Essay on happiness

Have you ever lost more than just two loved ones at the same time or even just one so unexpectedly? I lost six people I loved so much all in just one moment, one day and all in one second. On January thirteenth, I woke up fairly early and got ready, to go to the mall, when I was scrolling through social media I had seen my cousins were posting pictures of our family in Mexico with sad captions. I messaged everyone but no one would answer until finally me cousin in law messaged me telling me what had happened. I will never forget how fast my heart dropped when I read the message she sent. I wanted to leave to Mexico right that second, but my mom wouldn’t let me because she would get worried and it was far too dangerous to go by myself. I will never forget my uncle, godmother, two beautiful young cousins, aunt and my grandma. Though they may be gone they’re life lessons, smiles, memories will be cherished forever. My family had to be strong for one another during that time, all though I wanted to be strong for my cousin I couldn’t, I felt like I failed him but he understood that I was hurt too. I wasn’t talking to my stepmom at the time but I had to be there for her and my siblings because my dad had left to Mexico to go and be with his family and work everything out. I had all of sudden started remembering all the memories I had with each and one of my family members. Trying to overcome this heartbreaking experience was awful and seemed like time was going by so slow. My whole world was falling down around me; it was almost as if everyone I cared for were leaving. Things just kept getting worse. Never did I feel happy. At times I would feel like if it was all a dream and I needed to wake up but no matter how bad I wanted it to be like that it wasn’t, it was the reality. My mom was worried about me because I didn’t want to eat anything at all, I was always so depressed, I distanced myself from all my friends even my two best friends. They had tried to be there for me but I didn’t want them to deal with my problems that I cut them off as soon as I went to school, I was on my own from there on out. I would get home and go straight to my room and just sleep till the next day and that kept on repeating for two weeks. Finally, after almost a month, my cousin invited me over she had seen what was going on with me, I wasn’t myself. My family came and talked to me, told me everything happened for a reason. I ended up going to therapy and talking to someone about what was going on. After a while, I finally brought myself to peace with what happened. I know now that everything happens for a reason. Losing a loved one is one of the ugliest pains someone can ever feel and experience, but when mourning for someone you do have to remember not to lose yourself. Don’t push people away that care about you because you never know when the last time you talk to them will be. Anyone you love or care about tell them, take the risk of doing things you’re scared of, like going skydiving, getting on roller coasters etc. You have to live to the fullest and be happy with yourself be happy with the people you have in your life, have peace with them because at the end of the day no one is here forever and we will never know when their last day on this earth will be.

Mathematics this year

For mathematics this year, I studied Geometry with Ms. Kawasaki. This was one of the most difficult classes for me because it was very fast paced. I was able to use most of my algebra knowledge from the previous year and apply it to geometric figures. In the beginning of the year, I learned about the basics of geometry. The basics involved three things: formulas, geometric figures, and proofs. Together, those three topics wouldn’t flow together, but they set the standard for what would come in the future. I first learned about the basic elements of geometry. A point has zero dimensions. A line is one-dimensional, and it contains all points going in either direction. In geometry, a line as shown with two arrows on either end, to signify that the line extends infinitely in either direction. The line could be limited by adding one or two endpoints, that stop the line from extending. A line with one endpoint is called a ray, and can extend infinitely in one direction. A ray is shown as a line with an arrow on the right end to show this. Finally, a line with two endpoints is a line segment. A line segment does not extend infinitely, but contains all the points between two endpoints. It’s depicted as a line with no arrows. Next, I learned formulas. The first formulas I learned about were the distance and midpoint formulas, which are used on a coordinate grid. The distance formula, is used to find the length of a line on a coordinate plane and is based off of the Pythagorean theorem, which states that the length of a right triangle’s legs squared is equal to that of its hypotenuse squared. However, instead of a2 and b2, there’s horizontal change and vertical change. Horizontal change and vertical change provide the lengths of the two “legs”, making the length you’re trying to find the hypotenuse. The midpoint formula is used to find the midpoint or the center of a line segment. It’s the average of the x and y coordinates given, which finds a median coordinate between the two points. Finally, I learned about the types of proofs. Proofs can be used to prove a common theorem, congruence, and similarity. One type of proof is the Euclidean proof or two column proof. It’s the most formal of the three, and is separated into two columns, statements and reasons. One can state something by using prior reasoning, and use reasoning to prove that statement true. Another proof is the informal paragraph proof. It’s self-explanatory; it proves something in a paragraph. The final proof is the coordinate proof, which proves things congruent or similar on a coordinate grid. This proof usually involves using formulas like the distance, slope, or midpoint formula.

“Flowers for Algernon”

