Corporatocracy (sometimes Corporocracy) is a pejorative term coined by proponents of the anti-globalization movement to describe a government bowing to pressure from corporate entities.
Critics of this term argue that the term has no real meaning in terms of political theory, arguing that a corporation is nothing more than a body of individuals, ruled by an elected governing body and executives appointed by that body. As such it has as much a right as any other body of people to exercise powers (such as votes). Other such bodies of people presumably include the family (no pun intended). Pursuing the overriding shareholder interest in corporate profitability generally guides the actions of corporate governing bodies, and it is in the pursuit of this interest that corporations exercise their financial and marketplace power in order to influence public policy.
While anyone can become a shareholder in principle, in reality it is frequently only the wealthy who can afford to own enough stock to directly influence the voting (and hence the activities) of a corporation. Hence the term "corporatocracy" might be considered somewhat synonymous with plutocracy, the government by the rich.
Some would argue that a real corporatocracy can only appear when (and if) a government makes it legal to bribe politicians. That quickly makes politicians very corporate-friendly, and makes it easy for corporations to pass laws as they see fit. Many people in the United States believe the allowance for soft money contributions has created such a situation and view the contributions that prompted the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as evidence. Also, many argue that when the major media outlets are controlled by large corporations, access to information tends to become limited to what serves corporate interests, and corporate interests in turn are able to define the national political agenda. Finally when the majority of wealth of the politicians is invested into corporations, that gives politicians incentive to support the corporations.
The nature of corporations and stock market speculation makes some of the desires of corporations unexpected. For example, a national corporation in a purely national industry (non international), would be less worried about a universal regulation which would decrease profits, than a regulation that would target that individual company, since investors would be more likely to divest in the second case.
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Theocracy is a form of government in which the governmental rulers are identical with the leaders of the dominant religion, and governmental policies are either identical with or strongly influenced by the principles of the majority religion. Typically, the government claims to rule on behalf of God or a higher power, as specified by the local religion.
There are different forms of theocracy. One is caesaro-papism, in which power is shared between a secular ruler (an emperor) and a religious leader (a pope). Theocracy can also be exercised directly by the clergy (as in Iran) or indirectly (such as via the divine right of kings). This form of government was advocated by reformer John Calvin.
Current theocratic nations today include:
The concept of theocracy was first coined by Josephus Flavius in the 1st century. He defined theocracy as the characteristic government for Jews. Josephus' definition was widely accepted until the enlightenment era, when the term started to collect more universalistic and undeniably negative connotations, especially in Hegel's hands. After that 'theocracy' has been mostly used to label certain politically unpopular societies as somehow less 'rational' or 'developed'. The concept is often used in sociology also, but rarely or never properly defined for objective scientific usage.
Many people criticize the British monarch as being a theocratic ruler because of her title as Head of the Church in England. However, as the monarch retains only ceremonial authority, most people do not consider the United Kingdom, or any other nations with the British Monarch serving as Head of State, as a theocracy.
NOTE - The listing includes ALL ideological christian-democratic parties, even though some (such as the CDU in Germany) are not theocratic.
Wealth condensation is a theoretical process by which, in certain conditions, newly-created wealth tends to become concentrated in the possession of already-wealthy individuals or entities. According to this theory, those who already hold wealth have the means to invest in new sources of creating wealth or to otherwise leverage the accumulation of wealth, thus are the beneficiaries of the new wealth.
Two processes that some critics claim are driving wealth condensation are:
Some advocates believe the theory of wealth condensation applies to democratic countries with free market economies, which they claim exemplify the old phrase "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."
This theory is similar to the "law of the centralization of capital" posited by Marx.
Proponents of free market economics argue that this "leveraging of wealth" can be explained either by the legitimate creation of wealth by its owners or by specific instances of malfeasance. Therefore, by this line of argument, the results do not constitute a "process" or "effect", and to describe it as such could even be misleading because it would conflate two distinct sorts of behavior: one legitimate and positive, the other dishonest and harmful.
Free market democrats also generally claim that wealth condensation theory does not apply to democratic countries. They point to the United States as an alleged counter-example of the theory, on the grounds that its middle class is supposedly the most prosperous in recorded human history. Some go further, claiming that even America's "poor people" are envied by the "middle class" of other, less industrialized countries.
Critics of this position point out that the total wealth of the United States is vastly higher than most other nations, and that the relatively superior standard of living of the American poor is solely due to this single disparity. This criticism further states that the wealth disparity must be measured by the wealthy versus the poor of the United States, not the American poor versus the poor of the rest of the world.
A progressive tax, or graduated tax, is a tax that is larger as a percentage of income for those with larger incomes. It is usually applied in reference to income taxes, where people with more income pay a higher percentage of it in taxes. The term progressive refers to the way the rate progresses from low to high, but over time it has become confused with modern.
The opposite of a progressive tax is a regressive tax. In this case, the amount of the tax is smaller as a percentage of income for people with larger incomes. Many taxes other than the income tax tend to be regressive in practice: e.g. most sales taxes (since lower income people spend a larger portion of their income), social security taxes (because they exclude interest, rent, and other kinds of income common for the affluent), excise taxes, and so on. (A flat tax, also called a proportional tax, is one where the tax amount is fixed as a function of income, and is a term mainly used only in the context of income taxes.)
The argument for a progressive tax system is that people with higher income tend to have a higher percentage of that in disposable income, and can thus afford a greater tax burden. A person making exactly enough money to pay for food and housing cannot afford to pay any taxes without it causing material damage, while someone making twice as much can afford to pay up to half their income to taxes. The converse argument is that too progressive a tax rate acts as a disincentive to work; in the previous (extreme) example, there would be no monetary incentive at all for the first person to try to double his or her income. In practice, however, no advocates of a progressive tax go as far as that extreme example, so they often argue that the taxes they propose have very little effect (or even no effect at all) on incentives.
For example, in the United States as of 2004 there are six "tax brackets" that are used to calculate the percentage of income that must be paid as income tax to the federal government. These percentages in 2003 and 2004 are:
If an individual's yearly income falls within a particular tax bracket, they pay the listed percentage of their income on each dollar that falls within that monetary range. For example, a person who earned $10,000 in 2003 would be liable for 10% of each dollar earned from the 2,651st dollar to the 9,700th dollar, and then for 15% of each dollar earned from the 9,701st dollar to the 10,000th dollar, for a total of $749.75. This ensures that every rise in a persons salary results in an increase of after-tax salary.
The tax bracket system has a few problems, however. Bracket creep occurs when the amounts are not tied to the cost of living, due to inflation tax rates would thus slowly rise.
An alternate system of having taxes with an increasing relative rate is a negative income tax, which eliminates the step problem.
Tax progressivity or regressivity should not be confused with two similar concepts: tax neutrality and tax incidence. Tax neutrality refers to the effect a change in taxation policy will have on government revenues. If the change has no net impact to government income, it is said to be neutral. Tax incidence refers what group ultimately bears the burden of a tax (for example, sales taxes, which are nominally applied to businesses, are passed through to consumers as higher prices), and can measure the effective progressivity of a tax by income group as well as breaking the impact down by geographic area or other factors.
A regressive tax is a tax which takes a larger percentage of income from people whose income is low. A tax which places proportionately more of a burden on those with lower incomes. Regressive taxes, as opposed to progressive taxes, are more burdensome on lower-income individuals than on higher-income individuals and corporations.
Supply-side economics advocated regressive taxes as a means to solve the problem of stagflation. There is considerable debate as to whether regressive taxes are such a solution, in practice and in theory. It should be pointed out that the highest tax bracket in the United States before Reagan was 70%, a percentage viewed by some as being too high, and thus straining the main arguments for progressive taxes. Opponents of this high tax rate for the rich (or high tax rates for the rich in general) argue that it lowers the incentive to work and innovate, while proponents argue that since the rich are still richer than everyone else, their incentive is left intact (or, alternatively, they may argue that most of the rich no longer work and innovate once they reach a certain level of wealth). Finally, it should also be pointed out that currently (as of 2004) the highest tax bracket in the United States is 35%, one of the lowest in the world.
It is natural to expect that some of those individuals and organizations which benefit most directly and most tangibly from a regressive tax (namely wealthy individuals and corporations), will advocate such a tax regardless of the main stream positions for and against. Therefore it is suggested that regressive taxes are the darlings of the wealthy and of special interest groups. In fact there are numerous lobbies and political groups devoted to regressive taxes.
A plutocracy is a government system where wealth is the principal basis of power (from the Greek ploutos meaning wealth).
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The term plutocracy is generally used to describe two unrelated phenomena. In writings about history, plutocracy is the political control of the state by an oligarchy of the wealthy. Examples of such plutocracy include some city-states in Ancient Greece and the Italian merchant republics of Venice, Florence, and Genoa.
Plutocracies typically emerge as one of the first governing systems within a territory after a period of anarchy. Plutocracy is closely related to aristocracy as a form of government, as generally wealth and high social status have been closely associated throughout history.
The second usage is a pejorative reference to the allegedly great and undue influence the wealthy have on the political process in contemporary society. This influence can be exerted positively (by financial "contributions" or in some cases, bribes) or negatively by refusing to financially support the government (refusing to pay taxes, threatening to move profitable industries elsewhere, etc).
Recently, there have been numerous cases of wealthy individuals exerting financial pressure on governments to pass favorable legislation. Most western partisan democracies permit the raising of funds by the partisan organisations, and it is well-known that political parties frequently accept significant donations from various individuals (either directly or through corporate institutions). Ostensibly this should have no effect on the legislative decisions of elected representatives; however it would be unlikely that no politicians are influenced by these "contributions". The more cynical might describe these donations as "bribes", although legally they are not. In the United States, campaign finance reform efforts seek to ameliorate this situation.
Aristocracy is a form of government in which rulership is in the hands of an "upper class" known as aristocrats. (The Greek origins of the word aristocracy imply the meaning of "rule by the best".). This inevitably means those with the power to hold wealth, and to define who shall remain in poverty and slavery.
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Civics under this form is more or less completely determined by the ethical code of aristocrats, and what issues can be raised, and which not, are almost entirely a matter of the etiquette they follow. For instance, in Ancient Athens or the Confederate States of America it was not polite to challenge the institution of slavery which supported the state, as this was a direct conflict of interest with the way that aristocracy not only sustained but defined itself.
Aristocracy is usually combined with an oligarchy ("rule by the few").
Aristocracy may be headed by a monarch, in that some functions of government are administered by the monarch (usually also a member of the aristocracy) with the remainder being held by other aristocrats. Thus a balance of power was achieved that would satisfy both the aristocrats' desire to limit competition with each other, and their desire to not be subject to arbitrary power of an absolute monarchy. For example, the Magna Carta was forced on King John by barons concerned with just such powers.
Generally, this form of government evolved out of earlier feudal systems, but often it was feudal mechanisms that stood in its way - in the Magna Carta's case, for instance, John had previously made himself vassal of the Pope, in effect, forcing everyone in England into a strict hierarchy of obligations up to the Church. Thus, when the barons forced John to sign the document, the Church was forced to object and declare it void, as this was a usurpation of rights that ordinary citizens had under feudalism to appeal directly up to the Pope.
Historically, the obligations of aristocrats were to raise and equip armies, and physically lead them into brutal and bloody battles, in order to protect the state itself from any invaders - and occasionally to conqueror a neighboring state, and divide its capital amongst themselves. By the 16th century these obligations were on the wane - the popular work Don Quixote was a satire of this situation, where the nobility had no longer obligations but retained all its privileges, wherein a noble knight sets forth to do battle for fair maidens, free the oppressed, and so forth. These obligations by this time began to appear ridiculous, if indeed they had ever been anything but - chivalry being largely a product of medieval romance.
Historically, the term "aristocracy" has usually denoted a hereditary elite, but the word has been applied to non-hereditary elites as well, usually those created by commerce and especially shipping and railroads in trade-dependent societies. The terms "railroad baron" and "shipping magnate" reflect this.
American Revolutionary figure John Jay stated the basic principle of aristocracy bluntly:
Many historical hereditary aristocracies justified their power by a belief in "rule by right of birth" or "divine right". This belief states that there is a particular caste of hereditary nobility which has the greatest right---or greatest ability---to rule, that ability being inherited through blood ties ("blue blood"). This concept enjoyed great support, at least among the nobility, in some places and time periods where rule by martial prowess and conquest gave way to longer and longer "dynasties" of inherited power. Examples of aristocratic societies in this style are Europe during the late medieval and Renaissance periods and the Ashikaga Shogunate in Japan.
A government by aristocracy is generally held to be incompatible with the notion of political egalitarianism and with democracy itself.
Nonetheless, it is clear that the concept of human rights itself has roots in agreements that were originally between aristocrats and monarchs. It is also clear that right up into the 19th century (some would say the 1960s), an aristocracy based on racism persisted even in the United States, defining those genetically "white" as "above" those defined as "negro", "colored" or "black". This situation was more overt in South Africa under apartheid. And only in the 20th century were women and those who did not own land granted the right to vote.
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Political philosophy is the study of the fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, property, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown - if ever.
Two key aspects are the political economy by which property rights are defined and access to capital is regulated, and the rules of truth and evidence that determine judgements in the law. Each theory of criminal justice is derived in part from some such view of these.
Political philosophy most broadly concerns the nature and forms of power; more specifically, it involves the principles for proper governance.
As an academic discipline, political philosophy has its origins in ancient Greek society, when city-states were experimenting with various forms of political organization including monarchy, tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy, and democracy. The first classic work of political philosophy is Plato's The Republic, which was followed by Aristotle's Politics. Roman political philosophy was influenced by the Stoics, and the Roman statesman Cicero wrote on political philosophy.
The early Christian philosophy of Augustine was by and large a rewrite of Plato in a Christian context. The main change that Christian thought brought was to moderate the Stoicism and theory of justice of the Roman world, and emphasize the role of the state in applying mercy as a moral example. Augustine's City of God is an influential work of this period that refuted the thesis, after the First Sack of Rome, that the Christian view could be realized on Earth at all - a view many Christian Romans held.
