One of the modules we have covered this semester is social psychology. I am going to say straight up that I consider a lot of the things we learn in social psychology steeped in propaganda and believe that if I was taught the same module in Russia, China or America it would be vastly different.
I believe it was very subjective in the definitions and conclusions drawn about discrimination and group activities, and as a person who politically finds myself towards the right I feel a degree of skepticism towards some of the course content. But not all of it.
If you live in Britain and haven’t heard of UKIP’s recent surge of popularity, you must have had your head in the sand, and certainly academia would rather see UKIP packing. I’m told that this is because academics think about things more than the rest of us. So I’ve had a good think and frankly don’t see how merely holding a more nationalist position than most to be justification for the blanket rejection of a political party. Certainly we live in a world which has a lot similar to the 1930’s, and you only need to look at Greece, Italy, Spain, Cyprus and perhaps soon France to see there’s a trend of European economies becomeing very desperate indeed. We must avoid the results of the 1930’s political situation, but even so, Europe’s political balance desperately needs changing.
So what does this have to do with revision? Simple: I will put the social psychology theory to use and write a letter to the leader of UKIP, explaining the research and academic basis for what cautions ought to be taken to ensure that a more independent britain doesn’t fall to a level of dehumanising views of people of other countries, and still seeks to have superordinate goals, that is, goals to be achieved in common with other nations, which protects from excessive nationalism.
One of the reasons we come to university is to learn higher order skills. We should be learning to act out of intrinsic motivation, and we should be seeking the betterment of society. One of the duties of being a good citizen is to play an active part in democracy, which takes place through raising your voice. It’s very rich of people to say that organisations such as UKIP are racist, yet has anyone tried to influence them for better? Institutionally they are not racist, however for disenfranchised citizens who are primarily concerned with the challenges in their own lives and the deprivation they face, social psychology theory explains why they might start to foster ill feelings towards other groups. The answer is not to silence their views, but to educate people on how it is not the people that are to blame, but mismanaged systems that can be changed, to protect our nations own interests without needing to have an all-or-nothing fight against other powers.