Gunshots are fired, the air is thick and overwhelming. People are everywhere, running quick, screaming loud while drowning in fear. Why is this happening? The answer is freedom. Freedom, the cause of many wars, and the cause of sacrifice. Today, we live in a society where because of these wars, sacrifices, and of course many brave people we have the luxury of freedom. As citizens in a free society, we are responsible for many things. We have many questions to consider as well. Just because we can should we? How far is too far? Who determines right from wrong? By using textual support from “Flowers for Algernon” and nonfiction articles, I will explain how people in our society today and in “Flowers for Algernon” abuse freedom by doing things just because they can, going to far, and thinking they can determine right from wrong. In the book “Flowers for Algernon”, and our society today, we face the question just because we can should we? Though some people realize that even if we can, there are some things that we just shouldn’t do, many people do not. They think freedom means you can do anything no matter if you actually should. In “Flowers for Algernon”, a girl that worked at Charlie’s bakery told him “it’s not meant for a man to know more than was given to him by the lord in the first place”(107). When she said this, she was talking about how because of the experiment, Charlie now has more knowledge than what he was ever meant to have. In “Flowers for Algernon”, Charlie says, “Nemur’s constant references to having made me what I am, or that someday there will be others like me who will become real human beings”(145). Through this quote, Charlie is stating how Nemur constantly brings up how he made Charlie what he is and someday he will change others like Charlie into real human beings as well. Just because Nemur could change all of these people in the future, does not mean he should. Just as said earlier, “It’s not meant for a man to know more than was given to him by the lord in the first place.” After reading both of these quotes from “Flowers for Algernon”, you can conclude that people do things they shouldn’t just because they can even if it’s not right. In our society today, we have this same choice to make. Just because we can should we? A significant example of this is animal testing. Just because we could test on animals, should we? Is it really necessary? Many brands and companies around the world choose to experiment and test on animals even though there are so many people against it. “Every year more than 100,000 monkeys are experimented on in the United States. Monkeys in labs are subjected to painful, invasive, and irrelevant experiments” (https://www.peta.org/features/current-animal-experiments/). This quote pretty much speaks for itself. Monkeys are being experimented on and are having to endure pain and torture all for an experiment that may not even be relevant. Also, “Tobacco companies continue to force animals to smoke, even though more effective alternatives exist. Two of the worlds largest cigarette companies still conduct painful, archaic, and irrelevant tobacco tests on animals, even though they aren’t required by law and superior non-animal testing methods are readily available”(https://www.peta.org/features/current-animal-experiments/). Basically, tobacco companies choose to test on animals even though there are better, more effective testing methods available. Scientists knew they could use animals as testing subjects, yet should they? Again, there are other, more effective ways of testing. So yes, we could test on animals, abuse freedom, and do things just because we can. As citizens in a free society, we can do many things. Though just because we can does not mean that we should. In the book “Flowers for Algernon”, and our society today, we face the question of how far is too far? This is a hard question because usually, you don’t realize how far is too far until it’s already done. You have already gone too far and there is nothing you can do. As citizens in a free society, it is easy to go too far. Especially when you have achieved power. I will later use the Stanford Prison Experiment to talk about how in our society when people achieve power they go too far. Though the same goes for “Flowers for Algernon”. In “Flowers for Algernon”, the scientists, being intelligent and dominant over Charlie, have much power. This power causes them to push Charlie too far and maybe a bit too fast. In “Flowers for Algernon”, Alice tells Charlie, “They’re pushing you too fast. You are confused. You want to be an adult, but there is still a little boy inside you”(111). In this quote, Alice is explaining to Charlie how the scientists are pushing him too fast which is causing him to be confused because he hasn’t had time to mature as well. The scientists made Charlie even smarter than them in just a couple of months. In “Flowers for Algernon”, Charlie says, “I’ve got to guard the natural tendency to look down on them now that I have surpassed them” (154). In such a short amount of time, Charlie has already become smarter than the people who made him smart. As Alice said above, Charlie is being pushed too fast because he still has a child inside of him. In “Flowers for Algernon”, “Nemur waved to the reporters and photographers who had come to hear at first hand about the startling things that had been done with a retarded adult in just a little over 3 months” (155). This quote just acknowledges how fast the scientists pushed Charlie. Lastly, in “Flowers for Algernon”, Burt tells Charlie, “You’ve got a superb mind now, intelligence that can’t really be calculated, more knowledge by now then most people pick up in a lifetime” (152). This quote really exhibits how smart Charlie is now, and how much he grew. It also shows, how in some opinions the scientists went too far in the sense of how much they changed Charlie. Throughout the experiment, Charlie changed immensely. He was now respected and had gained more knowledge then many would in a lifetime. Just as Alice said, “it’s not meant for a man to know more than was given to him by the lord in the first place.” Overall, throughout the book “Flowers for Algernon”, the scientists used their power to push Charlie too far. By making Charlie change, as some would say too drastically, and by pushing him too fast, they changed Charlie into a whole new person. Just as power made the scientists in “Flowers for Algernon” go too far, it also caused male college students participating in the Stanford Prison Experiment to go too far as well. The Stanford science experiment hired 22 male college students to participate in a psychological experiment. The students were randomly assigned. Half as prisoners, half as guards. The guards were told they could run the prison anyway they wanted. When the prisoners started acting up and trying to revolt, the guards wanted to keep them in line. The guards pulled prisoners out of their cells, stripped them naked, and tied up their feet. “ The guards seemed to become completely different people after only a day of power. They treated their prisoners cruelly and told them that food and water were privileges while thinking of many creative ways to psychologically torture them”(http://eskify.com/10-deadly-science-experiments-gone-wrong/). After reading this, you can see how this experiment proved that power caused people to go too far. In both “Flowers for Algernon”, and our society today, freedom allows us to go too far, and power actually causes it. In the book “Flowers for Algernon”, and our society today, we face the question of who gets to determine right from wrong? Who decides how far is too far or what we should do? From scientists, government officials, family, and even peers, they all think they can determine what is right and what is not. Of course, sometimes it is very beneficial to have decisions made for you, especially when the person is more knowledgeable in that area. For example, when you are a child your parents make decisions for you because you don’t know any better. Now the problem occurs when people make decisions that involve others than just themselves. Just as the scientists in the above experiments, influential people’s decisions can do much harm. For example, scientists make decisions every day that can affect a number of lives. “100 million animals are killed in labs every single year” (https://www.peta.org/features/current-animal-experiments/). What gives scientists the right to decide it is okay to test on animals? The scientists are also depended on to know how far is too far. What gives them the right to decide that? In the book “Flowers for Algernon”, Charlie had many decisions made for him. In “Flowers for Algernon”, Nemur tells Charlie, “ The foundation has arranged to send you to the Warren State home and training school” (219) When Charlie heard this information, he was furious. He had never gotten to decide this, it was just decided for him. What gave Nemur the right to decide this. Before the surgery, Charlie thought these scientists were geniuses. He trusted them because he was not able to see them for who they really are. Later in the book, now that Charlie is intelligent, he is finally starting to realize they are not the superhumans he once thought they were. In “Flowers for Algernon”, Charlie says, “ Frauds- both of them. They had pretended to be geniuses. But they were just ordinary men working blindly pretending to bring light into darkness” (150). He also says, “But still it’s frightening to realize that my fate is in the hands of men who are not the giants I once thought them to be, men who don’t know all the answers” (154). In these two quotes, Charlie is realizing that these men he looked up to and thought were incredible are actually faking it. He now can see how these men he trusted his life with are really just ordinary men trying to mask their ignorance. Throughout all of these quotes, you can deduce that even the people that seem to know everything and you trust always have flaws. Not only in “Flowers for Algernon” do people try to determine right from wrong, but in our society today as well. In today’s society, we the have the right to vote on laws so not just one person gets to decide what is right and what is wrong. Though we do have executive orders. An executive order is a rule or order issued by the president that have the force of law but do not go through Congress. This means that just this one person (the president) can create a law or an order that will affect millions. “President Obama did not issue 3000 or even 1800; he did 276 executive orders, but it was the power of those orders. He instituted 560 major regulations classified by the congressional budget office as having significant economic or social impacts (https://www.theblaze.com/video/here-are-the-worst-presidential-executive-order-offenders-its-not-sheer-numbers-alone). “ He authorized spying on us citizens through 702 of FISA, used the IRS to target political opponents and ordered military actions in Libya without Congressional permission” (https://www.theblaze.com/video/here-are-the-worst-presidential-executive-order-offenders-its-not-sheer-numbers-alone). After reading both of these quotes, you can see how much just one person’s decisions can make such an impact. Glenn says, “ That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, nor would we ever want it to be. We have to have the constitution and laws need to originate in Congress.” (https://www.theblaze.com/video/here-are-the-worst-presidential-executive-order-offenders-its-not-sheer-numbers-alone). Many people would agree when saying that laws should pass through Congress. This ensures that the law will be agreed on by many and not just one person. As citizens in a free society, we need to be capable of making decisions for ourselves. Though when it comes to bigger things that involve many, we need to know how to work together to reach a decision of what is right and what is wrong. Instead, we have people who feel they are superior to others decide to abuse the freedom we are gifted with and make decisions for everyone. As citizens in a free society, we have many questions to consider. How far is too far? Who determines right from wrong? Just because we can should we? Since we live in a free society, we have a choice. In “Flowers for Algernon”, and society today, there are many times where the right choice was not chosen. As citizens in a free society, we are responsible for not abusing the power of freedom. As I explained in the paragraphs above, when we abuse our power of freedom, we do things just because we can not because we should and we go too far. This can easily result in things gone wrong and many lives badly affected.