The rise of Islam based on both the Qur'an and the political philosophy of Muhammad drastically altered the power balances and perceptions of origin of power in the Mediterranean region. Early Muslim philosophy emphasized an inexorable link between science and religion, and the process of ijtihad to find truth - in effect all philosophy was "political" as it had real implications for governance. This view was challenged by the Mutazilite philosophers, who held a more Greek view and were supported by secular aristocracy who sought freedom of action independent of the mosque. By the medieval period, however, the Asharite view of Islam had in general triumphed and all philosophy was henceforth subordinated to theology - a situation that persisted until the rise of modern Islamic philosophy.
Medieval political philosophy in Europe was heavily influenced by Christian thinking. It had much in common with the Islamic thinking in that the Roman Catholics also subordinated philosophy to theology. Perhaps the most influential political philosopher of the medieval period was St. Thomas Aquinas who helped reintroduce Aristotle's works, which had been preserved in the interim only by the Muslims. Aquinas's use of them set the agenda for scholastic political philosophy, and dominated European thought for centuries.
The most influential work, however, was that which ended this period, that being Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince, 1517. It is that work, and The Discourses, a rigorous analysis of the classical period, from which modern political philosophy is largely derived.
During the Enlightenment, new theories about human psychology, the discovery of other societies in the Americas, and the changing needs of political societies (especially in the wake of the English Civil War and the French Revolution) led to new questions and insights by such thinkers as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau - known by most for his influential theory of the social contract.
These theorists were driven by two basic questions: by what right or need do people form "states," and what is the best form for a "state." These large questions involved a conceptual distinction between "state" and "government." Basically, "state" refers to a set of enduring institutions through which power is distributed and its use justified. "Government" refers to a specific group of people who occupy these institutions, and exercise particular policies. This conceptual distinction continues to operate in political science, although some political scientists, philosophers, historians and cultural anthropologists have argued that most political action in any given society occurs outside of its state, and that there are societies that are not organized into states which nevertheless must be considered politically.
Political and economic relations were drastically changed by these views as the guild was subordinated to free trade, and Roman Catholic dominance of theology was increasingly challenged by Protestant churches subordinate to each nation-state and which preached in the "vulgar" or native language of each region.
In the Ottoman Empire, these reforms did not take place and these views did not spread until much later. Also, there was no contact with the New World and the advanced civilizations of the Aztec, Maya, Inca, Mohican, Delaware, Huron and especially the Iroquois, who gave a great boost to Christian thought and in many cases actually inspired some of the institutions adopted in the United States: for example, Benjamin Franklin was a great admirer of some of the methods of the Iroquois Confederacy, and much of early American literature emphasized the political philosophy of the natives.
The industrial revolution produced a parallel revolution in political thought. As urbanization and capitalism reshaped society, and resulted in acute poverty and miserable conditions for the majority of the population, the socialist movement began to form. In the mid-19th century, Marxism was developed, and socialism in general gained increasing popular support, mostly from the urban working class. By the late 19th century, socialism and trade unions were established members of the political landscape. In addition, the various branches of anarchism and syndicalism also gained some prominence.
World War I was a watershed event in human history. The Russian Revolution (and similar, albeit less successful, revolutions in many other European countries) brought communism - and in particular the political theory of Leninism - on the world stage. At the same time, social democratic parties won elections and formed governments for the first time, often as a result of the introduction of universal suffrage.
In response to the sweeping social changes that occured in the years after the war, ultra-reactionary ideologies such as fascism began to take shape. In particular, the rise of the nazis in Germany would later lead to the Second World War.
All political thought was deeply affected by the Great Depression, which led many theorists to reconsider the ideas they had previously held as axiomatic. In the United States, President Roosevelt introduced the New Deal. In Europe, both the extreme left and the extreme right gained increasing popularity.
After World War II the peace movement became the dominant mode of political philosophy in the Western world, due largely to fear of nuclear war. Opponents tended to line up on either side of the arms race debate. Communism remained an important focus especially during the 1950s and 60s. Zionism, racism and colonialism were important issues that arose. In general, there was a marked trend towards a pragmatic approach to political issues, rather than a philosophical one. Much academic debate regarded one or both of two pragmatic topics: how (or whether) to apply utilitarianism to problems of political policy, or how (or whether) to apply economic models (such as rational choice theory) to political issues.
Some scholars date the emergence of contemporary political philosophy to 1962, since many important things happened in that year:
Soon after, there was a major revival of academic political philosophy as a result of the publication of John Rawls's A Theory of Justice in 1971. Rawls used a thought experiment, the original position in which representative parties choose principles of justice for the basic structure of society from behind a veil of ignorance. Rawls also offered an effective criticism of utilitarian approaches to questions of political justice. Robert Nozick's book Anarchy, State, and Utopia responded to Rawls from a libertarian perspective. A rich debate ensued.
Another rich debate developed around the (distinct) criticisms of liberal political theory made by Bernard Williams and Charles Taylor. The liberalism-communitarianism debate is often considered valuable for generating a new set of philosophical problems, rather than a profound and illuminating clash of perspectives.
Today some debates regarding punishment and law center on the question of natural law and the degree to which human constraints on action are determined by nature, as revealed by science in particular.
An important exception is the view of Bernard Crick that the political virtues are universal.
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Autocracy is a form of government where absolute power is held by a single individual. An emperor may rise to power due to hereditary lines, but is referred to as an autocrat rather than a monarch when his power overshadows his bloodline. It is a type of government historically found in the Eastern world; in the West a primary example is that of Russia, where the sovereign assumed, as a title, Autocrat of all the Russias. The term can also refer to a country that is ruled in this manner. In comparison, an oligarchy is a form of government where power is held by multiple people (yet still a small segment of society).
A patriarch (from Greek: patria means family; archy means rule) is a male head of an extended family exercising autocratic authority, or, by extension, a member of the ruling class or government of a society controlled by senior men. The word patriarch also denotes any of certain high-ranking bishops in some hierarchical churches; see patriarch.
Under patriarchy, if a man whose father (and whose father's father, etc.) has died, has two married sons and two married daughters and 15 grandchildren, then any money earned by either of his two sons belongs, not to the individual who earns the money, but to the family, and he, as patriarch of the family, has authority to decide how the money is to be distributed among the family members. He has no similar authority over his married daughters, who are under the authority of the patriarchs of the families into which they have married.
Anthropologists define patriarchy relatively narrowly, as a society in which men are the "dominant element" in public political affairs. By this definition, anthropologist David Brown considers patriarchy to be a "human universal" (Brown 1991, p. 137). Patriarchy is distinct from patrilineality and patrilocality, neither of which are universal.
The word patriarchy is often used to mean societal controlled by men in general, although this is more properly termed andrarchy. Many construe this to mean a gender hierarchy in which men dominate or exploit women, but that doesn't need to be the case.
Many feminist writers have considered patriarchy to be the basis on which most modern societies have been formed. They argue that it is necessary and desirable to get away from this model in order to achieve gender equality. Although "feminism" is a term in widespread use since the 1970s to refer to the movement that seeks greater power for women, some feel that it is a misuse of the word since to feminize a man is to castrate him; they argue the more appropriate (and less offensive) term would be "equalitarianism." Some critics argue that these writers are oversimplifying the complexities of society, or that such gender roles are not necessarily harmful.
Effeminacy (Greek: ανανδρια; μαλακια; Latin: mollites) is applied to men who have the quality of unmanliness, softness or a delicacy about them. In this classical meaning there is no connotation of sexual behavior or gender roles. It is a moral and ethical fault which is always applied to fully heterosexual men who are morally weak, lack in perseverance, or cowards but can also be denoted of races, cultures and societies as a whole. The English word comes from the Latin, "ex", meaning "out", and "femina", meaning woman. It also means "to be like a woman" metaphysically. From classical antiquity, this meaning of effeminacy passed into Christianity through the Bible and affected Western culture especially English and Victorian Culture.
The Greek word is "malakos" (or "soft") and is still used in modern Greek in that sense. "Malakoi" was a common Greek term meaning men who were effeminate; it is a term of shame.
Effeminacy was also known by the other Greek word androyinon (androgyny). It is made up of two Greek words; "Andre", meaning man, and "Yinon", meaning woman. It literally means "manwoman".
In common literary prose, the term malakos is an adjective applied to things.
To the Greeks, men could be made either manly or effeminate. Socrates in The Republic observed that "too much music effeminizes the male." (5) "… when a man abandons himself to music to play upon him and pour into his soul as it were through the funnel of his ears those sweet, soft (malakas), and dirge-like airs of which we were just now speaking..." (19). Music softens the high spirit of a man but too much 'melts and liquifies' that spirit making him into a feeble warrior. For Socrates, the guardians must be trained right "lest the habit for such thrills make them more sensitive and soft (malakoteroi) than we would have them." (20)
Aristotle writes that "Of the dispositions described above, the deliberate avoidance of pain is rather a kind of softness (malakos); the deliberate pursuit of pleasure is profligacy in the strict sense." (16); "One who is deficient in resistance to pains that most men withstand with success, is soft (malakos) or luxurious (for Luxury is a kind of Softness (malakia); such a man lets his cloak trail on the ground to escape the fatigue and trouble of lifting it, or feigns sickness, not seeing that to counterfeit misery is to be miserable." (17) and "People too fond of amusement are thought to be profligate, but realy they are soft (malakos); for amusement is rest, and therefore a slackening of effort, and addiction to amusement is a form of excessive slackness" (18)
A writer of the peripatetic school (c. 1st century BC or AD) elaborated a little more on Aristotle by labeling effiminacy as a vice. He writes that "Cowardice is accompanied by softness (malakia), unmanliness, faint-heartedness."(2) It was also a concomitant of uncontrol: "The concomitants of uncontrol are softness (malakia) and negligence." (3)
It had educational implications for the Greek Paideia. Pericles in his famous Funeral Oration said that the Athenians "cultivate...knowledge without effeminacy (aneu malakoi)". (4) This statement and idea of education without effeminacy was visible in the educational philosophies of Victorian England and 19th century America.
Effeminacy in Ancient Greece had political implications as well. The presence or absence of this character in man and his society determined if his society was free or slavish. The Greeks applied this term to the Asiatics because they always lived under tyranny. (1) To the Greeks, however, their own self-government was seen as a product of their manliness. (see The Kyklos.)
Herodotus recounted an incident that happened in Asia Minor. This was an appeal from King Croesus, the king of Lydia, a Greek city and people on the West coast of modern Turkey, to the Persian King. The Persian king wanted to kill all the males to keep them from revolting and what the defeated king proposed was to inculturate softness in order to make the people docile and servile; effeminacy was seen as the mark of a slave. These men are to be softened.
The Greek idea of mechanical trades as incurring effeminacy of their laborers was spoken by Xenophon:
The Greeks tended to see things in totality, as opposed to compartmentalizing their thought. If the body was weak and soft, as the sentiment went, the mind is weak and soft, thereby lending to a man who was effeminate. Everything: food, sleeping habits, clothing, labors, work, education, and music affected the character of a man. The excess or definciency in any of these either made the man effeminate or manly. (see Golden Mean).
To strengthen the argument of the "mechanics", Thomas Jefferson said something similar to Xenophon (see above):
The Septuagint expresses the concept of effeminacy through the Greek word "androyinon" (androgyny):
The editor of Cruden's Complete Concordance to the Bible of 1737 points to places in the Bible where "Weak and ineffectual men are sometimes spoken of as women": Masoretic text, Is 3.12; 19.16; and Septuagint, Is 19.16; Nah 3.13; Jer 28.30. (7) One Protestant minister declared Adam, an “effeminated apple eater” because he was soft.
In Question 138, St. Thomas Aquinas delves more deeply into the connotations of the word effeminate. "The Philosopher" that he refers here to is Aristotle.
Whether effeminacy* is opposed to perseverance? [Mollities, literally 'softness']
Objection 1. It seems that effeminacy is not opposed to perseverance. For a gloss on 1 Cor. 6:9,10, "Nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind," expounds the text thus: "Effeminate--i.e. obscene, given to unnatural vice." But this is opposed to chastity. Therefore effeminacy is not a vice opposed to perseverance.
Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "delicacy is a kind of effeminacy." But to be delicate seems akin to intemperance. Therefore effeminacy is not opposed to perseverance but to temperance.
Objection 3. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "the man who is fond of amusement is effeminate." Now immoderate fondness of amusement is opposed to eutrapelia, which is the virtue about pleasures of play, as stated in Ethic. iv, 8. Therefore effeminacy is not opposed to perseverance.
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "the persevering man is opposed to the effeminate."
I answer that, As stated above (137, 1 and 2), perseverance is deserving of praise because thereby a man does not forsake a good on account of long endurance of difficulties and toils: and it is directly opposed to this, seemingly, for a man to be ready to forsake a good on account of difficulties which he cannot endure. This is what we understand by effeminacy, because a thing is said to be "soft" if it readily yields to the touch. Now a thing is not declared to be soft through yielding to a heavy blow, for walls yield to the battering-ram. Wherefore a man is not said to be effeminate if he yields to heavy blows. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7) that "it is no wonder, if a person is overcome by strong and overwhelming pleasures or sorrows; but he is to be pardoned if he struggles against them." Now it is evident that fear of danger is more impelling than the desire of pleasure: wherefore Tully says (De Offic. i) under the heading "True magnanimity consists of two things: It is inconsistent for one who is not cast down by fear, to be defeated by lust, or who has proved himself unbeaten by toil, to yield to pleasure." Moreover, pleasure itself is a stronger motive of attraction than sorrow, for the lack of pleasure is a motive of withdrawal, since lack of pleasure is a pure privation. Wherefore, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. vii, 7), properly speaking an effeminate man is one who withdraws from good on account of sorrow caused by lack of pleasure, yielding as it were to a weak motion.
Reply to Objection 1. This effeminacy is caused in two ways. On one way, by custom: for where a man is accustomed to enjoy pleasures, it is more difficult for him to endure the lack of them. On another way, by natural disposition, because, to wit, his mind is less persevering through the frailty of his temperament. This is how women are compared to men, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. vii, 7): wherefore those who are passively sodomitical are said to be effeminate, being womanish themselves, as it were.
Reply to Objection 2. Toil is opposed to bodily pleasure: wherefore it is only toilsome things that are a hindrance to pleasures. Now the delicate are those who cannot endure toils, nor anything that diminishes pleasure. Hence it is written (Dt. 28:56): "The tender and delicate woman, that could not go upon the ground, nor set down her foot for . . . softness [Douay: 'niceness']." Thus delicacy is a kind of effeminacy. But properly speaking effeminacy regards lack of pleasures, while delicacy regards the cause that hinders pleasure, for instance toil or the like.
