The concept of political obligation and related notions of fairness, justice and natural duty is a fascinating field of inquiry that lends itself to new and ever more complex perspectives on the world of politics. It is now studied under political science, but was previously dealt with by institutions and academies of law, ethics and philosophy. In this regard, it is fair to say that the ideas of Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Waldron and John Rawls comprise the origins of this field of inquiry. The growing stature and relevance of the subject to the present times is reflected in the rapidly growing body of literature pertaining to it (Buchanan, 2004). Coming to the topic question, the ideas of the aforementioned intellectuals as well as contemporary thinkers on the subject are drawn upon in answering it. The group of contemporary thinkers on the subject include Christopher Wellman, David Lefkowitz, Craig Carr, George Klosko and Allen Buchanan.
To begin with, let us now consider John . . . Read More
The issue of immigration has taken renewed significance in American political discourse over the last ten years. This was largely prompted by the flood of illegal immigrants crossing over from Mexico and other central American countries. Considering that Hispanic Americans already comprise 13 percent of the population and have the highest birth rates among all ethnic communities, one can see the complications that would arise in the future if this problem is not suitably addressed (Starr, 2007, p.3). The problem of illegal aliens is compounded by the legal immigrants from Asian and European countries, who initially come to the United States on work permits and later take up authentic citizenship. As opposed to the poorly skilled illegal alien population, the legal immigrant group is very highly skilled making them indisposable for the stable functioning of the economy. At this juncture, the policy makers are asked to consider social and humanitarian aspects of immigration alongside . . . Read More
Having been involved in the field of Women’s Studies, Peggy McIntosh is quite familiar with privileges held by men that seldom get acknowledged. The issue here is not blatant male chauvinism, but a subtler, unconscious and systemic flaws that undermine the notion of equality between sexes. Extending the same analysis to the domain of race, Peggy McIntosh comes to a similar conclusion, that white skinned individuals enjoy several advantages over their colored counterparts which are often unrecognized. In other words, McIntosh tries to distinguish between the two variants of racism: black oppression and white privilege. In contemporary socio-political discourse the term ‘racism’ is synonymous with the first variety. The second variety is hardly ever recognized, let alone being discussed and rectified. This in essence is McIntosh’s contention about White Privilege. What makes her thesis more robust is the list of forty odd manifestations of this . . . Read More
Alan Dowd’s article titled ‘Civilization’s Reluctant Warrior: America and the War on Terror’ is an essay supporting America’s war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Given the readiness and enthusiasm with which the United States initiated war against Iraq in 2003, it is difficult to make sense of phrase ‘reluctant warrior’. Nevertheless, the central thesis of the article is that military actions taken by the United States over the course of the last eighty years is largely justified. This includes the onging War on Terror that was instigated by the September 11, 2001 terror attacks directed against the country. Alan Dowd puts forth several arguments in support of his thesis, some of which are discussed below.
Admittedly, the 9/11 terror strikes were heinous acts that cannot be justified under humanitarian principles. Alan Dowd asserts that the 9/11 attacks were not an attack on the United States alone, but on all of human civilization. . . . Read More
The investment scandal perpetrated by Bernard Madoff is the largest financial fraud in the history of capitalism. It is believed that Madoff’s secretive investment advice firm caused a loss of nearly $65 billions for the 4,000 odd investors who trusted his firm with their wealth. The investors consisted of several celebrities as well as people from middle and lower classes, thereby making the loss more acute for the latter group. This essay will explore the relevance of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to the Madoff Scandal.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is an agency of the Federal government that is entrusted with the task of regulating the financial markets is one of the chief culprits behind this failure. The SEC had brushed aside several warning signals in the years leading up to 2008, either due to the incompetency of their auditing staff or due to collusion with the fraudsters. Ever since Madoff started his ponzi investment scheme two decades . . . Read More
Judith Jarvis Thomson’s essay titled A Defense of Abortion serves as a polemic against some of the common objections made by pro-lifers. The first of her objections to the pro-life standpoint is regarding the status assigned to a human fetus. The pro-lifers argue that right from the moment of conception the fetus has to be assigned the same rights and respect that is granted to born individuals. Thomson takes issue with this assessment, arguing that a fetus cannot be equated with a born individual since the moment of conception, although she concedes that it is very difficult to exactly ascertain when a developing fetus deserves recognition as a human being.
The other point she makes is that on what grounds would pro-lifers oppose abortion when the pregnancy was the result of a rape. Judith Thomson is essentially trying to differentiate between cases of pregnancies that result due to negligence or indifference of either of the partners, and those which arise due to . . . Read More
One of the issues that elicit a broad range of views from politicians, scholars and intelligentsia is rights for same-sex couples. At the very minimum, these rights would entail legal recognition for same-sex partners and enable them to adopt children. As same-sex partnerships gain greater acceptance in society, the members of this community expect to attain financial benefits and custodial rights that are on par with heterosexual couples. This essay will foray into the main arguments for and against such legal grants by way of citing scholarly sources.
It deserves mention in the outset that the political atmosphere here in the United Statesis much more hostile to the practice of homosexuality than elsewhere in the developed world. The primary resistance to homosexuality in the country comes from the powerful and influential Republican Party, especially the more orthodox of its members. The functioning of the party over the years suggests a disregard for the notion . . . Read More
One of the key advantages of limited liability partnerships (LLPs) is that it minimizes the risk borne by each member of the partnership. But, LLPs still impose certain obligations from each of the partner as a way of maintaining standards of accountability. LLPs differ from other general partnerships in one particular aspect, namely, that each partner is only liable to his/her own debts and obligations and are not required to share the burden of their partners’ debts and obligations. In the United States, there are comprehensive legislation that govern the conception and formation of LLPs. This form of partnership is more suitable to companies offering professional services such as law firms, an accountancy firms, etc. As a matter of fact, a few states within the United States allow only certain professional classes to form LLPs. The primary legislative document that deals with partnership firms is the Uniform Partnership Act, which provides detailed guidelines. Further, many . . . Read More
The penal system in the United States of America, as is elsewhere in the world is far from the best solution for curbing anti-social tendencies among citizens. As it is, the penal system is synonymous with imprisonment and social seclusion, both of them conditions that don’t encourage positive transformations for the imprisoned individuals. Seen in this context, reforming the penal system should be a priority for policy makers and elected representatives. The following passages will articulate some key changes to the penal system that would help mitigate some of the drawbacks of the prevailing situation.
An area that needs expedient redress is the amount of time consumed for solving criminal cases. The adage ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ is still quite valid and the judiciary must see to it that the distressed caused to innocent defendants is kept to a minimum. Recent surveys have also indicated that those individuals involved in law trials are poorly . . . Read More
The underlying principle behind the framing of the Double Jeopardy Clause is the universal maxim of the common-law of England which is still being referred to in the United States. In the U.S, the common law rule was integrated into the Bill of Rights and hence was given constitutional importance. The Clause in question is included in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the American Constitution that states “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb ….” has always been a topic of debate and disagreement within the community of lawyers in the country. Many instances of confusion had risen from the interpretation of the words “same offense”, where at times the Court casually applies the Clause to offenses that are not the same but obviously different (Dibianco, 1995). For example, “premeditated murder is not the same as attempted murder or manslaughter; armed robbery . . . Read More