The Unethical Disintegration of Western Society

When we talk about the society we want to live in, something most of the world isn’t in a position to do, many like to discuss the metrics and results. Quality of life, GDP, mortality rate, and the like. It is important to examine these variables so as to make necessary adjustments, but it is equally if not more essential to first establish what values a society lives by because it is only through a nation’s character that these results can be achieved. Most societies throughout history, and even today have not evolved to value anything other than basic primal instincts of survival, where lying, cheating, stealing and disrespecting human life are often the best way to make immediate ends meet. This type of savagery can exist from the top down, where government corruption and executions are as common as petty theft and murder, both going equally unchecked. It wasn’t until the Magna Carta that the idea of basic human liberties and rights began to surface, and after that point we saw rapid and positive change in certain societies that began to adopt these principals. For all the flak we get, it is scarcely arguable that Anglo-Saxton derived nations such as Canada, The United Kingdom, Australia, and The United States, more than any other, have attained the best living standards and cultures, and this is largely due to our consistent ideals of democracy, tolerance, decency, freedom, and respect for human life. The difference between our cultures and cultures that have not adopted these standards couldn’t be starker, where extreme hunger, crime, poverty, government corruption, lack of education, and so much more is still commonplace. These cultures have not progressed nearly as rapidly as Western countries have, and it is unlikely they will unless they, too, adopt an enlightened system of laws that utilize similar values and liberties as ours; there are simply no shortcuts. Over the last several decades, however, when confronted with the glaring inequity of societies and cultures across the world, the unbelievably smart people who make important national decisions for us decided that they did have a shortcut, and the fact that it would be massively beneficial to their own interests was a decent perk, too. Rather than set an example for struggling nations and aide them in creating their own productive societies, these geniuses of modern thought came up with the plan to erase the boundaries that separate developed countries from backwards ones, so as to slowly morph all cultures into one. That way, there will be no inequality between nations because the concept of nations will eventually dissolve. It’s as John Kerry said, glowingly, of the global environment he helped create: "The future demands from us something more than a nostalgia for some rose-tinted version of the past that did not really exist in any case. You're about to graduate into a complex and borderless world." (1) The idea seems irrational, but it’s implementation has been insidiously successful. The amount of displaced people from their home countries is the highest it’s ever been, and of all countries, the United States has the highest population of international migrants, officially 50 million. (2) Who is allowed to be a participating member is by far the most important issue a nation can face, and because a society is nothing more than the sum of its people, there is no better way to subvert the identity and values of a culture than to flood it with millions of people who at large will not understand, appreciate, or conform to those customs. I contend that the advancement of so-called globalization through means of immigration is not inherently moral in the slightest. I will go so far as to say that the forced integration of cultures that are fundamentally at odds with each other has done more to impede Western progress than any other singular factor. The involuntary multicultural experiment is uniquely immoral, first, in that none of those whom it has affected ever volunteered to participate in its implementation to begin with. Indeed, it’s execution was inherently undemocratic and thus illegitimate. Second, from the perspective of the “common good,” it cannot be reasonably argued that large-scale migration is a net positive to any advanced society. The only people who stand to gain anything are corporate and political elites who remain in power so long as there is a perpetual underclass to be exploited. Last, when analyzed from a basic moral level, there really is no angle in which the compulsory surrendering of one’s own tested national values and character becomes remotely virtuous, or even defensible. Despite being repeated and plastered ad nauseum, by looking at real life examples there is just no inherent truth to the idea that diversity is our strength. Because this issue literally determines who we are as a nation, and if we want to preserve a society that – unlike others – is privileged enough to be able ask moral questions, then there’s frankly no reason to talk about anything else until we get a grip on the problem. Contrary to its colossal implications, the citizens of the nations in which this societal transformation has affected were never actually asked as to whether they wanted an increased amount of immigration in the first place. No candidate was elected because they promised a large scale ethnic and cultural alteration of their community. There was never a referendum that posed to the general populace: “Would you like to transform your nation’s demographics by dramatically increasing immigration from exclusively poor and underdeveloped nations? Yes/No.” If that choice were ever afforded, then our country would not have changed the way it is currently changing, as immigration is highly unpopular among almost every segment of the population, sans rich people. Although it is a popular Republican talking point to give strong lip service opposing illegal immigration while championing the legal means, neither is popular. And while hyper-capitalists like the Koch Brothers, neoconservatives like the Bush brothers, and far left socialists like the Castro brothers are highly in favor of the policy, it is still immensely unpopular among the general populace. According to a 2018 CBS/YouGov poll conducted in battleground areas, every race, age, and sex believe immigration has had a more negative impact on their community than positive. This includes blacks, Hispanics, and females. (3) What’s more is that historically, candidates who run on lowering immigration tend to win overwhelmingly when compared to candidates who openly advocate an increase in immigration. Massive political underdogs can find their saving grace by simply opposing an increase in immigration. The first and only time in U.S. history where a House Majority Leader lost a primary election occurred in 2014, when Eric Cantor lost to Dave Brat even though he outspent his opponent by a factor of over 30:1. (4) The only major difference between the two was that Brat was opposed to amnesty for illegal aliens. (5) Moreover, elected officials who implement significant increases in immigration nearly always face substantial backlash. Take for example Angela Merkel, who has lost countless seats in her party since opening Germany’s borders to anybody who wants to come in. (6) Although it has all the big money and big media support in the world, immigration is not and never has been popular among citizens. Nevertheless, we are told that Globalization (a common euphemism for this mass scale immigration to advanced nations) is inevitable, that there is nothing that can prevent it's ever-reaching effects. This is absurd. There is no reason why who we accept into our country shouldn’t be entirely within our control, as it has been for every country for centuries. If Israel, Japan, and Russia can regulate and curb their immigration, then so can the world’s only superpower. No, this occurrence was not an accident, nor was it a foregone conclusion. It was purely intentional and had significant premonition. This collective enactment was quietly decided entirely by people who operate independently of public opinion. In the United States, it started with Ted Kennedy’s Immigration Act of 1965, which fundamentally transformed the criteria in which legal immigrants are admitted; inordinately deemphasizing immigrants from Europe, while multiplying immigrants from poor and underdeveloped nations as well as making the priority for immigration solely based on who they are related to, as opposed to merit. (7) At the signing, Lyndon B. Johnson reinforced what the politicians had advertised all along: "This bill we sign today is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not restructure the shape of our daily lives.". (8) This was a flagrant and unabashed lie – the bill has restructured America’s society more than any other in at least a century, but they got away with it. As far as illegal immigration is concerned, there are existing provisions that are intended to regulate, deter, and punish illegal aliens, but the previous several administrations have refused to enforced them, including Ronald Reagan, who afforded amnesty to roughly 3 million illegal aliens in 1986. (9) Other European countries such as the UK never voted to increase displaced migrants. It was unelected officials in the European Union who exclusively determined their fate, and resultingly, citizens of the UK voted to withdraw from the European Union. (10) Very few wanted this, fewer still like it after it’s been implemented, but it was spoon fed to the general populace anyway. Because the execution of the mass migration agenda has been so deceitful and underhanded, it is therefore unethical on those grounds alone. But people don’t really know what’s good for themselves anyway, right? That’s why we have designated smart people that make these decisions for us, chicanery notwithstanding. Perhaps it is unpopular, and perhaps it wouldn’t have happened if there had been full transparency, but if we accept the doctrine of utilitarianism, then those things shouldn’t matter because the ends justify the means. Except: this only holds true if those ends actually afford the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. Does immigration do that? The answer is a loud, obnoxious, and unequivocal no. Excessive immigration is harmful in a variety of ways to the native citizens of a given population, and there are three main ways that this harm manifests itself: Economics, Crime, and Culture. To the first point, there is a common misconception that The United States supposedly relies heavily on low-skilled, middle-class subsidized immigrant labor to sustain itself. Even though we survived a couple of centuries without Mexicans washing our dishes and picking our crops, sometime around the 1970’s we apparently spawned a sporadic need for cheap immigrants to compete with our labor market. While this did, in fact, reduce the price of several goods and services like produce, (11) the negative fiscal consequences of such a colossal change to the economy have been immeasurable. People like Robert Reich, who aimlessly speculate about what could possibly be stagnating American wages, never seem to utter a whisper about this teeny tiny factor. If you’re still wondering why American wages have been steadily decaying since the 70’s, then look no further: It is specifically because of massive cheap foreign migration. This isn’t a mere “correlation,” it is the direct linear cause, nothing more than basic economics of supply and demand. Before he realized that poor, unfettered migrants tend to vote for the same people he likes, Paul Krugman of the New York Times acknowledged this particular drawback of mass migration: “immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants.” (12) A recent comprehensive study conducted by the National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine last year confirms this economic trend: “Groups comparable to … immigrants in terms of their skill may experience a wage reduction as a result of immigration-induced increases in labor supply.” (13) Despite it’s obvious economic implications, nobody seems to wants to talk about it in those terms. They instead prefer to overcomplicate the problem, even though it is plain as day. This simply doesn’t help people of the middle class whatsoever; it is attractive only to people who want cheap nannies and laborers who work for 2-3 dollars per hour. What’s more is that most of the money earned by immigrants are usually sent back to their home countries, so this money is directly siphoned out of the U.S. economy. As if this wasn’t enough, 51% of immigrant households, a full 20% more than the native population, are on some form of “free” governmental program. (14) Guess who pays for that? You cannot, I repeat, cannot sustain a welfare state with open borders. No one country has enough resources to do so. If this massive societal influx has hit anyone the hardest, it has been the only people that pay taxes: the long-suffering, ever-shrinking middle class. As far as crime goes, we are often told that immigrants are far less apt to commit any kind of crime, except of course crossing the border illegally or overstaying their visas, which don’t count. Conveniently, there is almost no official governmental data to be found when it comes to immigrant crime vs native born crime. Despite the usefulness of such knowledge, the distinction is not made in government reports and is therefore obscured. People of Latin American origin are listed as “white” on official FBI reporting. (15) However, there are several studies that you can still refer to that offer a glimpse into just how widespread immigrant crime really is. For Example, The Department of Homeland Security estimates that immigrants comprise 20 percent of inmates in prisons and jails. For reference, the foreign-born population is officially 15.4 percent of the nation’s adult population, meaning that a higher portion of immigrants are incarcerated than the native population. (16) Additionally, in 2009, 57% of the 76 fugitive murderers most wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation were foreign-born. (17) And while we never seem to hear about it, the truth is that untold thousands of people have died at the hands of legal and illegal immigrants, (18) but these heinous acts go almost completely unreported by mainstream media agencies ostensibly because negative press would be counterproductive to the agenda of the people who fund their operations. Rather than reading the tea leaves of obscure governmental data, its’ better to approach the topic logically. Mexico, composing over a quarter of our immigrant population, is the second most violent nation in the world. (19) Bribery and collusion are commonplace within government entities. The cartels call the shots, and honor killings are commonplace. You don’t even want to know what the age of consent is (12). These xenophobic facts are nonetheless facts. When an immigrant comes from another country, while they could very much be a victim, they also were nonetheless a part of that society and thus carry with them many of the elements that made that culture what it is, and no magical American soil is going to change that. Many are not victims at all and are simply criminals fleeing prosecution from their native homeland. Worse yet, some are attempting to exploit an opportunity they see up here, as is the case with the opioid crisis we are currently facing. And being that most immigrants are overwhelmingly poor, it is impossible to expect that they won’t do illegal things that sometimes necessary to make ends meet. Despite their docile portrayal, it is mathematically impossible for immigrants from extremely poor, crime-ridden nations to have lower crime rates than we do just because they chose to immigrate here; it just doesn’t check out. It would be like Harvard graduates earning less money on average when compared to high school dropouts. And even if immigrants were just “a little bit less” likely to commit crime, shouldn’t we still be dissatisfied? Immigration is supposed to benefit our country, and that should mean that one criminal is too many. The last way immigration deleteriously affects us is culture. People of the United States are routinely told that we have no culture, and that we must rely on immigrants to give us the culture we lack (just don’t emulate them too much, or else it’s cultural appropriation.) This