Fox Hunting Idealized
Fox Hunting was a ‘sport’ that originated in the UK in the 16th century. For those of us that are unfamiliar with the ‘sport,’ I will give a brief explanation: Fox hunting is a hunting sport in which hounds are trained to chase down and hunt a fox, followed by unarmed men on horseback, who are led by the ‘master of the foxhounds.’ The hounds catch the fox and rip it to pieces. It is often argued in the UK that it is an important part of the culture that should be preserved. It is also illegal in Scotland, England, and Wales.
The reality of a fox hunting. (A fox with it’s entrails ripped out by hounds.)
The recent stories of Black Friday (and Thanksgiving Day) shopping in the United States kept drawing parallels in my mind to fox hunting, but I was having difficulty verbalizing the connections. I am attempting to do it now.
This year, the stories of Black Friday casualties were as we expected. There was a fight in a mall in Philadelphia that involved a shopper with a tazer and a baby in a stroller. There was a man that stabbed another man in the arm. One of the worst stories was the WalMart employee who is now in a coma because the customers broke down the doors and trampled him in order to get a discount on televisions. Every year this happens on Black Friday. It doesn’t happen when people line up for days for concert tickets, new game consoles, or new mobile phones.
Continue reading Black Friday Fox Hunting
I was going to redo the previous entry but this came up for me recently and my brain is stuck on it. I have to say, before I begin, that I am amazed at all of the scholars in economics that seem to crawl out from every corner on some topics. They have such expertise when they espouse the real effects of wage increases. It’s even more amazing that they do not understand basic, neoliberal economic theory. One mention of the multiplier effect or labor value theory and they appear lost and confused… which is a brilliant ploy, I guess.
The truth is that people have strong opinions of what they believe to be right and wrong. I want to say that this is the only problem and that it’s a noble attempt. The truth of the matter is that this isn’t true. The problem is that it’s not the way things work. We have sub-fields for a reason. Physics and chemistry are separate sciences for a reason. Economics and politics are related, but not the same thing. We can work out a theory on the morality of individual liberty through discourse. Economics needs more concrete supporting evidence. It’s not that simple… because even the application of the “gut feeling” of right and wrong doesn’t require the same amount of rigor of a valid theory. Continue reading Economics Experts Everywhere
I’m going to make a claim here and try to explain it. I will likely have to rewrite this in the future and provide a clearer logic. That claim is: Anti-Government conspiracy theories are conservative in nature.
Let’s get a few things straight before we begin. Political terms have been misused so much that there is often confusion by the true meaning of these terms, so I want to clarify the meaning as it pertains to this writing. First of the terms is conservative. Conservative means a political view that wishes to preserve traditional society, often in an idealized form that never actually existed. Conserve the status quo ante. This is also considered reactionary. A reactionary wishes to return to an idealized past. (Conservatives are reactionary but not all reactionaries are conservatives.) The contrast to conservative is radical and the contrast to a reactionary is a revolutionary. A radical political view is one that seeks to change political society, often drastically. A socialist in a capitalist society is a radical, because they seek to change the system. I try not to even use the term communist because it’s become a loaded term. A Marxist view is one in which the political perspective is based on the concepts that Karl Marx wrote about, such as exploitation of labor, labor value theory, class conflict, etc. Class conflict occurs when 2 or more classes have to compete for the same resource. Resources are the means of production, social services, natural resources, et al. On the political spectrum, the right is that which seeks to conserve traditional society and the left seeks to dramatically alter it. For that reason conservatism could be seen as “far right” and Marxism cold be seen as “far left.”
It could get confusing when we delve into fascism, because the exact nature of fascism is still contested. I do believe that fascism is reactionary, and therefore privy to the right. Otherwise, I hope I’ve clarified any conflicts that may arise in the point I am trying to make.
I’ve grown very fond of Professor G. William Dumhoff’s explanation of the problems with ‘conspiracy theories.’ (It can be found here.) Professor Dumhoff explains: “There are several problems with a conspiratorial view that don’t fit with what we know about power structures.” He also states:
Because all their underlying assumptions are discredited by historical events and media exposures, no conspiracy theory is credible on any issue. If there is corporate domination, it is through leaders in visible positions within the corporate community, the policy planning network, and the government. If there is class domination, it is through the same mundane processes that social scientists have shown to be operating for other levels of the socioeconomic system.
Continue reading Anti-Government Conspiracy Theories
I often target conservatives and the right wing as the source of my contention. In the spirit of fairness, I’m going to turn the direction of my critique. There is a video making the rounds of a criticism of UCLA and the racial disparity in enrollment. The video is by Sy Stokes addressing the low enrollment and graduation of Black students at UCLA. This is a serious issue that should be addressed. I’m not sure I agree with the video though, and I will explain why.
First, here is the video.
In the video, it is stated:
In fall 2012, the total enrollment, graduate and undergraduate, for African American males at UCLA was 660 students. That’s 3.3% of the 19, 838 other males enrolled here. Out of that 660 African American male students, 65% are undergraduate athletes. The number of entering male freshman students was 2,418; only 48 of them are African American. The graduation rates for African American males at UCLA is 74%… Which means out of that 48 freshmen last year… Only 35 are predicted to graduate.
Continue reading In The Spirit Of Fairness