare it is necessary to sacrifice certain liberties. Nevertheless, the article cautions its readers to address the issue of security in a manner that advances the interest of the people. What are the central questions at issue or problems that the author identifies or raises?
Write them out as questions. Is it permissible to sacrifice certain liberties for the sake of security? What important language is the author using and how does the author define the concepts, terms or language he/she is using? The author is using a moderately persuasive language in order to convince his readers. He does not take an aggressive stance in putting his message across, instead he conveys his message conservatively, presenting the negative effects of escalating security as well as the dangers of not acting appropriately regarding the issue of security.
By not being aggressive, readers tend to be more receptive of the concepts being presented by the author whereas readers would be resistant to an article that is eager to convince its audience. The author also employs emotive terms in presenting his facts which adds to the overall persuasiveness of the text. What assumptions is the author making? List them. Look for any hidden assumptions that are not expressly stated. The author’s reasoning rests on the assumption that a terrorist strike that is as catastrophic as 9/11 will happen again.
Although it is not explicitly stated in the article it can be understood between the lines that this is the assumption that is driving the author’s arguments. This assumption justifies his call for tighter security. By assuming that an event similar to the 9/11 has the possibility of repeating itself, the authors sends his readers a message of fear. By stimulating fear, the author provides his audience an immediate reason to sacrifice civil liberties and tolerate a degree of suppression. What evidence or reasons does the author give for his/her assumptions?
Does the author give any evidence? The author did not provide any evidence for this implicit assumption because the author did not need one. He manages to justify it because of the impact of 9/11 to the people all over the world. 9/11 shook the world and by banking on the shockwaves that reverberated through the hearts of each individual who witnessed the event in real-life and on TV, the author simply needs to hint that an event of the same scale could happen again and the fear automatically justifies the assumption.
What information is the author presenting and how is the author classifying the information or sorting the information? What are the sources of the information? The author presents his information in a cause-and-effect manner in order to argue his point. He mentions that basic liberites such as speech are not necessarily absolute in order to justify his call to abandon certain liberties. It is important to note how the author argues this point. He cites the act of “shouting fire in a crowded theater leads to arrest” which is an example of a straw man fallacy.
The author also sites certain inefficiencies regarding intelligence gathering and security that took place before the event which could have been done to justify a more strict and thorough security. What solutions, decisions, or conclusions is the author coming to or does (s)he? Although the author was not aggressive in driving his conclusion, it is clear that his arguments lead to one conclusion which is it is imperative to sacrifice certain liberties for the sake of security against terrorism.
The author does throw in the condition that the curtailment of liberties and the tightening of security should be done fairly, responsibly, and always ensuring the interest of humanity. O What are the consequences of believing the author or the consequences of not believing the author? Believing the author has only one consequence which is to voluntarily give up certain civil liberties for the sake of security. What other points of view does the author include in his/her argument or does he? What other points of view do you feel are necessary for you to look at in order to form judgment about this matter?
Why? Although the author mentions the libertarians and the authoritarians, notes that the 9/11 tragedy was not a solely the result of unrestrained liberty but of inefficiency as well, and takes a conservative stance in conveying his call to sacrifice liberty for the sake of security (which by his tone seems to be equivalent to life), it is obvious that he is only arguing from one point of view—the point of view of those in encouraging the curtailment of civil rights, the tightening of security, and a more unrestrained means of gathering intelligence.
Discussing the point of view of those who oppose the curtailment of civil rights, the tightening of security, and a more unrestrained means of gathering intelligence would be more helpful so that the reader of this text could formulate a more informed opinion on the issue of security, terrorism and the value of basic civil rights.