stems somewhat from the idea that all cultures are equally good, except the U.S., which is an oppressive and hateful one. However, the political philosopher Thomas Sowell said it best: “Those who say that all cultures are equal never explain why the results of those cultures are so grossly unequal.” If we measure cultures by their results, as utilitarianists necessarily must, then there are in fact very few cultures that are superior to the United States, not the least of which being the poor and underdeveloped ones that we almost exclusively admit people from. And again, it is not difficult to understand why our culture excels while others are struggling immensely just to make ends meet. As a society, we have come to value human life, compassion for the vulnerable, integrity, democracy, free speech, and hard work. This is what makes our culture, and its subsequent results so superior to others. Maybe you don’t like our norms, or don’t think that they’re cool, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have any. And while these principals can be taught to willing participants, it is not something that you can learn overnight, and indeed, the more immigrants you accept at one time, the more difficult it becomes to assimilate every single one of them into their newfound society. Consequentially, what we see is that many immigrants still foster loyalty to their native countries, and sometimes even seem to have a deep resentment toward the country they chose to immigrate to, what with all the charges of racism, inequality, selfishness, and illegitimacy. One can’t help but wonder, if we’re such a racist, unbearable place, why these immigrants refuse to leave. Perhaps we’re not so bad after all. Their complaints only speak to the inherent incompatibility of third world civilization with western philosophies: freedom takes a lot of getting used to. Additionally, there is no getting around the inherent inefficiency of a multilingual society. Having to utilize translators for every written and spoken form of language obfuscates the communication process immensely, especially in the classroom. If we throw away our culture then we lose our longstanding prosperity, it is as simple as that. But how selfish of me to look at this from my fellow citizen’s perspective. The truly moral way to look at this, of course, is through the lens of the people who I don’t know and have nothing in common with. The downtrodden, oppressed migrants themselves. Not the drug traffickers, child molesters, or murders – it’s best to just ignore them. Think about the people who came here because they had no other choice, through no fault of their own! Think about them. Think about the children. Admittedly, it is hard not to sympathize with their plight, especially when you ask yourself what you’d do in their situation. They would be stupid not to in a way, because of all the free programs they are eligible to take advantage of, and do take advantage of, and especially in contrast to the backwards societies from which they are fleeing. But are these people better off by coming here? Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. As already described, they often feel alien and out of place in a society that is so different than the one they are used to. This is not abnormal, as it is difficult to get along with those of whom you have nothing in common. But all thing considered, looking at this issue from the view of the immigrants is simply the wrong perspective, anyway. At a certain point we cannot save the world’s problems, and on a fundamental level, we do not owe them anything. The idea that anybody besides African-Americans are entitled, by America, to affirmative action is an insult to the civil rights movement that was meant for people who were actually oppressed by this country. The United States of America is a nation-state, and like every other, it is not an international charity organization. It’s loyalty and responsibility lie with its citizens. Any action taken that is counterproductive toward this end goes against its fundamental purpose and would be cheating the people whom it is intended to serve. This is not callus or cold-hearted, it is exactly the opposite. It is benevolent towards the people it is supposed to protect, like a momma bear to her cubs. There isn’t a nation on Earth that doesn’t follow this model, nor should there be. It has sustained successful civilizations for thousands of years, until now. If you accept any of the above, it is very difficult to argue that the pursuit of large-scale immigration is utilitarian, in that it objectively does not accomplish the greatest good for the greatest number of people. In fact, mass scale immigration accomplishes nothing except the greatest good for the smallest number of people. People who are extremely wealthy, who like to stay in power at any cost for as long as possible, absolutely crave and rely on a large, steady stream of cheap labor and free votes. Namely, it is massively beneficial for people like Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim, and yes, Jeff Bezos. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that The Washington Post’s foremost agenda happens to be the hysterical advancement of open borders (citation unnecessary, just go to the front page at any given time.) Yes, there is a massive interest in maintaining the steady flow of cheap labor into our country, and it has nothing to do with promoting morality, diversity, or the middle class’s best interest. It is about maximizing profits and maintaining power. Anyone who thinks that they are advancing a progressive and tolerant society by supporting open borders is only doing the rich and powerful people’s bidding for them. Unfortunately, these people are simply too invested in their pre-manufactured, corporate funded echo chambers to realize it. To be sure, there are certainly those who are not in any position of power that still nevertheless support immigration because it is progressive, inclusive, diverse, or some other thing. These types of idealistic people often are the same ones who protest the rich, often with goodwill, wanting to increase equality and reduce poverty. The strong, emotional impulse to force “the 1%” to pay their “fair share” is an understandable sentiment. It is, however, misguided on both accounts. First, the top one percent is a rather arbitrary digit. Included in that figure are doctors, lawyers, and small business owners who contribute positively to society, work hard, and run just as much of a risk of losing their economic status as the rest of us. The real problem in all this is something closer to the top .01% of earners, who are at large very greedy, selfish, and who tend to abuse their power to create more wealth strictly for the survival of their own operations. These are the people they should be protesting because they are the ones who really control the wealth and interfere with our politics. (20) To the second point: believing that if you force rich people to give the government more money, that this will somehow entail poor people earning more income every year, is simply a red herring. This argument even assumes that the rich aren’t savvy enough to figure out a way to get around higher taxes, which can be dodged regardless of the bracket. If you care about income inequality, then you will eventually have to face what the real problem is. Not only does immigrant cheap labor stagnate wages, it also yields incredible profits for the large corporations who capitalize on it, exacerbating the income inequality problem even further, and leaving those who employ native citizens for a fair wage left eating dust. While this discovery forces many bleeding hearts to choose sides between downtrodden natives and downtrodden foreigners, it is an entirely necessary choice if they wish to consistently decry the rich. Because the relationship between elites retaining power, and the continual influx of low-skilled immigration are so inextricable, there is no way to consistently support both. This is the dilemma of the modern liberal. The rich and powerful try to distract from this ambivalence by playing upon the nativity and sympathy of the general populace in order to generate as much positive interest in their Golden Goose as possible. Proponents are expected to engage in the vigorous doublethink of believing that white western nations are racist and unjust, while simultaneously reasoning that it is beneficial and necessary to have millions of minority immigrants occupy these same oppressive nations, with the end result somehow being peace, love, and harmony for all. At best this is a strange and twisted vendetta aimed at the apparent sin of being economically, culturally, and philosophically superior. With a compliant and enthusiastic Fourth Estate, they employ carefully screened emotional spectacles and meaningless catchphrases that are to be repeated ad nauseum to advance their agenda, almost as if coming from Big Brother himself. WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. DIVERSITY IS STRENGTH. This phrase, “Diversity is our Strength,” has entirely no proof to back itself up, and is at its roots totally paradoxical, but because its utterance has been so mandatory it is now accepted as a basic truth. The contrapositive of this statement would look something like “Commonality is our Weakness.” It seems odd that the following point need even be verbalized, but it is similarity, not difference, that has always brought people together. Take a look at your closest friends. Are these people with whom you have nothing in common? Highly unlikely – in fact, these are almost certainly people that have very similar interests, hobbies, and opinions to yours. But this principle does not only exist on a micro level. Every war in human history, from the Civil War to the French Revolution has invariably been waged as a result of some unreconcilable ideological dispute. Battles are not fought because groups of people have too much in common. When we invite people from cultures who have almost no mutual interests and beliefs to our own, this invites untold tension and dispute due to sheer incompatibility, ranging from petty verbal altercations, to mass slaughter of infidels. But as long as there is a profit to be made or an election to be won, it doesn’t matter. The rich and powerful elites that attempt to control our thoughts will never yield the massive power they have unfairly seized. It’s an interesting coincidence that the greatest proponents of multiculturalism tend to be the ones whom are least affected by its far-reaching disadvantages. In the case of the ultra-rich, there is almost nothing more valuable than maintaining a steady stream of cheap labor in order to maximize the bottom line. And while it’s bad enough that they profit from this destructive alteration while everybody else pays the price, in sheer arrogance they nevertheless have the gall to nauseatingly pat themselves on the back about what great and exceptional people they are for supporting this unprecedented societal deconstruction. These people, these people who would trample over anybody just so their child can attend an all-white private school, are telling us that we are less enlightened, less compassionate than themselves because we are not on board with their perverse and self-serving agenda. That’s right: not only do they profit massively from this disaster – they get to feel morally superior in the process as well! Well let’s talk about that, why don’t we. What exactly is ethical about surrendering your children’s birthright to anonymous people across all reaches of the earth who don’t care about you any more than you care about them? How inherently moral can it be to give up your identity, values, culture, and quality of life just so people you don’t know can attend cocktail parties wherein they jerk each other off about how highbrow and sophisticated they are compared to the rest of society? There is no compulsory obligation that us tribal humans should have to support these things, and to act as though we are evil for being hesitant to give up all we hold dear for the false idol of “diversity” is a form of nihilism because it utterly rejects the fundamental meaning of what it is to be human. We are predisposed to care for immediate and proximate friends, family, and neighbors. You cannot save the entire world, nor should you be expected to. As individuals, we have a limited amount of people who we are able to interact with and learn about. If we are to be judged on any moral level, it should be by how we behave towards these people – not those who we will never interact with and know nothing of. This is the most logical way because you are more inclined to be specifically invested in the people that you know, and it is also the most rewarding because you are able to see the fruition of your works. Putting the burden of the world’s problems on our shoulders, however, is simply too much to bear. At a certain point we need to look after ourselves, and them, themselves. It is the natural order of things and shouldn’t be trifled with. If we even want to keep postulating about what is right or wrong in an enlightened society, then we ought to preserve the society that allows such discussion to take place to begin with. Once we lose that, then the basic moral questions surrounding the death penalty, abortion, the environment, and so forth become arbitrary once again, because we are being overwhelmed by cultures that are too poor and desperate to give a damn. Immigration is not as complicated as people try to make it. If we had ever been allowed to have a discussion on the matter, then we could have put together measured and gradual proposals that offer a healthy compromise between helping others, and looking out for ourselves, but our betters got greedy. Instead, it’s implementation, effects, and core nature have been nothing short of disastrous. Yes – some countries are more wealthy and privileged than others. But importing people from countries whose nations that have no concept of advanced societal morality will not change that. If anything, it will dilute the existing cultures and then the values are forever tainted. It is not any societies’ responsibility to ensure that the entire world keep up with their progress. As Aristotle said: “The worst form of inequality is trying to make unequal things equal.” If there is a solution to worldwide inequity, it certainly isn’t cultural Marxism. The best we can do is set an example for other nations, a mold to emulate so that rather than flee their own problems, they, too can realize what it’s like to have a home where they know that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are possible. If we are not vigilant in defending these ideals, then there won’t be anyone else to turn to after we’re gone.   Works Cited 1. Rick Oltman, John Kerry’s Borderless World (Michigan, Petoskey, May 2016) 2. The United Nations, (International Migration Report, New York, 2017) 3. CBS News, YouGov 2018 Battleground Tracker (CBS June 2018) 4. Philip Bump, David Brat just beat Eric Cantor. Who is he? (The Washington Post, New York, 2014) 5. Seung Min Kim, Cantor loss kills immigration reform, (Politico 2014) 6. Sean Clarke, German elections 2017: full results, (The Guardian 2017) 7. History channel, U.S. Immigration Since 1965, (History Channel 2016) 8. CIS, The Legacy of the 1965 Immigration Act, (CIS 1995) 9. Ingrid Rojas, the 1986 immigration reform explained, (ABC News 2013) 10. Alex Hunt & Brian Wheeler, Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU, (BBC News 2018) 11. Wallace Huffman and Alan McCunn, Retail Produce Prices Without Illegal Farmworkers, (Center for Immigration Studies 1996) 12. Peter Beinart, How the Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration, (The Atlantic 2017) 13. Beinart, How the Democrats Lost, (The Atlantic 2017) 14. Steven A. Camarota, Welfare Use by Immigrant and Native Households, (Center for Immigration Studies 2015) 15. FBI, Crime in the United States (FBI: UCR 2012) 16. Steven A Camarota, Immigration and Crime (Center for Immigration Studies 2009) 17. Camarota, Immigration and Crime, (CIS 2009) 18. Steve Salvi, Victims of Illegal Aliens Memorial, (OJJPAC.org 2006-2018) 19. Bill Chappell, Mexico Is World's Second Most Violent Country, Report Says, (NPR 2017) 20. Lynn Stuart Parramore, The .1 percent are the true villains: What Americans don’t understand about income inequality, (Salon 2016)

