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Egalitarianism -
A Sociological Perspective on Social Problems

There are various ways to view behaviours, values, attitudes, and even what we think we know, in order to explain why we people do what we do. For example, criminal behaviour has in the past been viewed from a genetic viewpoint, which implies that criminals are born criminals, and this viewpoint has been used to justify the total domination and control of the criminal classes (i.e. treating the children of criminals as criminals). Currently, and particularly so within democratic-capitalist societies, criminal behaviour and most other behaviour is largely viewed from a psychological perspective, which sees that individuals make choices about which motivations to follow, and therefore the individual is to blame for their own criminal behaviour. And this justifies our punishment of those individuals who have performed that crime. This psychological perspective is also favoured by most formal religions, where individuals are ultimately rewarded or punished in their afterlife for the way they lived their lives. In cultures that have less formal religions, the individual's criminal behaviour is often linked to the family and is said to cause the sickness, death, bad luck, etc. of other family members. In this scenario, crime is viewed from the perspective of the extended family, and the family's identity often becomes more important than the individual's identity, and this belief motivates the family to keep the behaviour of other individuals within the family, responsible and honest.

In these viewpoints, the society (including the conditions in which people live) is never regarded as the underlying cause of criminal behaviour, and therefore there is no reason to change the society, its laws, or the way in which things are done. But if the laws and policies within the society are really to blame, and we fail or refuse to accept these social problems as social problems, we can expect to see these social problems remaining within our society. The AEM views many continually reoccurring social problems, such as property crimes, addiction, (long-term) unemployment, poverty, aboriginal poverty, confidence scams, corruption, organised crime, black-markets, and even bad leadership as social problems that stem from the socially dysfunctional constitutions of capitalism and elitism in general. That is, if, as the AEM claims, all forms of elitism are invalid (and also extremely anti-social), social problems are bound to be created by it. The AEM agrees with Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), known as the father or sociology, who sees social problems, such as crime and suicide as indicators of a society that suffers from a lack of cohesion (i.e. a society in which individuals feel alienated from or by their society). The AEM claims that this lack of social cohesion will always exist while their is poverty and economic stratification in general. We also believe that the amount of social problems within a society is directly proportion to how socially dysfunctional a culture is. And because our capitalist society is riddled with these continual social problems, stress, and insecurity, we have to conclude that our contemporary democratic-capitalist society is extremely dysfunctional (as are all elitist societies).

By viewing social problems from a sociological perspective, we concern ourselves with changing our society and laws, and the way in which we handle social problems, so that we don't keep reproducing them. To do this is to be taking responsibility for what problems we, as a society, have created. And when we do truly take responsibility for our own social problems, we know that is inappropriate and abusive to be blaming or punishing those individuals who have become a part of these social problems. It would be more appropriate to blame and punish ourselves for doing this to these people. And when we do acknowledge our social problems as social problems, and therefore change what we do as a society, the reproduction of these social problems stops almost immediately.

However, stopping the reproduction of social problems does not always mean stopping social problems in there tracks. For example, in the AEM's Egalitarian society, we claim that we will stop the reproduction of unemployment (because the society's Egalitarian government is responsible for employing everyone), but that does not necessarily mean that there will be no unemployed people. It means that nobody who is already working and nobody entering the workforce will ever become unemployed. However, there are many wives for example who have never worked, and who had no intention of working, and we are not about to make them work as it is not their fault that they have become full-time housewives and have developed their existence and ambitions around this lifestyle (we also don't take money away from the rich, even though the rich are much greater economic burden upon the society than are the unemployed, but nobody talks much about that). So, the moral of the story is that while sociological solutions to social problems will serve to prevent many social problems from being reproduced, and while we try our best to make it as painless as possible for those people involved in these social problems, the process may take up to fifty years and more to completely rid our society of these social problems, but we do eventually rid ourselves of these problems (unlike our capitalist society). This is what taking responsibility, as a society, entails: putting up with the problem we have already created (and we have no right not to), knowing that it is diminishing each year. We have to be satisfied that we are not redeveloping them in each new generation.

