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Articles by Ryan Normandin

September 2, 2011
The abortion debate centers on two rights fundamental to American society: life and liberty. The two sides say as much, with one labeling itself “pro-life” and the other “pro-choice.” In general, it is accepted that individuals are free to do as they choose as long as those choices do not harm others, society, or themselves, within reason. There is certainly some leeway here, as the boundary between “not harmful enough” and “too harmful” is often fuzzy. We’ve seen this in the implementation and subsequent repeal of Prohibition, the debate over the legalization of marijuana, and other differences between states’ laws.
August 30, 2011
In an August 13 op-ed in the Boston Globe on controlling the debt, Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) echoed the disgust many feel with the bickering in Washington, stressing the need for bipartisan policies to control the debt. Having voted for Senator Brown myself, I was hopeful that the proposals he outlined might indeed represent the type of bipartisanship he ran on during his campaign. I was sorely disappointed to find that his idea of reaching across the aisle was the same as Speaker John Boehner’s: unwilling to accept anything less than 98 percent of his demands.
August 26, 2011
In high school, many of you were likely involved in some form of student government. Whether as a class officer, a member of the executive board of Student Council , or as a student leader in some other capacity, I’m willing to bet that you left a positive mark on your school. In fact, I know you have. According to the May/June Faculty Newsletter, 31 percent of you founded an organization. Perhaps, like myself when I was a freshman, you are proud of what you’ve accomplished so far, but are wondering where you will find your niche at MIT. With over four thousand undergraduate students at this school, will you be able to have as big an impact as you did in high school? I’m here to tell you that the answer to that is a resounding “yes.”
July 6, 2011
I am dissenting from the above editorial because it is my firm belief that by legalizing gay marriage, New York has become the latest state to embarrass itself and this country. Contrary to what the rest of the editorial board suggests, there is strong research conducted by Dr. Bruce J. Ellis, Professor of Psychology at the University of Canterbury, and others demonstrating that a child needs a father to develop properly. Further, there is no interest compelling enough to justify legalizing gay marriage. By the logic above — namely that “it is self-evident that people should have the right to marry whom they love,” the government should allow first cousins or siblings to marry. Love is not enough for the government to spend my tax dollars subsidizing a relationship which does not serve a compelling interest. Heterosexual relationships, on the contrary, allow for the propagation of American society, which justifies a government subsidy. For the rest of my argument, please see my counterpoint on page five. While I do not endorse New York’s decision, I do agree with the rest of the editorial board’s encouragement of the MIT community to continue providing support and services and raising awareness for LGBT students, as it would for any other group that has faced lack of acceptance or has been the subject of social marginalization.
July 6, 2011
It is unfortunate that there is such a growing stigma attached to arguing against gay marriage — at least here in the liberal bastion that is Massachusetts. If one is opposed to legalizing gay marriage, it is automatically assumed that the opposition rests on a basis of hate, homophobia, or other such negative motivations. There are, in fact, legitimate, substantive reasons as to why gay marriage should not be legalized.
June 10, 2011
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has a long history of pandering to illegal immigrants. During his first term, Patrick reversed a decision by the previous Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, which gave state troopers the power to arrest illegal immigrants. Let me point out that Romney’s policy makes sense because, as the title may imply, illegal immigrants are here illegally. They are breaking the law. As such, they should be arrested. Shocking, I know. Deval Patrick’s rationale for promptly reversing Gov. Romney’s decision was that state troopers “have a very big job as it is, without having to add enforcing federal immigration laws on top of it.” Ah, well there we are. Those poor state troopers are just too busy enforcing other laws. So if they pull over someone for speeding and it turns out that the individual is also an illegal immigrant, too bad! After all, according to Patrick, they have more important things to do—like enforcing laws that don’t alienate one of Patrick’s key special interests (the immigrant community).
April 8, 2011
CPW! As one person — famous for her truly insightful and thought-provoking lyrics — would say, “It’s Friday, Friday … fun, fun, fun, fun.” She’s got excellent grammar, too. But this article is not about Rebecca Black, it’s about you. More specifically, it’s about why you should choose MIT over any other school you may have been accepted to.
January 26, 2011
Much to my delight, education reform has once again taken the national stage over the course of last year. Due to the publicly hyped Race to the Top program, the documentary Waiting for Superman, and the release of the latest Programme for International Student Assessment report, which yet again placed the U.S. in the middle of the pack in education, the public is demanding changes to our education system. Terms like merit-based pay, teacher tenure, and high-stakes testing have become more and more pervasive in American conversations over the last year. Yet even after a year of talk, public opinion has yet to converge on what should be done.
January 5, 2011
The recent collapse of the financial sector was only felt by most after it happened. Today, we face yet another financial crisis that is quietly creeping up on us. And I’m not talking about a double-dip recession or a renewed threat from Wall Street. I’m talking about college loans, especially when combined with the current 9.8 percent unemployment rate. Like mortgages, the financial product that played a large role in the more recent collapse, college loans are widespread. Approximately two thirds of all college students graduate with college loans, and in 2008, The Project on Student Debt estimates that 206,000 students graduated with debts of $40,000 or greater. And the situation is not improving; total student loan debt in the United States is increasing at a rate of about $2,853.88 every second.
November 12, 2010
Every four years, the United Nations undertakes a review of member nations’ human rights situations. The United States was recently evaluated, and one conspicuous recommendation was that the country abolish the death penalty.
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