Reply to Objection 3. In play two things may be considered. On the first place there is the pleasure, and thus inordinate fondness of play is opposed to eutrapelia. Secondly, we may consider the relaxation or rest which is opposed to toil. Accordingly just as it belongs to effeminacy to be unable to endure toilsome things, so too it belongs thereto to desire play or any other relaxation inordinately. (13)
From An English-Greek Lexicon, edited by C. D. Younge. 1870.
Aristasia is an all-female society existing primarily in England but with adherents in many other parts of the world, notably the United States. It is called "the Feminine Empire".
Aristasia was founded at Oxford in the 1970s in reaction to what its founders saw as the collapse of cultural values following the 1960s. They called this collapse "the Eclipse", a term that has since been adopted by some other writers.
Aristasia is founded on a fictional world in which men do not exist, in which the two feminine sexes are blonde and brunette (hair colour being a secondary sexual characteristic) and in which geographical places correspond very loosely to temporal eras in "Teluria" (our earth). This "alternative reality" or parallel world is known as Aristasia Pura. Aristasia-in-Telluria is an attempt to create Aristania on Earth. Girls attached to the Aristasian ideal aim to create an all-feminine counter-culture in response to the perceived death of mainstream Tellurian culture (one Aristasian book was entitled Children of the Void, expressing this sense of cultural estrangement).
Geographical places in Aristasia correspond very loosely to temporal eras in "Teluria" (our earth). For instance, Quirinelle is based loosely on the 1950s and Trent on the 1930s. Amazonia represents both the ancient world and non-Westernised Asia, because Aristanians think that non-Westernised Asia preserves a perspective closer to the ancient West. Such a perspective is respected by Aristasians and has far greater unbroken influence on the Aristasian West than on its Tellurian counterpart. Because there was no Eclipse in Aristasia there are no equivalent Provinces to the Eclipsed decades: i.e. between Infraquirinelle (an island protectorate of Quirinelle representing the acceptable aspects of the 1960s) and Novaria (representing a re-civilised future and also having close connexions with Amazonia).
Aristasia has been viewed as a branch of the Guénonian Traditionalist current (Mark Sedgwick in his history of that school, Against the Modern World, sees Aristasia in this context). Others have associated it with feminist separatism. Aristasians assert femininity as the superior principle and strongly attack the "social conditioning" theory which considers femininity a device for the subjugation of women. While Aristasians adduce biological evidence for the actuality and primacy of "conventional femininity", their view of femininity is ultimately metaphysical and spiritual.
Aristasian girls dress in clothes recalling styles from the 1920s to the early 1960s. The stricter ones avoid contact with modern music, television and periodicals, while watching a lot of old films and listening to 20s - 60s music, driving classic cars etc. They also strive to create art, culture and dress of their own.
To the outsider or the newcomer, Aristasia frequently seems to be a confusing mixture of philosophic seriousness and ultra-feminine frivolity, however the two aspects are in fact inseparably linked as part of a characteristically feminine way of seeing the world.
Among Aristasians, blondes (always spelt with the "e") are one of the two feminine "sexes" - the other being brunettes. This actually has no relation to hair-colour, but is purely based on personality type. Brunettes are feminine, blondes ultra-feminine. Thus Aristasians tend to institutionalise the stereotypical view of blondeness while dissociating it from physical hair-colour. Blondeness for an Aristasian is a choice - yet, she would also argue, it is the way she is - the way she was made.
Many blonde Aristasians find the concept of blondeness liberating, giving them a way of positively identifying themselves in a world that is generally hostile to ultra-femininity especially in women who prefer women.
Characteristics of an Aristasian blonde are:
a) She identifies herself as ultra-feminine.
b) She is attracted to other women, and she prefers these women to be feminine rather than "butch" or "unisex".
c) However, she will usually prefer them to be "brunette" - that is, not as ultra-feminine as herself, though blonde-blonde attraction is not unheard of, and even a heterosexual blonde (i.e. one attracted to brunettes) will tend to have a best blonde-friend. Brunettes tend to see this as non-threatening.
There are "blonde jokes" in Aristasia, generally focussing on the impracticality or vanity of blondes. However it is entirely acceptable for blondes to hold positions of authority, and the intellectuality of blondes is not disputed as many Aristasian intellectuals are blonde. The point of the jokes is not that blondes are stupid (which they aren't) but that they can tend to be silly in practical matters, which does tend to be the case.
In all, the blonde role is either denied or denigrated in modern society, and the Aristasian spoke for many who said: "Understanding that I am a blonde and being accepted as such has saved me from years of self-hatred and struggle to be what I am not."
In sociology the term gender role denotes a set of behavioral norms. Gender role is a special case of the sociological concept of role. Society tries to impose these norms upon an individual through a process called socialization. During this process a person usually accepts these norms, acts according to them, and develops a matching sense of gender identity. To what degree an individual incorporates these norms into his or her behaviors and personality differs widely from one individual to another. In general, the differences in the personalities of two people are much larger than are the differences between the feminine and the masculine gender roles. There is a general understanding among sociologists that gender role differences are decreasing and that gender roles are changing.
In sexology, on the other hand, the term "gender role" describes an individual or socially prescribed set of behaviors and responsibilities. In essence, gender role comprises all the things that people do to express their individual gender identities. Gender roles are not norms that were established by some authority, but reflections of the changing habits and customs of concrete individuals in actual societies. Human behavior is there first, and then ideologies and norms grow by an inductive process that occurs informally within these societies and, later on, more formally by researchers. The sexologist John Money describes his reasons for borrowing the term "gender" to talk about the concrete behavior of individuals who were behaving in ways that stretched or breached society's norms for gender. Each person acts out a role that "he" or "she" creates by a complex process of self-understanding and understanding what other people in "his" or "her" society do to express their genders. Sexologists call the resulting complex of behaviors the person's gender role.
For the nuclear family, which is still a prevalent model of family organization today, Parsons 5 has developed a model in 1955. It represents the strictly traditional division of labor inside a family. Parsons believes that the feminine role is an expressive one whereas the masculine role is instrumental. Expressive activities of the woman fulfill 'internal' functions, for example to strengthen the ties between members of the family. The man represents the family towards the outside ('external' functions). For example, it is the man’s job to provide the financial means for the survival of the family by working in a job outside the house. The Parsons model is an abstract idea which today is hardly reflected on the behavioral level any more.
The Parsons model was used to illustrate extreme positions that are abstract concepts or ideal types of role differentiation. To describe total role segregation (Model A), activities are sorted into external and internal function — the result are two extreme role models, a feminine one and a masculine one. The other extreme position is a total disintegration of masculine/feminine role (Model B).3
|Model A — Total role segregation||Model B — Total disintegration of roles|
|Education||gender-specific education, high professional qualification is important only for the man||co-educative schools, same content of classes for girls and boys, same qualification for men and women|
|Profession||the workplace is not the primary area of women, career and professional advancement is unimportant for women||for women, career is just as important as for men, therefore equal professional opportunities for men and women are necessary|
|Housework||housekeeping and child care are the primary functions of the woman, participation of the man in these functions is only partially wanted||all housework is done by both parties to the marriage in equal shares|
|Decision making||in case of conflict man has the last say, for example in choosing the place to live, choice of school for children, buying decisions||man cannot dominate over woman, solutions do not always follow the principle of finding a concerted decision, this may lead to separate vacations, or living in different apartments|
|Child care and education||woman takes care of the largest part of these functions, she educates children and cares for them in every way||man and woman share these functions equally|
Both extreme positions are rarely found in reality. Actual behavior of individuals is somewhere between these poles. The most common 'model' followed in real life is the 'model of double burden' (see below, section feminism).
According to the interactionist approach, roles, such as gender roles, are not fixed, but are constantly negotiated between individuals.
Gender role can influence all kinds of behavior, such as choice of clothing, choice of work and personal relationships, e.g. parental status (see also Sociology of fatherhood).
The process by which the individual learns and accepts roles is called
socialization. Socialization works by encouraging
wanted and discouraging, sometimes even forbidding, unwanted behavior. These
sanctions by agencies of socialization
such as the family, schools and the media make it clear to the child what
the behavioral norms it ought to follow are. The child follows the examples
of its parents, siblings and teachers. Mostly, accepted behavior is not produced
by outright coercion. The individual does have some choice as to if or to
what extent he or she conforms. Also, typical encouragements of gender role
behavior are no longer as powerful as they used to be a century ago. Statements
like "boys don't play with dolls" could typically be questioned by a "why
not?", young women would say "I don't want to become like my mother."2
Still, once the person has accepted a set of behavioral norms these are very important to the individual. Sanctions to unwanted behavior and role conflict can become stressful. Thus, gender roles are quite powerful.
The argument that gender roles are determined by biology has been put
forth mainly by anthropologists. They maintained that in the hunter-gatherer society the division of labor
between men and women was nature-given.
During the nineteen-eighties the definition of gender was established as being unrelated to sex. A person could therefore be born with male genitals but still be of feminine gender. In 1987, Connell did extensive research on whether there are any connections between biology and gender role.4 He concluded that there were none.
|One consequence of social unrest during the Vietnam War era was that men began to let their hair grow to a length that had previously been considered appropriate only for women. Somewhat earlier, women had begun to cut their hair to lengths previously considered appropriate only to men.|
Gender roles were traditionally divided into strictly feminine and masculine gender roles, though these roles have diversified today into many different acceptable male or female gender roles. However, gender role norms for women and men can vary significantly from one country or culture to another, even within a country or culture. People express their gender role somewhat uniquely.
Gender role can vary according to the social group to which a person belongs or the subculture with which he or she chooses to identify. Historically, for example, eunuchs had a distinct gender role.
Androgyny, a term denoting the display of both male and female behaviour, also exists. Many terms have been developed to portray sets of behaviors arising in this context. The masculine gender role has become more malleable since the 1950s. One example is the "sensitive new age guy" (SNAG), which could be described as a traditional male gender role with a more typically "female" empathy and associated emotional responses. Another is the metrosexual, a male who adopts similarly "female" grooming habits.
According to sociological research, traditional feminine gender roles have become less relevant and hollower in Western societies since industrialization started. For example, the cliché that women do not follow a career is obsolete in many Western societies. On the other hand, in the media there are attempts to portray women who adopt an extremely classical role as a subculture.8
Ideas of appropriate behaviour according to gender vary among cultures and era, although some aspects receive more widespread attention than others. An interesting case is described by R.W. Connell in Men, Masculinities and Feminism:
Other aspects, however, may differ markedly with time and place. In pre-industrial Europe, for example, the practice of medicine (other than midwifery) was generally seen as a male prerogative. However, in Russia health care was more often seen as a feminine role. The results of these views can still be seen in modern society, where European medicine is most often practiced by men, while the majority of Russian doctors are women.
In many other cases, the elements of convention or tradition seem to play a dominant role in deciding which occupations fit in with which gender roles. In the United States, physicians have traditionally been men, and the few people who defied that expectation received a special job description: "woman doctor". Similarly, we have special terms like "male nurse", "woman lawyer", "lady barber", "male secretary," etc. But in China and the former Soviet Union countries, medical doctors are predominantly women, and in Taiwan it is very common for all of the barbers in a barber shop to be women.
For example, in the Western society, people whose gender appears masculine and whose inferred and/or verified external genitalia are male are often criticised and ridiculed for exhibiting what the society regards as a woman's gender role. For instance, someone with a masculine voice, a four o'clock shadow if not a beard, an Adam's apple, etc., wearing a woman's dress and high heels, carrying a purse, etc., would most likely draw ridicule or other unfriendly attention in ordinary social contexts (the stage and screen excepted). It is seen by some in that society that such a gender role for a man is not acceptable. This, and other societies, impose expectations on the behaviour of the members of society, and specifically on the gender roles of individuals, resulting in prescriptions regarding gender roles.
It should be noted that some societies are comparatively rigid in their expectations, and other societies are comparatively permissive. Some of the gender signals that form part of a gender role and indicate one's gender identity to others are quite obvious, and others are so subtle that they are transmitted and received out of ordinary conscious awareness.
As long as a person's perceived physiological sex is consistent with that person's gender identity the gender role of a person is so much a matter of course in a stable society that people rarely even think of it. Only in cases where, for whatever reason, an individual adopts a gender role that is inconsistent with his or her perceived gender identity will the matter draw attention. When an individual exhibits a gender role that is discordant with his or her gender identity, it is most often done to deliberately provoke a sense of incongruity and a humorous reaction to the attempts of a person of one sex to pass himself or herself off as a member of the opposite sex. People can find much entertainment in observing the exaggerations or the failures to get nuances of an unfamiliar gender role right.
Not entertaining, but usually highly problematic, however, are cases wherein the external genitalia of a person, that person's perceived gender identity, and/or that person's gender role are not consistent. People naturally, but too easily, assume that if a person has a penis, scrotum, etc., then that person is chromosomally male (i.e., that person has one X chromosome and one Y chromosome), and that the person, in introspection, feels like a male. Nature is much more inventive than is our language and system of traditional concepts.
In one example, a person may have a penis and scrotum, but may be a female (with XX chromosomal sexual identity and with normal female sexual organs internally). When that person reaches puberty, "his" breasts may enlarge to ordinary female proportions, and "he" may begin to menstruate, passing menstrual blood through "his" penis.1 In addition, this person may have always accepted a gender identity that is consistent with "his" external genitalia or with "her" internal genitalia. When the true sex of the individual becomes revealed at puberty, the individual and/or the community will be forced to reconsider what gender role is to be considered appropriate. Biological conditions that cause a person's physiological sex to be not easily determined are collectively known as intersex.
Another example is to consider transgender people, some who refuse to adhere to one set of gender roles or to transcend the scheme of gender roles completely, regardless of their physiological sex. Transsexualism also exists, where a person who is born as one sex and is brought up in that sex, but has gender identity of the opposite sex and wishes to live and does live according to the gender roles associated with that sex.
When we consider these more unusual products of nature's inventiveness, the simple picture that we saw originally, in which there was a high degree of consistency among external genitalia, gender identity, and gender role, then dissolves into a kind of jigsaw puzzle that is difficult to put together correctly. The extra parts of this jigsaw puzzle fall into two closely related categories, atypical gender identities and atypical gender roles.
