Darwinism in Present American Politics

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

                    William Sumner in Modern Day America

In the late 1800’s, following the end of the American Civil War, the United States experienced a period of economic and social growth known as the Gilded Age. During this period, the rate of economic progression and industrial growth increased rapidly, causing a great disparity between the rich and the poor. With this disparity, justifications regarding the wide gap between the rich and the poor evolved, one being that this was the natural execution of Social Darwinism. The platform of William Graham Sumner (a minister turned sociologist) developed and while his philosophies and ideologies may differ in some aspects, they continue to be manifested in modern American Politics.

Social Darwinism debates that the natural inequalities of society stems from the notion of “survival of the fittest”.  This social theory explains, that just like animals, humanity has evolved over time through competition. Social groups, whether separated by race, gender or class, are classified in a just economic manner due to biological improvements made by the few over time; that people have biological or intrinsic abilities regardless of their environment because these abilities are “biological” and with such competition then aids in development. Such elitism justifies the poverty levels of certain populace because unlike the wealthy, their social economic or racial group failed to evolve as quickly as the former. In modern American politics, Social Darwinism is seen through laissez-faire politics and arguably, can be said to be seen in the Republican Party’s agenda. In laissez-faire faire politics, individuals are free from government restraints and policies. Economic affairs of individuals and society are left up to the masses, and neither individuals nor society receive aid from the government or boundaries in their affairs. The theory behind laissez -faire is pure Social Darwinism at its core; as there is no intervention by the government, society and individuals must fend for themselves.  The “strongest” prevail by their own means, and with so economic prosperity occurs.  While America is not a pure laissez -faire capitalist system, certain groups and policies passed by congress continue to advocate this. The famous trickle down theory in Reaganomics is an example; where the government reduces spending and cuts down taxes for the rich in hopes that the rich will then accumulate more money to spend and thus the wealth will “trickle down” to the poor.

This of course, has been proven to be utter nonsense over and over again. Yet, the Republican Party is a huge advocate of this. Recently, their economic proposals of the recent budget of 2012; with its emphasis on providing greater economic benefits to the rich, thus transferring the burden to the middle-classes and poor while reducing public services is a blatant manifestation of Social Darwinism. The party’s outright disapproval of Obama care and many other policies adapted by the Obama administration, such as increasing taxes for the rich, was historically gridlocked.

In What Social Classes Owe Each Other, William Graham Sumner supports Social Darwinism through the mention of The Forgotten Man;

” In all these schemes and projects the organized intervention of society through the State is either planned or hoped for, and the State is thus made to become the protector and guardian of certain classes. The agents who are to direct the State action are, of course, the reformers and philanthropists. Their schemes, therefore, may always be reduced to this type–that A and B decide what C shall do for D. It will be interesting to inquire, at a later period of our discussion, who C is, and what the effect is upon him of all these arrangements. In all the discussions attention is concentrated on A and B, the noble social reformers, and on D, the “poor man.” I call C the Forgotten Man, because I have never seen that any notice was taken of him in any of the discussions (116).”

Sumner believed The Forgotten Man was anyone who pays taxes for a social program, while not benefiting from it. And since the Forgotten Man did not directly benefit from any of the social programs, he was not entitled to contribute to such programs. Instead, Sumner urged that the government should not interfere at all with society. That in the end, society itself will develop as it should through natural competition,

“Society needs first of all to be freed from these meddlers — that is, to be let alone. Here we are, then, once more back at the old doctrine — Laissez faire. Let us translate it into blunt English, and it will read, Mind your own business. It is nothing but the doctrine of liberty. Let every man be happy in his own way. If his sphere of action and interest impinges on that of any other man, there will have to be compromise and adjustment. Wait for the occasion. Do not attempt to generalize those interferences or to plan for them a priori. We have a body of laws and institutions which have grown up as occasion has occurred for adjusting rights. Let the same process go on. Practice the utmost reserve possible in your interferences even of this kind, and by no means seize occasion for interfering with natural adjustments (175).”

