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CodyD

Community Service

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This is a report, which I am to hand in tomorrow. If you find this essay to short, do not fret, this is an 8th grade assignment, so it doesn't need to be as detailed as needed(?). I would like to make it more detailed, but I am not exactly sure how and where to put it, so this will do. I would still like comments, suggestions, etc. etc.

When I was informed that some students in other schools had to do community service in order to graduate, I was horrified. It undermines the very concept of what school is supposed to do for the child, it is an initiation of useless force, and it degrades philosophy. I always thought it was irrational when children claimed that school was like being locked in jail, but now that I hear that we might have to do community service like common criminals, I could identify with them. Let me explain exactly why students should not have to do community service.

First to be discussed is the philosophical (moral) issues of making children do community service. The issue- the use of force. Force, by any rational standard, is wrong. To force is to say, “Your life is mine, I have control over it”. Who in their right mind could claim such ability over any other man? However, there is the issue of the use of force against children. Children, usually until their late teens, do not have full rational capabilities. According to Piaget , lateral thinking doesn’t even start to develop until the child is ten or eleven, and won’t finish development until late teens or early twenties. Since children do not have full lateral thinking capabilities, some decisions need to be made for them-whether they like it or not. Such instances are going to school-a child would not want to go, but they need to because it is actually benefiting them. If a child does not have the rational capabilities, force is necessary to help them. In the instance of community service, however, the child does not get any benefit. With no benefit to the child, any use of force would be irrational and immoral. Based upon these standards, it is the principal forcing students to do community service that is the social transgressor, not the student refusing to help society.

When one reads the above paragraph, they are likely to see the logic behind it. However, it will most likely to be soon followed by the question, “Could children benefit themselves by doing community service?” My answer-no. It teaches them that they should blindly obey the masses, and do whatever the masses may ask of them. Community service teaches the students that society is more important than them, which by some mystic insight the will of those masses is better than theirs, and they need to follow it. However, many community service jobs require one to have a high degree of physical stamina. This could be considered as a “necessary” force against children, as they do not realize to what degree their physical abilities may help (or how a lack thereof may hurt). The catch-they should have the choice in which way they raise their physical stamina, as they have a choice of which school to attend. For a second, let us step back and look at helping yourself as compared to society. There are the men which take their time to cut people’s yards without pay, who go pick up litter in parks which they didn’t throw, who constantly give all their lives. This leaves little money in their pockets, little free time in their life, and thus only a job that can only give you food and those that you help. Or, there is the man who refused to give his time because he had it and they didn't, who would not pick up people’s trash because he didn’t throw it, who would keep to himself and have a highly productive job. These are the men that turn out like Bill Gates-men whose virtues (or what many claim vices) allow many a free ride. His selfish pursuit of his life now gives nearly every American a computer. His refusal to mow someone’s yard without getting payment for his effort, now gives people jobs-the high ranking scientist making a smaller computer chip for him to use, the worker assembling those computers (or running the machines that do so), the lowly janitor that now washes the floors once Mr. Gates, the scientists, and the factory line worker have gone home. You decide whether the selfish pursuit of ideals or the sacrifices of one’s will to any man that lays claim upon it is more productive. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Gates’ didn’t aim for every American to have a computer-but for him to rake in every ounce of profit he can for those computers.

Next, would be the purpose of school. School is where children can be educated to better their life. They learn all the standards of the subjects, as to develop their lateral thinking and to understand the outside world so that they can be productive within it. This center of education, referred to as an Ivory Tower, is called an ivory tower because, according to Webster, it is “n. academic world, seen as isolated from everyday reality” . To take it a step farther, not necessarily unsocial (destructive towards society), but asocial (having no dealings with society in any way). It is a place where children study society to act in it later-not to take part in society as they learn of it. It is neither a place for children to bring their social lives into, to learn how to interact with others, nor is it a place where they take their school lives and make it social. To force children into community service as graduation requirement doesn’t make it a school, but a prison. I am sure that you are aware that community service is either a voluntary choice made by an individual organization in which its members voluntarily joined, or a forced action because you have committed a crime. To bring this concept to a school is to do as I said above; change it from an ivory tower into a penitentiary.

Many who read this, or similar ideas which run parallel, will think that I am fighting against society, that I just want it to crumble in every man’s pursuit of his whims. I will not take the time to explain exactly why they are not whims-that would take pages -but I will refer back to what I said about Mr. Gates when one says I am fighting for society to fall apart. The idealism that society would be destroyed by selfish pursuits, and that one must sacrifice to clean it up or do a good deed, is wrong (clearly explained, again, by the Bill Gates analogy). Now, if one might find selfish pleasure in these acts-mowing the lawn for a grandparent or neighbor which one loves or idolizes, picking up trash(or planting trees) in a park because one enjoys the scenic beauty, giving one’s life to that whom he loves, go for it! It is no longer a service, but a joyful pursuit of your own happiness. If, for some strange reason, you have the desire to help the needy, you can do so, or if you think some god would damn you to hell for not doing so, you may do it also. However, you have no right to force another man to do it with you-to claim that his life should be spent pursuing your ideals. What this whole argument boils down to is that community service is a choice. If one wants to, it would be just as forceful to prohibit them. If one doesn’t want it-you better not try to force them if they have their ideologies straight and their argument set! Again, a choice. To serve yourself and therefore positively impact society-or serve society and possibly negatively impact yourself.

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Hi Cody,

I'm delighted to find an eigth-grader with an interest in Objectivism. May I ask how you discovered Ayn Rand and her work? Do you have any friends with a similar interest?

I think that the arguments in your last paragraph are the strongest ones you present. Are there others in your class, or among your friends, who also argue against community service programs? If so, I wonder what their arguments are?

Also, It would probably be a good idea to try to separate your paragraphs into smaller bite-sized ideas. I think that would make your writing easier to read, and paerhaps it will help you to organize and structure your thoughts.

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to make a short story shorter-I needed a book to read in class, and 1000+ pages had to be interesting.

Several of my friends would love the philosophy-if they took the time for philosophy and working through her books. Most of them won't, the rest don't have time(an instance, one was about halfway through the Fountainhead, but we have a school "reading" program(accelerated reader), and she needed points by the end of the quarter, but she couldn't finish it by then). The same person who was reading the Fountainhead wrote a report on environmentalism(these were persuasive essays-no boundaries except that you had to persuade of something relevant), and used some Ayn Rand quotes from a website.

Asides from these few, the people of my school are either Christian, or a pothead(or a mix of the two). So it seems from my perspective, anyways.

The only thing I saw wrong with my report was my use of Bill Gates-yes, he uses the profit motive, etc., but he gives huge amounts of money to various organizations now and then. Someone else would have been a better example.

Many of the kids in my school would not want to do this community sercie-but they would have no reasons or idealism to protect them. Either that, or they would just love to do it, as part of Boy Scouts, or Church, or etc.

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