Sociologists often conclude that our values and beliefs, and our attitudes towards many things are also the product of our social environment, and they have mountains of evidence to support this claim. Feminists and Marxists are in this category of sociologists, and so is the AEM. When you read our 'How the Existing Culture Shapes the Values, Beliefs, Desires, Fears, Fantasies, and Ambitions of the People, and How this Serves to Reproduce the Culture and Its Social Problems' web page, you will see that the AEM agrees with Marx in concluding that the ruling values and beliefs of a society are deliberately shaped and nurtured by the ruling class. The AEM goes a bit further in also declaring that most of our fears, desires, fantasies, and ambitions are also created within, and by the context of our society/constitution. That this does occur creates a serious problem because whether or not we realise it, it is our own values and beliefs (which are the values and beliefs of the elite), and the ambitions and fantasies that we develop by living within a particular society (and which are also those of the elite), serve to support the existence of our own social problems (and poverty). In short, the AEM regards the hell that is one's culture as the product of the society's values and beliefs, ambitions, etc. (i.e. our social problem are our own fault), but this is something that is denied by peasants all over the world. We tend to blame bad men in power or greedy, ruthless people, and fail to realise that our own values and beliefs, which are propagated and institutionalised by most ruling classes, serve to reproduce the problem of bad, ruthless, or greedy men in power, even after a revolution (and even after the change to democratic-capitalism). Therefore, if we want our world to improve, we have to start questioning what we think we know, and our values and beliefs about our economically stratified societies. Unfortunately, we all tend to resist giving up our associated elitist desires and ambitions, even when we know they are socially detrimental and invalid. But through educating the public, values and beliefs do change through time. This is how slavery became outlawed in many parts of the world, how women got the vote, and how child labour was abolished. And this is how the AEM intends to defeat invalid and unnecessary forms of institutionalised domination (i.e. the social problem of elitism), as well as the social problems that stem from it. It should be mentioned however, that even though many social problems do require changing our constitution in order to rid our society of them, many social problems don't (See the example about heroin addiction, later).

Of course, there are obvious reasons why our political and capitalist leaders are in denial about why such social problems exist, and why they continue to insist upon blaming the victims of their self-serving mismanagement of the society (i.e. they don't want to give up their wealth and power). And because theirs is the only viewpoint that is continually relayed to the public (no matter which capitalist party is in government), we the public have also come to believe that those people involved in social problems are the ones who we should direct our anger towards. In fact, capitalist governments have become extremely practiced at getting the public to look that way, so that we don't look their way, when looking for someone to blame for any social problem. We are encouraged to think of these people, not as victims or beneficiaries (of social mismanagement), but as individuals who made their own poor or wrong choices in life, and who therefore have no one else to blame but themselves, and as such it is not the responsibility of the society to pick up the tab when solving their problems. And convincing the public to accept this viewpoint is very easy to achieve within a society where most of us (who have never perceived ourselves to be a part of a particular social problem) are easily convinced that we are not to blame for that social problem even through we supported or accepted our constitution and the government's rulings and policies associated with that social problem. It is also easy to stir self-righteousness, self-interest, and vindictiveness within an economically insecure public that abhors governments wasting taxes on those people who are part of a social problem. And in being the self-righteous and vindictive citizens that we were culturally conditioned by the psychological perspective to be, we seem to prefer, and even cheer when governments instead pledge to waste vast amounts of money (which is required forever more), in an effort to catch people and/or deter people from becoming involved in these social problems. But the fact of the matter is, that we as a society, who chose to support or do nothing about our constitution and our governments' policies associated with any social problem, must bare responsibility for making the poor choices we made in managing our society, and which served to allow the repetition of more of our own people making the same poor choices.

