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Peppa Pig, an innocuous children’s cartoon character, was scrubbed from its various video-sharing platforms in China due to its association with counterculture memes and “society people" — slang for unruly slackers and gangsters. The “cheeky little piggy” has sparked a tattoo craze and other subtle ways to take a jab at the communist government, which heavily monitors the media its citizens consume as an effort against western influence. Despite its pushback, Peppa Pig continues to grow among rebellious Chinese youth.
Scandal is not new to political and social realms, nor is its hold on the public conscience after a recent development. But, the way it has proliferated through the use of social media is certainly a cause for concern. It seems that every day there is something new to be angry about, or some controversy to be swept up in and bemoan about how the country is falling apart.
In August 2018, the American Psychologists Association (APA) issued a series of guidelines for psychological practice with boys and men, aimed at addressing the negative impacts of “traditional masculine ideologies” which have been shown “to limit males’ psychological development (and) constrain their behavior.” While acknowledging that definitions of masculinity vary across cultures, common themes among them include “anti-femininity, achievement ... adventure, risk and violence.”
Next to the Internet, the invention of "the pill" has changed the fabric of modern society. No longer limited to marriage or the workplace, women were able to juggle intimate relationships while pursuing a career. The birth control pill gave women more liberty to sleep with whomever they wanted without the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. This freedom has led more women to pursue a college education, join the workforce and achieve economic equality to men. It also led to a rise in “single culture” and destroyed the stigma of premarital sex. Yet, has the sexual revolution improved the relationships between men and women? Has it made women happier and fulfilled? While the dust is still clearing from the effects of the counterculture movement in the 1960s, discontent has begun to rear its ugly head.
What is truth? In a postmodern era, there is profound skepticism toward reason, logic, knowledge and truth. Each individual has their own truth, which varies between different people or communities. Within this discussion, the concept of relativism, especially morality, is inevitable. Moral relativism is the philosophy that claims everything is relative because some people within different cultures and historical periods have disagreed about what is right and wrong, thus arguing that there are no objective moral values. A buzzword among the Left, it views every belief or opinion as good as any other. By claiming there are no objective moral values, moral relativists hope that others become more tolerant of practices that are unfamiliar to them. This philosophy has serious implications for the state of our world, which if left unchecked leads to the unraveling of the fabric our society. But, it would be disingenuous if I discussed its problems without first addressing the arguments supporting it. So, I will explore the two strongest arguments for moral relativism and argue against them, accordingly.
How does one define a liberal and conservative? It should come to no surprise to those who have been following the evolution of these labels that this discussion has become more complicated in recent years and climaxed in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. After former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s upsetting loss, liberals have found themselves fractured and increasingly combative within their own community. Conservatives, libertarians, centrists and classical liberals have found unusual allies with one another and have been working together to form a counter culture coalition. Indeed, the two-party system has been turned on its head.
If there were anything the past two years have taught us, it is that a small innocuous green frog became the center of a counterculture movement. Pepe the Frog, created by Matt Furie, existed on the internet for around a decade before it was supposedly “co-opted” by Right-wing radicals on websites like 4chan. These images are “symbols” of the pervasive bigotry of American citizens. I mention this with skepticism because the out-of-touch journalists, social activists and older politicians who clutch their pearls at some edgy memes do not understand the sometimes apathetic and chaotic culture of the internet to the point where sharing some innocent meme may land you with the likes of some radical political ideology. How did it come to be that Pepe the Frog guaranteed a spot in future history textbooks? There are several possible explanations, much of which cannot be fully fleshed out due to word limits and the freshness of these developments, but I will try my best to analyze it.
What is an AR-15? This is a simple question, yet many advocates of gun control are unable to answer it correctly. Among the many false facts being fed to the public, a common one is that an AR-15 is a semi-automatic assault rifle, a contradictory statement. Without getting too technical, AR stands for ArmaLite rifle after the company that developed it in the 1950s. While it is similar in appearance to the M16, a military rifle, the AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, meaning it fires only one round each time the trigger is pulled. This is not to be confused with the bullet, which is the mere metal projectile that leaves the gun. A single round, though, includes the bullet, powder and primer encased in an outer shell. Assault rifles, or machine guns, have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.
The past two years have seen a considerable increase in polarization on the tail ends of the political spectrum. While in certain cases the most recent presidential election brought unlikely allies together, the aftermath left both parties scattered and confused. Major reorganization and re-evaluation of both parties' platforms — particularly Democrats — was in order if they were to continue to be a positive and considerable influence on the political stage. On the Left, groups such as Antifa and the Women’s March sprouted up and embraced more socialistic ideas, such as free healthcare and college tuition. The tactics that these groups use, specifically Antifa, are aggressive, provocative and often violent. The purpose of these protests does not seem to change minds and convince those in the center, but to resist the current administration and its policies, whatever they may be. These emerging groups dominate conservative media segments, and rightfully so. Yet, many forget — or ignore — the Right's little monster, Turning Point USA (TPUSA).
