Hello everyone, sorry for the radio silence. I recently had a midterm for my psychology class and I’ve been trying to catch up in statistics. I’ve also been to my first UN club meeting which I will talk about in this post as well.
Day three of Political Science consisted of learning about the Upper House, Congress, Formal Executive, Political Executive, Electing vs Appointing Judges, and what we all want to know about: Ideologies.
I wont go over the government positions as it’s fairly straightforward and is only really focused on the differences between the USA and Canada.
The first ideology my professor talked about was Social Democracy, the Scandinavian model. He explained it as having a heavy emphasis on economic equality; bridging the gap between the rich and poor, social progress, progressive taxes, and Keynesian Policy.
He also talked about Consociational Democracy and Cosmopolitan Democracy. One meaning special protections for minorities (power-sharing) and the other being about applying democratic principles to Global institutions, the UN being an example he brought up but did mention how it’s not democratic due to certain countries having veto power over the rest. I was surprised he mentioned this, to be honest.
Next we won’t over criticisms of democracy:
There is a disconnect between promised policies and the implementation of policies. The growing apathy of citizens due to mistrust. Influence by small special interest groups. Aristotle had a negative view of democracy, believing it to be the degenerative form of Rule By The Many, with Polity being the best version. Aristotle himself, I guess, believed in Rule By The Enlightened. Also democracy breeds populist leaders which is annoying.
Then we finally plunged into ideology. There was talk about how Canadian media is generally “left”, even stating the CBC was very left. After this little blurb we went over the left centre and right positions; Communism Marxist-Leninism, Tradiotional SocDems, Market SocDems, Reform Libs, Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, Conservatives, Neo Cons, and then Fascism. Ideology is not to be confused by party name. He used the NDP as an example of SocDems, with Rachel Notley being a more right wing example.
My Professor started us on the right side of the scale with defining Fascism. Obviously the first thing to come up were the Nazis, National Socialists. Fascism is accompanied with an unquestioned leader, hierarchal system, authority over the people, reject of reason (this is important), social Darwinism, society governed by race, extreme nationalism, irredentism, and state corporatism. A girl in my class asked about China being state corporatist but my professor said China has state capitalism.
We finished off day 3 with Conservatism. It’s main principles being respect for tradition, status quo, religious values being a priority, patriotic, pro-life, anti-pornography, censorship, capital punishment, no affirmative action, deregulation, and the belief that the rich should help the poor which we all no does not happen.
Day 4 we jumped right back into ideologies starting with Neo-Cons; also called neo-liberal, it was essentially the same as conservatism. Liberalism was next and he was quite enthusiastic about it. He explained liberalism as an optimistic ideology, with a healthy skepticism of the church and monarchy. Liberals believe in basic human rights, that all are created equal, social justice, utilitarianism, limited government, and lots of freedom. Some things I noted about my professor’s personal views was he dislikes modern liberals, claiming that they are intolerant and only want control. He brought up the mask mandates and the Emergency Act as too much government overreach. I had to press him a little bit, asking how he felt about the COVID policies and he said he believed they went to far.
Next was SocDems again but I’ll only talk about the new stuff rather than repeat. State level vs Utopian Socialism. The State level was split in two; revisionism and fabianism. Revisionism was pioneered by a guy named Edward Bernstein; revising Marx’s vision with an evolutionary gradual approach to socialism rather than revolution. He added the middle class to the mix. Fabianism was a UK thing from 1884 with a belief in socialism through elections. Fabianism is now the Labour Party. Utopian Socialism was about small community socialism through cooperation, collectivism, social benefits, and common ownership of property.
In the last five minutes of class he briefly went over Marxism; the study of how society is shaped, with the foundation and superstructure. The foundation being the means of production, techniques of the production, and the relationship between the workers and capitalists. The superstructure was explained as religion, government, ideology, and exploitation. When it came to exploitation my professor went about it in a very silly, and almost condescending way. He picked a girl in our class to help with his scenario, saying that on the weekend she goes to his church or whatever and prays, but then during the weekday she goes to work for him and therefore he is exploiting her. He played it off as if it’s a stupid thing to believe, that Marx was pulling his ideology out of his ass. Maybe next class I’ll try to push back on that but at the time class was over and I needed to skedaddle.
During his talk about conservatives beliefs in “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” he caught be rolling my eyes and tried to press me on it but I got super scared and tried t wave him off. He tried to ask other students about their opinions on it and their responses were “it depends”, which was very helpful or enlightening but I can’t really judge since I was too scared to challenge the notion on my own. I am, however, talking a bit more in class, answering and asking questions so that’s good.
So my first UN meeting was overwhelming and a bit confusing. Most of the time was spent going over UN etiquette, how to address your fellow delegates, all that kind of stuff. What I do want to mention is that one of the UN leaders talked about his experience in a model UN held in Japan: he got into an argument with another delegate about nuclear energy, he is anti-nuclear, He felt negative towards Russia and North Korea as the Russia delegate brought up North Korean relations and he felt that was suspicious? He also had beef with some Québécois delegates because he cringed and essentially admitted to having Quebec. All in all a very weird experience. I don’t think I’m going to be doing much in this club for this first year as I entered a few weeks late (not my fault, I signed up at the beginning but they never got my form) and preparations for some trips were already underway. I’m just going to lay low and maybe try again next semester, who knows. I thought we’d be choosing countries to represent and do our own UN at our school and then travel around to other model UNs and represent there. There is a model UN being held in another city that only some delegates are going to. Basically a group of students from a bunch of universities represent one country and come together for a model UN, the club is now preparing for this by picking a country and then writing a position paper to be selected for the model UN. There is one inNew York but I have no idea what’s going on with that one. I’d like to go to New York but the information surrounding it is confusing.
Anyway that’s all the information I have, tomorrow is day 5 of Political Science but I don’t believe we’ll be learning much as our midterm is next week so it’s most likely going to be a review class. But I’ll still post about it if anything interesting comes up. I make sure to make special notes of what my professor and fellow students say since it’s always interesting and we can gauge what the hell I’m working with.
Really living up to the whole “TERF island” thing