Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Democratic Tyranny?

We arrived at Goldwin Smith Hall today for a lecture on the roles of freedom and democracy after wrapping up the feminist movements.  The focus of the lecture was based on the teachings of John Stuart Mill, who was also a women’s rights activist, and Adam Smith.  The discussion section was directed at the same issues, diving deeper into the differences between true democracy and freedom.  We looked at the “tyranny by the majority,” which eventually led us to discuss the contrasts between public opinion in the modern-day world, especially the controversies over same-sex marriage laws.

After lunch, Richard Stumbar, an attorney who also focused on the controversies of gay rights, greeted us.  He spoke from personal experience from his colleagues and highlighted the contrasting issues regarding same-sex marriage on the political and religious scales, which are partially intertwined.  He later spoke of gay rights progressivism through the adoption of many new laws that had already admitted same-sex marriage in six states: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Washington, and Washington D.C. We were soon dismissed for our three-day weekend.

The three Freedom and Justice students spent the early afternoon in Uris Library in a group study room to relax and revise our essays.  Around 4 o’clock we met with our cohort including Mr. Chan-Law for a brief overview of our plans for the weekend, and then the three of us heading up to Balch Hall (Calvin’s dorm) where Ulas, our T.A., to review the notes he had written on our first draft of the essay.

We spent the evening after dinner initially playing pool with Mr. Chan-Law and a Freedom and Justice friend, who, interestingly enough, goes to Albany High about two blocks down from our high school and whom I used to play soccer with.  It was a relaxing way to officially start our three-day weekend.  Tomorrow, Eric, Calvin, Mr. Chan-Law, and I will spend the day touring Colgate University; I am looking forward to reliving the college-visiting experience once more!

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