Author Topic: Essays from Sociology 205  (Read 1035 times)

The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2012, 02:34:48 pm »
The rather disjointed and slapdash Essay #8, on the film: God’s Next Army

   Patrick Henry College is a school designed to groom young Christians to enter politics, with the goal of infusing American leadership with people who will incorporate their religion into the political system, and of ultimately dominating the government with Christian leaders who will impose their Christian values on the entire country. The growing base of fundamentalist Christians who homeschool their children in order to keep them apart from unwanted influences has created the student base for Patrick Henry that makes it viable.

   I can’t help but wonder how these isolated home-schooled kids are picking up the social skills and developing the charisma needed to be effective political leaders. A lot of people in the video, particularly the parents, seem insane, delusional, and deeply indoctrinated in a very strange, awkward subculture that is wholly unable to relate to people outside of that culture. It frightens me to think these people could gain influence over the country rather than just being a fringe minority. The idea of an accredited college teaching literal creationism seems absurd to me… I really had a difficult time with this. The section showing and explaining their moot court training was deeply disturbing; it seemed to basically be a course for creating skilled professional liars, and their basic philosophy seems to be that the end justifies the means. The bigoted, woman-subservient doctrines they teach are repellent to me, but they do help me to understand where the anti-woman female Republican politicians come from. My gut reaction after watching this documentary was horror… I am terrified of this school achieving its goals and producing future leaders of the US.

I believe how it works is that Patrick Henry alumni go on to do internships and act as advisors and reseachers for political leaders, that they rarely operate directly in a political context.

As John Ralston Saul would not doubt point out, that makes them a species of bureaucrat as opposed to politician, and there is nothing a bureaucrat is more adept at than manipulating the context from within an institution or office.  So, as things stand, their social inability is not a huge hinderance (lets recall some other famous bureaucrats, like Kissinger or Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu were also incompetent public speakers and low on charisma).

Gah. So these freakish fucks do stand a chance of becoming politically influential.

That's alarming.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2012, 02:56:07 pm »
Oh yes.  For example

http://www.phc.edu/siprojects.php

You'll also find more than a bit of overlap between Patrick Henry College graduates and various Koch funded charities.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2012, 03:00:03 pm »
Oh yes.  For example

http://www.phc.edu/siprojects.php

You'll also find more than a bit of overlap between Patrick Henry College graduates and various Koch funded charities.

 :horrormirth: :horrormirth: :horrormirth:
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Freeky Queen of DERP

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2012, 03:25:42 pm »
When I'm more awake I'm gonna read these.
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The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2012, 04:06:17 pm »
I had one about obesity and poverty, but I might have to retype it because I think I might have saved another one over it.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2012, 04:25:33 pm »
Essay # I forget: Obesity as a Consequence of Economic Inequality

Economic inequality is a huge contributor to obesity for several reasons starting in early childhood, or even before, in the case of children born to mothers suffering from gestational diabetes. Poor children are less likely to receive comprehensive or even adequate education about cooking and nutrition, and that lack of information carries through to adulthood, resulting in many poor adults who cannot cook a healthful meal from scratch. In combination with time constraints this often leads to a poor diet of overprocessed convenience foods. Time constraints, unsafe neighborhoods and lack of convenient access to recreational properties such as parkland or trails, can be a limiting factor in terms of getting adequate exercise.

Possibly the most influential factor of poverty on obesity is the relative accessibility of low-nutrient, high-calorie foods, compared with the accessibility of high-nutrient, low-calorie foods such as fresh meats and vegetables. Stores in poor neighborhoods are very typically overpriced and understocked on fresh wholesome foods, and farm subsidies for commodities such as corn and wheat help to ensure that the worst foods in terms of nutritional value per calorie are also the cheapest, with the most calorie-adding nutritionally void grain-based filler ingredients. Poor inner-city high schools and the least likely to have any of the nation’s few remaining home economics or cooking classes, both of which are desperately needed to help educate young people on managing their resources.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Tiddleywomp Cockletit

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2012, 04:16:35 am »
Most of what gets handed out in food pantries is old pastries. cheap mac and cheese, and canned vegetables (plenty of sodium and no viamins).
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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2012, 12:45:29 pm »
The other thing that typically gets missed in obesity are underlying contributing factors, especially emotional and developmental trauma.  I recently attended great talk by Gabor Mate who brilliantly expounded on this topic.  I need to get his books.


But, anyway, in addition to better access to nutritous foods, our poor need better access to mental health services, because if their obesity is linked to emotional trauma, all of the dieting and fresh veggies in the world aren't going to do the trick.
Cynicism is a blank check for failure.

Tiddleywomp Cockletit

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2012, 07:28:13 pm »
Emotional trauma and poor access to mental health services have existed all through time but obesity in epidemic proportions is only fairly recent.
It's the "food".
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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2012, 07:42:28 pm »
It's also the lifestyle.  Humans didn't evolve to sit in a couch for several hours at a time.  Or an office cubicle, for that matter.

