всероссийской дистанционной олимпиады по английскому языку для студентов-юристов

"Just Train Your Brain"


Agree or disagree with ONE of the following statements. Prove your point of view.

"To be good because of a law or a punishment does not make you moral". (David Wansbrough, Australian poet, author, thinker)

Treat others as you want to be treated.

I'm sure that most of us think over the issue of why the majority of people are law-abiding. Is it their inner convictions or the fear of punishment that is stronger than the temptation? What is it that makes people moral, if not the law? Of course, somebody thinks that it's sufficient just to be law-abiding to seem a good citizen, but I believe that there must be some other motivation. From my point of view, the opinion that observing laws just makes people moral is radically incorrect.

First of all, I'd like to say that the notion of a moral person is strictly abstract and different people put different meanings on morality: what seems to be moral to one person is immoral to another. Nevertheless, I suppose that a special "internal moral rule" must exist. It is not given to everybody from their birth, but seems to be cultivated during their social education and upbringing. This can be described as the system of personal attitudes and principles, which people follow analysing their deeds, their behavior, even their thoughts. For example, the people who follow the principle of avoiding harmful actions towards other people will always be both moral and law-abiding at the same time. So, people could be called moral if they don't break laws because of this "internal moral rule", but not because of the fashion of being law-abiding.

It is important to observe that some people are law-abiding, not because of the fear of punishment, but simply because they are not aware of the existence of such a law. There are moral norms that individuals follow in such cases. Of course, there is a reflection of main moral values in all legal documents and that's why we can say that people, living according to an "internal moral rule", even don't consciously regard themselves as law-abiding. Consequently, an absolutely moral person would never break laws due to his culture of not hurting others.

Moreover, moral laws ruled society for a long period in the history of mankind and these laws became the background of later legal codes. Apart from that, I consider that law and punishment are a kind of conformity to society. Conformity itself is a kind of slavery, and slavery as a regime was destroyed many centuries ago. It proves that people can not be restricted only by laws and the fear of punishment.

The point is that a free person is guided by his inner positive moral laws which coincide with official statutory codes and as such, there isn't any considerable contradiction between them. In any way, moral principles are the basis for such a way of life, which lets a person live according to the law. However, any modern society can't do without law restrictions as far as the level of moral development of all people is different nowadays.

Антон Рапенок, Пермский Государственный Университет, юридический факультет, 2 курс

"Violence in mass media (newspapers, movies, the Internet) sets the pattern for terrorist actions". (Ronald Payne, UK expert on terrorism)

There is no doubt that terrorism is one of the most real and dangerous problems of today and must be fought against. The effective counteraction to this requires understanding of its grounds. To my mind it's a serious mistake to view the pattern and the reason for terrorism only in violence portrayed by mass media, since the explanation proposed by Ronald Payne over-simplifies the grounds of terrorism. In some cases this proposition can be considered as an attempt to remove responsibility of the state and to transfer it into mass media for acts of terrorism.

Terrorism is a problem which appeared not five or ten years ago but much earlier. For example, Russia faced terror at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, when mass media was not as developed as it is now and the press was the only form of mass media. It is difficult to imagine that violence in the newspapers of that time could become the pattern for terrorist actions. So, in my opinion the grounds of terrorism should be examined elsewhere.

It appears to me that all people who commit terrorist acts can be conditionally divided into two groups. The first one consists of either fanatics or people incapable of controlling themselves due to the psychological influence of the others. The second group includes highly qualified professionals. It's doubtful that in either of these cases, their decision to commit a terrorist act was made under the influence of mass media. It is necessary to understand that the activity which we call terrorism is the method of defence by different social groups' political interests. In other words, the act of terrorism is not a sally of a single person but a well prepared action by a group. The UK government traditionally has an ongoing conflict with IRA (Irish Republic Army). I have never heard that any of the UK politicians have ever said that the rebels from IRA were influenced by mass media. On the contrary, most people in the UK perceive the IRA as the wing of Northern Irish political party which fights for the independence and separation of Northern Ireland from the UK.

In addition, economic problems of some states caused by other states' policy can also become the grounds for terrorism. It can be concluded that the main conflict of the 20th century (the opposition between East and West) was substituted by the opposition between the rich North and the poor South. The giant economical gap between these two categories of states is the reason for existence of the large number of discontented people who are sometimes prepared to commit an act of terrorism.

Whilst discussing violence in mass media (newspapers, movies, the Internet), it is important to emphasize that we must certainly be concerned, but not because it sets the pattern for terrorist actions, but because of its influence on the psychology of people, especially children.

Сергей Бурлаков, Ивановский Государственный Университет, юридический факультет, 3 курс


"Approximately 60 % of american TV-programmes and 90 % of TV-movies contain scenes of violence"
(National Television Violence Study, 2004)

September 11, 2001… This date remains in everybody's mind, following the cruel terrorist attacks on the USA World Trade Center towers, 3 years ago, that shocked the world. With the destruction of the twin-towers, American confidence in the future and in the absolute safety from every world cataclysm, was also destroyed. Then came Nord-Ost, Beslan… The world was shaken by the huge wave of violence and brutal terrorism. But how can we overcome this wave? How is it possible to remove this fear which horrifies our hearts? What are the reasons for this nightmare?

It is suggested that we may find the answer to this in the quotation at the beginning of this essay. Of course, I don't think, that the main reason for the world terrorism is violence, shown by mass media. In addition I do not believe that the most notorious world terrorists create the plans for their future actions after watching of the "Terminator" movie.

The point is that the violence, illustrated by the mass-media, sets the pattern for other people, primarily children. Scenes of violence breed fear in children's minds and this fear in its turn promotes aggression, first towards toys, and then towards people. I don't know of any other country except the USA where millions of dollars are spent on the shooting a new action film instead of spending it on social programmes, preventing terrorism.

Clever Japanese people who, appear to be distant from terrorism, purchase old Soviet cartoons for their children, as a great example of kindness, friendship and peace between people. And Russian people possessing such priceless heritage, are buying again and again new series of the "Pokemon".... The Japanese are a great example of a race of people who wish to raise and strengthen their nation with the help of basic moral principles.

All in all, it is not the solution of the problem of violence and world terrorism. It's a pity that today, violence is the main solution of any problem situations. If a typical person can hit another person without any reasons, what can we say about terrorists, whose favourite colour is red and whose favourite sound is the sound of a shot? These people have hearts of stone and their souls are dead. There are no obstacles for them. They terrorise everyone on their way. It is of no consequence to them whether their targets are men, women, or unarmed little children.

It is very hard to win the war on terror. Nevertheless, we must take the necessary measures to stop the propaganda of violence, shown in mass media, to stop the endless flow of cheap films, which only popularize the methods of aggression, and to win the war for the happiness of the future generations.

Максим Шуваев, Пермский Государственный Университет, юридический факультет, 1 курс

"It is the success which makes great men". (Napoleon Bonoparte, emperor of France)


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