Acknowledgedly Productive Literature

Rachel Taylor

Dr. Gary North

English 4

06/02/17

Review Assignment Week 36

“My plan to put my knowledge of literature to productive lifetime use.”

It’s hard to believe that students who have come out of the RPC curriculum could have such a huge advantage over students who have gone through the system’s idea of a good education. I didn’t make much of myself concerning the knowledge I know. In terms of classical literature in both print and movies, I have read more than most people, including adults. I’m told this will give me a competitive edge in college. The reason for this is that I know the historical background for most of the literature I have read and vice versa. I literally don’t know how many pages of literature I have read for the Ron Paul Curriculum. It must surely be in the hundreds. Thanks to the encouragement of my teacher, I have decided to begin a new site using wordpress.com. I will be giving reviews of books and movies. It can be the reading or watching I do for fun and those which have had an impact on society. Throughout the English courses, I have been shown and taught how to analyze different pieces of literature in an intelligent. Another idea has now just entered my mind. It’s one which I could pursue after I’ve become established in my current reading/watching venue. I could be reading/watching books/movies that were filmed in Canada and Mexico, not just in America. America holds an overwhelming share of the market in both books, movies, and TV. Sure, the other two countries have been producing their own, but these just don’t seem to gain as much penetration into North America as Americans do. A comparative study of the literature and history of these three countries has never before been undertaken. Why are we so much the same and yet so different? With the intellectual training given to me through RPC, I’m now capable of undertaking a small study of these on my own time. I have long enjoyed reading books. As you can imagine, I also enjoy watching movies and TV. However, I never had much appreciation for writing or the impact which one clearly, persuasively put essay can have. Through this, I will increase my understanding and appreciation of great literature. The best thing about this is I will be able to pass what I write on to the next generation through this active analyzing and critiquing of literature. This means I will have something very important and meaningful to do with my time. Literature is meant to be shared across borders, across cultures, and across language barriers. Just like the world and everything in and about it has a history, so does literature. I’m going to help in any way I can. As I was told, since I read/watch, I might as well write and post. I encourage anyone else who has gone through a curriculum similar to RPC to use this vast knowledge to productive lifetime use. A site that you make which gives reviews on books/movies/TV will become a reference source for others. You, we, can help give literature a voice, reawakening people’s interest in their own historical literature as well as that of their neighbors.

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Beating the Collegiate System

Rachel Taylor

Dr. Gary North

American History

06/02/17

Review Assignment 7

“What could I do with half of the money that my parents plan to spend on my college?”

My parents have not set aside any money for my college education. They can’t afford to do this because I come from a family of twelve people. If I were going to get any kind of degree, I would be the one providing the money and I would do as much as I could through CLEP’s and distance-learning. At this point, I haven’t passed two year’s worth of CLEP’s. After doing the lesson, I realized that there was so much more I could do if I can only concentrate and set my goals. So far, I have applied for an Associates Degree in Equine Production and Management at Weatherford College. They do offer distance-learning and courses that I could easily quiz out on. This degree with only take 2 years to earn. I found out this would be mean there are no two years to quiz out on because that only happens when you are taking at 4-year degree. At this point, I’ve haven’t decided whether or not I want to pursue a B.A. and then move on to earning an M.B.A. At this point, I do have a job which I could work at during the school year as well as during the summer, which would enable to me to pay for these courses. If I’m able to get any of the degrees through distance learning, I wouldn’t have to pray for room and board on any college campus. In fact, I may never have to set foot on a campus at all. This sounds like a wonderful deal. It’s amazing how few people know about this. It may not be normal to beat the system, but that doesn’t mean it’s isn’t easy. Since my parents can’t afford to do any or all of this for me, I will be the one paying for it. I have been told that it is better to get through the B.A. cheap and fast, and then earn an advanced degree. In order to do this, I would need to spend two summers and one academic year, from June this year to August of next year, getting my first two years through AP or CLEP. I would much prefer CLEP because these can be taken year round. Patten University or Thomas Edison State College recommended to me as the best and cheapest online and/or distance learning. At this point, my main interest is in pursuing a degree related to the Equine (horse) industry. I haven’t been able to find a B.A. thus far that deals in that area specifically. Still, production and management are close to managing a business, which is something I could earn a B.A. and an M.B.A. for. I don’t plan on wasting my parents’ money or my time. If I’m going to be a B.A. I can and will graduate within three years (or less) from today. Any college that won’t accept my CLEP credits won’t get access to any of my parents’ money, my money, or my time. Thank you, RPC, for showing me how to beat the collegiate system.

