Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Social Inequality

A government occassionally is instituted by force, in which sense the people have less control over its affairs, but still are not without a degree of power, however ungranted. In the American system of government, this is not the case. Through voting and passing legislation we form the laws that govern our society. And so in our instance the government is the product of the people to a greater extent than in a usurping government. Those in power can still exercise a level of manipulation however, in the form of information control and deceit, which could be considered even more dangerous than direct applications of oppression -in that the people are unaware of the motions being taken against their power. During the Allied invasion of Germany, soldiers would take civilians out to where the Jews were being burned and demanded how they could have let it happen. More than once came the reply, I didn't know. But we are not defenceless against these forms of deception, for ignorance has some footing in the minds of the victims. By refusing to investigate we allow for ignorance to set foot. We do not have to allow attrocities to occur, we can simply not take an interest. And so the veil silently falls.
In society there exist attitudes torwards the rellevant political issues of the time. While some have stayed the same, many have changed over the course of human history. These attitudes often affect the legal state of that society, its number of laws, and what those laws restrict. Because of this it is the mind of the individual that in effect forms the society in which that individual exists. Among the issues that have been generally universal are the issues of theft and murder. Issues that have demonstrated extreme variance are those that affect sexual practices, lesser groups of peoples (slaves, races, economic classes), and women. In America the attitudes on these vary greatly, as within the separate states their lies a great range of people stemming from cultures all around the world. In the case of women, many legal stances have been changed, even if the social ones maintain a great divergence. This illustrates an ideal of freedom, allowing disapproval, without denying the right to practice. As laws have changed to allow the existence and freedom of the aforementioned groups, the attitudes have remained long after they fell out of power. But with the emergence of those formerly oppressed as dominant, they have instead become the oppressors. Adopting the methods of their predecessors but changing the content. When a group emerges, it hails the banner of tolerance and acceptance, to allow their views to be discussed. So the information flows freely, things are discussed and not idly dismissed and a truth is realized. But once the desired truth has been reached, the discussion is no longer welcomed, the lines of information are closed, and the banner of intolerance is once again instituted. The path of truth is not found by the narrow pursuit of a single ideal, but through exploring all ideals, and gathering all information possible, so that one may best decide based on the information available. The quality of our decisions is dependent upon the quality of our information. In the case of women, blacks and all other civil rights movements, the old attitudes are shunned and met with violent disapproval. We fear the resurgence of the old attitudes and their subsequent rise to power followed by all the suffering they entailed. How quickly we forget, the truth is not found through ignorance, but by the earnest pursuit of knowledge. Could not the method that brought the truth to light also be used to keep it in the light?
In this age it seems that our attitudes, more than our reason, are used to determine our morals and subsequently our laws. We supplement thought with emotion, but where thoughts are complex, emotions are simple, being selfish and seeing only one direction. Emotions do serve a purpose as motivators, however, and are not entirely without merit in our daily situation. When we are in need, we suffer and feel misery, this misery inspires us to change those circumstances which led us to feel it, thereby improving our situation and alleviating our suffering. Like wise happiness drives us to further those conditions that drove us to happiness, so that we may further enjoy our lives. Emotions are the keys to actions, but without deliberations, our actions have no aim, no reason, and instead of humans we revert to animals, selfishly pursuing our own desires without regard to those around us, and in the case of humans, the lone specimen quickly falls. Humanities strength lies in its cooperation and unity, for together we accomplish great things. Through thought and self-less reason we can consider the needs of the whole of society, and in finding a better future for our fellows, we find a better future for ourselves, for all parts of a society are intertwined. Once we use reason to find our aim, and the most beneficial course of action, we can then follow that course of action through the drive of our emotions to its just end.

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