Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Simple Solutions Come From Simple Minds


 What is behind Stephen Harper's war on sociology? Jakeet Sing writes:

So what does Harper have against sociology? First, Harper is clearly trumpeting a standard component of neo-liberal ideology: that there are no social phenomena, only individual incidents. (This ideology traces back to Margaret Thatcher’s famous claim that “there is no such thing as society.”) Neo-liberalism paints all social problems as individual problems. The benefit of this for those who share Harper’s agenda, of course, is that if there are no social problems or solutions, then there is little need for government. Individuals are solely responsible for the problems they face.

Harper recognizes only one kind of injustice -- personal injustice. Sociologists recognize personal injustices. But they also recognize systematic injustice:

Structural injustices, on the other hand, are produced by a social structure or system. They are often hard to trace back to the actions of specific individuals, are usually not explicitly intended by anyone, and have collective, rather than isolated, victims. Structural injustices are a result of the unintended actions of many individuals participating in a social system together, usually without knowing what each other is doing. Whereas personal injustices are traced back to the harmful actions (or inactions) of individuals, structural injustices are identified by differential societal outcomes among groups. Sociologists call these “social inequalities.”
And therein lies the rub. Perhaps the key difference between personal and structural injustices is that the latter are only clearly identifiable through macro-level societal analysis — that is, sociology. This is because a) there are no clear perpetrators with whom to identify the injustice and assign responsibility; and b) while structural injustices do generate concrete harms and victims, we often only learn about the collective nature of the injustice through statistical inquiry, or by identifying social/demographic patterns over time.

Structural injustices are harder to remedy because they are immune to simple solutions. And Mr. Harper favours simple solutions.

Simple solutions are for simple minds.


ron wilton said...

The harpercongregation aids and abets the racism that used to be 'socially' abhorrent and unacceptable in civilized society.

Now, with harper in their corner, they feel empowered to spew their venom all over the comment pages on line, although they still hide behind anonymity which betrays their intent.

The 'Public Inquiry' should include racism in their purview.

Owen Gray said...

If and when there is an inquiry, Ron, you can bet that "Racism" will be a major sub-heading in the final report.

Anonymous said...

I think the Harperite destruction of the long form census was, as Gandhi said about poverty, an act of violence against society.

These Harperites, and their sick and twisted ideology, must be expunged from Canadian society at the next election.

Owen Gray said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you, Anon.

Rural said...

“Structural injustices, on the other hand, are produced by a social structure or system. They are often hard to trace back to the actions of specific individuals”. I would argue Owen that one specific individual has created many 'structural injustices' by his attacks upon our social, parliamentary and environmental support systems. That one such individual and his cohorts who have a disproportionate amount of power over our collective rights and freedoms do not recognize such 'systematic injustice' does not mean that they are not deliberately carrying out such injustices.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Rural. One individual, in a position of social responsibility, can create a great deal of social injustice.

The problem is that Mr. Harper refuses to realize that he is in a position of enormous social responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Owen: Sometimes simple solutions come not from simple minds but from deceitful ones. This is worth reading:

scotty on denman said...

What is to be made of the neo-right after so many years of its nearly-trademarked policy- and legislative-obfuscation---including things like Harper's omnibus bills and Campbell's lying, and their shared aversion to doing public business openly in parliament? Why now, all of a sudden, Christy's baldfaced whopperism and Harper's glib, antisocial utterances? Is it the bottom of the barrel or do these supposed political leaders hold public opinion in such weary contempt?

Or do they presume they've got us so firmly by the gonads that blue sweaters and hard hats are no longer necessary stage props?

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps they believe the we the people are simpletons, scotty. That notion really is a simple solution -- and utterly wrong.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Anon. If the simple solution assumes that the public are simpletons, then it is downright deceitful.

The Harper spin machine has insisted for sometime now that the prime minister is the smartest guy in the room. I maintain that shrewd and smart are not synonyms.

Harper is shrewd. But time will -- in fact, it already has -- proved that many of his positions (on the invasion of Iraq, on the 2008 recession) were utterly stupid.

Anonymous said...

Problem is? Harper is getting all of his ethnic ducks in a row, to win the next election. More than likely Harper, will have another cheat planned. Harper reneged on everything he said, to cheat the last election.

Ex BC Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell is, Harper's favorite henchman. He twice lied and cheated to win his elections too, just as his good buddy Harper did. Harper rewarded Campbell the post as, High Commissioner to the U.K. Campbell now has the company of, Nigel Wright.

Christy Clark, started lying right from day one. She too sucked up to the ethnic people, just as Jason Kenny did. Clark campaigned on, 100,000 jobs for BC citizens. So far, the Chinese were given the jobs of, building the LNG plant near Prince Rupert. BC's ship building contract, was given to Poland. There are to be thousands of Chinese brought over for, Harper and Clark's, Northern BC mining plan.

How many of these countries people, live in Canada? Chinese, people of India, Jews, Ukrainian and Polish? Harper still has time, to give more of Canada away, to gain more ethnic votes. 45,000 more Chinese want in. They just have to vote for Harper, to get in.

Owen Gray said...

We should know by now, Anon, that Mr. Harper will stop at nothing to win the next election.