Imagination vs. Creativity

Rachel Taylor

Dr. Gary North

English 4

06/01/17

Review Assignment Week 35

“Studying American literature: print vs. movies.”

This is certainly a huge difference between studying American literature in print compared to doing so through movies. I have to say, I was very surprised to see that I would be assigned movies to watch near the end of my last two English courses. No other curriculum does this. Some people find it easier to learn through reading and others through visual means. Though I have been an avid reader for most of my life, I also enjoy watching movies. It doesn’t take very much to determine the difference between any one movie or the story/book it is based on. Sometimes, the movie isn’t based on a book at all. In this case, it is said to be “based on a true story”. The trouble with that is the movie industry will take a few liberties to make the movie “better” even if that means messing around with the facts. When you read about certain pieces of literature, the writer had better be a great one. Without a screen or pictures, you have to create the scene in your mind. The writer has been competent enough to do this through words. Yes, in some books there are pictures which can aid the visual process, but these don’t move forward in a fast sequence of events. It takes much more time to read a story in one sitting than it does to watch a movie. The advantages of studying literature via movies are the viewer is forced to keep their eyes on the screen. Otherwise, they might miss some little detail that would give more insight into the story. This allows the viewer to relax. Both the movie producers and the viewers don’t have to work as hard to get across the general setting of a scene at any place or time. All that remains is the plot and dialogue of the characters. These are as equally, if not more so, important in books. The wonderful thing about books is that you can take your time to think about what you have read, to determine the plausibility of the plot, and how believable the dialogue is. These days, the falling costs of technology have made it easier for independent directors and amateur actors to find an outlet for their skills. The same could be said for books since many can be produced online. Certainly, there are fewer books now than there once were, but that doesn’t necessary lessen the importance of or education that a certain book has to offer. Another aspect of movies is that it is much easier for the reader to become emotionally committed to the characters in the movie through their ability to relate to the characters. What you see and hear determines how you feel. Sound and sight are real. Most of the world doesn’t look like tiny bits of print on the page, which can make it difficult for writers to communicate intensely emotional scenes. So, creativity and budgets have a lot do with your ability to communicate the story or event in terms which will seem real, believable, and palatable. Some things are best left in books while others are made to shine even brighter when put on the screen.

Self-Developed Mastery

Rachel Taylor

Dr. Gary North

American History

05/31/17

Review Assignment 6

“The most important skill I developed in high school.”

I have been taking this course since the beginning of my high school years when the course was just being developed. For this reason, I was unable or didn’t want to, take the courses in the exact order at which they were presented. This did provide some chronology problems, but I still was able to take away just as much from each course. This has been by far the most rigorous curriculum I have ever taken. Without that, I probably wouldn’t have felt like I was learning anything and would thus have lost attention and missed out on further development of my academic and personal skills. From what I been able to ascertain through my own self-evaluation high school report card, the most important skill I have developed academically is writing. When I was younger, it was very difficult and frustrating for me to learn how to write. I didn’t do very well on grammar and spelling. To make matters worse, I also had reading problems. The scientific term for this is dyslexia. I have been convinced that, had I not taken the Ron Paul Curriculum, I would still be writing as despicably as I was at the beginning of 9th grade. I noticed in my senior year, through comments about the essays that I had posted on my blog, that my ability to write clearly and effectively have greatly improved. I do far less rambling, have more original thoughts, and no longer have to worry about grammar mistakes. That doesn’t mean I do it perfectly. If anyone read my essays from English 1 and compared them with English 4, they would know exactly just how much I’ve improved. The same goes for history, too.

Now that the academic side is out of the way, here is my most developed personal skills. I became much better at finances and formed a finer tuned work ethic. Before taking the course in Personal Finances at the RPC, I was like most kids are when it comes to money. The second there was money burning a hole in my pocket, it was going to be spent. I knew nothing of saving for a rainy day or giving money to anyone other than myself. Now, I have greatly improved on budgeting, thriftiness, goal-setting, and capital accumulation. There is no impulse buying because it takes me forever to decide to buy anything. There is no spending on useless items that will be gone before I know it. In other words, no cheap stuff I don’t really need. If there is something with an enormous price tag on it, I’m able to set a goal to gain the money I need to purchase it. I can save my money. I have also learned how to delegate how much money I have to different areas of expense. Everything is proportioned correctly and properly kept track of in my accounts. This goes hand in hand with having a good work ethic. This takes self-discipline and sacrifice on my part, but it is so rewarding when the goal is reached. I used to be one of those who procrastinated to the last minute on huge school assignments, spending very little time each day to work on them. Thanks to the good feeling of completing something because I was the one investing all the work, I have turned in assignments on time and in full. If it was something on which I needed to focus, I was able to do it and manage my time for the purpose of researching and writing. So, there has been much improvement for me in these vital areas, thanks to the Ron Paul Curriculum (RPC).

