Limits: Where Math Class Finally Becomes Applicable

Limits in calculus

Recently I was assigned a project: create a rational pro-choice argument and debate in favor of it. For anyone that knows me or my political leanings, this was a seemingly impossible and daunting task. How could I ever write in such a way that I actually support abortion? I could never imagine myself uttering the words, “a fetus feels no pain.” For a brief moment, I considered rejecting to do the assignment and willingly fail. To embody the old quote by Thomas Jefferson, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

While researching, I read and listened to the arguments of politicians from both sides of the spectrum. But it felt as though something was amiss. And then it hit me. A fundamental truth rooted back to the founding fathers themselves. The realization that reaching across political lines touches most all demographics, disregarding the aisle as a whole. Many sides are calling for limited government.

Applications of Limits

The basis of some of the most dividing issues in the world today can be solved by limited government. Many people of different beliefs have been fighting to keep power out of Washington. Even some on the left have shown disdain and distrust for large amounts of power in Washington. On abortion, those on the right argue for the rights of the fetus. The same is true of the rights of women for those on the left who fight for their rights to not be infringed upon.

Even in economics, it is essentially the same message. Groups like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street all have the same underlying message: to end what is referred to as “crony capitalism,” usually caused by harmful government involvement. So, while it may seem as if we are in a world where there is no agreement, no discourse, and no reason, it becomes clear that through this disparity, we share at least one common agenda.


Now as to why I’ve chosen the title “Limits.” I did so in the most literal and mathematical sense of the word. A limit is a point or value at which both left and right meet, or in some cases grow extremely close to. It is the value which lies between and truly embodies both sides. Just as well, “limits” on government is the point or value at which people from sides of both of the left and right meet. And if we are ever going to get to a place of civil political discussion and discourse, it starts here.

Left, right, or moderate, I urge you to join together in the fight for limited government. Furthermore, if there is anything I hope we can agree on, it is that big government is the problem. We have given them, in instances such as abortion and the death penalty, the ability to “play God,” and they have taken advantage of it. It is detrimental and contrary to the beliefs of our founding fathers. As Ronald Reagan once said, “As government expands, liberty contracts.”


  1. That’s not really how limits work. The limit is the value of a function as it becomes infinitely close to a particular point; I could see how you would make an example of two “sides” coming together if you’re looking for the limit on a line where the function cannot exist at a certain point, but that’s only one application of the limit and one really just used to introduce the concept to students.

  2. While I agree with your overall sentiment on the necessity for limited government, I disagree with every way you got there and don’t think you made much of an argument at all. You begin your article by practically insulting mathematics, a topic with drastically more groundedness than your coarse arguments, and then proceed to turn it into a loose analogy to prove your overall point. You assume the position of the left from a CNN article that attacks the merits of a conservative government, but would they be so ardent in their opposition under an Obama administration? Lastly, you cite a quote from Reagan who was pro limited government about as much as Hillary is “pro” women and minorities. In essence, your argument was a poor analogy, an arrogant assumption, and a hypocritical quote. Respectable article for a 16 year old, but keep in mind the argument is more important than your rhetoric.

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