Take tobacco for example. Currently, we have not heard a word from the government about how successive governments (and therefore the society) have allowed the sale of cigarettes (and continue to allow) to anybody who wants them, for generations. And we allowed this even though we have known for hundreds of years that smoking is not good for your health and extremely addictive. And then, with the government's encouragement, we turn around and blame the existing smokers for becoming addicts because studies have shown that their smoke is affecting our health too. And as such, we feel justified in economically and socially disadvantage smokers to encourage them to stop. This is not taking responsibility. It is blaming the victims of our own social mismanagement, and even though this strategy has proven to be a resounding failure with another 20% of young people becoming hooked (when we could have easily and cheaply prevented non-smokers from taking up smoking), the federal and state governments have no intention of changing their laws and policies, especially when they are reaping their share of the $6B+ paid by nicotine addicts in tax each year. If the AEM was managing this social problem over the past fifteen years, we would now have virtually no smokers under the age of 30 years of age by now, and in another fifteen year, no smokers under 45 years of age, and so on. And it would not have required any increase in the price of cigarettes our ousting smokers from various social environments. To oust smokers from anywhere is to not be accepting what you have created, and if you have been supporting the federal and state governments' policies over the past fifteen years, you certainly cannot claim to be innocent in relation to the continuing social problem of nicotine addiction and passive smoking, when these policies have served to create yet another generation of smokers. And this will continue as long as we as a society continue to deny responsibility for our own poor decisions, which allow cigarettes to be sold to anyone, and which served to reproduce this social problem.  

Heroin addiction is a similar story that clearly displays the contrast between how our democratic-capitalist governments and the AEM Egalitarian society deals with this social problem. So far, all of Australia's democratically elected governments have focused their efforts on deterring smuggling, dealing, and using heroin, thereby saying that these people are the problem, and that there is nothing wrong with our society, or the way in which we deal with the heroin problem. As such,

  • new heroin addicts continue to be created each day by existing addicts trying to pay for their habit,
  • black-markets and organised crime associated with heroin continue,
  • drug-money continues to be used by terrorists and dictators to buy weapons, 
  • property crimes that are required to support heroin addicts' $2000 per week habits continue,
  • deaths by overdosing continue,
  • families of heroin addicts continue to be devastated and stressed,
  • heroin addicts are not supported by the society and are often regarded as criminals,
  • heroin addicts continue to become prostitutes to fund their habit,
  • the transmission of disease, such as AIDS continue to spread via dirty needles, and these disease are then further transmitted through sexual intercourse,
  • our country looses billions of dollars to the heroin market each year, and then we waste another fortune on the law enforcement of heroin crimes,
  • heroin continues to remain freely available on the streets.

In this strategy, our children and grandchildren still hold a good chance of becoming heroin addicts. In fact, we can say that this policy is definitely, and very suspiciously, keeping heroin addiction alive and well. And after years of failure to beat heroin addiction by this method (in fact, heroin addiction is increasing), governments, in their determination to not be beaten by the criminal element (or so they say), only strengthen their resolve and keep going in the same direction, only harder (e.g. zero tolerance).

Now consider how the AEM will handle heroin addiction by viewing it as both the medical problem and the social problem that it is. First, the AEM recognises that substance addiction is a sickness, and that trying to deter people from being an addict is to display one's ignorance or denial about what an addiction is (This is particularly evident when we are discussing nicotine addiction. The majority of people [i.e. non-smokers], with the encouragement of the government, insist on treating the smoker as being defiant, bad mannered, ignorant, in denial, irresponsible to other people, weak-willed, or anything other than an addict). An addiction means that people know that the substance is costing them a fortune, killing them, costing them friendships and relationships, etc. and yet they still cannot stop consuming the substance. This is what an addiction means, and every addict is a product of what our society allows people to become addicted to (even though we wrongly declare we are helpless in being able to prevent it). As such, the AEM treats heroin addiction (and any addiction) as a sickness (i.e. a medical condition), which entails providing heroin addicts with a prescription for heroin or heroin substitutes. The heroin addict still pays for their heroin, but it will be easily affordable because it is not going through a black-market. As you can see, the heroin addict is not being punished for being an addict, other than by having to pay a greatly reduced cost for the substance. Nor are we attempting to catch and punish the people who are in the heroin trade. By handling heroin addiction in this appropriate way,