American Revolution: No Liberty and You Die

Rachel Taylor

Dr. Gary North

American History

05/30/17

Review Assignment 5

“If the United States ranks lower than other nations that were part of the British Empire in 1774, was the American Revolution necessary to increase liberty?”

Human Freedom Index.- http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking (These ratings may change over time. This essay shows the ratings as they are on May 30, 2017.)

The Human Freedom Index is an independent website that measures just how free each nation in the world is. Under discussion, today is the United States’ freedom index compared to that of other nations which were part of the British Empire in 1774, of which there are three. The current position of the United States is the world’s 17th freest country. There are only three other nations that rank higher and were a part of the British Empire in 1774. This is to show the distinction between countries that were colonized later than 1774 by the British Empire. The three countries are Canada, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Canada currently ranks 7th, Ireland 9th, and the Netherlands 15th on the freedom index. As a note of interest, the United Kingdom ranks 12th on the freedom index. Countries that were under Brish rule at one time, though after 1774, rank higher than the United States are Australia (5), Hong Kong (1), and New Zealand (3).

Now that the evidence has been put forth that the United States ranks lower in freedom than these other nations, the question remains. Was the American Revolution necessary to increase liberty? One of the primary reasons the war was fought was taxes, or the right to be represented in Parliament. What started as a little resentment to the housing of British troops turned into a bitter hatred for any laws or regulations passed by the British Parliament. With the escalation of mob violence in Massachusetts, Parliament passed the Stamp Act; not a very smart move. Up until 1765 and for about 150 years, the Parliament had imposed little to no taxes at all, leaving the colonies to govern and tax themselves. Even with the tea tax, the colonists were paying only an infinitesimal of the amount of taxes they would soon be paying under the Constitution of 1788. Soon after the revolution, people were placed under a tax burden which had been unheard of before the revolution, yet they didn’t resist these taxes as they had with the taxes levied by Parliament. Today, the government is by no means spending less, fighting fewer wars, or lowering taxes. With the establishment of a strong central government under the Constitution, the American people assented to the very thing which they had fought to be free of during the Revolution. It wouldn’t be any small wonder if people began to second guess the validity of the Revolution soon after it was ended.

The three countries of Canada, Ireland, and the Netherlands never had to experience such a high level of taxation. Even though they are technically still part of the British Empire even today, they are allowed government and economic freedom that is no longer seen in the United States. All three countries show an economic competitiveness that has been sustained by the solid institutional foundations of an open-market system, from a traditional emphasis on the rule of law and robust framework. Could this be the tradition of English common law? The United States certainly doesn’t have that. These three countries also share strong protection of property rights, an openness to global trade and investment, and an overall regulatory environment that remains transparent and efficient. In contrast, the United States is suffered from huge budget debts and a high public debt which reflect the continuing decline in America’s economic freedom. The United States is overwhelmed with a huge interfering central government that has contributed to a lack of labor market dynamism and depressed levels of investment through increased regulatory and tax burdens. A loss of confidence accompanied by a growing perception of cronyism, elite privilege, and corruption have severely undermined America’s global competitiveness.

The United States is less free now than it ever was before the American Revolution and has continually lost this freedom through the centuries. In contrast, the three countries under British rule have maintained a robust economy, lax government interference, and the freedom that was so much sought for as a result of the American Revolution.

 

 

Quiz Show: “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.”

Rachel Taylor

Dr. Gary North

English 4

05/25/17

Review Assignment Week 33

Quiz Show did not tell the truth about key historical figures. Did this break the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness’?”

