The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Tag: argument

Essential aspects about the debate

First of all, a debate is about providing arguments. So arguments are the first aspect of the debate that might be essential to the debate. Having strong arguments about the topic is the first step of having a good debate. As a note taker, it’s important to find out the main arguments of both sides and record those arguments, since those arguments are the main themes of the debate.

Second, when debaters have their arguments, they’ll have to illustrate them using examples. There’re often times when debaters do have their strong arguments but also have a hard time putting forward their ideas. The debate’s purpose is to let the judge or audience to understand the debater’s concepts. Examples serve to help the audience directly get debaters’ ideas and believe them. Therefore, examples are the second aspect that is essential to the debate.

Third, it’s also important how the debaters respond to the arguments from the other side. The debate is different from a speech. A speech can focus on only one side of a topic and talk only about the side that the speech giver stands on. A debate is different. Responding to the opponents’ arguments and prepare counter-arguments toward them is essential to the debate. It’s what makes a debate a good debate.

Overall, as a note taker, it’s important to record debaters’ arguments or counter-arguments and examples used to sell their arguments. These aspects can also be used to determine the quality of the debate.

Privacy vs Secur--does it even have to be something versus something?

On the Newseum board, there are a lot of arguments for pro-privacy. At the same time, there is another compelling argument to take as much as it has to in order to make people feel safe. 

I feel like people come from many different sides when they are voicing their opinions; their personal experiences in their own lives have shaped their beliefs and has compelled them to draw themselves to one particular side of this argument. One interesting point to notice is: why does there have to be a fine line separating pro-privacy vs pro-security? I believe we can have a healthy mixture of both. It’s when people divide crucial and sensitive topics like this into two distinct sides, that conflicts arise. Security and privacy can go hand-in-hand in some cases, but immediately saying that it is a rivalry where one decision should be better than the other forces people to choose sides even though they have beliefs belonging to both sides. Some people are willing to give up a bit of their privacy because they value their safety over anything (maybe they haven’t experienced an invasion of their privacy and don’t know the frustration of that). Some people are very protective of their privacy and believe that our privacy should be something inherent like freedom of speech (however, they might not have directly experienced a terrorist attack or danger where they’ve feared for their lives and know that government intervention will save lives and prevent terrorism). 

In general, we do have a lot of positive vibes on the board, such as “love not hate” and “good not evil.” Also, I found the quote “living life is an honor, don’t take our freedom away” an interesting quote. Here, we see someone who values life and probably also safety, I’m assuming. In addition to that, they also don’t want their freedom to be taken away. Perhaps that’s referring to freedom of having a private life? Freedom looks like it comes in two ways: the freedom in safety and freedom of having a private life. Which one do you prefer? Maybe both?

A Nod to the Opposition

Little Brother, while it is an incredible novel, is also a brilliant argument. The construction of the novel reads like a well planned out, immensely entertaining argumentative essay. Cory Doctorow presents readers with a situation in which privacy is being subordinated, or rather completely ignored, for the "safety" of San Francisco. His argument is very obviously in support of privacy. He does not, however, ignore the other side of the issue. Like an author of a well-written essay would, Doctorow recognizes the stance of the opposition and explains that side through the character of Marcus' father.

In the beginning of Chapter 9, Marcus' father has been detained by police officers after having the identity on one of his tracked cards "jammed," or switched with people who are nowhere near him. At first, he's absolutely furious, which is great for Marcus, or at least he thinks it is, because his father is finally seeing how awful and invasive the security is. Instead, his father is relieved by the idea that the DHS is putting more officers out on the streets to catch the "saboteurs" who are creating the jump in suspicious activity. Several times throughout the novel, passages are dedicated to the reactions of Marcus' parents: his dad defending the DHS's need to protect the city by whatever means necessary, and his mom explaining to Marcus that his father is just scared. Doctorow doesn't really say that Marcus's father is a terrible person for acting the way or believing the things he does, he just works hard, through Marcus, to prove why it isn't the best way to look at the situation.

I found this nod to the opposition highly encouraging in my reading of Little Brother, as I felt as though Doctorow was trying to avoid the kind of blind, all-consuming argument that leads to people discounting what one says. He wasn't trying to say that privacy is more important than safety, or that the government shouldn't protect it's citizens; he was saying that privacy cannot be eclipsed by a need for safety, and that the government needs to protect citizens' rights as well as citizens themselves. I'm not sure what I was expecting when I first started reading Little Brother, but the intellectual construction and content of the novel far surpassed anything I thought I would find.

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