trv (trevmex) wrote,

Practice FSWE Essay 2

Please evaluate my practice FSWE essay.

The actual essay is evaluated from 1 to 12 with 12 being the highest score. I believe that last year the passing score was a 6.

I handwrote this essay in 50 minutes in accordance with the rules of the FSWE. I will present it without spellchecking or editing so to represent the actual essay as it was written.

When evaluating please be aware of the following:
  • When composing the essay, the point of view should be clearly stated and supported.
  • Writing should be evaluated on quality of writing, not the opinions expressed.
  • A sucessful essay should have an obvious structure and clear thesis supported by relevant substantiating details.
  • It should show my ability to analyze the topic in a way that is appropriate for the intended audience (a foreign service officer).
  • The writing should be coherent with only occasional lapses that do not impede flow or readers' comprehension.
  • Language should be generally concise with clear and appropriate word choices.
  • The language should be free of errors in grammar and syntax, with only minor errors in spelling and punctuation.
  • There is no limit on length.

The topic:
In the U.S., we treasure our rights and freedoms, in particular, our freedom to say what is on our minds. We think of this right as fundamental to a democratic society. Therefore, some argue, there should be no limits placed on freedom of speech. Others maintain that limits should be placed on freedom of speech only when our national security is threatened, as it might be when the U.S. is at war. Others argue that hate speech or pornography, at best offensive and at worst dangerous to others, should be limited by federal legislation or by local community ordinances. In your opinion, what limits, if any, should be imposed on our freedom of speech? Carefully explain the rationale for your position.

My essay:

The limitations of Free Speech

     The words "Free Speech" are what the U.S.A. was founded on. The concept of limiting this concept is, perhaps, against our very nature. Yet there are times when limitations must be set. Times of grave danger or war. There are always concerns, though, that we might overstep our boundries, so free speech must remain mostly free. Limiting speech on moral or religious grounds cannot help our society, and in fact, might be its downfall.
     There are times, when people's lives are at stake, where free speech should be in check. The classic example is when a person shouts "fire" in a crowded theater. This is a malious act that can, under no circumstances, be covered under the protection of free speech, since it causes, or can cause, physical harm to others. Another example where free speech can hold no dominion is the passing of terrorist knowledge to dangerous people. Free speech cannot, and will not, be held as a plausible defence for anyone sharing bomb-making information with terrorist groups. But these are extreme cases.
     When looking at your everyday life, the theme changes quite a bit. What of pornography? Holocost denials? Religious proliferation? Some would go so far to say these things, too, pose imminate threats. They do not, though. The private showing of sex acts and the speeches of killers have very little in common. The key to limiting free speech is not to go too far. We can trace back almost any one thing to any other to give us just cause to stop something, but in regards to free speech the limitations should be clear. If speech imposes a direct threat to life or if spoken or read would directly cause a threat to life, that speech should not be covered under the umbrella of free speech. Everything else is fair game. Especially thise things most everyone reads.
     Newspapers have often been the champions of free speech and for good reason. Those who report what those in power don't want to hear (which in itself is a fine definition of 'news') are often the subject of unfriendly politics. In a free society it is of the utmost imporance that political factions do not control the public news sources. Newspapers must, then, have the forsight to limit their own speech so as not to be limited by the government. To do so is risky, but necessary to insure that the people can still get uncensored news. Doing this is, or should be, as simple as making sure there is no speech in the news that will incite a direct threat to life.
     What is a direct threat to life, though? That is a question that befuddles many and has no clear answer. For this reason government regulation alone cannot limit free speech. It must be handled on a case-by-case basis with presidents set, reset, changed, deleted, and altered along the way. As our society changes so does our speech and our laws and regulations must change with them to insure that the umbrella of free speech is never clased and put away for good.
     Free speech is fundemental to our lives and the lives of our children after us. We must weild this great gift wisely, lest we have it ripped away from us at the hands of those who would want to save us. As Mark Twain once said, God gave us the abilities to say whatever we want and do whatever we want and the wisdom to do neither.

P.S.: I misquoted Twain, that is why I didn't put it in quotes. The actual quote is "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either."

My outline:

Dangerous speech bad,most ok

  • Bad stuff
    • Fire in the theater
    • Spreading terror
  • newspapers free
    • newspapers by gov't.
    • newspapers regulated by self
  • Offensive Ok
    • porn by 'rents.
    • Freedom of ex.
  • Mark Twain

Please be critical. I want to improve my essay writing skills as much as I can for the test and beyond.

Thank you for your help.

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