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Counter Argument

A counter- argument is a technique in which you present an argument opposed to or different from yours and then discuss it, hoping to either refine your argument or refute the counter-argument. Presenting counter-arguments in your essays can show that you are open-minded and interested in pursuing truth.

Is there any point that Pope John Paul II makes in his encyclical that might call for a counter-argument? Consider what he says about women’s work, about subjectivity and objectivity, about subduing the earth, about capitalism, about labor unions, about indirect employers? What might a counter-argument to his position be? Briefly (about 6 sentences) present one of the Pope’s positions or arguments. Briefly (about 6 sentences) present a counter-argument to one of the arguments in the encyclical. Then, briefly (about another 6 sentences) discuss whether you tend to agree with the counter-argument or with the pope’s position.

Link to Pope John Paul II encyclical:…


Pope’s argument:The pope affirms the right of workers to form labor unions to advocate fair pay and benefits and to voice the interests of workers, protecting them against exploitation. He states, “All these rights [fair pay and benefits], together with the need for the workers themselves to secure them, give rise to yet another right: the right of association, that is to form associations for the purpose of defending the vital interests of those employed in the various professions. These associations are called labour or trade unions. The vital interests of the workers are to a certain extent common for all of them; at the same time however each type of work, each profession, has its own specific character which should find a particular reflection in these organizations.”

Counterargument: Certain states have right-to-work laws, which weaken unions. These states argue that unions are too strong and require too high wages. High wages, according to this argument, means fewer people work — so unions are not really helpful to all workers. Furthermore, unions usually require dues from members, and if workers choose not to join the union, they usually still must pay some fee because the union fights for all workers. However, right-to-work laws forbid the union to require these fees,thus weakening the union’s force. Some say that unions cause companies to move to find cheaper workers, and therefore wages need to stay low, so a region does not lose places to work.

My Opinion: Right-to-Work laws are not really for workers, but for employers who do not want to pay fair wages. They also allow employers to have more control and power over the workers. They can lead to exploitation. Most employers, especially large companies, have a lot of power and influence. Workers need a counter-weight to protect their interests. I agree with the Pope that unions are needed to help dignify all work. While it is true that companies sometimes move to find cheaper workers, this situation points to the need for strong international unions and government regulation, not right-to-work laws.

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