In Western society, there is a growing acceptance of intersexed and transgendered people, however, there are some who still do not accept these people and may even react violently and persecute them: this kind of negative value judgment is sometimes known as transphobia.
Nevertheless, such incidents are rare. For the vast majority of people their gender is commensurate with their genitalia.
Most feminists argue that traditional gender roles are oppressive for them. They assume that the female gender role was constructed as an opposite to an ideal male role, and helps to perpetuate patriarchy.
For approximately the last 100 years women have been fighting for equality (especially in the 1960s with second-wave feminism and radical feminism, which are the most notable feminist movements) and were able to make changes to the traditionally accepted feminine gender role. However, some feminists today say there is still work to be done.
Numerous studies and statistics show that even though the situation for women has improved during the last century, discrimination is still massive: women earn a smaller percentage of aggregate income than men, occupy lower-ranking job positions than men and do most of the housekeeping work.
Furthermore, there has been a perception of Western culture, in recent times, that the female gender role is dichotomized into either being a "stay at home mother" or a "career woman". In reality, women usually face a double burden: the need to balance job and child care deprives women of spare time. Whereas the majority of men with university educations have a career as well as a family, only 50 percent of academic women have children. The double burden problem was introduced to scientific theory in 1956 by Myrdal and Klein in their work "Women's two roles: home and work," published in London.
When feminism became a conspicuous protest movement in the sixties critics oftentimes argued that women who wanted to follow a traditional role would be discriminated against in the future and forced to join the workforce. This has not proven true. At the beginning of the 21st century women who choose to live in the classical role of the "stay at home mother" are acceptable to Western society. There is not complete tolerance of all female gender roles — there is some lasting prejudice and discrimination against those who choose to adhere to traditional female gender roles (sometimes termed being a "girly girl"), despite feminism not being about the choices made but the freedom to make that choice.
The wider LGBT community and issues relating to its members have come into greater focus significantly in the West, and the analysis of gender role issues have been studied greatly.
Lesbians and gay people often adopt gender roles that are the same as those held by heterosexual people, or they may adopt other gender roles, for example, some gay men can adopt more effeminate gender roles, but still maintain a male gender identity. Terms such as butch, femme or transvestite can describe such alternative gender roles. The acceptance of these new gender roles in western societies is rising. 6
However, role conflicts and the problem of acceptance can still be significant for many individuals in these groups. For example, because of social intolerance, a person may act out one gender role in work life and a different one in private life. Newly defined gender roles may not necessarily represent a liberation of self.
Some see that the adoption of a 'gay' gender role de facto renders an individual out of sync with his true biological gender role, such as William H. DuBay, in his seminal work on gay sex role and identity, Gay Identity: The Self Under Ban, says that
Others may reply to such claims as that being gay or lesbian per se does not mean that a person must adhere to a widely agreed "gay" or "lesbian" gender role. Many in the LGBT community welcome diversity in gender roles.
Because that to some members of a society, gay and lesbian people are not adhering to the norms of male and female gender roles, such as a norm that males are attracted to females and vice versa (see also Heteronormativity), these people may act in a negative way towards gay and lesbian people.
Vice is the opposite of virtue. The modern English term that best captures its original meaning is the word vicious, which means "full of vice." In this sense, the word vice comes from the Latin word vitium, meaning "failing or defect".
One way of organising the vices is as the corruption of the virtues. A virtue can be corrupted by nonuse, misuse, or overuse. Thus the cardinal vices would be lust (nonuse of temperance), cowardice (nonuse of courage), folly (misuse of an virtue, opposite of wisdom), and venality (nonuse of justice). See: The four virtues.
The Christian vices would be blasphemy (faith betrayed), unforgiveness (hope betrayed), apostasy (nonuse of piety), and indifference (scripturally, a "hardened heart"), the betrayal of perfect love: charity.
Since virtues might be said to harmonize, so that every virtue requires all the virtues to some extent, vices also might be said to harmonize; i.e. every vice requires other vices to some extent. If this is the case, the presence of one vice in an individual might be evidence of others.
The term vice is also popularly applied to various activities considered immoral by some; a list of these might include the use of alcohol and other recreational drugs, gambling, recklessness, cheating, lying, selfishness. Often, vice particularly designates a failure to comply with the sexual mores of the time and place: sexual promiscuity, homosexuality.
Behaviors or attitudes going against the established virtues of the culture may also be called vices: for instance, effeminacy is considered a vice in a culture espousing manliness as an essential element of the character of males.
All etymologies according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
There are 7 articles in this category.
A stalking horse is someone whose role is to become the focal point for, or the initiator of, a debate or challenge. In reality, however, their leadership role may be an illusion. In practice they are working to promote a challenge or debate that will benefit a third party whose identity remains a secret.
The phenomenon occurs particularly in politics, where a junior politician acts as a stalking horse to promote the interests of a senior politician who cannot be seen to act in case it would damage him or her but nevertheless wants to provoke a debate or challenge to a party colleague. In some cases stalking horses are not working for a particular individual but may wish to provoke a response that leads others to join in. In politics, the truth about relationship between an individual stalking horse and a candidate may never be known, as both sides claim that that stalking horse acted without the agreement of anyone else.
In some cases, a single lead candidate, though themselves desiring to benefit from a crisis, may be described as a stalking horse. A classic example was Michael Heseltine, who challenged and brought about the defeat of Margaret Thatcher in the Conservative Party leadership. As with Heseltine, stalking horses rarely win the position of leader themselves, but leave the office open for someone else. Hence leading politicians seeking political power rarely take on the role of stalking horse, preferring some third party to trigger the staged crisis, they themselves then suggesting they are entering the debate or the election because it is occurring, not because they caused it to occur.
A classic example occurred in the Republic of Ireland in 1992, involving former Fianna Fáil minister Sean Doherty, who had once been engulfed in a scandal over the revelation that as Minister for Justice he sanctioned the tapping of two journalists' telephones. At the time of the scandal in 1982 Doherty claimed that then party leader Charles Haughey played no part in the tapping of the telephones. In 1992 however he changed his story and insisted that Haughey had been an active participant. In the resulting furore, Haughey, who was taoiseach was forced to resign and was replaced by former Minister Albert Reynolds. Media critics regarded Doherty as a stalking horse for Reynolds though both men denied any involvement in what the media alleged was a "staged crisis", Doherty insisting that he acted alone in provoking the crisis, without having consulted Reynolds, much less acted for him.
The term originally derived from the practice of hunting, particularly of wildfowl. Hunters noticed that many birds would flee immediately on the approach of humans, but would tolerate the close presence of animals such as horses and cattle.
Hunters would therefore slowly approach their quarry by walking alongside of horses, keeping their upper bodies out of sight until the flock was within firing range. Hence the term "stalking horse" to describe an animal trained for this purpose.
Another use of the term third rail is to denote a political idea or topic that is so unpopular that a politician or public official who suggests it becomes the subject of public derision; for example, a politician who would advocate the repeal of the US Social Security program. The analogy is that touching the third rail results in instant death.
A straw man or man of straw is, in its literal sense, a dummy in the shape of a man created by stuffing straw into clothes or some other container. Straw men have been used as scarecrows, combat-training targets, or effigies to be burned. This led to a long history of metaphoric and rhetorical uses to refer a person or thing that is weak or ineffective, especially if it was created specifically to be weak.
In the sport of rodeo, the straw man is a dummy made of a shirt and pants stuffed with straw, traditionally propped up with a broom. The straw man is placed in the arena during bullriding events as a safety measure. It is intended to distract the bull after the rider has dismounted (or has been thrown), with the idea that the bull will attack the straw man rather than attack its former rider. Two so-called rodeo clowns--people dressed in bright colors whose job it is to distract the bull if the rider is injured--are in the ring as well and are usually far more effective than the straw man.
The straw-man rhetorical technique (sometimes called straw person) is the practice of refuting weaker arguments than your opponents actually offer. It is not a logical fallacy to disprove a weak argument. Rather, this fallacy lies in declaring one argument's conclusion to be wrong because of flaws in another argument.
One can set up a straw man in several different ways:
For example, one might argue "Charles Darwin believed in Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics, which has now been discredited. Therefore, Darwinian evolution by natural selection did not occur." This is a fallacy because the Lamarckian ideas were only a small part of the overall theory; the fact that he was wrong about them does not affect the theory as a whole.
Some logic textbooks define the straw-man fallacy only as a misrepresented argument. It is now common, however, to use the term to refer to all of these tactics. The straw-man technique is also a type of media manipulation.
Often, the straw-man setup is a weaker argument because it makes an unjustifiably wide or strong claim. For example:
A "straw-man proposal" is a simple draft proposal intended to generate discussion of its disadvantages and to provoke the generation of new, better, proposals. As the document is revised, it may be given other edition names, i.e. "stone-man", "iron-man", etc.
The term straw man can refer to a third party that acts as a "front" in a transaction (i.e., who is an agent for another) for the purpose of taking title to real property or some other kind of transaction where the principal remains hidden or to do something else which is not allowed. A straw man is also "a person of no means," or one who deliberately accepts a liability or other monetary responsibility without the resources to fulfill it, usually to shield another party.
At one time, men of straw were men that could be found in the courts who placed a piece of straw in their shoes (also called straw-shoes). Jurists knew that these men of straw were available to testify for a price, and they would be asked leading questions: Don't you remember that you saw him at the market at the time of the murder? And the straw-shoe's rejoinder would be: yes. Then the straw-shoes would perjure himself for a price in court, just as the jurist had so cleverly (but fraudulently) suggested.
Heinrich Mann's Man of Straw (1918) is the first book in his Das Kaisereich trilogy and an unremitting critique of Wilhelmine Germany at the turn of the Twentieth Century. It portrays the life of a man, Diederich Hessling, a fanatic admirer of Emperor Wilhelm II, who becomes a straw man for authority and the existing order. Throughout the story, Diederich's inflexible ideals are often contradicted by his actions: he preaches bravery but is a coward; he is the strongest proponent of the military but seeks early relief from service; his greatest political opponents are the revolutionary Social-Democrats, yet he uses his influence to help send his hometown’s SPD candidate to the Reichstag so as to defeat his Liberal competitors in business; he starts vicious rumours against the latter and then dissociates himself from these; he preaches and enforces Christian virtues upon others but lies, cheats and regularly commits infidelity.
Diederich’s ideals: blood and iron, and the might of opulent power are exposed as hollowness and weakness. Diederich Hessling, the informer child (and later adult), the Neo-Teuton, the Doctor of chemistry, the paper manufacturor, and eventually the most influential man in town, is a critical metaphor depicting German society’s increasing susceptibility to chauvinism, jingoism, ultra-nationalism, anti-Semitism and proto-fascism. His character is often juxtaposed, in both words and appearance to another man of straw, the Emperor, Prince Wilhelm II. 'It almost seems to me. You look so very much like - His ...'
Man of Straw. Penguin Books, London, 1984, c1918. (ISBN 0140065849)
Puppet government or puppet régime are derogatory terms for a government which - though notionally of the same culture as the governed people - owes its existence (or other major debt) to being installed, supported or controlled by a more powerful entity, typically a foreign power.
The term is partisan and prone to semantic disputes, used almost exclusively by detractors of such governments, whether or not the majority of citizens affected acknowledge the characterization, or object to that kind of government. Often a proclaimed puppet government faces a rival government which uses the puppet government term to weaken the legitimacy of that government. Also usually implied is the government's lack of legitimacy, in the view of those using the term.
For example, each of the two Korean governments has throughout its history often used the rhetoric that it is in fact the only true ruler of the peninsula, and that the other government is merely a "puppet" of the US/Soviets.
Some other examples of states and governments sometimes labelled "puppet governments" include (in chronological order):
Governments which take power after foreign military intervention, or the threat thereof, are often accused by their opponents of being puppet governments, for example the government of Hamid Karzai in post-Taliban Afghanistan or the Diem government of South Vietnam, supported by the United States. Indeed, such accusations are commonly used to destabilize governments, encouraging and justifing coup d'états.
Most of the West-European governments under domination of Nazi-Germany during World War II are now and then called puppet régimes, not the least in Allied literature, and particularly the fascist-leaning:
The process of media manipulation is the way in which individuals or groups use various tricks in dealing with the media in order to create an image of their side of an argument that is most favorable to the receiver.
Such tricks are based on the use of logical fallacies and propaganda techniques, and are often used by suppressing information or points of view by crowding them out, by inducing other people or groups of people to stop listening to certain arguments, or simply by drawing their attention elsewhere.
People concerned about media manipulation have promoted the teaching of media literacy to teach about the above techniques and thus make them less effective with people thus educated.
A logical fallacy is an error in logical argument which is independent of the truth of the premises. It is a flaw in the structure of an argument as opposed to an error in its premises. When there is a fallacy in an argument it is said to be invalid. The presence of a logical fallacy in an argument does not necessarily imply anything about the argument's premises or its conclusion. Both may actually be true, but the argument is still invalid because the conclusion does not follow from the premises using the inference principles of the argument. By extension, an argument can have a logical fallacy even if the argument is not a purely logical one; for instance an argument that incorrectly applies principles of probability or causality can be said to have a logical fallacy.
Recognizing fallacies in practical arguments may be difficult since arguments are often structured using rhetorical patterns that obscure the logical connections between assertions. As we illustrate with various examples, fallacies may also exploit the emotions or intellectual or psychological weaknesses of the interlocutor. Having the capability of recognizing logical fallacies in arguments will hopefully reduce the likelihood of such an occurrence.
A different approach to understanding and classifying fallacies is provided by argumentation theory; see for instance the van Eemeren, Grootendorst reference below. In this approach, an argument is regarded as an interactive protocol between individuals which attempts to resolve a disputed proposition. The protocol is regulated by certain rules of interaction and violations of these rules are fallacies. Many of the fallacies in the list below are best understood as being fallacies in this sense.
In the strictest sense, a logical fallacy is the incorrect application of a valid logical principle or an application of an nonexistent principle:
This is fallacious. Indeed, there is no logical principle which states
The easiest way to show the above inference is invalid is by using Venn diagrams. In logical parlance, the inference is invalid, since under at least one interpretation of the predicates it is not validity preserving.
