I am sure many of you have read the "How to get 6.0 AWA... my guide" by chineseburned. lsuguy7 replied by posting his essay about “The autonomy of any country…”
(see how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html#p471735 – sorry, I cannot post full urls yet).
Lsuguy7 did a great job of demonstrating the use of a template! However, let us forget about all templates for a minute. Here is the prompt once again.
Prompt: “The autonomy of any country is based on the strength of its borders; if the number of illegal immigrants entering a country cannot be checked, both its economy and national identity are endangered. Because illegal immigrants pose such threats, every effort must be made to return them to their country of origin.”
Assignment: Discuss how well-reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underlie the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound, and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate its conclusion.
Don’t just start thinking about some GMAT template. Open your eyes! What we really have here is a piece of political propaganda – illogical, unethical, and quite dangerous. It cannot even be called an argument. For example, notice the reference “Because illegal immigrants pose such threats…” In fact, there were no threats mentioned. The reference is made to the reader’s personal fears triggered by the previous sentence: “…both its economy and national identity are endangered”.
Much has been said and written on the subject.
…Isolated independence is not the goal of the world-states. It is voluntary interdependence…
(Mahatma Gandhi. Young India. July 17, 1924, quoting by The Essential Gandhi, edited by Louis Fischer.)
India’s greatest glory will consist not in regarding Englishmen as her implacable enemies fit only to be turned out of India at the first available opportunity but in turning them into friends and partners in a new commonwealth of nations in the place of an Empire based upon exploitation of the weaker or underdeveloped nations and races of the earth…
(Mahatma Gandhi. Young India, January 5, 1922, quoting by The Essential Gandhi, edited by Louis Fischer.)
On the other hand, Germany has already tried to protect its economy and its national identity from a similar threat.
I hope that the concept of Jews will be completely extinguished through the possibility of a large emigration of all Jews to Africa or some other colony.
(Heinrich Himmler, Reflections on the Treatment of Peoples of Alien Races in the East, quoting by Wikipedia article “Madagascar Plan”).
So the main issue I have with the prompt is that what it is trying to achieve, viz. “the autonomy”, is not necessarily desirable. If it is – well, good things usually cannot be achieved by violent methods. If you want to get to the details, here is a quick list of what’s logically wrong with the argument:
1. The term “the autonomy of a country” is not used in its technical sense, but as an emotional image. Otherwise it would not be juxtaposed with “national identity”, which is an entirely different concept. In fact, the Wikipedia article on national identity starts with “National identity is . . . a feeling one shares with a group of people, regardless of one’s citizenship status.”
2. “The strength of its borders” is not well-defined. Note that it evokes an image of an army thus implicitly labeling illegal immigrants as aggressive enemies.
3. As lsuguy7 correctly pointed out, there is no immediate link between the autonomy of a country and the strength of its borders, as exemplified by e.g. European countries. In fact, almost any country is an example. What about China? Is its autonomy really threatened by weak borders? Federal States of Micronesia? Libya? It may be true even for the modern United States. (Anyone has any evidence to the contrary?)
4. “…if the number of illegal immigrants entering a country cannot be checked…” – fine, what if it COULD be checked? How would it help? In other words, if the number of illegal immigrants is the only issue, it can be easily solved. Open the border completely for anyone who agrees to be counted and properly registered. Announce amnesty for all current illegal immigrants as long as they agree to be counted and registered. Then this would reduce the number of illegal immigrants to a minimum, and this solution is much more practical and much more compassionate than deportation.
5. It is not clear whether illegal immigrants have a country of origin to return to – sometimes they are war refugees and they have literally nowhere to go.
6. It is not clear whether illegal immigrants would not pose a higher threat after being deported to their own country. The pain of this experience can stay with them for the rest of their lives. They may devote their lives to fighting the country that used to be their home, but then betrayed them. They may become successful politicians, public speakers, may serve in the army or become terrorists, and one way or another, find their way to get revenge.
7. I have not even mentioned the problem of those families of illegal immigrants where the wife and the husband come from two different countries. Where would you deport them? What about their children?
8. Even if illegal immigrants pose such threats, it is not clear that the amount of threat is proportional to the number of illegal immigrants in the country. It is not even clear that the amount of threat is monotonously increasing with the number of illegal immigrants. For example, imagine some country with 200,000 illegal immigrants: 100,000 illegal orcs and 100,000 illegal goblins. Assume that the orcs and the goblins are in a constant struggle with each other, thus having no time for threatening the national identity of the state. Once all the orcs are deported to Mordor, the remaining goblins can devote all their time and resources to destroying the autonomy of the country. Hence, in this (absurd) example deporting half of the illegal immigrants only made the situation worse.
9. Even if illegal immigrants do pose such a serious threat, and the amount of the threat is proportional to the number of illegal immigrants, and the legalization of these immigrants is not option, the conclusion is still not well-justified. There is always the option of doing nothing. Automobiles, airplanes, and hamburgers pose so many threats to humanity, not to mention the weapons of mass destruction, yet somehow we are not so eager to get rid of them. Why? Perhaps we acknowledge, whether correctly or not, that automobiles and airplanes have some advantages outweighing the threats. It is then also possible that the illegal immigrants can bring the country some advantages similarly outweighing the threats that they pose.
Lastly, I would like to reiterate that all immigrants, whether legal or not, are also people who also want to be happy and free, like all of us. All people deserve to be loved and to be treated with compassion and kindness. Please, remember about it. You are all very smart – so remember the great responsibility that comes with it.
Thank you for reading.
Sergey Orshanskiy, Ph.D.
I tutor in NYC: http://www.wyzant.com/Tutors/NY/New-York/7948121/#ref=1RKFOZ