I am sure if you were to take Sumner’s argument of allowing the natural occurrences of life to establish social structures and law, you would see it guide lined in the Tea Party’s Agenda as well as the Republican Party’s policies.  For both these political groups, Welfare creates government dependency; poverty is not about flawed economic policies but about personal laziness.  Gay marriage is not about equal rights but about the government telling you what to morally believe in. And forget about social healthcare benefits and equal educational opportunity funding from the government.  As you can see, William Graham Sumner would be completely supportive of such policies, as both he and the modern conservative platform believe that government should not meddle in the natural evolution of society.  If still alive you could envision him, Newt Gingrich, and Paul Ryan, at most enjoying lunch together, sitting and discussing how the social-economic problems in American society are not meant to be dealt with; at least until it is of complete and utter importance to do so. They would nod and agree that the government should really just watch as people born with more opportunity succeed, as the majority of Americans die out in an economic struggle; for this creates a “stronger” society.  This is hard to believe that Social Darwinism continues to run rampant in our America’s political leaders, for I am sure, most Americans have left Social Darwinism in history. ________________________________________________  

Advertisements

Favorite Poem Series : Jacques Prévert

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

This Love  (Original French Version below)


This love

So violent
So fragile
So tender
So desperate
This love
Beautiful like the day
And bad like the weather
When the weather is bad
This love so true
This love so beautiful
So happy
So joyous
And so pathetic
Trembling with fear like a child in the dark
And so sure of itself
Like a calm man in the middle of the night
The love that freaks everyone else out
That makes them talk
That makes them turn pale
This scrutinized love
Because we were scrutinizing it
Hunted hurt impeded finished denied forgotten
Because we hunted hurt impeded finished denied forgot it
This love in its entirety
So vibrant still
And completely radiant
It’s yours
It’s mine
That which had been
This thing always new
And that hasn’t changed
As real as a plant
As shaky as a bird
As hot as lively as summer
We can both of us
Leave and come back
We can forget
And then go back to sleep
We reawaken suffer grow old
We fall asleep again
Dreaming of death
We awake smiling and laughing
And grow young again
Our love remains there
Stubborn as a mule
Lively as desire
Cruel as memory
Stupid as regret
Tender as remembrance
Cold as marble
Beautiful as the day
Fragile as a child
It watches us as it smiles
And it speaks to us without saying anything
And me I listen to it and shake
And I scream
I scream for you
I scream for me
I beg you
For you for me and for everyone in love
And who love each other
Yes I scream at it
For you for me for all the others
That I don’t know
Stay there
There where you are
There where you’ve been
Stay there
Don’t move an inch
Don’t go anywhere
We who are loved
We forgot you
Don’t you forget us
We’ve had only you on this earth
Don’t let us become cold
Always more distant
And it doesn’t matter where
Give us a sign of life
Much later in the corner of the wood
In the forest of memory
Appear suddenly
Give us your hand
And save us.

 

– Jacques Prévert


Cet amour
Si violent
Si fragile
Si tendre
Si désespéré
Cet amour
Beau comme le jour
Et mauvais comme le temps
Quand le temps est mauvais
Cet amour si vrai
Cet amour si beau
Si heureux
Si joyeux
Et si dérisoire
Tremblant de peur comme un enfant dans le noir
Et si sûr de lui
Comme un homme tranquille au milieu de la nuit
Cet amour qui faisait peur aux autres
Qui les faisait parler
Qui les faisait blémir
Cet amour guetté
Parce que nous le guettions
Traqué blessé piétiné achevé nié oublié
Parce que nous l’avons traqué blessé piétiné achevé nié oublié
Cet amour tout entier
Si vivant encore
Et tout ensoleillé
C’est le tien
C’est le mien
Celui qui a été
Cette chose toujours nouvelles
Et qui n’a pas changé
Aussi vraie qu’une plante
Aussi tremblante qu’un oiseau
Aussi chaude aussi vivante que l’été
Nous pouvons tous les deux
Aller et revenir
Nous pouvons oublier
Et puis nous rendormir
Nous réveiller souffrir vieillir
Nous endormir encore
Rêver à la mort
Nous éveiller sourire et rire
Et rajeunir
Notre amour reste là
Têtu comme une bourrique
Vivant comme le désir
Cruel comme la mémoire
Bête comme les regrets
Tendre comme le souvenir
Froid comme le marbre
Beau comme le jour
Fragile comme un enfant
Il nous regarde en souriant
Et il nous parle sans rien dire
Et moi j’écoute en tremblant
Et je crie
Je crie pour toi
Je crie pour moi
Je te supplie
Pour toi pour moi et pour tous ceux qui s’aiment
Et qui se sont aimés
Oui je lui crie
Pour toi pour moi et pour tous les autres
Que je ne connais pas
Reste là
Là où tu es
Là où tu étais autrefois
Reste là
Ne bouge pas
Ne t’en va pas
Nous qui sommes aimés
Nous t’avons oublié
Toi ne nous oublie pas
Nous n’avions que toi sur la terre
Ne nous laisse pas devenir froids
Beaucoup plus loin toujours
Et n’importe où
Donne-nous signe de vie
Beaucoup plus tard au coin d’un bois
Dans la forêt de la mémoire
Surgis soudain
Tends-nous la main
Et sauve-nous

