Eton College Asks Scholarship Applicants to Justify Shooting Protesters (as the PM)

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    Member Array ItalianSteel's Avatar
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    Eton College Asks Scholarship Applicants to Justify Shooting Protesters (as the PM)

    Huffington Post: Eton College's Exam Asks Boys To Justify The Army Shooting Protesters Dead

    On a scholarship application from Eton College, the following question is asked:

    The year is 2040. There have been riots in the streets of London after Britain has run out of petrol because of an oil crisis in the Middle East. Protesters have attacked public buildings. Several policemen have died. Consequently, the Government has deployed the Army to curb the protests. After two days the protests have been stopped but twenty-five protesters has been killed by the Army. You are the Prime Minister. Write the script for a speech to broadcast to the nation in which you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.
    The last few lines are the most chilling. Why is it such a loaded question? That's like asking someone to write a paper on why abortion is both necessary and moral. That may not be their opinion on the matter at all.

    What bothers me as well is that I'd be willing to bet anyone who went against the question and wrote why it may not have been either necessary nor moral would not qualify for the scholarship, no matter how eloquently they wrote their answer.

    EDIT: Changed the topic headline as it was a bit misleading.
    Last edited by ItalianSteel; May 26th, 2013 at 07:04 PM.

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    VIP Member Array suntzu's Avatar
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    I think the title of the thread is misleading.
    College Asks British Students If They Would Shoot Protesters (as the PM)
    The question is not IF they would shoot protesters, but how they would respond as a leader of the nation as to why certain measures had to be taken. David Cameron is the nineteenth British Prime Minister to have attended Eton BTW.

    What is wrong with a tough question? Too many kids in the US half to submit an essay on easy things to answer. I think it is a very valid question and requires the student to really think about several things.
    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItalianSteel View Post
    Huffington Post: Eton College's Exam Asks Boys To Justify The Army Shooting Protesters Dead

    On a scholarship application from Eton College, the following question is asked:



    The last few lines are the most chilling. Why is it such a loaded question? That's like asking someone to write a paper on why abortion is both necessary and moral. That may not be their opinion on the matter at all.

    What bothers me as well is that I'd be willing to bet anyone who went against the question and wrote why it may not have been either necessary nor moral would not qualify for the scholarship, no matter how eloquently they wrote their answer.
    In Bold: As well they should. They couldn't follow directions. My son had to write essays for Tulane and Wake Forrest. What do you think his admissions chances would have been if he did not answer the question as presented and went against the question.

    BTW: Here is the complete list of examinations they had to take:
    http://www.etoncollege.com/KSpapers.aspx

    It is for year 2011. Look at the two Genral sections.
    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    Isaiah 6:8

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    I'm not against asking a tough moral dilemma, but an actual dilemma requires two possibilities, not a single one. I dislike how the question is worded, it's basically a nice way of saying, "in your own words, justify the killing of potentially innocent civilians because of a national crisis."

    Again, this isn't really a hypothetical "you're the PM" question, it's more like "you're the PM's public relations guy, write a well-written excuse for his actions." Obviously if you were an executive member and not just a fancy secretary you would have the choice instead.

    The question should have been worded with a choice of using lethal force or other means, and then a speech to the public justifying the actions you took during the crisis.


    To me, this seems like Kent State posing a similar question on their scholarship application. "Write a script for a speech to broadcast to the nation in which you explain why the National Guard against violent protesters at Kent State on May 4th was both necessary and moral."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItalianSteel View Post
    I'm not against asking a tough moral dilemma, but an actual dilemma requires two possibilities, not a single one. I dislike how the question is worded, it's basically a nice way of saying, "in your own words, justify the killing of innocent people because of a national crisis."

    Again, this isn't really a hypothetical "you're the PM" question, it's more like "you're the PM's public relations guy, write a well-written excuse for his actions." Obviously if you were an executive member and not just a fancy secretary you would have the choice instead.

    The question should have been worded with a choice of using lethal force or other means, and then a speech to the public justifying the actions you took during the crisis.
    I will just disagree with you. If you can't answer a hard question you can't answer an easy one. By giving them a choice you make it a softball question. College is not easy, least not the toough ones.
    pittypat21 likes this.
    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    Isaiah 6:8

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    I don't think it's fair to ask someone a loaded hypothetical, period. "You're the PM during a national crisis, explain to the country why you had to use the Army to kill violent protesters." So I'm the PM only when it comes time to answer a question with a specific answer, but not when it's beforehand making the decision? Why am I even the PM then? I might as well be the teleprompter at that point.

    Again, nothing wrong with asking someone a good "would you rather A or B" question and having them rationalize their choice. However, forcing someone to answer for something they didn't want to even do in the first place is really asking for a cookie cutter response. What other response will there be than, "It is regrettable that people had to die, but unfortunately we live in dark times and it was necessary for the greater good. They were being violent, so violence had to be used against them." Nothing that war mongers haven't said for the last few millennium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ItalianSteel View Post
    I don't think it's fair to ask someone a loaded hypothetical, period. "You're the PM during a national crisis, explain to the country why you had to use the Army to kill violent protesters." So I'm the PM only when it comes time to answer a question with a specific answer, but not when it's beforehand making the decision? Why am I even the PM then? I might as well be the teleprompter at that point.

