ES.246 | Fall 2004 | Undergraduate

Current Events and Social Issues


1 Introduction and Political Systems of Thought  
2 What is a just war? Were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan just?

Zinn, Howard. “A Just Cause, Not a Just War.” The Progressive, December 2001.

Hersh, Seymore. “The Other War.” The New Yorker, April 12, 2004.

Principles of the Just War

3 What is a just war? Were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan just? (cont.)

U.S. National Security Council. The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. Washington, DC, 2002.

Spencer, Jack. “Presidential Authority in the War on Terrorism: Iraq and Beyond.” The Heritage Foundation, 2002.

Jones, Terry. “I’m Losing Patience with My Neighbors, Mr. Bush.” The Observer, January 26, 2003.

4 Is pornography sexist? Should it be regulated?

Dworkin, Andrea. “Pornography Happens to Women.” Speech presented at Speech, Equality and Harm: Feminist Legal Perspectives on Pornography and Hate Propaganda. University of Chicago Law School, March 6, 1993.

McElroy, Wendy. “Banning Pornography Endangers Women.” International Society for Individual Liberty pamphlet.

5 How should we treat criminals? What constitutes “cruel and unusual” punishment?

Ruffin v. Commonwealth, 62 Va. (1871).

Pugh v. Locke, 406 F. Supp. (1976).

Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. (1981).

Wilson v. Seiter, 111 S. Ct. (1991).

Overton v. Bazzetta 02-94 (2003). Kennedy opinion.

6 Should we legalize marijuana? How should we treat other drugs?

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Marijuana: Facts for Teens.” 2001.

Rey, Joseph M., and Christopher C. Tennant. “Cannabis and Mental Health.” British Medical Journal (2002): 1183-4.

Optional Reading

Becker, Howard S. “Becoming a Marijuana User.” American Journal of Sociology (1953): 235-242.


What is the future of Social Security

Guest Speaker: Toh Ne Win from Goldman Sachs

Dudley, William C., and Edward F. McKelvey. “The U.S. Budget Outlook: A Surplus of Deficits.” Global Economics Paper No. 106 (2004). Goldman Sachs.
8 In what forms does discrimination exist in our society today? Should the government step in to stop discrimination?  
9 Is outsourcing of jobs a problem? If so, what should we do?

Sen, Amartya. “How to Judge Globalism.” The American Prospect 13, no. 1 (2002).

Friedman, Thomas L. “The Great Indian Dream.” New York Times, March 11, 2004.

Ikerd, John. “Societal Effects Make Outsourcing a Real Issue.” Columbia Daily Tribune, August 15, 2004.

10 The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Where can we go from here?

Zuckerman, Mortimer. “The Price of Intransigence.” U.S. News and World Report, December 12, 2003.

Kazak, Ali. “Bad Fences Make Bad Neighbors.” October 28, 2003.

11 Should abortion be regulated?

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. “A Defense of Abortion.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1971): 47.

Sprengel, Mark K. “Fundamental Issues.” Heritage House, 1999.

12 Genocide in Rwanda and Sudan: How should we react?

Supplemental Reading, Strongly Recommended

Gourevitch, Philip. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families. New York, NY: Picador, 1999. ISBN: 9780312243357.

13 Is it ever right to break the law? Thoreau, Henry David. “Civil Disobedience.” 1849.

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Fall 2004
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