While reading through the assigned documents, those who had anything to do with the film’s production would continually say that none of what was in it was false. Apparently, as long as the facts are pertinent to conveying the “spirit” of what actually happened, then it’s okay to mix and match the facts. When the movie Quiz Show was soon to be released in theaters, everyone at the studio felt that it would make a great box office hit. The conundrum of this movie is the exact opposite happened. Quoting an online article which speaks on this topic, here is what they quoted the director, Robert Redford as saying regarding why people were not drawn to see “Quiz Show. “Mr. Redford said: “Either we don’t want to face our loss of innocence because it’s asking us to admit we’ve lost one of our virtues. Or we don’t want to face it because we’re as shallow as people accuse us of being and as spoiled. Or maybe it’s too painful, and we don’t have the experience of facing these things. And I don’t know which it is.”1 There are others who think there were vastly different reasons for this, but that isn’t the point of this essay. The point is, does this sort of “artistic license” taken by studios, producers, screenwriters, and directors mean that they will ultimately end up bearing false witness? Wikipedia states that journalist Ken Auletta, in a 1994 article in The New Yorker, noted that Redford conceded at a screening of the film that summer that “dramatic license” was taken in making Quiz Show. Redford made no apologies for the liberties, which included telescoping three years of scandal into one. Redford stated that he had tried “to elevate something so that people can see it … otherwise, you might as well have a documentary.”2 Still, I don’t believe that this “artistic license”, which is more like a license-to-lie-whenever-I-see-fit is justified when put under scrutiny by this commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” 3 I don’t care if that means the movie won’t be as dramatic or entertaining. To me, the truth matters more than how much I enjoy hearing the truth. What about how this break in the truth affects the lives and reputations of those on whom the movie is based? A lie never ends well no matter how long it carried through countless investigations. The truth will always be found, as the participants in the Quiz Show scandals found out, so why make it worse? I wouldn’t want to produce, direct, write or endorse movies that tell endless lies about history. If anything, I would just show them as examples of fabrication and perjury. It’s amazing how often we are tempted to lie on a regular basis about small things that can quickly balloon in large, significant scandals that blow up in our face. The movie may have been enjoyable to watch as a drama, but if it doesn’t tell the whole truth, what’s the point in it’s being called “history”? History is what actually happened and there is nothing you can or should change about that.

1“The Enigma of ‘Quiz Show’: No Crowds.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Feb. 1995. Web. 25 May 2017. <http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/12/movies/film-the-enigma-of-quiz-show-no-crowds.html&gt;.

2“Quiz Show (film).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 May 2017. Web. 25 May 2017. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiz_Show_(film)&gt;.

3Exodus 20:16

Grace Through Tender Mercies and Driving Miss Daisy

Rachel Taylor

Dr. Gary North

English 4

05/24/17

Review Assignment Week 32

“In what ways are both movies about grace: gifts unearned by the recipient?”

Grace, in Christian belief, is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Tender Mercies (1983) For me, it was much easier to see the ways in which grace was bestowed in this movie. The first show of this grace is when Rosa Lee, the owner of the motel, grants Mac grace by allowing him to work out his debt. She also feeds and shelters him while we are working. Later, when Mac asks for a permanent job, to which she also agrees. This is the beginning of the process which saved Mac Sledge from a life that was continually messy to one of simple gracefulness. This also evidenced by the fact that Mac stops drinking. That is the one thing Rosa Lee won’t tolerate while he works for her. The whole family, Mac, Rosa Lee, and the boy go to church. Rosa Lee is a participant in the church as a singer in the choir. “We have heard the joyful song. Jesus saves. Jesus saves,” is the tune sung at that particular meeting. The pastor asks Mac about his baptism. Mac says he hasn’t been baptized. Later, after Mac and Rosa Lee are married, both he and Bobby are baptized. Then, there is a post-baptism exchange. After Bobby, the boy, says he doesn’t feel any different, he asks Mac, “Do you feel any different?” Mac answers, “Not yet.” This means that there is hope for gradual sanctification over time. It will happen. Rosa Lee ministers to those around through the continuity of her faith. Mac realizes the blessings of family. He experiences a crisis during which he accepts his new life. Later, Mac experiences another crisis, one which leads to feelings of rebellion. Through the grace that has been shown to him, Mac learns that words success is futile, but that creativity in music and relationships with family are what lead to true happiness.

Driving Miss Daisy (1989) An old woman of Jewish descent is brought into contact with an old negro man. Miss Daisy doesn’t want to admit that she can’t drive anymore and is unwilling to let anyone else do it for her. Hoke asks for a job driving her. This means that he is willing to cope with the way in which Miss Daisy treats him during the early years of their relationship. In the beginning, she won’t let him do anything. Later, she beings to enjoy his company more as a friend than as a servant when there is a power failure during a snowstorm. Only at near the end was she finally willing to admit that Hoke was her best friend. By the time the movie ends, they have both made the social transition which came through the civil rights era in the South. Hoke didn’t have to put up with her attitude towards him, yet he was polite, though determined, at winning her over. In the beginning, Hoke wasn’t allowed to do anything without Miss Daisy’s oversight. Later, she allowed him to do whatever to eat whatever he wanted and to show initiative towards being productive in his job. Even though Miss Daisy doesn’t want to admit it, she takes advice from Hoke about frying chicken. Hoke has figured out that she will do this, and is willing to accept her for it. The gifts of grace in this movie are vastly more subtle, but these are two people entirely different backgrounds and ethnicity who become best friends by giving each other this gift of a friendship that comes through God’s grace towards them.