Unfortunately, few fallacious arguments are as clear cut as the above example suggests. A great many arguments involve causality, which is certainly not part of formal logic. Others involve psychological ploys such as use of power relationships between proposer and interlocutor, appeals to patriotism and morality, appeals to ego etc., to establish necessary intermediate (explicit or implicit) premises for an argument. Indeed, fallacies very often lay in unstated assumptions or implied premises in arguments that are not always obvious at first glance. One way to obscure a premise is through enthymeme.
We now give a few examples illustrating common errors in reasoning. Note that providing a critique of an argument has no relation to the validity of the conclusion. The conclusion could very well be valid, while the argument itself is unsound. See argument from fallacy.
In the following, we view an argument as a dialogue between a proposer and an interlocutor.
This argument claims to prove the death penalty is wrong. This particular argument has the form of a categorical syllogism. Any argument must have premises as well as a conclusion. In this case we need to ask what the premises are, that is the set of assumptions the proposer of the argument can expect the interlocutor to grant. The first assumption is almost true by definition: the death penalty is the killing of a criminal who has been duly convicted under a process of law. The second assumption is less clear as to its meaning. Since the assertion has no quantifiers of any kind, it could mean any one of the following:
The third interpretation for example would be those of individuals who accept the Fifth Commandment under a common interpretation in American Christianity. In that interpretation, the above syllogism would then fail to have validated its second premise. James must therefore assume that his interlocutor believes every act of killing is wrong; if the interlocutor grants this then the argument is valid. However, the interlocutor may believe some acts of killing are not wrong, for instance those carried out in self defense or in legitimate warfare; from the point of view the interlocutor, James commits the logical fallacy of begging the question. In the first case, the interlocutor is essentially conceding the point to James and in the second case James is not much better off than he was before he formulated the argument, since he now has to prove a more general assertion, one which is likely harder to prove.
Here the problem is that the word good has different meanings, which is to say that it is an ambiguous word. In the premise, Barbara says that Andre is good at some particular activity, in this case tennis. In the conclusion, she says that Andre is a morally good person. These are clearly two different senses of the word "good". The premise might be true but the conclusion can still be false: Andre might be the best tennis player in the world but a rotten person morally. Appropriately, since it plays on an ambiguity, this sort of fallacy is called the fallacy of equivocation, that is, equating two incompatible terms or claims.
A humorous variant of the fallacy of ambiguity is as follows. Ramesh argues:
This argument has the appearance of an inference which applies transitivity of the two-placed relation is better than, which in this critique we grant is a valid property. The argument is an example of syntactic ambiguity. In fact, the first premise semantically does not predicate an attribute of the subject, as would for instance the assertion
In fact it is semantically equivalent to a universal quantification, viz.
So instantiating this fact with eating a hamburger, it logically follows that
Note that the premise A hamburger is better than nothing does not provide anything to this argument. This fact really means something such as
Fallacies are used frequently by pundits in the media and politics. When one politician says to another, "You don't have the moral authority to say X", this could be an example of the argumentum ad hominem or personal attack fallacy; that is, attempting to disprove X, not by addressing validity of X but by attacking the person who asserted X. Arguably, the politician is not even attempting to make an argument against X, but is instead offering a moral rebuke against the interlocutor. For instance, if X is the assertion:
Then ostensibly, the politician is not trying to prove the contrary assertion. If this is the case, then there is no logically fallacious argument, but merely a personal opinion about moral worth. Thus identifying logical fallacies may be difficult and dependent upon context.
In the opposite direction is the fallacy of argument from authority. A classic example is the Ipse dixit—"He himself said it" argument—used throughout the Middle Ages in reference to Aristotle. A modern instance is "celebrity spokespersons" in advertisements: a product is good and you should buy/use/support it because your favorite celebrity endorses it.
An appeal to authority is always a logical fallacy though it can be an appropriate form of rational argument if, for example, it is an appeal to expert testimony. In this case, the expert witness must be recognized as such and all parties must agree that the testimony is appropriate to the circumstances. This form of argument is common in legal situations.
By definition, arguments with logical fallacies are invalid, but they can often be (re)written in such a way that they fit a valid argument form. The challenge to the interlocutor is, of course, to discover the false premise, that is the premise which makes the argument unsound.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive.
A meme (rhymes with "dream", but comes from mimetic and memory) is a unit of information that replicates from brains or retention systems, such as books, to other brains or retention systems. In more specific terms, a meme is a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution, analogous to the gene (the unit of genetics). The term was coined by Richard Dawkins in his controversial bestselling book The Selfish Gene. The concept predates the coining of the term; for example, William S. Burroughs asserted that "Language is a virus". Memes can represent parts of ideas, languages, tunes, designs, skills, moral and aesthetic values and anything else that is commonly learned and passed on to others as a unit. The study of evolutionary models of information transfer is called memetics.
Memetic and genetic evolution cannot happen without mutation. Mutation produces the essential variations, of which the better at replicating, by definition, become more common and have a greater chance of replicating again. Unlike genetic evolution however, memetic evolution has no separate underlying genotype. If a mouse loses its tail or a bodybuilder lifts weights, for example, the DNA information in their genotype will remain unchanged, and when replicating again will not pass on these acquired characteristics. In memetics however, the phenotype serves as the genotype and therefore changes in the former accumulate and get passed on as they replicate. Therefore memetics is said to be lamarckian, which is somewhat ironic given that a great deal of effort and debate have gone into proving that genetic evolution isn't. It is probable that mutation directed language to culturally evolve from a handful of primitive syllables into the modern wide array of dialects, let alone the wide array of symbolic meaning within individual dialects. Further mutations of language are writing, braille, sign language, etc. Even the oft-cited All your base are belong to us meme produced variations such as "all your vote are belong to us". Other lines in the originating videogame's dialogue such as "Somebody set up us the bomb" were also replicated on the Internet, but with less success. Search engines can be used as an imperfect measure of the popularity of various memetic phrases.
In casual use, the term meme is sometimes used to mean any piece of information passed from one mind to another. This is much closer to the analogy of "language as a virus" than it is to Dawkins's analogy of memes as replicating behaviors.
See Memetic lexicon for an overview of words used in memetics.
Dawkins observed that cultures can evolve in much the same way that populations of organisms evolve. Various ideas are passed from one generation to the next which may either enhance or detract from the survival of the people who obtain those ideas. This process affects which of those ideas that will continue to be passed on to future generations. For example, a certain culture may have their own unique designs and methods of tool building, however the culture with the more effective methods will most likely prosper over the other culture. This leads to those methods being adopted by a higher proportion of the population as time passes. Each tool design thus acts somewhat similar to a biological gene in that some populations have it and others do not, and the presence of the design in future generations is directly affected by the meme's function.
A key characteristic of a meme is that it is propagated by imitation. When imitation first evolved in humans, it proved to be a good trick that increased an individual's ability to reproduce genetically. Perhaps sexual selection of the best imitators further drove the genetic increase in the ability of brains to imitate well. To imitate basically means to take in information from the environment to the brain through any sense organ. The environment can be inanimate such as a book, or more typically another human from which information of a certain behavior is taken in and then performed. Inanimate sources of information have been termed 'retention systems'. Because memes propagate by imitation from one individual to another, they could not exist without brains that are powerful enough to assess the key aspects of the behavior to be imitated (what to copy and why) as well as its potential benefits. Memes (or behaviors acquired and propagated by imitation) have been observed in just a few species on Earth including hominids, dolphins, and birds that learn how to sing by imitating their parents. It is arguable, however, that there exist examples of less complex memes in other species - for example, imitative behaviour has been artificially induced among cephalopods and rats.
Both genes and memes can survive much longer than the individual organisms that carry them. A successful gene (such as a gene for powerful teeth in a population of lions) can remain unchanged in the gene pool for hundreds of thousands of years. A successful meme can propagate itself from one individual to another long after it has first appeared.
The following statements are crudely stated versions of some common memes:
The Memetic Lexicon is a list of attributes concerning memes that was compiled by Glenn Grant under a "share-alike" license. The thoughtful examples it offers help focus the concept, for a reader for whom "meme" is unfamiliar. The Lexicon has been circulating since the early 90's, and is currently on its 3rd incarnation.
In much the same way that the selfish gene concept can be used as a point of view from which to better understand and reason about biological evolution, the meme concept can be used to better understand some otherwise puzzling aspects of human culture (and learned behaviors of other animals as well). However, if "better" is not good enough to test empirically, the question will remain whether the meme concept is good enough for science. Memetics is thus a science in its infancy. However it is definitely a protoscience rather than a pseudoscience. Is the meme idea itself simply embedding itself in culture like other bad ideas?
Evolution requires not only inheritance and natural selection but also mutation, and memes clearly have this property as well. Ideas that get passed on may undergo changes that accumulate over time. These changes in the "phenotype" (the information in brains or retention systems) are passed on however. In other words, unlike genetic evolution, they are both Darwinian and Lamarckian. For example, Folk tales and myths are often embellished in the retelling to make them more memorable-- and therefore more likely to be retold again. More modern examples can be found in the various urban legends and hoaxes that circulate on the Internet such as the Goodtimes virus warning.
What distinguishes ideas as memes from other ideas that get passed from person to person is that the likelihood of a meme being passed on is affected by some property of the meme itself, rather than just by the nature of the people passing it on. For example, tool designs can clearly affect the efficacy of a tool independently of the habits of the different people using them. Legends and myths, for example, often teach a moral lesson or explain a mystery, so they are more likely to be retold to serve different speakers' purposes than other similar stories without those elements.
A gene or a meme's success is determined only by the number of copies (and where the copies reside) that are extant. There is a strong correlation between genes that do well and genes that have a positive effect on the organism which contains those genes. And if we restrict attention to memes that are normally interpreted as statements of fact then there is a correlation between those memes that do well and those that are true. However there are genes and memes whose success is due to other factors. Similarly there is a correlation between memes of a technological/economic nature that are successful and those that are helpful to the economy.
A gene's success in a body may be due to its attempt to bypass the normal sexual lottery by making itself present in more than 50% of zygotes in an organism. Alternatively some genes are selected for by sexual selection. Hence the evolution of genes is influenced by many factors other than just the success of the species as a whole. Similarly the evolutionary pressures on memes include much more than just truth and economic success. The evolutionary pressures include the following:
A meme, like a gene, does not purposely do or want anything- it either gets replicated or not.
A controversial application of this "selfish meme" parallel is the idea that certain collections of memes can act as "memetic viruses": collections of ideas that behave like independent life forms, and continue to get passed on even at the expense of their hosts simply because they are good at getting passed on. It has been suggested that evangelical religions and cults behave this way; by including the act of passing on their beliefs as a moral virtue, other beliefs of the religion also get passed along even if they aren't particularly valuable to the believer.
Others note that the wide prevalence of human adoption of religious ideas proves that they must have some ecological, sexual, ethical or moral value. For example, most religions urge peace and cooperation among their followers ("Thou shalt not kill"), which may tend to promote the biological survival of social groups that carry these memes. Certainly religious promoters claim such value for following their rules or principles - but how is that related to what they feel is divine?
There is a tendency in memetics to disparage religious memes. However, some authorities speculate that traditional religions act as mental immune systems to suppress new memes that can be harmful. For example, Christianity forbids both murder and suicide, and its precise definitions of heresy assure that new religions that advocate such actions cannot be accepted by educated Christians.
It is surprising to many memetics advocates to learn of meme-like concepts described long ago, which are prevalent in Sufi teaching. Muwakkals are considered separate beings, elementals, that make up human thought.
How "natural" is this type of selection? Perhaps as natural as sexual attraction or ethical habits. The relationship of the meme to other ideas of evolution, e.g. those that separate ecological, sexual, ethical and moral factors and reserve no special or separate role for "culture" beyond these, seems to be as "pretender to the throne" - pretending to explain these more specific ideas of evolution and culture - but without any model to test. This causes quite a few scientists and others to scoff at culture as any kind of factor in human life.
A famous observation of this type was that of Margaret Thatcher, who bluntly stated "society does not exist" - evidently she saw "it" as a set of survival, seduction and moral choice factors specific to individuals, couples and families, and not as a unified "culture" or "society" in any sense.
In traditional population genetics, the normal genetic variation, selection, and drift do not lead to formation of a new species without some form of 'reproductive isolation'; i.e., in order to split a single species into two species, the two subpopulations of the original species must somehow be prevented from interbreeding, which would normally maintain their heterogeneity. However, once separated, natural selection and/or just genetic drift acting on the normal genetic variation in the two subspecies will eventually change enough characteristics of the two subgroups that they can no longer interbreed, which by definition means that they will comprise two different species. Examples of reproductive isolation include geographical isolation, where a 'suddenly' appearing mountain range or river separates the two subgroups; temporal isolation, where one subgroup becomes entirely diurnal in its habits while the other becomes entirely nocturnal; or even just 'behavioral' isolation, as seen in wolves and domestic dogs: they could interbreed, biologically speaking, but normally they just don't.
A similar phenomenon can occur with memes; normally, the population of individuals having a meme in their consciousness is heterogenous and mixes enough to keep the meme intact, although it covers a wide range of variations. Should that population be split, however, without sufficient contact for the two different subgroups of variations of the meme to equilibrate, eventually each group will evolve its own version of that meme, differing sufficiently from that of the other group to be considered a distinct entity.
One example of this occurring on the Internet is the Kellerman meme. A search of the web and/or Usenet for the word 'Kellerman' will turn up a large number of citations, describing at great length the dastardly behavior of of a 'Dr. Arthur Kellerman', who, with the willing assistance of the Centers for Disease Control and the 'powerful public health lobby' fabricated false studies in order to implicate firearms (and by extension their owners) as a menace to public safety, for the purposes of statist control of the population which would otherwise be thwarted by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, the right to keep and bear arms. The authors of these pages and postings tell a morality tale of transparent machinations, refutation of the junk science, desperate recantation by Dr. 'Kellerman' too late; the decline of his reputation, his career in a shambles, but nevertheless the brazen use of his long discredited work by 'gun-grabbers'.
In reality, of course, there is no 'Dr. Arthur Kellerman', at least not in any connection with the above description. There is, however, a Dr. Arthur Kellermann, who has indeed published several papers estimating the overall impact on the public health of firearm availability and various aspects of firearm storage, etc., as part of a robust and healthy career in public health and emergency and trauma medicine. Like any such series of studies, there are strengths and weaknesses in Kellermann's work which are rigorously debated both in the literature and online; however, even after eliminating matters of opinion and statements which are not 100% supported, the remaining easily verifiable facts of Kellermann's publications, career, the details of each study, etc. are virtually unrecognizable in the description of the wicked Dr. Kellerman.