Favorite Poem Series : Anne Brontë

Tags

, , , , , , ,


My Soul Is Awakened

My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring,
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For, above, and around me, the wild wind is roaring,
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.
 
The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.
 
I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray,
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing
And hear the wild roar of their thunder today! 
 
Anne Brontë

Image

A Recipe : Simple and Modern

Tags

, , ,

Priscilla’s Favorite Sandwich Out Of Many

1 Organic slice of rye or sprouted 7 grain bread, cut in half (toasted)

1 Organic egg, from free range veg diet chickens (hard boiled, de-shelled and cut into pieces)

1 bunch of Organic alfalfa sprouts

1 bunch of Organic spinach

A copious amount of Organic Mustard and Veganaise mixed together like aioli.

Organic Basil

Put it together. Take a picture for Instagram.

Now eat it.

1855 LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE TIMES NEWSPAPER, BY Michael Faraday

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Observations on the Filth of the Thames, contained in a letter addressed to the Editor of ” The Times” Newspaper, by Professor Faraday.

[Note: from July 7, 1855.]


SIR,

I traversed this day by steam-boat the space between London and Hangerford Bridges between half-past one and two o’clock; it was low water, and I think the tide must have been near the turn. The appearance and the smell of the water forced themselves at once on my attention. The whole of the river was an opaque pale brown fluid. In order to test the degree of opacity, I tore up some white cards into pieces, moistened them so as to make them sink easily below the surface, and then dropped some of these pieces into the water at every pier the boat came to; before they had sunk an inch below the surface they were indistinguishable, though the sun shone brightly at the time; and when the pieces fell edgeways the lower part was hidden from sight before the upper part was under water. This happened at St. Paul’s Wharf, Blackfriars Bridge, Temple Wharf, Southwark Bridge, and Hungerford; and I have no doubt would have occurred further up and down the river. Near the bridges the feculence rolled up in clouds so dense that they were visible at the surface, even in water of this kind.

The smell was very bad, and common to the whole of the water; it was the same as that which now comes up from the gully-holes in the streets; the whole river was for the time a real sewer. Having just returned from out of the country air, I was, perhaps, more affected by it than others; but I do not think I could have gone on to Lambeth or Chelsea, and I was glad to enter the streets for an atmosphere which, except near the sink-holes, I found much sweeter than that on the river.

I have thought it a duty to record these facts, that they may be brought to the attention of those who exercise power or have responsibility in relation to the condition of our river; there s nothing figurative in the words I have employed, or any approach to exaggeration; they are the simple truth. If there be sufficient authority to remove a putrescent pond from the neighbourhood of a few simple dwellings, surely the river which flows for so many miles through London ought not to be allowed to become a fermenting sewer. The condition in which I saw the Thames may perhaps be considered as exceptional, but it ought to be an impossible stat, instead of which I fear it is rapidly becoming the general condition. If we neglect this subject, we cannot expect to do so with impunity; nor ought we to be surprised if, ere many years are over, a hot season give us sad proof of the folly of our carelessness.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
M. FARADAY.
Royal Institution, July 7

                                                                               —————————————-

Michael Faraday was an English scientist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Because of this man, we have usable electricity. His letter to Time , is written in complaints of London’s stench coming from St.Thames River. A stench that prevented thousands from leaving their homes, known as The Great Stink.