Northern Paiutes

Our very ways of life as Northern Paiutes are constantly in the imminent presence of danger. These dangers threaten our very existence as the indigenous native people of this land. We are very cultured and peaceful, our ways value humbleness and hard work, to persevere against the barriers and hardships we may face head on in the Great Basin. The white man is a very hungry man as he never seems to be satisfied with the constant bloodshed that has plagued my land for quite some years now. The influx in immigration of white settlers seeking to mine silver has been the direct cause of the suffering of my people. War seems to be the most viable option as the inhumane acts of kidnapping and the raping of two of our women has recently gone underway. The scent of vengeance lines the air as we prepare to hold the men accountable for their crime, a severe punishment is to go underway. The once natural recourses we would rely on for survival are now being used in the likes and motivations of these white settlers. They cut down pinyon trees to be used for charcoal, as well as destroying major pine-nut crops we heavily rely on during the harsh winter months as a food source. This is a crime against my land and my people, as the place we use to humbly call home is now being turned into mining grounds. Many plots of fertile land have been occupied by the white settlers, denying us the right to hunt and gather. It seems as if the majority of the natural resources and game have suddenly vanished in the wake of the white settlers arrival. The American ideologies of Manifest Destiny do not coincide with the rights we have as the natives of this land. They seek to explore and occupy all for themselves with no regard for the survival of the Paiute people, destroying anything and everything in their way. The Americans philosophy to bring democracy by force to less advanced cultures, through means of expansion of territory as they believe it is a god given right, is a ridiculous excuse for the white man to settle and claim themselves as the new owners of this land, despite the fact that this country is vast enough for the both of us. The kidnapping of the two Paiute women has now marked the beginning of this war, we believe the Americans to bring an overwhelming force of attackers and we must prepare to strengthen our chances of survival. As we returned to Pyramid Lake for a second-round we were overwhelmed with the brute force brought on by the United States, which lead to the deaths of several Paiute warriors. After we and other natives left the area, Forts were erected from the ground up to keep us and other Indians from returning to our land. Life for the Paiutes saw a drastic shift in direction upon the arrival of these settlers. We have been stripped away from our native land, the land we walked on for centuries, the land of our ancestors before us. While there have been excessive amounts of effort put in to establish a resolution of peace between the Indians and white settlers, the white man always almost seems to be driven by greed and his motivation of Manifest Destiny. They are only here to destroy our culture and infringe on our beliefs, I hold trust in the spirits to guide us and safeguard us from these unpredictable times we now live in.