What has happened is an example of the original meme of Kellermann and his work on gun-related violent injury having generated a new meme, 'Dr. Kellerman lying evil gun-grabbing enemy of freedom', by the classic genetic phenomenon of a deletion mutation. The subpopulation involved was that with strongly negative attitudes towards Kellermann's work as well as a lack of first hand familiarity with his studies, career, etc.. Because of the 'reproductive isolation' caused by the total nonintersection of the results of searches for "Kellerman" and "Kellermann", the 'Kellerman' meme drifted even further in the direction of negativity, unchecked by reality. As this group encounters new individuals of similar general outlook, they are introduced to the 'Kellerman' lore only, and go on to produce their own websites and postings furthering the rapid progress of this meme over the interval of the Internet's existence.
This phenomenon also demonstrates two other features of memes; the 'meme-complex': a set of mutually-assisting 'co-memes' which have co-evolved a symbiotic relationship, and the 'Villain vs. Victim' infection strategy.  (http://www.istop.com/~ggrant/memetics/memelex.html)
In 1981 biologists Charles J. Lumsden and Edward Osborne Wilson published a theory of gene-culture coevolution in the book Genes, Mind, and Culture: The Coevolutionary Process. They pointed out that the fundamental biological units of culture must correspond to neuronal networks that function as nodes of semantic memory. Wilson later adopted the term "meme" as the best existing name for the fundamental unit of cultural inheritance and elaborated upon the fundamental role of memes in unifying the natural and social sciences in his book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.
Some spiritual practices, e.g. Buddhism, clearly promote ecological and moral goals recognizable to most people, e.g. The Noble Eightfold Path emphasizes limited consumption, reduced cruelty, no delegation of violence or participation in violent systems, and a withdrawal from sexual and ethical processes that have no clear ecological or moral value to the practitioner - regardless of the value they may have to others.
The Judeo-Christian-Islamic "Western" religions, however, focus more on devotion to a transcendent deity and moral codes of behavior, including social and ethical codes affecting every aspect of life from selfless love to commerce to sexual behavior. People are urged to devote themselves to the needs of others.
The contrast between "be happy" and "make others happy", although not as stark in practice or theory as the traditional debate suggests, may satisfy constraints of different ecological or sexual norms in some non-obvious way. But it seems entirely unlikely that "they aren't particularly valuable to the believer." At least, the majority of people on Earth clearly don't think so.
Karl Popper advocated this in the strongest possible terms: "the survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us."
Resistance to science and technology has been a common meme (or anti-meme or un-meme) guiding human cultural and cognitive evolution away from disastrous paths - for instance the Japanese during the Tokugawa period stockpiled but did not use guns, just as the US and USSR stockpiled but did not use nuclear weapons in the Cold War period. Ignorance has been in some cultures considered a virtue - in particular ignorance of certain temptations that the culture believes would be disastrous if pursued by many individuals.
The Internet, perhaps the ultimate meme vector, seems to be hosting both sides of this debate. Although it would seem to a naive observer that no adult user of the Internet could oppose its use by other adults, that does in fact happen, based on any number of criteria from ethics to intent to ability to resist hacking or pornography. Can we restrict the most dangerous memes to the wisest people? And who are "we" to decide?
Principia Cybernetica holds a lexicon of memetics concepts (http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/MEMLEX.html), comprising a list of different types of memes. It also refers to an essay by Jaron Lanier: The ideology of cybernetic totalist intellectuals (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/lanier/lanier_p1.html) which is very strongly critical of "meme totalists" who assert memes over bodies.
Memetics is the formal study of memes. Memetics can currently be regarded as either a field of sociology, or a protoscience in its own right. It originated when Richard Dawkins reduced the process of biological genetic evolution to the most fundamental unit, the replicator (or gene). In a search for other things that might be classifiable as replicators on earth, Dawkins suggested information and ideas in brains, or culture (perhaps software is another replicator that evolution may eventually build grand things with).
Memetics applies concepts taken from the theory of evolution (especially population genetics) to human culture. It tries to explain many very controversial subjects, like religions and political systems, using mathematical models.
Many thoughtful people wonder if the analogy of gene to culture will hold up and how the similarity would be tested.
Memetics must be distinguished from sociobiology. In sociobiology the evolving entities are genes, while in memetics they are memes. Sociobiology is concerned with the biological basis of human behaviours, while memetics treats humans as products not only of biological evolution, but of cultural evolution also.
Memetic association is the discovery that memes herd. For example, the meme for bluejeans includes memes for trouser flies, riveted clothing, blue dye, cotton clothing, belt loops, and double-sewn seams.
Memetic drift is the process of an idea or meme changing as it is transferred from one person to another. Very few memes show strong memetic inertia which is the characteristic of a meme to be expressed in the same way and to have the same impact, regardless of which person is receiving or transmitting the idea. Memetic drift increases when the meme is transmitted by an awkward way of expressing the idea, whilst memetic inertia is strengthened when the form of expression rhymes or uses other mnemonic devices to preserve the memory of the meme prior to its transmittal. The article on Murphy's law shows one example of memetic drift.
Much of memetic terminology is created by prepending 'mem(e)-' to an existing, usually biological, term, or by putting 'mem(e)' in place of 'gen(e)' in various terms. Examples include: meme pool, memotype, memetic engineer, meme-complex.
See Memetic lexicon
Propaganda is a specific type of message presentation, aimed at serving an agenda. Even if the message conveys true information, it may be partisan and fail to paint a complete and balanced picture. The primary use of the term is in political contexts and generally refers to efforts sponsored by governments and political parties.
A similar manipulation of information is well known, e.g., in advertising, but normally it is not called propaganda in the latter context. The word propaganda carries a strong negative connotation that advertising does not.
Propaganda shares many techniques with advertising; in fact, advertising can be said to be propaganda promoting a commercial product. However, propaganda usually has political or nationalist themes. It can take the form of leaflets, posters, TV broadcasts or radio broadcasts, and can also extend beyond these to any medium which can convey information.
In a narrower and more common use of the term, propaganda refers to deliberately false or misleading information that supports a political cause or the interests of those in power. The propagandist seeks to change the way people understand an issue or situation, for the purpose of changing their actions and expectations in ways that are desirable to the interest group. In this sense, propaganda serves as a corollary to censorship, in which the same purpose is achieved, not by filling people's heads with approved information, but by preventing people from being confronted with opposing points of view. What sets propaganda apart from other forms of advocacy is the willingness of the propagandist to change people's understanding through deception and confusion, rather than persuasion and understanding. The leaders of an organization know the information to be one sided or untrue but this may not be true for the rank and file members who help to disseminate the propaganda.
More in line with the religious roots of the term, it is also used widely in the debates about new religious movements (NRMs), both by people who defend them and by people who oppose them. The latter pejoratively call these NRMs cults. Anti-cult activists and countercult activists accuse the leaders of what they consider cults of using propaganda extensively to recruit followers and keep them.
Propaganda is a mighty weapon in war. In this case its aim is usually to dehumanize and create hatred against a supposed enemy, either internal or external. The technique is to create a false image in the mind. This can be done by using special words, special avoidance of words or by saying that the enemy is responsible for certain things he never did. Most propaganda wars require the home population to feel the enemy has inflicted an injustice, which may be fictitious or may be based on facts. The home population must also decide that the cause of their nation is just.
Propaganda is also one of the methods used in psychological warfare.
Examples of political propaganda:
In an even narrower, less commonly used but legitimate sense of the term, propaganda refers only to false information meant to reassure people who already believe. The assumption is that, if people believe something false, they will constantly be assailed by doubts. Since these doubts are unpleasant (see cognitive dissonance), people will be eager to have them extinguished, and are therefore receptive to the reassurances of those in power. For this reason propaganda is often addressed to people who are already sympathetic to the agenda.
Propaganda can be classified according to the source. White propaganda comes from an openly identified source. Black propaganda pretends to be from a friendly source, but is actually from an adversary. Gray propaganda pretends to be from a neutral source, but comes from an adversary.
Propaganda may be administered in very insidious ways. For instance, disparaging disinformation about foreign countries may be encouraged or tolerated in the educational system. Since few people actually double-check what they learn at school, such disinformation will be repeated by journalists as well as parents, thus reinforcing the idea that the disinformation item is really a "well-known fact", even though no one repeating the myth is able to point to a definite authoritative source or facts. The disinformation is then recycled in the media and in the educational system, without the need for direct governmental intervention on the media.
Such permeating propaganda may be used for political goals: by giving to citizens a false impression of the quality or policies of their country, they may be incited to reject certain proposals or certain remarks, or ignore the experience of others.
Russian revolutionaries of the 19th an 20th centuries distinguished two different aspects covered by the English term propaganda. In their terminology used two words: агитация (agitatsiya), or agitation, and пропаганда, or propaganda.
Basially, Propaganda meant dissemination of revolutionary ideas, teachings of Marxism, and basic economical knowledge, theoretical and factual; while agitation meant forming public opinion and stirring up political unrest.
See also: black propaganda, marketing, advertising
In late Latin, propaganda meant "things to be propagated". In 1622, shortly after the start of the Thirty Years' War, Pope Gregory XV founded the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide ("Congregation for Propagating the Faith"), a committee of Cardinals to oversee the propagation of Christianity by missionaries sent to non-Christian countries. Originally the term was not intended to refer to misleading information. The modern political sense dates from World War I, and was not originally pejorative.
Propaganda has been a human activity as far back as reliable recorded evidence exists. The writings of Romans like Livy are considered masterpieces of pro-Roman statist propaganda. The term itself originates with the Roman Catholic Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (sacra congregatio christiano nomini propagando or, briefly, propaganda fide), the department of the pontifical administration charged with the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic countries (mission territory). The actual Latin stem propagand- conveys a sense of "that which ought to be spread".
Propaganda techniques were first codified and applied in a scientific manner by journalist Walter Lippman and psychologist Edward Bernays (nephew of Sigmund Freud) early in the 20th century. During World War I, Lippman and Bernays were hired by the United States President, Woodrow Wilson to participate in the Creel Commission, the mission of which was to sway popular opinion to enter the war on the side of Britain.
The war propaganda campaign of Lippman and Bernays produced within six months so intense an anti-German hysteria as to permanently impress American business (and Adolf Hitler, among others) with the potential of large-scale propaganda to control public opinion. Bernays coined the terms "group mind" and "engineering consent", important concepts in practical propaganda work.
The current public relations industry is a direct outgrowth of Lippman and Bernays' work and is still used extensively by the United States government. For the first half of the 20th century Bernays and Lippman themselves ran a very successful public relations firm.
World War II saw continued use of propaganda as a weapon of war, both by Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels and the British Political Warfare Executive.
Most propaganda in Germany was produced by the Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda ("Promi" in German abbreviation). Joseph Goebbels was placed in charge of this ministry shortly after Hitler took power in 1933. All journalists, writers, and artists were required to register with one of the Ministry's subordinate chambers for the press, fine arts, music, theater, film, literature, or radio.
The Nazis believed in propaganda as a vital tool in achieving their goals. Adolf Hitler, Germany's Führer, was impressed by the power of Allied propaganda during World War I and believed that it had been a primary cause of the collapse of morale and revolts in the German home front and Navy in 1918 (see also: November criminals). Hitler would meet nearly every day with Goebbels to discuss the news and Goebbels would obtain Hitler's thoughts on the subject; Goebbels would then meet with senior Ministry officials and pass down the official Party line on world events. Broadcasters and journalists required prior approval before their works were disseminated. In addition Adolf Hitler and some other powerful high ranking Nazis like Reinhard Heydrich had no moral qualms about spreading propaganda which they themselves knew to be false, and indeed spreading deliberately false information was part of a doctrine known as the Big Lie.
Nazi propaganda before the start of World War II had several distinct audiences:
Until the Battle of Stalingrad's conclusion on February 4, 1943, German propaganda emphasized the prowess of German arms and the supposed "humanity" German soldiers had shown to the peoples of occupied territories (the existence of the Holocaust was virtually unknown at this point). In contrast, British and Allied fliers were depicted as cowardly murderers, and Americans in particular as gangsters in the style of Al Capone. At the same time, German propaganda sought to alienate Americans and British from each other, and both these Western belligerents from the Soviets.
After Stalingrad, the main theme changed to Germany as the sole defender of what they called "Western European culture" against the "Bolshevist hordes." The introduction of the V-1 and V-2 "vengeance weapons" was emphasized to convince Britons of the hopelessness of defeating Germany.
Goebbels committed suicide shortly after Hitler on April 30, 1945. In his stead, Hans Fritzsche, who had been head of the Radio Chamber, was tried and acquitted by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.
The United States and the Soviet Union both used propaganda extensively during the Cold War. Both sides used film, television and radio programming to influence their own citizens, each other and Third World nations. The United States Information Agency operated the Voice of America as an official government station. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, in part supported by the Central Intelligence Agency, provided grey propaganda in news and entertainment programs to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union respectively. The Soviet Union's official government station, Radio Moscow, broadcast white propaganda, while Radio Peace and Freedom broadcast grey propaganda. Both sides also broadcast black propaganda programs in periods of special crises.
The ideological and border dispute between the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China resulted in a number of cross-border operations. One technique developed during this period was the "backwards transmission," in which the radio program was recorded and played backwards over the air.
In the Americas, Cuba served as a major source and a target of propaganda from both black and white stations operated by the CIA and Cuban exile groups. Radio Habana Cuba, in turn, broadcast original programming, relayed Radio Moscow, and broadcast The Voice of Vietnam as well as alleged confessions from the crew of the USS Pueblo.
One of the most insightful authors of the Cold War was George Orwell, whose novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four are virtual textbooks on the use of propaganda. Though not set in the Soviet Union, their characters live under totalitarian regimes in which language is constantly corrupted for political purposes. Those novels were used for explicit propaganda. The CIA, for example, secretly commissioned an animated film adaptation of Animal Farm in the 1950s.
In the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, psychological operations tactics (PsyOps) were employed to demoralize the Taliban and to win the sympathies of the Afghan population. At least six EC-130E Commando Solo aircraft were used to jam local radio transmissions and transmit replacement propaganda messages.
