Friday, 30 March 2018

ANOMIE: TODAY'S GREAT ILLNESS

Ontario politics Columnist Martin Regg Cohn of the star.com writes that a great many young voters say they have disengaged from the political process because they feel under-informed. 

Opinion Contributors Eguiar Lizundia and Luke Waggoner for thehill.com write that to tackle terrorism we must examine its links to corruption.

Corruption. Extremism. Anomie.


Anomie, or Anomy is defined as "social instability caused by the erosion of standards and values".

It is a state of alienation and loss of purpose a person or group feels when standards, values and ideals have been scuppered.

Charles Krauthammer has commented: "We must now brace ourselves for disquisitions on peer pressure, adolescent anomie and rage."


Charles Krauthammer

To me, anomie is a state one reaches when everything one values is no longer relevant. It's an intellectual paralysis that I know well, having grown up in a society that self-destructed.

In my case it was not immigration, religion, or gender neutrality. It was corruption. When the entire system is corrupt the least a young person can feel is an overwhelming hopelessness. And I believe this is what besets us today in Canada and the U.S. 

Yet corruption and extremism begin as an attitude. I can relate to Krauthammer's thoughts: "I detested the extreme Left and the extreme Right, and found myself somewhere in the middle." 

Jorge Luis Borges would agree. About our years of lead in Argentina, he wrote: "These things happened in a time we find hard to acknowledge. Life was worth northing, and I suspect the killers weren't worth much more. The killers on the one side, and on the other. Two Evils? It's all the same to me. Let each one label it as they wish but in the meantime, it would be worth asking oneself how to judge he who murders a little girl in the name of social revolution, or he who kidnaps, tortures and kills in the name of the State".


Jorge Luis Borges

As for me, I float with these great writers somewhere in the middle and think the antidote is Hope.









EDUCATION WOES


They have a multi-million dollar deficit, so U Wisconsin at Stevens Point examines ways to augment student enrolment. First, they intend to ax English, Spanish, History, Philosophy and a host of other majors.


   March, 2018. Students protest the school's proposals. Photo: Washington Post

How do we live without reflection?

In Argentina 1966, the dictatorship went on a rampage, shutting down the University of Buenos Aires labs and libraries, and taking control of our curriculum. They forbade the use of the new computer named "Clementine" an NCR job the students were using to recalculate the Fibonacci sequence, then they took the big machine apart and kicked the technicians out of the country. By the way, Clementine was Latin America's first computer.


 July 29, 1966. Students and faculty are arrested as the dictatorship takes control of the
      Universidad de Buenos Aires. Photo: Educ.ar

Students and faculty rebelled, the authorities retorted with extreme violence and Argentina lost its brains: 1,378 professors resigned, 300+ emigrated, 200 scientists were fired, 86 research specialists were sent back to their countries.

If that didn't set us back, I don't know what did.

I respect Wisconsin U's decision to provide practical knowledge and new career paths for students but, what about balance? If the majors mentioned above fetch low or no enrolment, educators might reduce the budgets or include social sciences and the humanities subjects within other majors.

Point is, progress stalls when we ignore our own story.