The SAT

It’s 8 A.M. on a Saturday, and masses of students around the United States wake up and head to their testing sites in order to take the SAT. This is a common occurrence that happens multiple times a year, but it raises the question as to how seriously should society take these tests and other standardized testing, such as the Regents examinations in New York State. The answer to this is obvious, clearly these exams, and all standardized tests, must be taken seriously, due to the fact they provide vital information for colleges such as which students are the best, they provide ample data for high schools and state governments to prove that the academic standards are being upheld, and they also provide useful information to various institutions that prove that a professional, such as a lawyer, is knowledgeable enough to practice their profession in the jurisdiction. Across the world students generally prepare for tests in order to gain admission into universities. In the United States, two popular tests are the SAT and the ACT. These tests are as crucial as they can determine what college a student can attend. The reason for this is the SAT and the ACT provide colleges with an unbiased look at what type of student they are looking at. The SAT is curved, so that a 1500 is consistent across every test so there is no worry of grade inflation or deflation due to deviations among tests and their level of difficulty. For this reason standardized tests allows universities across the world to easily compare the applications they receive. This is needed as some colleges receive upwards of fifty thousand applications per year. Due to this, admission departments do not have the time to review every single application they receive. Ergo colleges need a way to quickly sort their applications into a smaller and more manageable amount. A standardized test that is taken by almost all applicants and curved so that scores consistently represent the same mastery is the perfect way to do this. Another reason these are essential is the possible grade inflation that could occur in a high school. Some schools have two or even more teachers that teach the same subject and make their own tests. For this reason, tests end up with varying difficulty tiers, resulting in one classes having higher grades. Consequently, one class could wind up with more A’s than others. This is seen across one school and across schools within the same state. Furthermore, some states and countries have different requirements for graduation such as one state may require four years of math while others require three. Nevertheless, a standard report is needed in order to easily compare people. Thus, for this reason, standardized tests need to be seen in a serious light. Moreover, standardized tests are serious considering they generally are the way that high school students prove they have learned their course material well enough for a high school diploma or to continue further in their high school education. Predominately, students prepare for these tests throughout the year. This data is especially helpful within the education system. These test provide ample data for institutions, such as the New York State Department of Education, to see that their curriculum is being taught to a high enough standard. Since these tests are easy to administer, they only take one day of class time and they are cheap to administer, the benefits of them surpasses the costs of them. Standardized tests also help alleviate the problem of grade inflation that can be found in high schools. Grade inflation occurs when a teacher takes into account a student’s effort or a student’s class participation during the term as a rational to give them a better grade for the term rather than relying on methods such as testing them against the standards put forth in the curriculum. Another advantage of standardized testing is that they can be made multiple choice which can eliminate bias in grading. These biases occur when a teacher grades an assignment such as an essay since one teacher may hold their students to a higher standard than another teacher does. This bias does not occur in a multiple choice question by virtue that the answer is either right or wrong. In the end, these are further reasons as to why standardized tests are essential. In addition, standardized tests need to be considered meaningful is in the grounds that there needs to be a way to easily determine if somebody has the expertise to work within a profession. A test is an easy way to do this because it can test the basic knowledge they should have learned throughout their schooling. For this reason, engineers, such as those who work on projects that the general public will use, doctors, lawyers, and nurses all must take a test in order to prove they have the necessary knowledge in their field of expertise. People would not want a doctor that did not know the basics of anatomy to treat them. Likewise, a person who has to go to trial would not want a lawyer that did not know the basics of how a trial is run to defend them in court. Additionally, an engineer needs licensing in some cases, thanks to the state needing to know that that person has the knowledge to make sure the products they are working on are safe for public use. An example of this could be a civil engineer who needs to help design a bridge. The state wants to know that person has enough knowledge to make sure their design is safe to take the forces will be applied on it during the lifetime of the bridge. A standardized test can easily tell that these people have the knowledge in subjects such as statics, dynamics, physics, and math that would allow them to make their designs safe. For these reasons, it is clear that standardized tests are paramount when it comes to licensing professionals in various fields. Conversely, opponents of standardized tests have various reasons as to why they believe that these tests are frivolous. One of these reasons is they believe that tests like these do not lead to a higher amount of student success. This however can be disputed as the amount of students going to college is at an all time high, which in turn means students are succeeding more in high school, and graduation rates are at an all time high in the world. This is attributed to standardized exams as they help students set meaningful goals to reach, which in turn leads to them working harder and then reaching higher levels of success. Another argument against standardized test is that they say that these tests take away instruction time in the classroom due to teacher inevitably taking away time to prepare the students for the specific test. This however is important, as students will take tests in the future and will need to know how to prepare for these tests. Due to teachers in high school teaching them how to prepare for tests, these students can now succeed in college as they became proficient in imperative educational skills due to standardized tests. Every single student, no matter the major, will have to take tests in college, and these skills they learned prior will be of the utmost importance for their future academic endeavors. Overall, the reasons as to why people say that standardized tests are inane are easily refuted. In the end, it is obvious that standardized tests are meaningful in society. This is considering they play an important role as they provide abundant amounts of information to various entities within it such as the educational system. The information they provide both state education systems and colleges is important as is the fact that they can clearly show if a professional can do certain jobs that require certain amounts of skill and knowledge in order for them to be completed properly.

Idea of Inception a film by Christopher Nolan

Inception a film by Christopher Nolan explores the ideas of dream sharing and seeing other people’s dreams. The final scene was when Cobb spins whether it falls or not. What does the spinning top mean, the spinning top is totem which is used to determine whether you are in reality or dreaming if it falls your not dreaming. I believe that the film is the dream we are the dreamers and Nolan is committing Inception on us. Therefore there is a chance that Cobb is in reality but the kid’s clothes have changed, in the dreams his son has short and wearing sandals and his daughter has black shoes, dress without sleeves. In the final scene, his son had long hair, white shoes and his daughter had red shoes, dress with white sleeves. Cobb is not in a dream state but his in reality and he can move on with his life, he has let go of all the guilt that he felt for his wife’s death. Cobb has forgiven himself for the tragic death of his wife because it was him he planted the idea in her mind that her reality was not real and that is what Nolan is doing to us the audience at the end of this film. If Cobb is dreaming or not, he also makes us believe that Cobb is dreaming because of the spinning top. I believe that the spinning top does fall at the end, the top wobbles before the film cuts. That is a sign that it going to fall and I believe that it does the kids are wearing different clothes from his dreams. What this implies is that Cobb is in reality and that the mission to incept Fisher was successful. This scene is the audience’s kick back to reality from a dream the film. The film is the dream and we are the dreamers, the dream ends with no answers we are also left with more questions. What Nolan is trying to imply is that the film is the dream and we are the dreamers. Dream or not Cobb doesn’t care, the only thing he wanted was to go back to his kids and he accomplished it. That was the reason he accepted the impossible mission in the first place because of his kids, and how much he loves them. Nolan decided to end the film (dream) in this manner because he wanted to show how dreaming works. The dream cuts before we see the end and that is what Nolan did to us. When we wake up from a dream we have tons of questions, we are left puzzled about we could have happened but we will never know. When the film ends without answers we were puzzled and mad at the filmmakers and then came the questions. The film Inception is the dream, we are the dreamers and Nolan is committing Inception once upon us. I believe that the spinning top falls and that Cobb is in reality and the film is ended in the manner because it is a dream and you never see the end of a dream.