  • we immediately and effortlessly stop the existence of black-markets associated with heroin because all heroin addicts can buy heroin much cheaper from the state,
  • their is no incentive to sell heroin in order to finance one's own habit.
  • we stop the need for heroin addicts to commit property crimes to pay for their habits, thus property crime and the costs associated with law enforcement decrease considerably.
  • we stop the need for addicts to become prostitutes,
  • we prevent those who have managed to give up heroin from restarting their addiction,
  • we save the country billions of dollars that are gobbled up by the drug trade annually,
  • the medical bill associated with heroin addiction shrinks each year until it's gone completely.
  • anybody who is not a heroin addict when the AEM takes government, including our children and grandchildren, will never become heroin addicts.
  • the state has access to all existing addicts, and it is therefore well placed to provide counseling and advice on new treatments and heroin substitutes, safety procedures, and clean needles.
  • the stress experienced by addicts and their families is immediately removed,
  • the stress on the society is also immediately removed,
  • our existing heroin addicts become productive members of the society again (rather than spending all their spare time partaking in the property crime that is necessary to fund their habit).

As mentioned, the way in which the AEM handles heroin addiction doesn't require changing to a new constitution (although in the AEM's Egalitarian society, because everybody can only buy and sell through the state, and because there are consumer cards instead of cash, nobody is able to sell heroin even if they wanted to. See our 'Our Three Strategies' web page for a discussion about this).

However, within the democratic-capitalist society, the laws and policies relating to heroin addiction that are in place now are unlikely to change much for a number of reasons. First, to start managing heroin addiction properly, governments would first have to admit that they weren't handling it properly in the first place. As you know, admitting that one (or one's political party) was wrong, mistaken, abusive, ignorant, negligent, incompetent, or self-interested is not what politicians do if they hope to be re-elected. As far as democratically elected governments and politicians are concerned, it is much safer to be a ruthless coward and to shamelessly blame the victims of one's own mismanagement of the society with as much gusto as possible, rather than to admit anything and risk baring the costs associated compensating our victimized victims. Further, because the opposition party enforced similar laws and policies when it was in government, it's members are now unable to object to the current government's laws and policies, lest they be declared hypocrites, and you know how politically damaging it is to be seen as a hypocrite. So, like always, the message to the public message is to 'keep looking that way', and then you won't look this way (at the government or ourselves) when looking for someone to blame, and sadly, most of us do. And this is even easier to achieve within a democratic society because heroin addicts represent a small minority group within the greater society. As such, most of us don't really care about heroin addicts, one way or another. It's not a part of our lives. And because democratic-capitalist governments don't usually do anything unless there is strong public support for change, heroin addicts are a politically powerless social group, who have no choice but to bare whatever hardships the government (and therefore the society) decides to dish out.

Second, the social problem of elitism, which is supported by the capitalist aspect of our constitution, is based upon a psychological perspective (as opposed to the AEM's sociological perspective), which serves to rationalise or justify why certain people deserve to be more or less economically rewarded than others. As such, the psychological perspective in general, is defended wherever it is threatened, including in the way social problems are perceived and dealt with. Likewise, those who have succeeded in installing and maintaining the democratic-capitalist constitution perceive the need to publicly denounce the sociological viewpoint in general because it negates their elite status, and so they do, and have done so for thousands of years. And as you know, repeated advertising (and denouncing) works even when no facts are proffered (e.g. coke is the real thing), and through this process most of us have been conditioned to believe in our dysfunctional constitution and to accept the completely unacceptable, and many of us actually become motivated to verbally abuse our addicts, our homeless, our unemployed, etc.

Let us know if you have any questions relating to how the AEM intends to deal with any other social problems.


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