Lecture 11

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Published on 29 Sep 2011
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SOCB42 lecture 11
- Social standard
- Standard set of laws; central authority built into democracy
- People in democracy have an emotional sense of giving power to a central institution
- We feel resentful when we see people higher than us, getting certain things
- Democracies take away privileges, gov’t should be abstract, universal
- Tocqueville was worried about:
Centralization is being like mom and dad – you go to the state who will take care of
The state takes away children for 8-10 hrs – going to school. This was set by someone
you don’t even know.
US – implanting birth control into lower class women
Smoking is banned in the workplace and bars (truckers can’t smoke in their cars
because it is their workplace)
Banning of transfats, fast food, sugary confectionaries
T’s nightmare: “soft desperatism” pg 662 – would degrade man without tormenting
them; more intrusions into our lives than ever before
ex. right after 9/11 there was a surge of people to serve the country and people who
wanted to form support groups; president told people to not do this but to go shopping
and lives your lives
This is not inevitable, you can make changes:
1) If the country has a tradition of freedom – if everyone can exercise freedom and have
public discussion it would prevent
2) Violent revolution – that country is much more likely to go against this. Stronger sense of
central authority
3) Education level of a country entering into democracy – less likely to develop secondary
associations (these things need coordination, leadership, intelligence to plan, etc)
4) Wars – more wars, more centralization. Can see this in America, Canada since 9/11
5) Threats – feeling threatened as a country leads to centralization
Defense against centralization – look in democracies and how to prevent it from happening –
be afraid of the gov’t making you into a child
- Born 1820, same generation born after French Revolution
- Born in parts of England that was rapidly industrializing
- Family was very religious – Quakers, Nonconformist, fun is bad
- Every individual human should be able to control and guide their own life; keep
government out
- Taught at home by father – trained in science and engineering, not in classical studies
- Argued for extreme restrictions. Thought that everything should be privatized – rid of
welfare, education, established church, no restrictions on trade, laizzie faire
- Book: Social Status
- Diff from Comte: against govt planning, association
-The developmental hypothesis – anticipated many of Darwin’s ideas
- Thought of an intellectual equal to Darwin
Evolution + ethics, morality
Beginning of book – person wants to know how to live life. Standard answer was utilitarianism
(philosophy that says the best thing to do is to do what generates the most happiness for the most
What is happiness? It cannot change; it has to remain the same when I apply it. Spencer says that
we know for a fact that human nature changes. Humans are a part of natural environment like
everything else. It is pointless to look for a universal rule.
How are certain attitudes/behaviours, at different times are supportive or maladaptive?
Ex. In larger, more complex societies, aggressiveness becomes dysfunctional because the city
would fall apart. Our moral challenge is to understand conditions where we can be better. We
can start to weed out actions that are good to society.
How to relate to science? Society is an organism that is over time able to integrate, control parts
better to control environment around them.
How does biology make us make sense of society?
Sociology + biology
Sociology – study of superorganic organisms (many organism that are held together by
something else
Compare society and organisms: how is society like an organism
Society Organism
Production – for society to use; farms,
Digestive system/ assimilation – transformed
into something that can be used into society
(ex. food energy)
Distribution – non market, market, central
Circulatory system – distributes energy to rest
of the body
Government - who makes up rules, regulations Nervous system – command and control that
There more similarities in development:
1) Small to big – size, less area
2) Simple to complex – components that make it up; more evolved more differentiation of
different aspects
3) Moving from independent parts to mutual dependence – with the DOL it is easy to
replace one’s job … leads to
4) Regulatory system outlasting the parts – framework exists beyond the lifespan of any of
the parts