Guidelines for Paper Writing
Philosophy 150 Critical Reasoning and Writing: Spring, 2018
Here are the guidelines for the paper that I want you to write. The article you will be analyzing, attached, is titled Should America Revive the Military Draft? The author is former Sen. Ernest Hollings of South Carolina and appeared as an editorial in several newspapers in the Spring of 1985. What I want you to do is critically reflect on this article in a paper of three to five pages (I mention this length not as an absolute requirement but as a guideline; however, if your paper is much shorter than three pages I dont think that you will have done the assignment justice). Here are the six big topics I want you to address.
1. State what is being argued
What is the overall point of the article? What does the author want to convince you of? What is the main conclusion?
2. How does the main argument proceed? What is its structure?
Set the argument out in standard form, supplying any unstated premises.
Identify the kind of argument that it is. Is it inductive? Deductive? And what kind of inductive or deductive argument is it?
If the premises of the main argument are themselves the conclusions of subordinate arguments, set those arguments out in standard form as well, identifying what kind of arguments they are.
Identify any argumentative fallacies that you detect, for instance, affirming the consequent, denying the antecedent, reliance on a hasty generalization or biased statistics in the case of an inductive generalization, etc.
3. Analyze the articles use of language
Is it neutral and objective or value-laden? If it is value-laden, either positively or negatively, indicate some specific places where this is so.
Is the language clear or is it vague and ambiguous?
Is the language suitable for a general audience or is the choice of words overly intellectual, too technical (remember jargon and buzzwords?), or too elementary, talking down to the articles intended audience?
Is there anything about the connotations of the language used that pushes you toward accepting the authors conclusion independent of any reasons that he gives? If there is such language, identify an example or two.
Does the author speak of those with whom he disagrees with obvious distaste or does he refer to them respectfully? Note any relevant prejudices that the author shows.
4. What are the articles strengths?
Does it contain arguments that solidly and powerfully support its conclusion?
Are there especially good or persuasive data?
Is language used powerfully and well?
Are there valuable, insightful observations?
Does the author make solid value claims?
Does he rely on credible sources of information?
Does he anticipate and address potential objections to his main point?
5. What are the articles weaknesses?
Does it contain any contradictions or inconsistencies; for instance, in one part of the article does the author claim that one factor is the most important in the situation he is discussing and elsewhere claim that a different factor is the most important?
Does he rely upon, or is he, a non-credible source of information? What about any non-credible source makes it non-credible e.g., is the source an interested party, not really an authority, etc.?
Does the author use weak, irrelevant, or out-of-date statistics (remember, the article was written in 1985; whats out of date now may not have been out of date then)?
Are there places where speculation or opinion is presented as fact?
Does the author make dubious value claims?
Does he ignore obvious objections that could be raised to his main point?
Are there unsupported assumptions?
6. What is your final critical judgment of the article?
How good, in view of all of the above, is the article?
Do its strengths outweigh any weaknesses, or vice versa?
Do you buy the authors main point?
Some of these questions overlap, to be sure, and I am not asking that you go down this list and answer each and every question under every major issue, although if it helps to do so you may. Except for setting out and specifically identifying the arguments the article contains, I offer this list merely as a guideline for points and issues to look for and to think about as you engage with each of these six major points that I want you to consider and address.
Please write clearly, using standard English. Remember: this is not a research paper so you neednt go beyond the limits of your textbook and the Powerpoints. This paper is an exercise in critical thinking and that is what I want you to focus on.
If you have any questions or doubts, ask before you write. I look forward to reading you papers!
Remember: your papers are due on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 (section 34848) or Wednesday, May 16, 2018 (section 31205)!!
Should America Revive the Military Draft?
By Sen. Ernest Hollings
We need a military draft.
No, not the draft of the Vietnam era, where people of means often went to college or Canada and a disproportionate number of poor and minorities shed their blood in Southeast Asia. What we need is an equitable draft, where the burden is shared by all and exemptions are held to a minimum.
There is both a need and a moral obligation.
Demographic indicators warn that the pool of 17-to-21-year-old males the largest grouping of potential recruits is going to fall off sharply. The baby boom is history, and the prognosis is for a rapidly shrinking recruiting pot.
In 1980, there were approximately 11 million males in the 17-to-21-year-old category. By 1990, this group is projected to be less than 9 million while continuing to shrink in future years. Some estimates show that by 1993 the all-volunteer Army in order to meet projected recruiting goals would have to get one of every two males of age 19 due to the competition from an improved economy.
Our reserve forces are now seriously in jeopardy. The Selected Reserve is down 50,000. The Individual Ready Reserve is down by as much as 200,000.
The defense budget has gone from $314 billion in 1980 to $262.9 billion for 1985. Approximately two-thirds of that amount goes to pay and benefits. Rather than an equal call on all, with the all-volunteer Army we have perpetuated the rich mans undemocratic lie: We pay for it.
The fact is we can never pay for it. We can appropriate to cure the pay deficiencies, as we did with the large pay and benefits packages of recent years. But the fact is, these are stop-gap measures that fail to address the long-term need.
How will we meet recruiting objectives in light of competition and the demand for one out of two males? You and I both know the answer. Its money. We will once again be on the treadmill of escalating pay and benefits while diminishing arms for our troops and lessening out capability to defend ourselves and honor our commitments abroad.
The only reason we have been reaching the recruiting targets in the past few years is that the economy has helped. We had a recession, and our young people needed jobs. Its that simple. Unemployment has been excessively high for our teenagers particularly young minorities. Where else can these people turn? The all-volunteer Army is often the employer of last resort, a sort of military Job Corps.
We need the draft for many reasons. Most importantly, we need it in order to remain true to the ideals that built this country.
Early in the 1970s, with Americas morale sapped by our involvement in Vietnam, everyone wanted the easy way for America to defend itself without personal sacrifice. So, we instituted the all-volunteer Army. That Army no longer touches every neighborhood. It is forgotten and removed from everyday life in America.
One lesson to be learned from Vietnam, is that a nation cannot move without its people.
The broader the cross-section of America in our armed forces the less likely that our military will be drawn into unnecessary confrontations. Indeed, one wonders what policy would have been in Vietnam if there had been a truly equal draft that did not discriminate on the basis of wealth. And one wonders still what U.S. policy would be in Lebanon and Central America with a fully informed electorate, where defense is everybodys business.
Our volunteer forces are sadly unrepresentative of the society they serve. Over one-quarter of all new recruits are black double their proportion in the population. The number of other minorities is growing.
And it is not just a race problem, it is a class problem. For even white recruits are largely drawn from the poorer and less educated segments of society.
A free society defended by its least free is a dangerous contradiction. We all share the benefits of life in America. Is it not the responsibility of all of us to defend it?
It seems most of us seek painless ways to meet our obligations. Unfortunately, there is no painless way that we can provide for the defense of freedom.