Occupy My Philosophy Paper

It’s 4am. I am currently posted at UCLA Powell Library working on my philosophy paper. This is me procrastinating, but ultimately doing the same type of work by writing about the same topic… right?

I am in a Philosophy of Nonviolent Resistance class. Have you ever had one of those classes that you throughly enjoyed attending and felt like you’ve learned more in one class than you have in however many years of life you may have lived by that point, but still struggle for a decent grade because your teacher, as sweet and peaceful as she may be, is out to fail every single one of her students? It’s one of those clases. Ain’t life a bitch?

Anywho, you didn’t come here to read my rants, or maybe you did, I don’t really know, or care.

Well this paper I’m writing, for my final, is about the Occupy Wall Street movement in concurrence with Gene Sharp’s Waging Nonviolent Struggle. I’ve been doing a lot of research into this social movement, subsequently coming across the obvious information – wealth is not evenly distributed, the rich are getting out of fair taxes, the lower class is getting exploited, blah blah blah – but what really surprised me were the numbers. As of 2012, 1% of the nation (that’s about 3 million suits), holds ownership over 42% of the countries total financial wealth.

………

What? Is that not completely baffling to everyone? Well it must be, it started one of the largest exhibitions of nonviolent resistance America has ever seen.

Let’s pretend that there is exactly 1,000,000 people living in the United States today, and the total amount of financial wealth equalled $500,000,000. If these obscure numbers were true… 10,000 Americans would be in control of $210,000,000. That is to say that 1/100th of the population is in control of about 1/2 of the money.

Why?! How is that constitutionally right? Oh yeah, there’s no amendement defining how America should distribute wealth and income… Well that foils that argument.

But what happened to human rights? The natural rights that everyone is born with and entitled to for the length of their lives? One of those happens to be the right for everyone to have equal opportunity for success, but if the Wall Street moguls are hoarding the money and privatizing any and all businesses to make them less accessible to everyone else, how can we all have an equal opportunity for success?

This post is just a bunch of unanswered questions, really. I don’t really know what I’m talking about. All I know is that it is completely possible for someone to be financially successful and still liberal in a way that recognizes those less fortunate.

Now I’m going to be real here for a second, just try not to perceive me as a pretentious brat… My mom earns well over average income annually – we are just about away from being “the 1%”. How is it that she stays so incredibly humble, giving, and loving? Well who knows because obviously other people haven’t shown anywhere near the same level of compassion. Is it really that hard to stop thinking about your income, your investments, and yourself for 30 seconds and think about the millions of people in America who are forced out of their homes (maybe because they were unable to get healthcare and thus lost all of their money paying medical bills) to live on the streets and beg for food to feed their children?

I don’t know how some of the people on Wall Street are so successful and yet so completely ignorant at the same time. Educate yourselves. The world doesn’t revolve around you, princess. Thanks.

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War and Militarism: A Sociological Perspective

As the sole remaining superpower, the United States has based a foundation off of the necessity to act on any strategy or tactic that will keep it at the top.  War is a conflict between nations often aimed at pursuing a political message; despite its massive costs on individuals, property and society, war remains a common way to execute political objectives. The act of war and militarism is an extremely controversial subject, often subject to bias and strict opinion by differing social groups. While an order theorist would claim that war provides jobs, enhances the economy, and protects our country, a conflict theorist would argue that war does nothing but reinforces inequalities, both domestic and international, and promote the power elite.

            War can have grave effects on both human society and the environment, and the consequences of such militarism could be catastrophic. The United States maintains the worlds top superpower position, unparalleled in human history; this power makes us a momentous threat to smaller and less developed countries. Wartime efforts could ultimately affect the individual by segregating minority classes internally, while blatantly and unnecessarily overpowering the less prepared countries internationally. Conflict theorists posit that war is nothing more than a way of reinforcing inequalities and stereotypes among the class system; they believe that war is an effort made by the rich to control and dominate groups of minorities while maintaining their power both nationally and internationally. In concurrence with this view, a feminist theory would allege the inequalities women face through war and militarism. Women are often looked down upon and reviled by their male peers in the military; male soldiers ordinarily abuse and assault their fellow female soldiers, reinforcing male dominance in war and the military. War and militarism also trigger environmental consequences; small towns, cities, and entire countries are being demolished through the devastating effects of war. The military is the largest institutional source of pollution in the world; war will often destroy eco-systems and terminate entire species in times of war. While the reinforcement of inequalities and endangerment of the natural environment may only be two examples of consequences brought upon by war and militarism, many more devastating effects take place all around the world as the United States, and other powerful nations, continue to fortify their ultimate power.

            The substructure of war spurs from economics and politics. Terrorism by war and international acts of violence are both expedients of attempting to accomplish political objectives. Order theorists contend that the economy increases during periods of war; this theory is supported by the evidence that has shown an increase in the economy prompting advancements in technology, consequently resulting in more government money spent and more lives lost. Summarized by order theorists, sustaining war means an increase in the economy. Politics are also executed in times of war. Politicians benefit from war and militarism because society perceives them as tough on nationalism and serious against our conflict with the “enemy.” This is an example of class inequalities in terms of who benefits from war and who does not; those with more money attain higher positions in the military where they are more likely to see benefits, while those in lower classes of society are placed on the battle front and will seldom see any benefits. Politics are the most crucial catalyst to war. While the economy stimulates the level of progression and success of war, such war would not be eminent in the first place without the effects of international political conflict.

            Not much can be done on the individual level to aid the process of war moderation. However, on the global scale, by forming alliances and treaties among neighboring and friendly countries, peace is not completely unimaginable. In 2002, the G-8, a group of allied countries that coordinate their actions so they are able to preserve their global dominance, was formed. The G-8 is currently our strongest force for peace – if allied countries were able to agree on world markets and trade barriers, it would provide a deterrence from going to war in the first place. Alliances like these show the many societies that span our globe working together to become a functioning society. The functionalist perspective of peace efforts and alliances extends the importance of cooperation and group effort in achieving world peace.

            Trends representing our future exemplify the deterioration of national borders – they are becoming less and less significant. Allied groups such as the North American Free-Trade-Association (NAFTA), and the European Union (EU), among many others have bestowed hope for international relief through allied forces, eliminating the need for war and militarism. Regardless of the obstacles we might face on the path to obtaining worldwide unity, the overall trend shows unity through the elimination of national boarders and increasing cross-national confederate groups. If this effort for peaceful globalization were to become a reality, the modernization view of order theory, in which counties pass through different stages and ultimately become integrated into the top tier global capitalist society, would be irrelevant – while there would still be more powerful and more developed countries, we would not have to focus on the dangers or conflicts regarding the hierarchy of global power.