Thursday, 26 January 2017

Meritocracy, A Utopian Fantasy.

Work hard and you will succeed in life because after all you get out what you put in. This is a statement that I, as well as the majority of other young people have been told for as long as i can remember and at face value, the concept that school/university rewards you based on your work ethic and ability rather than your race, gender, ethnicity or background sounds legitimate and to an extent it is true because the opportunity is there for anyone to achieve success, especially if you live in a developed country however there are underlying issues within society which prevent this from being complete reality.

For starters, society is set up as a meritocracy, this means that everyone has equal opportunity and thus where you end up in life is down to you and the choices you make, for example choosing to study or not study for an exam will ultimately determine whether or not you are able to get good grades and in turn attend a good university and or get a good job. However, Meritocracy is in essence a myth because it ignores the covert variables than affect a students ability to perform and compete against his fellow pupils. an example of this would be 'culture capital', or the lack there of. Culture capital refers to practical skills or know-how that a person needs to gain advantage in a particular cultural setting. These skills include the ability to self monitor and self-motivate,  being able to sit still and follow directions; being able to read and digest abstract material – this being material that isn't immediately related to personal day to day life; and being able to judge when and how it’s okay to ask for help, to assert one’s opinion in an argument, or to exercise one’s personal creativity. These different skills and perspectives `all have an influence on pupils performance during all stages of education, from primary school up until university. Unfortunately however, these skills are learnt primarily through primary socialisation, that being the norms and values you are exposed to within your immediate household, specifically from your parent(s). This exposes the fallacy of meritocracy because in order for everyone to have equal opportunity for success, we must first all have access to the same resources and due to the vast wealth inequality that exists in society today, this is an assumption that is by default incorrect. While an upper middle class household is capable of providing the necessary mental stimulation as well as material resources which are conducive to academic success, a lower working class household is not. This doesn't mean if your're raised in a working class household you cannot be successful, it just means you have to work a lot harder in order to do so. 

Meritocracy by definition is actually a very nice concept, the notion that one should be rewarded based on work ethic, ambition and skill rather than background simply makes sense and is the system i believe would be most conducive to a truly equal society. However in  order for this to become a reality, we must first establish wealth equality, and by this I mean implementing a living wage rather than a minimum wage .Some people work full-time on minimum wage and still don't make enough money to survive and thus are disadvantaged n regards to their ability to adequately provide the environment best suited for academic success, Establishing a minimum wage would bridge the gap between the working class and the vastly wealthy, therefore allowing for a more meritocratic society.

However the pessimist in me realises that this is near fantasy because it'll be a long time and take a lot of work to convince corporations to actually put people before profit margins, so for now, a truly meritocratic society is but a Utopian fantasy.  

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Anti-Atheist Bigotry In Modern Day Society

Muslims are bad what is wrong with that term. Its a vast generalization of a demographic made up of millions of different individuals based on prejudice and ignorance. I haven't met every Muslim in the world therefore who am I to define them as a whole ??. I cannot and for the most part most logical, rational people would agree with me.

However Anti-atheist bigotry is a an issue which is rarely discussed or even addressed. This is very interesting to me because if we are to contrast the prejudices and hate speech directed at atheists in comparison to other belief systems it is clear that there is a disparity in the outrage against it. If for instance an individual argues that 'all Muslims are savages' the majority of people would stand up and berate the individual for being ignorant and Islamophobic, similar reactions also occur with other religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism etc.

However, Atheism doesn't seem to have this sort of societal protection, The very term Atheism is sort of seen as a dirty word synonymous with immorality and heathenism, in fact during the 2016 presidential campaigns, Bernie Sanders whom is culturally Jewish but philosophically Agnostic Atheist, was attacked numerous times due to his beliefs or lack there of and it was shocking to me because it was done so nonchalantly. lets flip it, had Bernie Sanders came out and started criticizing for instance Ted Cruz because of his devout christian faith he would of definitely been demonized and berated by national media and he wouldn't of stood a chance. Its this double standard that aggravates me, its as if Atheists are seen by default as morally inferior. Whats interesting however is the fact that whether or Not you are a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu or any of the other 1000s of religions that exist in the world today, you are also an atheist. A christian is Atheist to the Muslim faith, A Muslim is atheist to the christian faith, so on and so forth. But all of a sudden if you choose to not believe in any of these religions you're a bad person.

I bring this issue up not only to bring awareness and challenge your thought process but to also help those who are atheist but live in much less tolerant countries. for example did you know that as of 2015, 19 countries punish their citizens for apostasy which if you didn't know is the abandonment or renunciation of a religious belief , and in 13 of these countries, apostasy is punishable by death. That is insane to me, because i make a conscious decisions to place my trust in science, technology and tangible, testable, verifiable data rather than religious scripture and a so called almighty deity, i deserve to die ??. What makes this even crazier is the fact that the same people inn-acting and carrying out these punishments genuinely believe that they hold the moral high ground. Now who is to blame for this. Whether you like it or not the blame lies in religious scripture because there in lies the messages that indoctrinate people into believing that without faith you cannot be a good person. In fact a study in the USA showed that devout religious individuals believe that atheists are as untrustworthy as RAPISTS. This clearly highlights just how misconstrued atheism is. Just because my moral compass and lifestyle choices are determined by societal interaction, rational thought and critical thinking does't make me a bad person, in  fact i would argue that as an atheist I have a higher potential of being a good person than my religious counterparts because my mental framework doesn't promote conflict with others whereas religions do. For example if you look around the world today and look at the different wars, human rights violations, terrorist attack and civilian killings by totalitarian regimes. it can all be traced back to religious faith for example the Syrian Civil war, although largely influenced by proxy wars and geopolitics between USA, Russia and other global superpowers, it is the conflict between the varying Islamic denominations that fuels the hate and violence on the ground and it can be argued that without this influence, this war would of never even begun. Obviously the Syrian conflict is largely complex with a plethora of varying contributing factors however religion still plays a major role. 

I do not intend to offend anyone who is religious. i believe in individual freedoms and liberty so if being a Christian, Muslim or a Jew makes you happy then go ahead you have every right to, I just want atheists to be shown the same courtesy and intellectual respect because currently this isn't the case. Feel free to discuss this topic further with me as i would be very interested to hear your opinions. I can be reached via Twitter @RonaldTalks1 or simply leave a comment below. Stay tuned, Stay woke. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

RonaldTalks. An introduction.


My Name is Ronald and welcome to my blog. In a world where corporations value profit over people, where unarmed black men are shot everyday by same officers meant to serve and protect them, where the worlds top 1% hold more wealth than the bottom 50% it is crucial for those of us able, to rise up and push for change through diplomacy, rational discourse and cooperation. This blog was created in order to address and provide information concerning the issues challenging the world today. This includes but is not limited to Race Relations in western society, Institutional racism, Income inequality, gender inequality, religious conflict and climate change among others.  I hope that through this blog I can provide information and enlighten people on issues they would otherwise not hear about or be misinformed about by mainstream media. I am by no means a decorated Academic however that is something I aspire to be. I hope to one day work as a independent journalist or for a NGO with the same goals and views as myself. I would work as a hired journalist also so long as it was a reputable organisation such as Vice News or the TYT network.

Key thinkers that have shaped my mode of thinking include Noam Chomsky, Christopher Hitchins, J.S Mill, Jawaharlal Nehru, MLK and Karl Marx among others. I believe as conscious beings we have a duty to maintain and improve the standard of living as best we can while we're here in order to ensure the safety and betterment of future generations. I am currently an international Relations and Politics Undergraduate with a background in Sociology, Psychology and Human Geography. All views are my own,  if you disagree  feel free to provide counter arguments as I believe open dialogue and rational debate are  key components to expanding ones mind. This is my first post and serves more as an introduction, and foundation for what i hope to achieve in the future.  I aim to post here as often as possible, aiming at 3-5 days a week depending on my academic responsibilities. Stay tuned, Stay Woke.