Check out the videos below.

PART 2

The Mind And All Its Clutter

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My mind can easily become restless. Come to think of it, unless I try to meditate my mind is always on the go.

I suppose it is manic in a way. I find myself, more than I care to admit, alone pacing from room to room, blaring my thoughts out loud for no one to hear. When I’m under a lot of stress, I do that. I talk out loud in different languages. I turn over the ideas or dialogue plaguing my mind until they make sense to be written down.

When I am really really stressed, I don’t care if I am in a public place. I am not even aware I have words flowing from my lips. This alacrity only seems to happen when I have reached mental over load. While in college this would happen quite frequently.

Picture this:

A scrawny girl with oval black-rimmed glasses is alone in a library study room. Despite the interior heater being up to the highest degree, she is wearing a long black wool coat. On top of her head, as a choice of hat, is a black beanie. She is pacing, or simply staring at the wall as her lips clearly move. She is talking to herself and you are witnessing all this through the glass door of said study room. As you look closer, you notice she is the girl in your  human biology studies class that always seems to be over prepared. The girl who is suppose to lead you in a national conference. Why is she talking to herself?

You can see how this can be a problem.

Now before I go on, I have to say I rarely do this, express thought out loud without  awareness.

And I can proclaim, as an excuse, that as a writer and creator; speaking out loud helps me well, create. Is it normal? I don’t know.

I do know that it can be exhausting. As with people and their sensory outputs, if I experience too much thoughts I easily shut down. Or come up with a great idea. Or burst.

So, advice time. What do I do to avoid such mental overload that ends in exhaustion?

1. MEDITATION

I mediate. I exercise the stress away too, but most of the time I just want to be alone. So I meditate. Transcendental meditation is a good start.

2. HOBBIES

Hobbies distract me; they make me happy. I have quite a few.

Most I do alone.

Pick up drawing or painting,  it is very relaxing. Be active.

The New York Times wrote a blog post on how inactivity effects your mind.

3.  ALONE TIME

There is a trend. Being alone is great to relax, to pray, to meditate. When I am alone, I can let the wave pass.

3. I AVOID BEING LONELY IN MY EVERYDAY LIFE.

This may sound counterproductive, but to be alone one day is not the same thing as being lonely. I notice that I have to strike a balance with content going in, and content going out. How do I do this?

Well, I have to  have content going in my mind to be inspired, to learn, and to grow. People help with this. Books help with this. Stress helps with this, as I find stress to be fun and fulfilling. But when it is in abundance though, I am overflowed. My mind clutters and I stop being productive.

Due to the increasing use of technology, the intellectual world is at our finger tips through a search engine. There is a social expectation put in place by social media, to be in constant communication, to keep up with the latest trending tweet. With all this informative pressure, it is easy for our minds to clutter.

I have heard stories of a growing group of young adults going off the grid, choosing to live in an isolated, Amish style lifestyle. For some, it seems to be working and filling them with happiness.

Yet, complete isolation isn’t always the answer either. I have tried such a thing, to an extent. And personally, instead of happiness, the outcome was a heavily awkward and depressed young woman.

So I have struck a personal balance. The act of seeing or speaking to friends on a regular basis is too much for me, so I choose not to. It is easier when your friends live far away from you, or when you travel a great deal.

I used to talk on the phone. But calling requires a schedule for small talk and that’s just as exhausting for me, so I do not own a phone. Instead I communicate through video chats or email. I choose when to see people on my terms, and I choose friends with similar lifestyle choices. I disconnect from the Internet every so often. When I want human connections, I explore my town, my city, or volunteer in the community. I find a balance, from the exterior world and my interior world, one that only oneself can find.

4. LOOK OUTSIDE OF YOUR MIND.

Is your mind cluttered because you are being too disorganized? Do you always worry about where things are? Perhaps finding a routine to follow can help ease your mind.

Or maybe your house or your closet needs a makeover.

Or maybe, if none of this works, you need a vacation.

Now for kicks, check out :

The Five Cognitive Distortions Of People Who Get Stuff Done

 PERHAPS YOU ARE A PSYCHOPATH AND ARE DESTINED FOR SUCCESS.