Humans evolved in an environment where a large amount of their diet was berries, nuts, vegetables and the occasional bit of poultry, fish and red meat.  They also spent a good proportion of that time on their feet, whether hunting, gathering or just messing around.
"The thoughts of all men arise from the darkness. If you are the movement of your soul, and the cause of that movement precedes you, then how could you ever call your thoughts your own? How could you be anything other than a slave to the darkness that comes before? Only the Logos allows one to mitigate that slavery. Only knowing the sources of thought and action allows us to own our thoughts and our actions, to throw off the yoke of circumstance."
- R. Scott Bakker, The Darkness That Comes Before

The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2012, 07:54:02 pm »
There are a shit-ton of factors influencing obesity, but I only had one space-and-a-half page in which to address obesity specifically as a consequence of economic inequality so I had to keep it kind of short. The points about stress are valid, as are the points about inactivity. Quality of nutrition is still probably the most influential factor in the disparity of obesity between the middle class and the impoverished, though.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2012, 11:18:21 pm »
Essay #9

The Environment as a Sociological Issue

The impact we have on our environment is a sociological issue from multiple perspectives. The first and most obvious is that all people share the environment, and thus any degradation affects all of us. This issue becomes critical when you examine it from a perspective of economic inequality, because those who do the most damage to the environment tend to be the ones who suffer last from pollution and environmental degradation such as dead bodies of water and desertification, while the poorest, who consume the least, suffer the most.

This effect is especially striking in the case of wealthy corporations increasing their profits by outsourcing to factories in a country with a cheap labor force and fewer environmental regulations such as China, where global warming caused in part from emissions from these very factories is causing desertification of farmland in the North, destroying farms and sending thousands of desperate, impoverished people from former farming communities to the cities in search of work. Almost invariably, they end up working in the factories, in a bitter circle of inequality that sends untold wealth to the pockets of wealthy executives.

Everywhere in the world, the poor are more likely to live near polluting factories and on polluted soil than the rich. No one wants to live near a refinery or a landfill if they have a choice, so the wealthier move away, and the poor live in the only homes they can afford, however undesirable or unhealthy. Poor communities accept municipal waste from big cities because of lucrative waste management contracts, but even in those cases usually only a few in the community benefit, while the poorest have to live with emissions and contaminants leaking from the landfill and the fleets of transport trucks servicing it. Poor communities accept contracts for storage of nuclear waste in their region, and again, few benefit while the poorest are put at risk. Companies whose processes produce polluting wastes are more likely to illegally dump those wastes in poor regions, knowing that the poor lack the resources to bring legal action against them.

In many countries, the poorest survive by picking through our discarded waste. We have made that all but impossible in the US, but not in the countries to which we ship our least-wanted waste. We in the US hide our garbage… out of sight, out of mind… and many of us think that the pollution from the products we buy doesn’t affect us or doesn’t exist because it’s half a world away, but every iPhone, every notebook computer, every Luna bar, yogurt cup, package of Tofurkey, and disposable paper Starbucks cup has an environmental price that is paid first by the impoverished, and then, eventually, by us.

How can we solve this problem of environmental degradation?

We can stop.

Stop buying stuff we don’t need. Stop buying disposable plastic toys, stop buying more clothes than we can (or even want to) wear, stop buying stuff that is contained within a disposable wrapper. It is not enough to recycle; the only way to interrupt the cycle is to minimize consumption on all levels.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 11:19:56 pm by PROFOUNDLY RETARDED CHARLIE MANSON »
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Essays from Sociology 205
« Reply #27 on: June 10, 2012, 11:19:26 pm »
Essay #10

The Role of Technology in Global Inequality

The significance of the role of technology, not only in improving the lives of people on an individual basis but also in a global economy, cannot be overstated. Looking not only at the economic and social advantages of communication technology such as the internet and cell phones, but also, particularly, at medical and agricultural technologies, it becomes evident that lack of technology perpetuates a vicious cycle. Poor countries who cannot afford the basic medical technologies to prevent infants from dying of diarrhea and malaria also, most often, cannot afford to implement agricultural technologies that would help ensure an abundant and stable food supply for their population. They cannot afford good schools in which to educate their children, or universities in which to educate their youth. They have no hope of becoming innovators, and in fact devote most of their resources toward simple survival.

Their extreme economic vulnerability puts them in a terribly compromised position when it comes to protecting or utilizing their natural resources. Many impoverished countries have tremendous natural resources, such as oil, which they lack the technology to exploit, so foreign corporations contract with them to extract the resources for a tiny fraction of their eventual profit. The price paid by local residents is often extreme to the point of total, nightmarish ethical bankruptcy; for instance, towns set afire and a population butchered in the name of securing profits for Shell Oil in Africa.  Local governments may in some cases simply be corrupt and turning a blind eye to, or even assisting the massacre, or they may lack the military force and technology to protect their people from the militias hired to protect corporate interests, or their militaries may have been taken over by these militias, leaving in place a powerless figurehead government that can only watch as these crimes against their people take place.

Corporations often make grand promises to poor governments, promising schools and prosperity in exchange for cheap labor and natural resources, but the reality typically fails to measure up to the promises, and a small population will prosper while the majority grow even poorer. It is in the best financial interests of these corporations to maintain the gaping difference in prosperity between the wealthy countries and the poor countries, and so as long as international policy is driven by corporate profit it is very likely that any government-scale organized efforts to help the most impoverished regions by assisting them with medicines, vaccines, agricultural technology, and education, will be thwarted by corporate interests.

I believe that as long as there is profit to be made by exploiting impoverished and disadvantaged countries, the prosperity gap will be deliberately and actively maintained by those entities who hold profit as their highest driving motivator, and technology on any level that could stand to significantly improve the lives and futures of people in so-called developing nations will be withheld.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku