Sociology

Is Political Ideology used to Manipulate the Masses – Yes



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What do you think of when you hear the word "socialism"? How about "communism"? You probably associate communism and socialism with violent revolutions. So I ask you, are we really as free as we think? One could argue that we've been conditioned to think communism and socialism are evil ideas practiced by leaders who merely slaughter their people and don't really care about anything else. While this is sometimes true, Communism and Socialism also have a radical idea that most of our leaders probably don't want us knowing about: the equal distribution of wealth and the final end of the class system as all people become equal to each other. What a horrible thing! How dare people dream of a place where the working class isn't just a mere puppet of the wealthy capitalists that own the factories and take a cut of our salaries for selling goods they didn't produce? I think by now, you can see where I'm going with this.

While people may think that they are 'free', I argue that most, if not all, freedom, is an illusion. Sure, we have certain "unalienable" rights, but can't those rights be taken away just as easily as they are granted to us? A group of people assembled at Kent State in the 60's to PEACEFULLY protest the Vietnam War were suppressed and attacked by their own government! Doesn't the Constitution guarantee that we all have the right to peacefully assemble? And yet, all the governement had to do was declare Martial Law, and those rights vanished. The government can violate almost all of our rights during times of war in the same fashion simply because they feel it is necessary.

I am taking a Humanities class right now, and I was appalled to learn what power the President has over us. If the President passes a law, he can sign a statement declaring that he doesn't have to follow that law. There are other little catches that say if the President does something, it becomes legal. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't the President have to follow the laws just like everyone else?

As I said before, the American ideology conditions us in certain ways. While we claim to be the 'land of the free', we are all actually taught as children to have certain values and beliefs that separate us from others with opposite beliefs. I am also taking a Communications Class, in which we learned that everyone is 'socialized' from the day they are born. This 'socialization' process teaches us 'how to be' what the system wants us to be. Messages from churches, schools, and other institutions shape our identities and turn us against each other. Because of this process, we each have prejudices and misconceptions of those who are 'different'. We teach these prejudices to our children, and the cycle of division continues. Certain groups are taught that they are above the other, while those 'inferior' groups are taught fear and ignorance. Those that are taught fear and ignorance and put into desperate situations sometimes commit crimes, perpetuating the stereotypes we have of them as violent and so on.

We also learned in Humanities that corporations control the media. As long as companies pay, the press doesn't care what it creates or how it effects people. We live in an age where Information is very powerful, and that information can be distorted to suit the interests of the wealthy few. Still think freedom exists?

The idea of patriotism is also something that doesn't sit well with me. There is clearly, as we have shown, a powerful system in place, and those who defy it are 'weird' or 'unpatriotic.' Sure, it's great to love your country, but is it still good to love your country when it does something that would be immoral for anyone else. Should we love the country that slaughtered innocent men, women, and children at My Lai, or unleashed a plague on Hiroshima that is still harming people decades later? I could go on and on with the atrocities committed in the name of "Patriotism" and "National Security." But I'll leave it up to you: Is it still your country, right or wrong?

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