Why are there more societies where the people are oppressed than free?

  • Thread starter noblegas
  • Start date
  • #51
106
1
You sure don't think much of the other posters.
Well, thats what you get from me when you accuse me that my attitude allows "Evil" to perpetuate in this world :P He could surely find a less dramatic way to express his views.
 
  • #52
32
0
Societies undergo a process of Evolution like biological species. "Freedom of people", "Human Rights" thou beneficial for the individuals, might have been no advantage in survival for the societies themselves until today.
 
  • #53
calculusrocks
Yes. Berlin wall was transformed in a symbol by propaganda and media. It's a symbol which doesn't mean too much to many ppl.

A great event of the 20th century is the end of **cold war**. Not the Berlin wall fall. Hopefully you can make distinction between the two.
*yawn*

This thread of discussion is not a about how do you get treated in Cuba or USA.

It's about history and reductionist theories, and child narratives that Yoda and Obi Wan kill Vader and the Emperor. History is a humanity, not to be told in terms of Good and Evil.
I thought this thread was about the absence of free societies that cultivate liberty. Perhaps I have a "childish" "reductionist" "propagandist" view of the OP?

Well, thats what you get from me when you accuse me that my attitude allows "Evil" to perpetuate in this world :P He could surely find a less dramatic way to express his views.
Yes, he could have. But you sure found a way to shut him up.
 
  • #54
106
1
*yawn*

I thought this thread was about the absence of free societies that cultivate liberty. Perhaps I have a "childish" "reductionist" "propagandist" view of the OP?
Perhaps you do, perhaps not. It's not for me to say it.

What I can tell is the theory of "good and evil" in sociology doesn't hold any water. That the theory is childish and reductionist.
 
  • #55
jambaugh
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
2,231
261
Yes. Berlin wall was transformed in a symbol by propaganda and media. It's a symbol which doesn't mean too much to many ppl.

A great event of the 20th century is the end of **cold war**. Not the Berlin wall fall. Hopefully you can make distinction between the two.
Yes the [wall] event is largely symbolic but by no means insignificant. It's occurrence empirically demonstrated the wane of Soviet power and presaged the overthrow of the communist party in Russia. Ideas and symbols mean things. They influence peoples will to oppose tyranny and thus are not "mere symbols" but significant symbols.

We think in symbols and represent knowledge in symbols. The "mere symbol" can and does make "thinkable" the previously "unthinkable". This is especially important when a minority oppresses the majority out of fear. The knowledge that the tyrant can be opposed is all that is necessary to bring about his downfall. The suppression of that one bit of knowledge is the principle business of the tyrant. Hence oppression of free speech is the first, best indicator of tyranny. It does not matter that most "free speech" is BS, its existence not its content is what is good. Likewise the significance of the actual reunification of Germany may as you argue be insignificant, the fact that it was able to happen is far from insignificant.

Good ? With capital "G" ? The war game it's about political power, territorial control, and influence. It's not about "Good". It's about dominance.
Yes it is about political power, territorial control, and influence. Yes it is about dominance. But how does that preclude it being about good vs. evil. The question is Who? controls and Who? dominates and what they intend with that power.

You're right only if you misapply moral equivalence to the parties involved. The power issues are the mechanics of the conflict, not the quality of that use of power. By (a naive simplification) of that reasoning, a surgeon's scalpel and mugger's switchblade are "just about cutting, and rending of tissue".

Now you are correct in that you can't paint the one side as lily white and the other as pitch black. One can over-reduce the conflicts, and especially the virtues of specific actions, to simplistic black vs. white. But comparison can be made. Consider the distinction between North and South Korea and one cannot argue that U.S. involvement in the Korean war was not morally justified. One can also make the argument that trade sanctions against N. Korea and Cuba have done great harm, reducing the chance of moderation and evolution out of tyranny which might otherwise have occurred.

Hahaha. I lived in Communist countries in a time when communism still meant something real and menacing , not a scarecrow most learn from books.
....
This thread of discussion is not a about how do you get treated in Cuba or USA.

It's about history and reductionist theories, and child narratives that Yoda and Obi Wan kill Vader and the Emperor. History is a humanity, not to be told in terms of Good and Evil.
Who is being "reductionist"? You are "reducing" the position you disdain to a caricature of naive rednecks equating history with bad movies.

All historical theories are "reductionist" to some degree. They must be to encapsulate the immensity of individuals and events and factors into generalizations and trends.

Characterizing the cold war as "just about dominance" is no less reductionist as characterizing it as "purely a battle of good vs evil."
 
  • #56
106
1
The problem with good and evil, morality and ethics, is that they are relative concepts, which can wildly differ from a social organization to another.

It doesn't matter that you say "we are the good guys", your opponent will claim the same. Im sure Russians seen themselves as the good guys as much as Americans did.

