Opinion: Sociology, the left wing propaganda machine?

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Sociology: the left wing propaganda machine ?

Michael Tandy

After completing a three year sociology degree I became disillusioned with the discipline. It’s institutionalisation of the right to think and its left wing political bias – where opinions are presented as science – make me wretch.
As a student of sociology I felt like I was being put into an ideological straitjacket – where I could not explore my own ideas, but was made to adopt the ideas of a select few elite sociologists who work within restrictive schools of thought, such as Bauman or Bourdieu. In my second and third year I therefore avoided sociology as much as I could – taking classes in psychology, philosophy and international relations – where I could speak my mind without someone else’s political ideology weighing heavily upon me.
Sociology is heavily left-wing. Karl Marx has been elevated to the status of ‘founding father’, or in other words one of the three deities of modern sociology – the other two being Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. His theory has been proved wrong over and over again, due to history’s revealing capitalism to be by far the most dynamic social system, with communism being unable to adapt and therefore dying out. Despite this Marx is still taught at universities as if his theory still holds weight. Sociologists will not let Marx die, and persevere in their quest to alter and accommodate Marx so his ideas fit the modern world – but how many times can you change a theory before it loses its integrity?
Philosophers with alternative political ideologies, such as Ayn Rand, go completely unmentioned, with some professional sociologists having never even heard of her. She is generally deemed a poor philosopher in academic circles, whereas Marx is praised as one of the greatest. But how good can a philosopher be so revered when he is
clearly wrong? I recall that the closest we got to individualist
social theories during the entire three years was a brief mention in 1st year of Margaret Thatcher’s belief that there is no society, with no explanation of what this meant. Neoliberalism was also mentioned two or three times but always as the bad guy. The nature of modernity is heavily debated within sociology, what constitutes gender is also. Sometimes it seems as if sociologists spend their time doing nothing but debating with each other. When it comes to capitalism however there is no debate – it is presumed rotten from the get go.
Despite all this political bias sociology has been guilty of it had at least had good intentions, until post-structuralism and post-modernism were invented. What has degraded sociology in recent decades is an abandonment of a desire to want to change things for the better (also known as the Enlightenment project), and what has replaced it is the tendency to perform philosophical gymnastics, a brand of armchair philosophy that renders sociology a useless game of theorising. Jacques Derrida for instance, when asked what his opinion was on 9/11 and the deaths of 3000 people, responded by debating with himself the definition of a ‘major event’ and engaging in an infuriating and hollow convolution of philosophical dribble. Judith Butler’s over theorised garbage goes little way to promote women’s rights, and she has been heavily criticised by feminists for this. The only use Zygmunt Bauman’s narratives seem to have is the entertainment of fellow elite academics.
What leads to this state of sociology is an ideological cartel, where ideas are heavily regulated and where one is only able to make a choice between the options given to you. Even if you don’t buy into Bauman, Bourdieu, or Butler, you have to pick one and insincerely run with it in order to pass the exam. What most frustrates me about this is the way some students, unable to think outside of the sociological box they’ve been put in, quote Habermas or Foucault at you in order to back up their position, as if the fact that an elite sociologist agrees with them immediately validates their argument.
I personally don’t believe in society, and that we are individuals whose nature is to be rationally self-interested. We therefore need a social system that accommodates human nature, which is free market capitalism. Communism doesn’t work, and the most successful nation on Earth is founded on the philosophy I buy into. Sociologists can tell me I’m wrong, but history tells me the contrary.
Mike Tandy is a recent socioAfter completing a three year sociology degree I became disillusioned with the discipline. It’s institutionalisation of the right to think and its left wing political bias – where opinions are presented as science – make me wretch.
As a student of sociology I felt like I was being put into an ideological straitjacket – where I could not explore my own ideas, but was made to adopt the ideas of a select few elite sociologists who work within restrictive schools of thought, such as Bauman or Bourdieu. In my second and third year I therefore avoided sociology as much as I could – taking classes in psychology, philosophy and international relations – where I could speak my mind without someone else’s political ideology weighing heavily upon me.
Sociology is heavily left-wing. Karl Marx has been elevated to the status of ‘founding father’, or in other words one of the three deities of modern sociology – the other two being Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. His theory has been proved wrong over and over again, due to history’s revealing capitalism to be by far the most dynamic social system, with communism being unable to adapt and therefore dying out. Despite this Marx is still taught at universities as if his theory still holds weight. Sociologists will not let Marx die, and persevere in their quest to alter and accommodate Marx so his ideas fit the modern world – but how many times can you change a theory before it loses its integrity?
Philosophers with alternative political ideologies, such as Ayn Rand, go completely unmentioned, with some professional sociologists having never even heard of her. She is generally deemed a poor philosopher in academic circles, whereas Marx is praised as one of the greatest. But how good can a philosopher be so revered when he is
clearly wrong? I recall that the closest we got to individualist
social theories during the entire three years was a brief mention in 1st year of Margaret Thatcher’s belief that there is no society, with no explanation of what this meant. Neoliberalism was also mentioned two or three times but always as the bad guy. The nature of modernity is heavily debated within sociology, what constitutes gender is also. Sometimes it seems as if sociologists spend their time doing nothing but debating with each other. When it comes to capitalism however there is no debate – it is presumed rotten from the get go.
Despite all this political bias sociology has been guilty of it had at least had good intentions, until post-structuralism and post-modernism were invented. What has degraded sociology in recent decades is an abandonment of a desire to want to change things for the better (also known as the Enlightenment project), and what has replaced it is the tendency to perform philosophical gymnastics, a brand of armchair philosophy that renders sociology a useless game of theorising. Jacques Derrida for instance, when asked what his opinion was on 9/11 and the deaths of 3000 people, responded by debating with himself the definition of a ‘major event’ and engaging in an infuriating and hollow convolution of philosophical dribble. Judith Butler’s over theorised garbage goes little way to promote women’s rights, and she has been heavily criticised by feminists for this. The only use Zygmunt Bauman’s narratives seem to have is the entertainment of fellow elite academics.
What leads to this state of sociology is an ideological cartel, where ideas are heavily regulated and where one is only able to make a choice between the options given to you. Even if you don’t buy into Bauman, Bourdieu, or Butler, you have to pick one and insincerely run with it in order to pass the exam. What most frustrates me about this is the way some students, unable to think outside of the sociological box they’ve been put in, quote Habermas or Foucault at you in order to back up their position, as if the fact that an elite sociologist agrees with them immediately validates their argument.
I personally don’t believe in society, and that we are individuals whose nature is to be rationally self-interested. We therefore need a social system that accommodates human nature, which is free market capitalism. Communism doesn’t work, and the most successful nation on Earth is founded on the philosophy I buy into. Sociologists can tell me I’m wrong, but history tells me the contrary.

Mike Tandy is a recent sociology graduate from City University

Substituting Health and Safety For Common sense

 

One thought on “Opinion: Sociology, the left wing propaganda machine?

  1. It seems that you have learnt nothing about sociology. The only reason you’re really railing against sociology is because you don’t understand it. And no Marx is not the be all and end all of sociology. In fact there are sociologists who are critical of Marx. Sociology is about opening up the possibilities of society that is different from our own. Also your statement about having to agree with everything that sociological theorists say is nonesense. There is no problem with critiquing sociologists as long as you have a well reasoned argument and some evidence.

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