Through WCCUSD’s Ivy League Connection program, Hercules High School Students Justine Betschart, Stacy Chan, Ramiah Davis-Shephard, Louisa Man, Julia Maniquiz, and Yueming Wang will be attending Cornell University to either study Freedom and Justice or Hotel Operations Management during the summer of 2009.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 30: We are ALL Liberals

Since I have now become assimilated into Cornell life, I think I can say with ease that today has been one of my favorite school days at Cornell. Of course, who is to say that another day won't top this one? As usual, 9:00am called for morning lecture with Professor Kramnick. Today differed slightly in that there were two more seats filled than there would be on any other day. Mr. Crossley and our guest of honor, Ms. Kronenberg sat in on our lecture and were surely excited by today's topic: Lockean Liberalism. Continued from yesterday's lecture, Professor Kramnick spoke in detail of our natural state, our need for government and the degree at which government should interfere.

The most interesting topic, to me, brought up during our hour and half long lecture was the idea that we are all, in some way, liberal. There are two categories of rights that distinguish our liberality: economic rights and human rights. Modern-day liberals are considered liberal because they believe that government and state should have no dictation over human rights. Modern-day conservatives are unknowingly liberal because they believe that government and state should stay out of the economy. If you happen to believe that there should be little to no government intervention, then you are undoubtedly a libertarian. Being from one of the most liberal states in the country, I found this idea intriguing.

After the end of my favorite lecture thus far, our groups retreated to our discussion sections, where I was excited to channel my input on today's lecture. We discussed how we start in the state of nature and make our way through the state of war to the need for government. I'm finding these flow charts and ideas absolutely fascinating. After discussing Lockean ideas, we spent the remainder of our discussion asking questions regarding tomorrow's preliminary (or mid-term). I'm happy we had our qualms cleared up and now know the best way to go about studying.

Following another wonderful meal at Trillium, we headed back to McGraw Hall for our bi-weekly guest lecturer, who today was Alan Mittman, an attorney specializing in social issues and business. His lecture surrounded around a case he took on involving two ice cream companies with similar trademarks and tré dress (that is, overall appearance in product). Although it took awhile for Mr. Mittman to bring up the case, I was excited once it came. The two companies, Häagen-Dazs and Frusen Glädjé, went to court due to the latter company infringing upon the former's trademark and signature style. Look at the pictures of these two companies' products! Virtually the same! The case resulted in a mutual ruling due to the fact that Frusen Glädjé quickly changed their product's appearance before the trial. Smart move Frusen Glädjé. In the end, Frusen Glädjé ultimately failed when they eventually went out of business. As we know, Häagen-Dazs is still thriving.

While we would usually resort back to our dorms after guest lectures, a portion of the class stayed in McGraw Hall to have a quick discussion with Professor Kramnick in regards to the preliminary. From St. Thomas Aquinas to St. Augustine to Locke, all of our questions were answered and we left the hall feeling prepared and ready to review. Julia, Ramiah and I have decided to each focus on two philosophers (mine being Christ & Locke) and bring our information to a study session after dinner. This way, we are capable of answering ALL questions on ALL of the philosophers. Now, I must leave my great readers and begin my portion of our review. Wish me luck!


  1. Justine,

    It's been more than a week in Ithaca and STILL your attitudes is so upbeat and positive.

    Today, though, you started to bring me down. You brought up and old friend of mine that I've missed for many a year: Frusen Glädjé. I always liked their ice cream and while I didn't DISlike Häagen-Dazs, it just wasn't on my "to buy" list.

    I was also amused at your inference that even Republicans are liberal. Them;s fighting words, Justine, and can get you verbally killed if you're ever in a group of dittoheads. Whether true or not, they would never agree with you--but what do they know?

    Good luck with the mid-term tomorrow,

  2. One person that does not luck is Justine Betschart. You are armed with knowledge and you have a genuine writing style that takes the reader to where they need to go. Thank you for providing great photos that captures the classroom dynamics. I love it.

    Justine, no matter what your grade in this class, you have succeeded. You have gotten the main tenants from the course and you will apply them later in life. What I need now from you is your insight on how this experience gives you a chance to discuss what we are doing right in the district and what we need to do to improve our district.

    Share with me your OPINION. I want to compare your classroom experience with this set of students and how they compare with our student body at Hercules High School. Have we given you the tools to succeed?

    You have in the past traveled and lived on your own. How does being at Cornell compare in living on your own here? I want to know so that we can share it with future generations of students.

    What would you share with students who will be in the Freedom and Justice Course next year. Would you recommend that we continue to send students to this particular class and if so why?

    Best of luck on the preliminary exam, I am sure you will do your best.

    Take care.

    Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
    School Board Member
    West Contra Costa
    Unified School District