 

 

Favorite Poem Series : The Wonderful ETEL ADNAN

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

The Indian Never Had A Horse

The certitude of Space is brought
to me by a flight of birds. It
is grey outside and there is trembling:
fog is too heavy a word

The zookeeper sends his love
letters to the female mayor of
San Diego
The lioness in her den fainted
on April’s Fool’s day
the man hanged himself in
her cage.

A bee fell in love with a peach
blossom. Shakespeare wrote a
story about it.

There are no boats on the
river and the world’s beauty
is blinding.Three astronauts
are on their way back. In the
garden a single leaf is shaking.

He had his mother’s bones made
into a necklace because horses
came from Spain. He moved about
the country like a sword.

One day even the stars
became soldiers
Isis wept over the empty
sky

Galaxies work as narcotics
you didn’t know how dangerous
it is to go to Mexico.
you make people run for shelter
you carry, within,
an angel
that overflows

Under old chandeliers
you kiss your parents to death.
Don’t be afraid of
cobwebs
they only scan
theatres, and your
soul.

I have a love affair
with Albuquerque
because of the Indian
dancers and the Arab
builders
I own the sky.

ETEL ADNAN

__________

When I read this poem, I think of the places I miss and the places I missed.

ETEL ADNAN is an Arab-American poet and visual artist. A former professor of philosophy, Adnan is concerned with the human mind and how it perceives our surroundings . Her work embodies details of everyday individuals and their connection to abstractions-global politics and so forth.  Her theatrical pieces, art work, poetry and academic research has been published in over 50 languages.

Having been born in Beirut, educated at the Sorbonne, and having had pursued graduate work at UC Berkeley and Harvard; Adnan is seen as one of the most important Arab American poet to this day.  To me, she and her work, mirror a dream of being that I once had, and continue to pursue.

With so, Etel Adnan is my number one in : DRANGONSAREREAL FAVORITE POEM SERIES.

To see more:

Etel Adnan reads from The Arab Apocalypse and Seasons at Telegraph Books in Berkeley, California.February 2, 2009

On Perception: Etel Adnan’s Visual Art, essay by Simone Fattal.

 

Photo provided by the Arab American Museum.

The Power Of Storytelling

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the stories of the Christian Bible to the revelations of a young, newly freed slave, stories have changed society and governance. Authors possess the most powerful tool known to humanity. In their very nature, authors are storytellers. The ability to create words, to spread internal thoughts affected by the external, is a very powerful tool. Storytelling has the capacity to change social normality and influence governance.

    Philosopher Hannah Arendt, who in one of her central theoretical works The Human Condition, believed that as humans we were divided into three basic living conditions. In accordance with Aristotle, she also believed that those three basic living conditions existed in two realms. The public realm, in which political activity was performed, and the private realm, where property and family life existed. The act of storytelling was an art. It acted as a critical understanding of everyday life and affairs,  and according to Arendt, acted as a bridge between philosophy and politics.

                   “ Storytelling, or the weaving of a narrative out of the actions and pronouncements of individuals, is partly constitutive of their meaning, because it enables the retrospective articulation of their significance and import, both for the actors themselves and for the spectators. Being absorbed by their immediate aims and concerns, not aware of the full implications of their actions, actors are often not in a position to assess the true significance of their doings, or to be fully aware of their own motives and intentions. Only when action has run a certain course, and its relationship to other actions has unfolded, can its significance be made fully manifest and be embodied in a narrative, whether of poets or historians. The fact that this narrative is temporally deferred, that it is at some distance from the events it describes, is one of the reasons why it can provide further insight into the motives and aims of the actors. Narratives can thus provide a measure of truthfulness and a greater degree of significance to the actions of individuals. But they also preserve the memory of deeds through time, and in so doing, they enable these deeds to become sources of inspiration for the future, that is, models to be imitated, and, if possible, surpassed.” 

 

 __________

Cited and further readings on the power of storytelling:

Harvard Business Review: Storytelling That Moves People

The Politics of Storytelling

The Cognitive Power of Storytelling: Re-reading Hannah Arendt

50 Books That Changed the World

The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting–only the deeply personal and familiar.” ― John Steinbeck