    Again, nothing wrong with asking someone a good "would you rather A or B" question and having them rationalize their choice. However, forcing someone to answer for something they didn't want to even do in the first place is really asking for a cookie cutter response. What other response will there be than, "It is regrettable that people had to die, but unfortunately we live in dark times and it was necessary for the greater good. They were being violent, so violence had to be used against them." Nothing that war mongers haven't said for the last few millennium.
    There is nothing wrong with asking a question like that. Your answer is too way too simple. They are looking for way more than that.
    you explain why employing the Army against violent protesters was the only option available to you and one which was both necessary and moral.
    What other options were avialable and why did you choose not to use them? Why was this the necessary choice? Explain why it is moral. Don;t just state it.

    Just curious...when was the last time you were in college? I still am getting my 3rd degree now, my son is in a very good school majoring in poltical science and pre law. They do not expect simple answers. They want someone to be able to answer a question or debate an issue even if they do not beleive in it.
    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    Isaiah 6:8

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    I think it's an ok question because they are writing a paper given specific criteria.

    You are the Prime Minister
    A national crisis has occurred
    police have been killed in violent protests
    the protests were stopped in 2 days
    25 protesters were killed because there was no other choice if order was to prevail

    Assuming those are the facts of the situation, the students are being asked to write the paper from the point of view of the Prime Minister and to justify his actions.

    We may or may not agree with how he did it, but that's not the question for this particular paper.
    It's like being on a debate team and given the "pro" view when every fiber of your being is for the "con". You still have to win the debate for the "pros" and probably say a lot of things you don't really believe. It's just an exercise.
    It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

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    For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    If there are protesters creating mayhem and death, then why would it be unresonable to react with the same thing? When one side resorts to violence then it may be necessary to give it back in order to stifle or stop it. For some groups, violence is all the know and understand.

    We see it all the time with terrorists. They commit violent and deadly acts and then the victims of such violence often send military units to employ the same towards the terrorists.

    Not the answer, but should an opposing side use violence, they need to understand it can come back upon them just as easily as they perpetrate it.
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    Hypothetically, were these protesters all of the immigrants that moved to the UK from Sweden, after Sweden quit giving them government benefits?
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    Actually it's a pretty dumb question. There are a thousand factors not given in the scenario that would impact the response. Did the government do something to exacerbate the crisis? Were the protests random thuggery or part of an organized movement? Were there peaceful options that could have defused the situation? Etc. All such questions would have to be answered to draft a good response. It seems like the assumption is "government is attacked, it must be maintained at any cost, regardless of the circumstances", and all that's left for the applicant to do is explain why they agree with that stance.

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    You can look at this two ways.

    The first is the question tests the intellect of the student.

    The second is the question is yet another subtle way of indoctrinating the future leaders into believing that a populace is subservient to its government.

    You choose.

    Here's one for ya. Imagine this question was part of Harvard's Law School application:

    The year is 2050. Firearm murder rates in the U.S. have approached 75,000 per year. Congress, however, has failed to pass laws drastically curtailing accesses to all firearms. In response, the President has suspended the Second Amendment on the grounds of a National Emergency. You are the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Write an outline for an opinion in which you explain why 75,000 deaths a year constitutes a National Emergency and thus suspension of the Second Amendment is both constitutional and moral.


    See what you want to see....

    As for the original question, I see this as another subtle way of indoctrinating the future leaders into believing that a populace is subservient to its government. Valid exercise? Yes. Could the university arrive at the same assessment with a different question? Yes indeed. But they didn't.
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    The answer to the question is simple:
    "Since Britain long ago made it impossible for private citizens to protect themselves from the rioting mob, and since the police are incapable of protecting them, it was necessary to use the army, the only organization up for the task."
    That should get me into Eton, no?
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxwell97 View Post
    Actually it's a pretty dumb question. There are a thousand factors not given in the scenario that would impact the response. Did the government do something to exacerbate the crisis? Were the protests random thuggery or part of an organized movement? Were there peaceful options that could have defused the situation? Etc. All such questions would have to be answered to draft a good response. It seems like the assumption is "government is attacked, it must be maintained at any cost, regardless of the circumstances", and all that's left for the applicant to do is explain why they agree with that stance.
    Many questions in universities will be hypotheticals and you have to formualte an answer on what is given. Many times you use leedway and fill in the blanks as you surmise them. Then from their finish your paper using logical thought from what is given and what you surmise.

    I think folks are mis understanding the purpose of this or they are unfamiliar. I have had to do many essays on hyptheticals with little information.

    The people looking at them are not looking for a perfect or correct answer. This is not uncommon at all in acedamia.
    pittypat21 likes this.
    Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
    And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

    Isaiah 6:8

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