Leaflets were also dropped throughout Afghanistan, offering rewards for Osama bin Laden and other individuals, portraying Americans as friends of Afghanistan and emphasizing various negative aspects of the Taliban. Another shows a picture of Mohammed Omar in a set of crosshairs with the words “We are watching”, presumably to convince individuals and groups that resistance to the American forces was futile.
A number of techniques are used to create messages which are persuasive, but false. Many of these same techniques, based on social psychology findings can be found under logical fallacies since propagandists use arguments which, although sometimes convincing, are not necessarily valid.
Some time has been spent analyzing the means by which propaganda messages are transmitted, and that work is important, but it's clear that information dissemination strategies only become propaganda strategies when coupled with propagandistic messages. Identifying these propaganda messages is a necessary prerequisite to studying the methods by which those messages are spread. That's why it is essential to have some knowledge of the following techniques for generating propaganda:
Appeal to fear: Appeals to fear seek to build support by instilling fear in the general population - for example Joseph Goebbels exploited Theodore Kaufman's Germany Must Perish! to claim that the Allies sought the extermination of the German people.
Appeal to authority: Appeals to authority cite prominent figures to support a position idea, argument, or course of action.
Bandwagon: Bandwagon-and-inevitable-victory appeals attempt to persuade the target audience to take a course of action "everyone else is taking." "Join the crowd." This technique reinforces people's natural desire to be on the winning side. This technique is used to convince the audience that a program is an expression of an irresistible mass movement and that it is in their interest to join. "Inevitable victory" invites those not already on the bandwagon to join those already on the road to certain victory. Those already, or partially, on the bandwagon are reassured that staying aboard is the best course of action.
Obtain disapproval: This technique is used to get the audience to disapprove an action or idea by suggesting the idea is popular with groups hated, feared, or held in contempt by the target audience. Thus, if a group which supports a policy is led to believe that undesirable, subversive, or contemptible people also support it, the members of the group might decide to change their position.
Glittering generalities: Glittering generalities are intensely emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. They appeal to such emotions as love of country, home; desire for peace, freedom, glory, honor, etc. They ask for approval without examination of the reason. Though the words and phrases are vague and suggest different things to different people, their connotation is always favorable: "The concepts and programs of the propagandist are always good, desirable, virtuous."
Rationalization: Individuals or groups may use favorable generalities to rationalize questionable acts or beliefs. Vague and pleasant phrases are often used to justify such actions or beliefs.
Intentional vagueness: Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply its own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analyzing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application
Transfer: This is a technique of projecting positive or negative qualities (praise or blame) of a person, entity, object, or value (an individual, group, organization, nation, patriotism, etc.) to another in order to make the second more acceptable or to discredit it. This technique is generally used to transfer blame from one member of a conflict to another. It evokes an emotional response which stimulates the target to identify with recognized authorities.
Oversimplification: Favorable generalities are used to provide simple answers to complex social, political, economic, or military problems.
Common man: The "plain folks" or "common man" approach attempts to convince the audience that the propagandist's positions reflect the common sense of the people. It is designed to win the confidence of the audience by communicating in the common manner and style of the audience. Propagandists use ordinary language and mannerisms (and clothes in face-to-face and audiovisual communications) in attempting to identify their point of view with that of the average person.
Testimonial: Testimonials are quotations, in or out of context, especially cited to support or reject a given policy, action, program, or personality. The reputation or the role (expert, respected public figure, etc.) of the individual giving the statement is exploited. The testimonial places the official sanction of a respected person or authority on a propaganda message. This is done in an effort to cause the target audience to identify itself with the authority or to accept the authority's opinions and beliefs as its own. See also, damaging quotation
Stereotyping or Labeling: This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable. For instance, reporting on a foreign country or social group may focus on the stereotypical traits that the reader expects, even though they are far from being representative of the whole country or group; such reporting often focuses on the anecdotal.
Scapegoating: Assigning blame to an individual or group that isn't really responsible, thus alleviating feelings of guilt from responsible parties and/or distracting attention from the need to fix the problem for which blame is being assigned.
Virtue words: These are words in the value system of the target audience which tend to produce a positive image when attached to a person or issue. Peace, happiness, security, wise leadership, freedom, etc., are virtue words.
Slogans: A slogan is a brief striking phrase that may include labeling and stereotyping. If ideas can be sloganized, they should be, as good slogans are self-perpetuating memes.
See also doublespeak, meme, cult of personality, spin.
Common methods for transmitting propaganda messages include news reports, government reports, historical revision, junk science, books, leaflets, movies, radio , television , and posters. In the case of radio and television, propaganda can exist on news, current-affairs or talk-show segments, as advertising or public-service announce "spots" or as long-running advertorials. The magazine Tricontinental, issued by the Cuban OSPAAAL organisation, folds propaganda posters and places one in each copy, allowing a very broad distribution of pro-Fidel Castro propaganda.
Main article: List of topics related to public relations and propaganda
Propaganda was a 1980s German pop group signed to Paul Morley and Trevor Horn's ZTT record label.
Propaganda is also a compilation album released in the United Kingdom which contains songs by various artists, including The Police and Joe Jackson.
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"The Second Superpower" is a term used to describe a global Technocratic peace movement. The term refers to the meme (idea) that the blogosphere (internet "blogs", or popularly-written news journals) enables a community of global citizens to become an emergent democracy that can influence the media and change governmental policy.
Although some credit this term with New York Times writer Patrick Tyler, he never actually used it in writing. On February 17, 2003, Tyler wrote:
The New York Times article was widely circulated in the peace movement during February of 2003, adding to the hope that galvanizing world public opinion could prevent a United States invasion of Iraq. By March, however, interest had waned in the face of the actual invasion of Iraq and the seeming success of the initial war effort--and by implication the failure of the second superpower to stop the first. In fact world public opinion, and certainly American opinion, increasingly supported the war. A search of Google using the term "Second Superpower" in late May highlighted a high school football team that had become the "second superpower of Florida football," as well as former president Clinton's designation of China as a superpower. There was no notice of the peace movement's term, and the New York Times article, hidden behind a firewall at the paper, was not indexed.
On March 31, 2003 James Moore of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, posted a thought piece to revive interest in the concept, and to discuss among the left how to make the technocratic peace movement effective-- i.e. a real superpower and not simply a fantasy. The piece is called The Second Superpower Rears Its Beautiful Head. His four ideas: embrace the concept explicitly within the peace movement as an inspirational goal and a counter to the "first superpower" meme promoted by the Bush administration, continue to develop blogging and other means of linking the community globally, find ways to influence first superpower institutions including international institutions and international law, and continue to develop reflective personal consciousness so as to be able to lead from love rather than fear.
This paper received 50,000 downloads in five days. The substance of the piece was debated by a number of authors, including Jonathan Rauch writing in The National Journal. Many bloggers linked the paper with Joi Ito's Emergent Democracy concept and paper.
The paper was the subject of an attack on the dissemination process and the relationship of the author and his reviewers to Google, by Andrew Orlowski of The Register (a frequent critic of Google). Orlowski accused the blogger community of "Googlewashing", a word Orlowski invented to describe media manipulation by Google to remove or mellow the political significance of the word. Orlowski's piece had the effect of bringing more notice to the piece, and stimulating a months-long debate in the blogging community, of which Kevin Marks' rebuttal to Orlowski is illustrative.
Dr. Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an Institute Professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, a classification of formal languages. His works in generative linguistics contributed significantly to the decline of behaviorism and led to the advancement of the cognitive sciences. Outside of his linguistic work, Chomsky is also widely known for his radical left-wing political views, and his criticism of the foreign policy of United States governments. Chomsky describes himself as a libertarian socialist and a supporter of anarcho-syndicalism.
Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Hebrew scholar William Chomsky. Starting in 1945, he studied philosophy and linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, learning from Zellig Harris, a professor of linguistics whose political views he identified with.
Receiving his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1955, Chomsky had conducted most of his research the previous four years at Harvard University as a Harvard Junior Fellow. In his doctoral thesis, he began to develop some of his linguistic ideas, elaborating on them in his 1957 book Syntactic Structures, perhaps his best-known work in the field of linguistics.
After receiving his doctorate, Chomsky taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 19 years, receiving the first award from the Ferrari P. Ward Chair of Modern Languages and linguistics. It was during this time that Chomsky became more publicly engaged in politics, arguing against American involvement in the Vietnam War from around 1964. In 1969, Chomsky published American Power and the New Mandarins, a book of essays also on the Vietnam War. Since that time, Chomsky has become well known for his political views, speaking on politics all over the world, and writing several other books on the subject. His beliefs, broadly classified as libertarian socialism, have earned him both a large following among the left, as well as many detractors on all sides of the political spectrum. He has continued to write and teach on linguistics, as well.
Syntactic Structures was a distillation of his book Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory (1955,75) in which he introduces transformational grammars. The theory takes utterances (words, phrases, and sentences) to correspond to abstract "surface structures," which in turn correspond to more abstract "deep structures." (The hard and fast distinction between surface and deep structure is absent in current versions of the theory.) Transformational rules, along with phrase structure rules and other structural principles, govern both the creation and interpretation of utterances. With a limited set of grammar rules and a finite set of terms, man is able to produce an infinite number of sentences, including sentences nobody has ever said before. The capability to structure our utterances in this way is innate, a part of the genetic endowment of human beings, and is called universal grammar. We are largely unconscious of these structural principles, as we are of most other biological and cognitive properties.
Recent theories of Chomsky's (such as his Minimalist Program) make strong claims regarding universal grammar — that the grammatical principles underlying languages are completely fixed and innate, and the differences among the world's languages can be characterized in terms of parameter settings in the brain (such as the pro-drop parameter, which indicates whether an explicit subject is always required, as in English, or can be optionally dropped, as in Spanish), which are often likened to switches. (Hence the term principles and parameters, often given to this approach.) In this view, a child learning a language need only acquire the necessary lexical items (words) and morphemes, and determine the appropriate parameter settings, which can be done based on a few key examples.
This approach is motivated by the astonishing pace at which children learn languages, the similar steps followed by children all across the world when learning languages, and the fact that children make certain characteristic errors as they learn their first language, whereas other seemingly logical kinds of errors never occur (and, according to Chomsky, should be attested if a purely general, rather than language-specific, learning mechanism is being employed).
Chomsky's ideas have had a strong influence on researchers investigating the acquisition of language in children, but most researchers who work in this area do not support Chomsky's theories, often preferring emergentist or connectionist theories based around general processing mechanisms in the brain. However, virtually all linguistic theories are controversial, and there is ongoing work on language acquisition from a Chomskyan perspective.
The Chomskyan approach towards syntax, often termed generative grammar, though quite popular, has been challenged by many, especially those working outside of the United States. Chomskyan syntactic analyses are often highly abstract, and are based heavily on careful investigation of the border between grammatical and ungrammatical constructs in a language. (Compare this to the so-called pathological cases that play a similarly important role in mathematics.) Such grammaticality judgments can only be made accurately by a native speaker, however, and thus for pragmatic reasons such linguists usually (but by no means exclusively) focus on their own native languages or languages in which they are fluent, usually English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Japanese or one of the Chinese languages. Sometimes generative grammar analyses break down when applied to languages which have not previously been studied, and many changes in generative grammar have occurred due to an increase in the number of languages analysed. However, the claims made about linguistic universals have become stronger rather than weaker over time; for example Kayne's suggestion in the 1990s that all languages have an underlying Subject-Verb-Object word order would have seemed implausible in the 1960s. One of the prime motivations behind an alternative approach, the functional-typological approach or linguistic typology (often associated with Joseph H. Greenberg), is to base hypotheses of linguistic universals on the study of as wide a variety of the world's languages as possible, to classify the variation seen, and to form theories based on the results of this classification. The Chomskyan approach is too in-depth and reliant on native speaker knowledge to follow this method, though it has over time been applied to a broad range of languages.
Chomsky is famous for investigating various kinds of formal languages and whether or not they might be capable of capturing key properties of human language. His Chomsky hierarchy partitions formal grammars into classes with increasing expressive power, i.e., each successive class can generate a broader set of formal languages than the one before. Interestingly, Chomsky argues that modelling some aspects of human language requires a more complex formal grammar (as measured by the Chomsky hierarchy) than modeling others. For example, while a regular language is powerful enough to model English morphology, it is not powerful enough to model English syntax. In addition to being relevant in linguistics, the Chomsky hierarchy has also become important in computer science (especially in compiler construction), as it has important ties with and isomorphisms to automata theory.
His seminal work in phonology was The sound pattern of English. He published it together with Morris Halle. This work is considered outdated (though it has recently been reprinted), and he does not publish on phonology anymore.
Although Chomsky's is the best known position in linguistics his views have been criticised. Perhaps the best known alternative to Chomsky's position is that proposed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Their cognitive linguistics developed out of Chomskyan linguistics but differs from it in significant ways. Specifically, they argue against the neo-Cartesian aspects of Chomsky's theories, and state that Chomsky fails to take account of the extent to which cognition is embodied. As noted above, connectionist views of learning are not compatible with Chomsky's. Also, newer movements in psychology, such as, for example, situated cognition and discursive psychology are not compatible with Chomsky's views.
In a much more radical way, philosophers in the tradition of Wittgenstein (such as Saul Kripke) argue that Chomskyans are fundamentally wrong about the role of rule following in human cognition. In a similar way philosophers in the phenomenological/existential/hermeneutic traditions oppose the abstract neo-rationalist aspects of Chomsky's thought. The contemporary philosopher who best represents this view is, perhaps, Hubert Dreyfus, also famous (or notorious) for his attacks on artificial intelligence.
Chomsky's work in linguistics has had major implications for psychology and its fundamental direction in the 20th century. His theory of a universal grammar was a direct challenge to the established behaviorist theories of the time and had major consequences for understanding how language is learned by children and what, exactly, is the ability to interpret language. The more basic principles of this theory (though not necessarily the stronger claims made by the principles and parameters approach described above) are now generally accepted.
In 1959, Chomsky published a long-circulated critique of B.F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior, a book in which the leader of the behaviorist psychologists that had dominated psychology in the first half of the 20th century argued that language was merely a "behavior." Skinner argued that language, like any other behavior — from a dog's salivation in anticipation of dinner, to a master pianist's performance — could be attributed to "training by reward and penalty over time." Language, according to Skinner, was completely learned by cues and conditioning from the world around the language-learner.
