Social Criticism

Social Criticism


Conservatism: As Compared to Other Views

conservatism and libertarianism May 3rd, 2017

There are so many ultra-rich people in this country that “being a billionaire is barely enough to gain admission to the Forbes 400 [list of wealthiest individuals],” said Michael J. Sandel in is superb, readable book Justice. In a libertarian America, sure, there would be less discrimination and some of the icky stuff that social conservatives foist on the rest of us (censorship, the drug war, etc.). There could conceivably be a lot of wealth inequality, however. Is this right? Can it be morally justified? Let’s analyze, criticize, and philosophize about modern political conservatism and its ugly younger brother, libertarianism.

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Media Ethics & and Role in Society (V&E 15)

media ethics is critical April 26th, 2017

The media play[s] an extremely important role in our society, and in this blog, Jason interviews two experts on media ethics. The overall goal is determining what the function of the media is and what ethical standards the media ought to be upholding. As the critical “Fourth Estate,” it has been remiss in prior decades (centuries?) in its duty, due in no small part to political influences and the awesome power of money. Interviewees are Dan Hallin, Ph.D., Professor of Communication at UC-San Diego. Fred Brown also joins Jason; he is the co-chairperson of the ethics committee of the Society for Professional Journalists (www.spj.org) and before that, he was at The Denver Post. It’s an engaging discussion.

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Progressive: Promoting Social and Economic Change

Was America Ever Progressive? April 14th, 2017

Considering the relative powerlessness of political progressives (i.e., those on “the Left”), it’s obvious that such individuals are in it for the love of principle. As compared to the lure of power and money, the struggle for rights, social welfare, true democracy, true freedom, humaneness, and other ideals/values is a noble sentiment. The goals of social activism are also usually superior to conserving the status quo and bolstering institutional power. It has never been easy; from securing a fair wage to voting rights to being free of conscription to breaking the shackles that enslaved, progressives have not had much power on their side. Power concedes nothing without a demand…. Frederick Douglass wrote. A comparison and contrast of progressivism (“liberalism”) and conservatism follows.

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Is Inequality of Wealth Fair and Acceptable?

inequality of wealth March 27th, 2017

Is it appropriate, legitimate, and wise for government to tax the wealthy in order to help the poor (i.e., redistribution)? I think this is largely a moral issue, though it clearly touches economics, and politics. It is my belief that it is morally appropriate for a legitimate government to tax wealthy citizens to redistribute to help the poor. It’s not right to live in a society that is the richest in the history of societies, has significant wealth inequality, very low unionization, flagging wages, and so on; many millions are without health insurance, living paycheck to paycheck, not being able to afford daycare, and such. That’s not a good society. The rich need to be willing to propagate and contribute to a more horizontal society than that. It’s also wise, in addition to simply being moral.

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Progress and Social Justice in Society

suffering woman needs progress now! February 28th, 2017

Is more progress possible in modern society, and if so, how do we get from here to there? What can “the wise” teach us about our values that will bring about greater peace, justice, prosperity, equality, and happiness? What role will progressive/grass-roots politics play, versus conservative/reactionary/top-down politics? How does this all relate to economics and social policy? Let’s discuss.

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Social Justice and Civil Liberties: Case in Point

social justice and civil liberties February 22nd, 2017

I get that being a cop is difficult, for all kinds of reasons. One is that we don’t pay them, select them, or supervise them all that well. Also, the culture of many law enforcement agencies has some problems that new recruits have to adjust to – the blue code of silence or whatever it’s called. Clearly, there are a lot of trashy people in a country of over 300,000,000, and cops are on the front lines in dealing with them. So, I do think we should have police, but like most agencies – from schools to government to courts – the institution should be improved, amended, and altered. Social justice and civil liberties are two aspirational goals America was founded on (well, that is arguable).

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Is Capitalism Ethical? Economically Just?

Is capitalism ethical? January 3rd, 2017

This is such a funny picture, I had to blog about it. I’m afraid I don’t know whom to give credit to for the photo, but they are obviously a genius. There is great wisdom in it, I believe. So, what did Jesus value? Does that matter? Can one live a life of value and chase down the almighty dollar? In a word: is capitalism ethical? Here are some questions to consider when comparing capitalism to its alternatives: socialism, welfare statism, egalitarianism, communitarianism, and social democracy. 

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