You may say that Serbians where the bad guys during 90s, but I live close to Serbia, and I tell you, bombing their country didn't made US too popular down there. They surely thought at themselves as the good guys, and at US as the very bad immoral guys.

Humans do terrible things to each other and in the process they always think at themselves as the "good guys". It happens all over again in the history.

It doesn't really matter after all. History must stay away from morality issues. It should be a stone cold recorder of facts. A stone cold history is the best way, since even in this case, it will be perceived differently in different social contexts. Attributions of morality are always biased. "Holier than thou" is here to stay.
 
  • #57
calculusrocks
There are more opressive societies than free ones simply because freedom and democracy are very expensive, both in resource and in energy terms.

Democratic society with broad freedoms is very decentralized structure, thus requiring lot of social interactions to function and make decisions. Each new interaction within society comes at a price in energy and resources. Western Europe, and its historical extension, USA-Canada, had access to wast amounts of resources and food, first domestically, and later in their colonies which gradually led to creation of various democratic institutions during the course of 400 hundred years or so. No other society ever had, or will have, access to such mind-bogglingly amount of resources as Western Europe and USA-Canada had.

That is why, I believe, worldwide democracy is impossible, and if current demographic and economic trends continue, we will see worldwide trend towards more authoritarian organization.
If so, then what is your explanation for the United States beating the Russians in the Cold War? Or the outcome of WWII for that matter...
Those are pictured today as idealized battles between democracy and totalitarianism. Propaganda ideas. Nothing could be more false.
The problem with good and evil, morality and ethics, is that they are relative concepts, which can wildly differ from a social organization to another.

It doesn't matter that you say "we are the good guys", your opponent will claim the same. Im sure Russians seen themselves as the good guys as much as Americans did.

You may say that Serbians where the bad guys during 90s, but I live close to Serbia, and I tell you, bombing their country didn't made US too popular down there. They surely thought at themselves as the good guys, and at US as the very bad immoral guys.

Humans do terrible things to each other and in the process they always think at themselves as the "good guys". It happens all over again in the history.

It doesn't really matter after all. History must stay away from morality issues. It should be a stone cold recorder of facts. A stone cold history is the best way, since even in this case, it will be perceived differently in different social contexts. Attributions of morality are always biased. "Holier than thou" is here to stay.
Nowhere in that exchange did I assign values of 'good' and 'evil'. I just pointed out what should be plainly obvious. The old Soviet Union was a clear form of centralized gov't. The United States was somewhat decentralized. I am merely asking a pertinent question.

Nowhere in there did I assign any values of 'good' or 'evil'.

If authoritarian government is so obviously more efficient, then why couldn't the Soviets waste the Americans during the Cold War? If the hypothetical is true, then the explanation should be forthcoming. :zzz:
 
  • #58
106
1
If authoritarian government is so obviously more efficient, then why couldn't the Soviets waste the Americans during the Cold War? If the hypothetical is true, then the explanation should be forthcoming. :zzz:
From exactly the same reasons US couldn't waste URSS during the cold war. The risk for a global scale nuclear war with all consequences was too big.
 
  • #59
calculusrocks
From exactly the same reasons US couldn't waste USSR during the cold war. The risk for a global scale nuclear war with all consequences was too big.
You know that's not what I meant. Not all wars are fought militarily. That's reductionist.
 
  • #60
106
1
You know that's not what I meant.
How could I know ?:smile::devil:

And it's URSS in my native language :P
 
  • #61
503
0
I don't know where you have gotten your ideas on natural rights, but natural rights really depend by what "rights" those in power wish to grant you. Although it is argued that humans should have some basic rights, which some refer to as "natural, or "universal" rights, that is an argument that has been around a long time.
One thing I think should be injected into this discussion is the fact that authoritarian constraint of freedom works at the ideological level. Foucault is famous for saying that freedom has to be exercised. Authoritarian ideologies are the only effective way to constrain freedom at the level of individual agency insofar as individuals submit to ideologies that allow them to believe that they are less than free.

Sociology is ripe with such ideologies, unfortunately to say. The very idea that an individual is a part of a "society" or other group already implies that individual freedom cannot be exercised without adequate social conditions. If individuals believe that their freedom is absent, how can they exercise it?

Likewise, the idea that rights have to be recognized by some "higher power" to be rights is another authoritarian ideology. The wonderful thing about calling rights "natural" or "inalienable" is the presumption that there is no power that can alienate an individual from that freedom. The right simply recognizes the inalienability of the freedom.

Of course the discussion of whether talking about empowering individuals is more than wishful thinking is endless. But so is the procession of decrying claims of "wishful thinking" and "unrealistic" as a strategy to convince individuals to give up some or all of their own power.

The question is if someone had the power to take away individual freedom, why would it be so important to belittle people for believing in freedom and exercising it?
 