Adam`s story

We drove through the ruins of abandoned cities in a small, black car. The air was filled with thick, black, heavy smoke like a giant black cloud over the dry wasteland below. Human bodies lay in piles throughout the streets, rotting and covered in heaps of trash. The smell was horrid. I could hear the sound of crunching bones as the car drove over some of them. The wind blew through, swirling around torrents of ash and plastic. Besides that, thick silence filled the air. We all sat in utter silence, alone with our thoughts. Jonathan drove the car. He was medium height, with slicked back brown hair, light brown eyes, and olive skin. Adam sat next to him. Adam was tall and muscular with pale skin, a very prominent jaw, and jet black hair. He had eyes that were so dark, they were almost black and he spoke in a deep voice. He was also possibly the most kind-hearted of all of them but he could take orders and killed when he needed to. Jewel sat next to me, Chase. She had long, red hair that went down to her shoulders. She was almost unnaturally skinny and covered in freckles. She was probably the toughest of all of them. I was blonde with brown eyes and my long hair stuck straight up in the front. I was also the shortest. Suddenly, there was swift movement on one side of the vehicle. A woman ran towards the car, blood and yellow pus pouring down their blackened, dying skin. Her hair was dirty, greasy, and falling out, and she wore a ragged, moldy jacket several sizes too big. “HELP, PLEASE!!!” She screamed towards the vehicle as they ran out in the road in front of them. Jonathan pushed harder on the gas and sped up. With a loud thump, the car smacked into the woman. It backed up and Adam shot at the person lying on the ground to be sure they were dead. They couldn’t take any risks. Most people had been infected already. The now-dead person seemed to have been in the advanced stages of infection. The disease robbed people of their life, not their humanity. That person had been every bit as sane as everyone in the car. But they were infected, so they had to be killed. They would’ve died soon anyway. I leaned back in my seat and closed my eyes to think. It had all started about ten years ago. At that point, pollution had already been at levels where the air was dangerous to breathe. Poison and human activity had killed off several plants and animals. The ecosystem was out of balance and the economy was worse than it had been during even the Great Depression. Most people lived in filthy villages of tents and small huts made of trash. The rich minority lived in huge skyscrapers with all the latest technologies. A doomsday cult called God’s Soldiers had risen and had hundreds of thousands of followers within a short period. They were responsible for thousands of huge terrorist attacks, many which took at least three times the lives as the famous 9/11. They believed that humans had not taken care of the world God had given them, and that he had already judged everyone that they were doomed to die. Only those who joined their group could be saved and that those who did were responsible for killing off the rest of the population, which was anyone who didn’t believe. To prove their faith, everyone must be initiated. They were put through intense torture. Those who didn’t commit suicide or try to escape when given the chance were allowed to join. Those who didn’t were put to death. Several resistance movements were created. Most failed. Only two were currently fighting back. He was part of one of them. Then, destroying the economy entirely, all major pollinators, such as bees, abruptly died off. Within a few years, crops and plants died, and we lost most of our food sources. This caused many people to join God’s Soldiers. They soon had millions of followers. Their next terror attack changed the world once again. In a crowded city, they released a synthetic disease. The infection spread quickly, killing off the majority of the population, God’s Soldiers among them. This was the result. BANG! BANG! BANG! Gunshots rang through the air, snapping me back to reality. A bullet flew past my nose. My ears were ringing. God’s Soldiers shot at us from high up in the surrounding buildings. “FIRE BACK!” Jewel yelled, brushing her red hair to the side. I pulled the pistols from my pockets and began to fire at the soldiers. I hit one of them, and he fell all the way down from the roof into a pile of the dead. The bloated bodies exploded when he hit them, splattering blood all over the ash-covered ground. Within a few minutes, we had successfully picked off the last of them. We continued driving onwards towards the local headquarters of God’s Soldiers. “Alright, we stop here,” Jonathan said. “Zip up!” We all zipped up yellow biohazard suits over our bodies. “Here we go,” I mumbled. Then, we all hopped out of the car and ran through the small alleyways of the city, trying to avoid being in direct sight of anyone. We turned a corner to see a small village of tents set up. People sat, surrounding a small trash can fire pit. There were children, adults, and the elderly. They wore no clothes and we could see their blackening skin. They were infected. Jonathan waved us forward. After we were a safe distance away, he said “we can’t waste any ammo on them. We’re gonna need as much of it as we can get for this.” I knew the real reason he didn’t have us attack though. We had plenty of bullets. He just couldn’t bear having to kill children, whether they were infected or not. Finally, we saw the first guard. The man brandished a pistol and a katana. We didn’t even give him time to blink. He turned the corner and three bullets were in him in an instant. We hopped over the corpse lying on the ground and continued running through the alleys. After about five minutes of running, we heard the sound of people running from the corner in front of us. Jonathan raised his clenched fist, signaling us to stop. We all raised our weapons. Five guards turned the corner. Gunshots sounded. All five fell to the ground simultaneously. Only one of them had time to fire. The bullet narrowly missed Jewel. She seemed a little shocked by how close it had gotten to her head. We continued moving onwards. “Come on guys, we’re almost there,” Jonathan whispered. Finally, we reached our destination. Ten guards stood at a door. Adam peeked out from the corner of a building. He pulled out a slingshot and fired a ball of glue at the security camera. It splattered all over the lens, blinding it. The noise caused all the guards to look up. In their moment of distraction, we shot at them as quickly as we could. The first five of them were dead almost instantly. The others had time to react. They fired back with their own guns. Two hit Adam in the leg. He fell to the ground. We finished off the last few with only a shallow wound inflicted in Jewel’s arm by a thrown dagger. Then Jonathan and I ran to help Adam up as Jewel bandaged up her arm. He was limping badly. “Guys, you gotta go ahead of me,” he said between pained breaths. “I can’t walk like this. I’ll stay behind to protect you from any that try to come back in. They’ll probably call everybody back in if you’re able to steal the Queen.” That was the point of this mission. We were trying to steal something that our spies had informed us they had. We had been told that they possessed the last queen bee in the world. If we could breed those back, we might have a chance at fixing what we had done to the environment. At least that was part of what we needed. There was still no known antidote to The Disease. But having a queen bee was at least one step to rebuilding society. Jonathan hesitated. He looked at me for assurance. I nodded. “Okay,” Jonathan said. “We’ll make sure to come back for you. I promise.” We laid Adam against the wall after I had taken the slingshot and remaining balls of glue. I began searching the bodies of the fallen guards. “I found it,” I yelled, pulling a key card from the pocket of one of them. We scanned it and the door unlocked. Jonathan opened it and I quickly shot the security camera inside with another glue ball like Adam had done to the one outside. The three of us remaining ran in, weapons held in our hands. A single soldier walked down the long hallway at the entrance to the door. Jewel tiptoed behind him and quickly slit his throat. He made a faint gurgling noise and fell to the floor. We ran up a set of stairs, trying to be as quiet as possible as we killed off any soldiers we saw. We avoided using our guns and killed most off using knives or katanas we had stolen from the previous God’s Soldiers we had taken down. I made sure to blind any cameras I knew of. We had all reviewed and memorized the blueprints to this facility and where things were located. Suddenly, an alarm began ringing and red lights flashed. Someone must’ve seen us. Now everyone knew we were here! “RUN!!!!” Jonathan screamed. “WE HAVE TO HURRY!! THEY’RE GONNA SWARM US IF WE DON’T MOVE!!” I flew up the stairs and through a small door leading to the back halls of the building. I turned a corner to see a line of guards running our way, carrying large guns. Jewel threw an explosive into the crowd. Then she grabbed my arm and pulled me back behind a wall. BOOM! The grenade went off. Screams rang out from where the guards had been. “Alright, let’s go!” “Thanks!” I yelled back at her. The guards laid dying or dead on the ground. We ran down the halls until we reached a large, heavy door. I pulled out the key card we had used to get into the building and ran it underneath the scanner. We stepped into the room to see a lab setup. A man sat at a table in the middle of the room. Two tall bodyguards stood at his sides. He held a capped glass beaker in his hands. Inside was a queen bee surrounded by a few small drone bees. He had very striking blue eyes but something about them seemed off. As if there wasn’t something quite right with his mind. A scar ran across his pale skin. This was Richard Denton, leader of the God’s Soldiers cult. But he looked different from the pictures we had of him. His cheek was purple, as if his skin there was dying. Suddenly, a realization came to me. Richard Denton had The Disease! “Don’t make a single move or I kill them!” he yelled, holding the beaker as if he were going to throw it to the ground. I froze. “Now drop your guns.” We threw our weapons to the floor. I could faintly hear guards running down the halls behind us, towards the lab. They would be arriving soon. Then we’d be caught and everything would be over. “Now we wait,” he said. This was it, I thought. We had failed the mission. The world would descend into deeper and deeper chaos until there was nothing left of it. Then, suddenly, one of his bodyguards flicked a switchblade out and leapt towards Denton. Fear flashed across Denton’s face before the knife was thrust into his neck. The guard grabbed the beaker. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?” the other guard yelled before pushing Denton’s killer to the ground. He aimed his gun at the guard who had just rebelled against God’s Soldiers. “Take it,” the rebel called, throwing the beaker towards us. Jonathan caught it out of the air right before the rebel was shot. I grabbed my gun from the ground and fired at the guard who shot the bullet. I pulled the rebel to his feet. “Quickly,” he said. “I know a secret way out.” He pressed a button on his watch and a section of the wall rotated open, revealing a hidden staircase. There was a clicking noise as the main door to the lab unlocked for the soldiers who had been approaching. “Run,” the rebel said. “Leave me behind. I can’t go with you. I’ve betrayed my leader for you. I have to accept the consequences.” “Why did you help us?” I asked. “I couldn’t bear Denton anymore. He’s a psychopath. He would’ve been willing to kill the Queen and let everyone die. Now go!” He pushed me towards the hidden doorway. I ran down the stairs, away from him, just as he had told me to do. I heard him mutter something. “May God have mercy on my soul,” he said. Then about ten bullets shot through his body and he tumbled down the stairs. The guards ran after us. BANG! A single bullet flew across the room, hitting Jonathan in the back of the head. He fell forward and the beaker flew into the air. I quickly jumped and caught it, tripping slightly on the stairs. Jonathan’s lifeless body slid down the stairs, bumping on each step and leaving a trail of blood. “Let’s go,” Jewel said. “It’s too late for him!” We raced down the twisting stairs. They opened up into an alleyway outside. We ran down it until we reached the point where we had left Adam. A sword had been pierced through his heart. At least thirty God’s Soldiers were dead around him; one of them clutching the sword that was in his chest. Ten of them were from when we first got there. The rest was all him. He had put up a good fight against them, like he always does, but eventually they had gotten to be too much for him. We ran past, through the alleyways, until we reached the spot where we left our car. Jewel hopped into the driver’s seat and slammed down hard on the gas. I pulled a machine gun from the back seat and fired into the huge crowd behind us. They fell to the ground in rows, clutching their wounds. Soon they were out of sight. It took about forty minutes before the car was driving out of the city. We didn’t encounter many problems getting out. Only once did we have to shoot someone. As we drove away, I looked out at the huge sea of dead bodies and garbage and then into the beaker at the bees flying around in the glass. These little insects were the last hope for people all around the world. They couldn’t cure the disease, but maybe they could provide food for the people who cure it. The mission was a success. Fifty years later, a honey bee flew through the air before landing on an old gravestone. The grave was for Chase Maxwell, the man who had stolen the last queen bee. He had died shortly after his heroism from The Disease. Next to him were the graves of Jonathan Whipple, Adam Richards, and Jewel James, along with David Cross, otherwise known as “The Rebel.” They sat in a field of flowers, that never could’ve existed without them. Beyond that was the city of New Hope, where the last uninfected people in the area had found refuge in the middle of the wilderness. Crops and plants were revived from old seeds and the honeybee population was brought up. The people of New Hope had used what was left of technology to rebuild what they could of society. Sadly, some technologies were lost forever. But what they had used much cleaner methods than what had been used in the past. No cure had been found, but a wall was built around the city to protect the inhabitants as the rest of the world suffered, slowly dying off under the reign of God’s Soldiers.