Chomsky's critique of Skinner's methodology and basic assumptions paved the way for a revolution against the behaviorist doctrine that had governed psychology. In his 1966 Cartesian Linguistics and subsequent works, Chomsky laid out an explanation of human language faculties that has become the model for investigation in other areas of psychology. Much of the present conception of how the mind works draws directly from ideas that found their first persuasive author of modern times in Chomsky.
There are three key ideas. First is that the mind is "cognitive", or that the mind actually contains mental states, beliefs, doubts, and so on. The former view had denied even this, arguing that there were only "stimulus-response" relationships like "If you ask me if I want X, I will say yes". By contrast, Chomsky showed that the common way of understanding the mind, as having things like beliefs and even unconscious mental states, had to be right. Second, he argued that large parts of what the adult mind can do are "innate". While no child is born automatically able to speak a language, all are born with a powerful language-learning ability which allows them to soak up several languages very quickly in their early years. Subsequent psychologists have extended this thesis far beyond language; the mind is no longer considered a "blank slate" at birth.
Finally, Chomsky made the concept of "modularity" a critical feature of the mind's cognitive architecture. The mind is composed of an array of interacting, specialized subsystems with limited flows of inter-communication. This model contrasts sharply with the old idea that any piece of information in the mind could be accessed by any other cognitive process (optical illusions, for example, cannot be "turned off" even when they are known to be illusions).
Chomsky has written strong refutations of deconstructionist and postmodern criticisms of science:
Chomsky notes that critiques of "white male science" are much like the anti-Semitic and politically motivated attacks against "Jewish physics" used by the Nazis to denigrate research done by Jewish scientists during the Deutsche Physik movement:
Chomsky is one of the most well-known figures of left-wing American politics. He defines himself in the tradition of anarchism, a political philosophy he summarizes as challenging all forms of hierarchy and attempting to eliminate them if they are unjustified. He especially identifies with the labor-oriented anarcho-syndicalist current of anarchism. Unlike many anarchists, Chomsky does not always object to electoral politics; he has even endorsed candidates for office. He has described himself as a "fellow traveller" to the anarchist tradition as opposed to a pure anarchist to explain why he is sometimes willing to engage with the state.
Chomsky has also stated that he considers himself to be a conservative (Chomsky's Politics, pp. 188) presumably of the classical liberal variety. He has further defined himself as a Zionist; although, he notes that his definition of Zionism is considered by most to be anti-Zionism these days, the result of what he perceives to have been a shift (since the 1940s) in the meaning of Zionism (Chomsky Reader). In a C-Span Book TV interview, he stated:
Overall, Chomsky is not fond of traditional political titles and categories and prefers to let his views speak for themselves. His main modes of actions include writing magazine articles and books and making speaking engagements. He has a large following of supporters worldwide, leading him to schedule speaking engagements sometimes up to two years in advance. He was one of the main speakers at the 2002 World Social Forum.
Chomsky clearly distinguishes between the targeting of civilians and the targeting of military personnel or installations, thereby demonstrating that in his view causes, reasons or goals do not justify acts of terrorism. For Chomsky, terrorism is objective, not relative. He states in his book 9-11:
On the efficiency of terrorism:
He has been a consistent and outspoken critic of the United States government. In his book 9-11, a series of interviews about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he claims, as he has done before, that the United States government is the leading terrorist state in modern times.
Chomsky has criticized the government for its involvement in the Vietnam War and the larger Indochina conflict, as well as its interference in Central and South American countries and its military support of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Chomsky focuses his most intense criticism on official friends of the United States government while criticizing official enemies like the former Soviet Union and North Vietnam only in passing. He explains this by the following principle: it is more important to evaluate actions which you have more possibility of affecting. His criticism of the former Soviet Union and China must have had some effect in those countries; both countries banned his work from publication.
Chomsky has repeatedly emphasized his theory that much of the United States' foreign policy is based on the "threat of a good example" (which he says is another name for the domino theory). The "threat of a good example" is that a country could successfully develop independently from capitalism and the United States' influences, thus presenting a model for other countries, including countries in which the United States has strong economic interests. This, Chomsky says, has prompted the United States to repeatedly intervene to quell "socialist" or other "independence" movements in regions of the world where it has no significant economic or safety interests. In one of his most famous works, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Chomsky uses this particular theory as an explanation for the United States' interventions in Guatemala, Laos, Nicaragua, and Grenada.
Chomsky believes the US government's Cold War policies were not entirely shaped by anti-Soviet paranoia, but rather toward preserving the United States' ideological and economic dominance in the world. As he wrote in Uncle Sam: "...What the US wants is 'stability,' meaning security for the "upper classes and large foreign enterprises."
Chomsky is deeply opposed to the system of "corporate state capitalism" practiced by the United States and its allies. He supports Mikhail Bakunin's anarchist (or "libertarian socialist") ideas, requiring economic freedom in addition to the "control of production by the workers themselves, not owners and managers who rule them and control all decisions." He refers to this as "real socialism", and describes Soviet-style socialism as similar in terms of "totalitarian controls" to the US-style capitalism — each is a system based in types and levels of control, rather than in organization or efficiency. (In defense of this thesis, Chomsky sometimes points out that Frederick Winslow Taylor's philosophy of scientific management was the organizational basis for the Soviet Union's massive industrialization movement as well as the American corporate model.)
Chomsky has illuminated Bakunin's comments on the totalitarian state as predictions for the brutal Soviet police state that would come. He echoes Bakunin's statement "...after a year" [..] "the revolutionary will become worse than the czar himself," which expands upon the idea that the tyrannical Soviet state was simply a natural growth from the Bolshevik ideology of state control. He has also termed Soviet communism as "fake socialism," and said that contrary to what many in the United States claim, the collapse of the Soviet Union should be regarded "a small victory for socialism," not capitalism.
In For Reasons of State Chomsky advocates that instead of a capitalist system in which people are "wage slaves" or an authoritarian system in which decisions are made by a centralized committee, a society could function with no paid labor. He argues that a nation's populace should be free to pursue jobs of their choosing. People will be free to do as they like, and the work they voluntarily choose will be both "rewarding in itself" and "socially useful." Society would be run under a system of peaceful anarchism, with no "state" or "government" institutions.
Another focus of Chomsky's political work has been an analysis of mainstream mass media (especially in the United States), its structures and constraints, and its role in supporting big business and government interests. Unlike totalitarian systems, where physical force can readily be used to coerce the general population, democratic societies like the US can only make use of non-violent means of control (despite minor instances of state violence). In an often-quoted remark, Chomsky states that "propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state." (Media Control) His book Manufacturing Consent — The Political Economy of the Mass Media, co-authored with Edward S. Herman, explores this topic in depth, and presents the theory behind the analysis incorporated in subsequent works (see Propaganda model).
Chomsky "grew up...in the Jewish-Zionist cultural tradition" (Peck, p. 11). His father was one of the foremost scholars of the Hebrew language and taught at a religious school. Chomsky has also had a long fascination with and involvement in left-wing Zionist politics. As he described:
He is extremely critical of the policies of Israel towards the Palestinians and ethnic minority Jewish populations within Israel. Among many articles and books, his book The Fateful Triangle is considered one of the premier texts among those who oppose Israeli treatment of Palestinians and American support for Israel. He has also condemned Israel's role in "guiding state terrorism" for selling weapons to Latin American countries that he characterizes as U.S. puppet states, e.g. Guatemala in the 1970s, as well as US-backed right-wing paramilitaries (or, according to Chomsky, terrorists) such as the Nicaraguan Contras — see Iran-Contra Scandal. (What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Chapter 2.4) In addition, he has repeatedly and vehemently condemned the United States for its military and diplomatic support for Israel, and sectors of the American Jewish community for their role in obtaining this support. For example, he says of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL):
Middle East Politics, speech Columbia University 1999 (http://sources.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East_Policy_(Chomsky))
Chomsky has been involved in many public disagreements over policy and scholarship. For example, when Chomsky and Herman wrote After the Cataclysm, Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology, a book claiming that the American media used unsubstantiated refugee testimonies and distorted sources with regard to the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge Pol Pot regime, some critics, such as Anthony Lewis, accused Chomsky of being a Pol Pot apologist. Chomsky argued that focusing on Pol Pot's atrocities served only to distract attention from what he described as "comparable American atrocities", having mostly addressed Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge with regard to the biases of American media coverage, which he believed to be substantial. He also denied that Cambodian violence was inspired by Marxist ideology, and argued that the United States in fact helped Pol Pot rise to power. Some scholars who reviewed this controversy, such as Milan Rai, consider it to have been part of a propaganda campaign against Chomsky, designed to generate "endless defence" in response to critics in order to distract attention from the substantive issues.
Chomsky was criticized for citing reports from both Human Rights Watch and the German Embassy when he alleged that the US attack on the al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory killed tens of thousands of Sudanese civilians. Allegations  (http://www.salon.com/people/letters/2002/01/22/chomsky/index.html) were made that Human Rights Watch had made no such estimates, to which Chomsky has responded  (http://www.salon.com/people/letters/2002/01/29/chomsky/).
See also: the Faurisson Affair.
Chomskyan models have been used as a theoretical basis in several other fields. The Chomsky hierarchy is usually taught in fundamental Computer Science courses as it confers insight into the various types of formal languages. A number of arguments in evolutionary psychology are derived from his research results.
The 1984 Nobel Prize laureate in Medicine and Physiology, Niels K. Jerne, used Chomsky's generative model to explain the human immune system, equating "components of a generative grammar ... with various features of protein structures". The title of Jerne's Stockholm Nobel lecture was "The Generative Grammar of the Immune System".
See a full bibliography on Chomsky's MIT homepage  (http://web.mit.edu/linguistics/www/bibliography/noam.html).
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Anarcho-syndicalism is the anarchist wing of the labor union movement. Its primary aim is the end of the wage system.
The basic principles of anarcho-syndicalism are:
Workers’ solidarity means that anarcho-syndicalists believe all workers, no matter what their race, gender, or ethnic group are in a similar situation vis-à-vis their bosses (Class consciousness). Furthermore, it means that, within capitalism, any gains or losses made by some workers in their relation to bosses will eventually impact all workers. Therefore, it says that in order to gain liberation, all workers must support one another in their struggle against bosses.
Anarcho-syndicalists believe that only direct action—that is, action concentrated on directly attaining a goal, as opposed to indirect action, like electing a representative to a government—will allow workers to liberate themselves.
Furthermore, anarcho-syndicalists believe that workers’ organizations—the organizations which struggle against the wage system and which, in anarcho-syndicalist theory, will eventually form the basis of a new society—should be self-managing. They should not have bosses or “business agents”; rather, the workers should be able to make decisions which affect them amongst themselves.
Anarcho-syndicalism appeared through the similar goals and circumstances of syndicalists and anarchists. George Sorel misappropriated the term to combine his theory of action, irrational violence, with syndicalism. Anarcho-syndicalism came to be a prominent force in France two decades before the First World War.
Hubert Lagardelle wrote that Pierre-Joseph Proudhon formed the fundamental theories of anarchosyndicalism; his repudiation of both capitalism and the state, his flouting of political government, his idea of free, autonomous economic groups, and his view of struggle, not pacifism, as the core of man.
The International Workers Association is an international anarchosyndicalist federation of various labor unions from different countries. The Industrial Workers of the World, a once-powerful, still active, and again growing labor union, is considered a leading organ of the anarcho-syndicalist philosophy in the United States. The Spanish Confederación Nacional del Trabajo played a major role in the Spanish labor movement and is also still active.
The anarcho-syndicalist orientation of many early American labor unions played a large part in the formation of the American political spectrum. The United States is the only industrialized former English colony to not have a labor-based political party. See, It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States, Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks. ISBN 0-39-332254-8.
Michael Bakunin, one of the fathers of anarchism, wrote
See also: general strike, syndicalism
The process of media manipulation is the way in which individuals or groups use various tricks in dealing with the media in order to create an image of their side of an argument that is most favorable to the receiver.
Such tricks are based on the use of logical fallacies and propaganda techniques, and are often used by suppressing information or points of view by crowding them out, by inducing other people or groups of people to stop listening to certain arguments, or simply by drawing their attention elsewhere.
People concerned about media manipulation have promoted the teaching of media literacy to teach about the above techniques and thus make them less effective with people thus educated.
Chauvinism is extreme and unreasoning partisanship on behalf of a group to which one belongs, especially when the partisanship includes malice and hatred towards a rival group. The term is derived from Nicolas Chauvin, a soldier under Napoleon Bonaparte, due to his fanatical zeal for his Emperor.
The term entered public use due to a satirical treatment of Chauvin in the French play La Cocarde Tricolore (The Three-colored Cockade).
The origin of the term and early usage indicate that it was coined as a term for excessive nationalism or patriotism. An equivalent English term is Jingoism. Today "Chauvinism" is most often used to reference racism or sexism.
In "Imperialism, Nationalism, Chauvinism", The Review of Politics, p. 457, Hannah Arendt describes the concept:
The word does not require a judgment that the chauvinist is right or wrong in his opinion, only that he is blind and unreasoning in coming to it, ignoring any facts which might temper his fervor. In modern use, however, it is often used pejoratively to imply that the chauvinist is both unreasoning and wrong.
In the United States, chauvinism as a perceived social problem was brought to the forefront of national politics by the feminist movement, and the use of male chauvinism as a synonym for anti-female sexism. The prototypical "male chauvinist" is the character of Archie Bunker in the hit television comedy All in the Family which explored the issue as a recurring theme.
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Jingoism is a term describing chauvinistic patriotism, especially with regard to a hawkish political stance.
The term originated in Britain in the 1870s, at the time of a conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli counseled neutrality in the conflict, to the consternation of many in Britain. The chorus of a song commonly sung in pubs at the time gave birth to the term:
The word "Jingo" is thought to be a corrupted borrowed word from the Basque language "Jianko," meaning "God". Some claimed that the term referred to Jingo of Japan, but this has been all but entirely dismissed.
During the 19th century in the United States, this attitude was called spread-eagleism. This patriotic belligerence was intensified by the sinking of the Maine and led to the Spanish-American War. "Jingoism" did not enter the U.S. vernacular until the twentieth century.
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