  • #62
255
0
One thing I think should be injected into this discussion is the fact that authoritarian constraint of freedom works at the ideological level. Foucault is famous for saying that freedom has to be exercised. Authoritarian ideologies are the only effective way to constrain freedom at the level of individual agency insofar as individuals submit to ideologies that allow them to believe that they are less than free.

Sociology is ripe with such ideologies, unfortunately to say. The very idea that an individual is a part of a "society" or other group already implies that individual freedom cannot be exercised without adequate social conditions. If individuals believe that their freedom is absent, how can they exercise it?

Likewise, the idea that rights have to be recognized by some "higher power" to be rights is another authoritarian ideology. The wonderful thing about calling rights "natural" or "inalienable" is the presumption that there is no power that can alienate an individual from that freedom. The right simply recognizes the inalienability of the freedom.

Of course the discussion of whether talking about empowering individuals is more than wishful thinking is endless. But so is the procession of decrying claims of "wishful thinking" and "unrealistic" as a strategy to convince individuals to give up some or all of their own power.

The question is if someone had the power to take away individual freedom, why would it be so important to belittle people for believing in freedom and exercising it?
yeah, and saying that authority figures only grants you natural rights is sort of like saying that a school yard bully only determines if whether or not that you get beat to a bloody pulp rather than fighting the school bully off at your own will
 
  • #63
503
0
yeah, and saying that authority figures only grants you natural rights is sort of like saying that a school yard bully only determines if whether or not that you get beat to a bloody pulp rather than fighting the school bully off at your own will
Yes, but even when you for whatever reason get beaten (hopefully not to a "bloody pulp!") there are ideologies that subject repressive power to judgement or at least self-judgement.

Consider for example the ideology of Christ's persecution and crucifixion in Christianity. In that story, Pilate judges Christ innocent but still washes his hands and allows him to be subjected to bullying and killing by the soldiers. The Jewish constituency similarly refuses to execute him, by self-proclaimed observance of their own laws that prevent killing, but they fail to hold the Romans accountable to the law not to kill, instead choosing to allow the Roman execution to be carried out to their benefit.

So while these are two different tactics of repressive power: 1) going with popular opinion and 2) getting around your own conscience by letting someone else do your dirty work for you; there is also a third form of power, which casts the other forms of repression into the light for evaluation.

Freedom of thought and speech are inalienable because of this third power, I think. In other words, there's something inside people that causes them to recognize when something's not right, when there is repression going on and they're participating in it - either by self-repression or helping to repress others, or both.

They may not get beyond a rising feeling of discomfort but they know that freedom is being repressed and they are probably subconsciously welling up with the desire for freedom and truth. The funny thing is that part of what brings them back into repression is when they express their desire for freedom through external rebellion, because once they attack something or someone outside themselves, they have shifted their consciousness back away from the real locus of their repression, which happens inside themselves.

That's why I think Foucault said that freedom has to be exercised. Rebelling against repression only leads to more repression. Exercising freedom involves disengaging repression and freely engaging anything else without repression.

Ethics and reason are safeguards that allow people to exercise freedom sustainably so that they don't fall back into self-repression and self-violence and/or repression of and violence toward others.

Rebellion is the exercise of freedom that brings free individuals back toward control. The reasons for this are that 1) Rebellion consumes consciousness with an externalized projection of authority and 2) Rebelling draws or teases out repressive power geared toward crushing rebellion. The parental expression, "you're asking for it" applies.

Inalienable rights are natural and non-rebellious, which is what has allowed republican democracy to evolve and flourish as an ideology. There is no legitimate power anywhere that can claim with legitimacy that the constructive exercise of freedom with respect to ethical and reasonable self-authority should be repressed.

That is why repressive power periodically surfaces and falls under its own weight in the light of its false legitimacy. This happens on the stage of political representation but where it actually has its effects is inside individuals. It is this process of self-repression and the corresponding absence of ethics and reason that lead individuals to stop participating in repressive regimes of knowledge-power and exercise their freedoms toward constructive goals.
 
  • #64
qwe
25
0
societies evolve, just like an individual evolves throughout life. vote progressive :p
 
  • #65
69
0
C'mon, the US won the Cold War, can we get past that point?
It seems to me that China won.
 
  • #66
503
0
It seems to me that China won.
"Winning a war" is a declaration, a status. The reality is that since WWII, at least, the tactic has been exercised to abdicate victory to the opponent and then embark on a program of internal resistance.

The question is what the stakes of the war are other than ethnic-national territorialization of land, resources, and people? What are people actually struggling over?
 

Related Threads on Why are there more societies where the people are oppressed than free?

Replies
17
Views
4K
Replies
17
Views
2K
Replies
17
Views
1K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
45
Views
8K
Replies
16
Views
4K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
47
Views
5K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
92
Views
10K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
3K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
56
Views
23K
  • Last Post
Replies
13
Views
2K
Top