In his essay, “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell speaks about the use of many political words that “completely lack ... in meaning.” These words, such as "democracy" and "fascism," have several different meanings that are at odds with one another. The word "fascism," according to Orwell, no longer refers to an extreme and regulatory authoritarian government but rather “something not desirable.” Indeed, the Left’s overuse of buzzwords such as "fascism," "racism," "sexism" and any other -ism response to moderate or conservative politics has ironically lost the weight it once had. Absurd and downright ridiculous pieces, such as “If you let boys be boys, they will murder their fathers and sleep with their mothers” and Michelle Wolf’s “Salute to Abortions,” attempt to raise awareness for issues such as sexual assault and reproductive rights, yet fail in execution by exaggerating to the point where it is almost laughable.
On March 30, the Senate passed a bill allowing states to withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood and other healthcare providers that perform abortions, ending a President Barack Obama-era precedent that prohibited states from denying funds from these organizations. Understandably, this has caused a feud between the Democrats and Republicans. Democrats criticized the measure as an attack on women’s rights. Republicans defended the decision as a way to defer power to the states to decide where to allocate the funds.
A common talking point that organizations like to advertise is their commitment to diversity, especially when it comes to the sexes. If any company or university wishes to maintain the good graces of the public, mentioning their dedication to gender equality is a must. Is this virtue-signalling beneficial to companies or the prospective applicants they are trying to attract? Companies and universities should not hire nor accept women who are less qualified than their male counterparts — nor should sex be a consideration in their holistic review of applications — but should view them as individuals.
The news cycle in the past two weeks has been dominated by testimonies from survivors in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Instead of promoting honest and productive dialogue, conservatives and liberals alike continue to vilify each other on national television. In the wake of this horrific event, high school students, championed by Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, from around the country are taking to the streets on March 24 to spark a conversation about gun control, called March for Our Lives, hoping to enact some change.
On Feb. 2, House Republicans released a controversial memo accusing the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice investigations into the alleged collusion between Russian government and then-candidate President Donald J. Trump of bias. The memo raised concerns about the “legitimacy and legality” of proceedings, which suggest that Christopher Steele was paid more than $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton Campaign through the research firm Fusion GPS. According to the memo, initial FISA applications did not disclose “the role the DNC, Clinton campaign or any party/campaign funding” in the dossier even though FBI and DOJ officials were aware of Steele’s political opinions.
I believe in empowerment to the individual, limited government and the Constitution. Based on these values, I tend to agree with conservative positions and lean Right on issues, such as the economy, the military and personal responsibility. I am who I am because of my values. I also happen to be a woman. My womanhood has never defined me nor prevented me from pursuing my goals. My identity as a woman is but a small fraction of who I am. I let my beliefs and principles be the judgement of my character and hope that others view me as an individual rather than part of a homogenous collective group, political or otherwise.
The daily revelations of unmasked sexual deviants have left Hollywood tense and uneasy. For decades, the film industry has been rife with perverts and pedophiles, and it has been fueled by the complacent and avaricious nobility of Tinseltown. The 2018 Golden Globes, distinguished by women adorned in black who ignited the #TimesUp movement, demonstrates the prevalent, potent arrogance and hypocrisy of liberal Hollywood elites. In midst of a slew of sexual assault allegations, set off by accusations against famous producer Harvey Weinstein, the public has been rightfully outraged by the exposed dark underbelly of Hollywood. To those who are familiar with its culture, though, this open secret has always been ingrained within the entertainment empire.
The feminist movement has grown since its birth, for better and worse. From its inception at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, feminism has made tremendous strides towards egalitarian respect for women. Today, feminist ideals bleed into every facet of mainstream culture, from international social media campaigns to the prospect of having a first female president. With all this progress, a question still remains: Has modern, third-wave feminism accomplished its goal of gaining autonomy for women and empowering them? Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at a conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, summarizes modern campus feminism as "'fainting couch feminism’, which views women as fragile and easily traumatized. It calls for special protections for women ... because it views women as an oppressed and silenced class."
In September, President Donald J. Trump’s announcement to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that would allow undocumented immigrants “who came to the United States as children and (met) several guidelines (to) request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal,” startled the Rutgers community. Chancellor Debasish Dutta and President Robert L. Barchi, in wake of his decision, sent out several emails to all Rutgers students condemning the president’s actions on Sept. 5. In the emails, both the chancellor and the president actively encouraged Rutgers students to support an amended version of the BRIDGE Act that will allow an extended stay for those protected by DACA, providing links that will generate a letter to be sent to the writer’s respective house representative and senator. As officials of a publicly funded university, their statements were inappropriate and partisan. Before I begin, I do not agree with Trump’s suggestion to overthrow DACA. While the United States should have stronger immigration policies, punishing the sons and daughters of illegal immigrants does little to remedy the problem. Many of them came to the United States without a say and do not deserve to be deported due to the actions of their parents. It is needlessly cruel and seems to be an attempt for Trump to flex his political prowess on his Democratic opponents.