A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen,

A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen, is an intriguing story of a marriage that falls apart as the wife, Nora Helmer, realizes she has been living as simply a doll in her husband’s doll house. As the story begins, we learn of Nora’s secret, a loan in which she has committed forgery in order to obtain. The loan was used for a trip that the Helmer’s took when Torvald grew ill. Krogstad, the man in which Nora has borrowed the money from, blackmails Nora in hopes that her husband, Torvald, will let him keep his job. As the story develops, Nora’s anxiety grows as her husband grows closer to learning about what she has done. Throughout the story, the main conflict between Nora and Torvald is obvious, but the use of minor characters to help her develop is less evident. The use of minor characters in A Doll’s House is necessary in telling the story of Nora and how she became aware of the mistreatment she facing daily. One of the four vital minor characters is Krogstad. When Nora needed a loan to afford to take her family to Italy to help Torvald, she looked everywhere. The trip was important for Torvald’s health and knowing that he would never let her take out a loan, she tells him that her father left her some money when he died. Eventually, she loaned money from Krogstad, a banker that Torvald eventually fires. When she signed for the loan she forged her father’s signature after he passed so that she could get the money and for a while there was no suspicion. A couple months later, when Krogstad’s job was in danger due to her husband’s new promotion, looked further into the document and realized it had been forged. He used the forgery to blackmail her into convincing her husband to let him continue to work. Krogstad’s blackmail showed Nora how the trip, even though it helped Torvald, would not be appreciated if he found out she took a loan. “That was impossible! The trip was to save my husband’s life. I could not cancel it,” (Ibsen 45). This quote shows that she invested all her effort and money on a trip for her husband’s life and yet he was unappreciative. Krogstad’s position on the matter helped Nora to realize that Torvald is so controlling that even when she saved his life, she is told that she ruined his life, not saved it.

 Is a virus a form of life?

When it comes to the argument, “ is a virus a life form?” there are many debates and opinions but I have found reasons why a virus wouldn't be considered a living thing. Viruses depend on a host cell, without this it cannot reproduce. It lacks key components to be a form of life, while it can be a deadly thing it still needs the help of cells to grow and spread. There are said to be seven characteristics of life, to be considered living which a virus fails when it comes to the test. For these reasons, and to the best of my knowledge a virus is not a form of life. Geggel explains that it takes seven things to be alive “According to the seven characteristics of life, all living beings must be able to respond to stimuli; grow over time; produce offspring; maintain a stable body temperature; metabolize energy; consist of one or more cells; and adapt to their environment.” which a virus does not. She goes on to talk about how viruses are not a form of life because they depend on other things to grow and be active such as cells. If a virus doesn’t have these key components then it is not able to be considered living, a virus is a dependent. Port explains the key things one needs to be considered a living thing and how when it comes to a virus, it would fail to be thought of as a form of life. “In order to replicate, viruses must first hijack the reproductive equipment of a host cell, redirecting it to ‘photocopy’ the genetic code of the virus and seal it inside a newly formed container, known as the capsid.” For these reasons, a virus would not be a form of life. In order for a virus to be a form of life, it would need to reproduce which it is unable to do on its own. A virus cannot work its way and make its course without needing to rely on a cell host. Hogan explains why viruses are considered “on the edge of life” they can perform many processes found in similar organisms but lack one key component to a genuine organism, replication. Viruses depend upon a host organism for this process of replication. Understanding the reasons behind why viruses are in a grey area in the scientific field is crucial because they can be very harmful. Another example would be that viruses do not need to consume energy to survive. For these reasons and examples, a virus would not be considered a form of life. Based on the fact that it lacks key components to be living and being dependant on hosts to grow. While not being a form of life they’re harmful and need to be taken care of so that while taking its course you’re prepared. When I began research for this essay I first thought that yes, it is a form of life how not, but then I realized my hypothesis was wrong. For something to be living or a form of life; it needs to fall under a certain category which in this case, the argument “ is a virus a form of life” falls under the bus. Cited sources: C Michael Hogan (Lead Author); Sidney Draggan Ph.D. (Topic Editor) "Virus". In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth May 12, 2010; Last revised Date December 30, 2010; Retrieved September 28, 2012. Encyclopedia of Earth geggel, laura. “Are Viruses Alive?” Https://Www.livescience.com/58018-Are-Viruses-Alive.html, 2017, www.livescience.com/58018-are-viruses-alive.html. Port, Jake. “Why Are Viruses Considered to Be Non-Living?” Cosmos, 13 Sept. 2017, cosmosmagazine.com/biology/why-are-viruses-considered-to-be-non-living.