ZEITGGEIISTT A Journal of Politics, History, and Philosophy Vol. 1, Issue 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS Letter From The Editor Lee W. Eysturlid Aborting Women's Rights Manya Davis The World is Grieving Anonymous Conflicting Visions of Socialism: The Tito-Stalin Split Franklin Rangel Titans' Fall Liam Indigo Social Democracy All the Down Shanan Riley IMSA Teachers' Thoughts on the State of Humanities and Social Sciences Yihan Deng The Steady State: It's Time to Rustle Some Jimmies Sofia Zasiebida Performative Activism is Still Activism Erin Yoo College and Camus Yihan Deng 1 3 6 8 13 14 20 26 30 34
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to Zeitgeist. Yes, that is one of those relatively amorphous German words, roughly meaning the “spirit of the times,” or of the “age.” It is a neat projection of the early 19th century European urge to place the unknowable, the “feeling,” into words. And words in any of the formats that writers engage in. With that in mind the term makes a good title for this effort to sweep together a sample of writing, gathered from the willing, here at IMSA. These are student writers, expressing ideas, feelings and making an effort to understand some fragment of the world around them. Perhaps the part that might fit least does the best to summarize what is here. There are several interview replies from a few humanities instructors. They were broadly asked: Why do you think the humanities and social sciences are valuable in general and at IMSA? The answer is here, you just need to give in and spend a half-hour reading. Pick an essay and a poem and read. Don’t think about time or space for this. Just read - read the text. If it's a poem, slow down. Maybe read it out loud. If it’s an essay with footnotes, let the notes go until the end. Don’t read to embrace, read to question. Is this true? Do I agree with the author because I find it agreeable, or because it seems true, because there is an effective argument and evidence? So allow the reading, the thinking, to be that part of the humanities, which is research and argument that lack a definitive answer, to act as a challenge. It’s here if you read - promise. LWEysturlid
ABORTING WOMEN'S RIGHTS Unfortunately, those who voted for this law failed to acknowledge future implications concerning women’s rights because they choose to value and enforce their own ideals. While the Texas Heartbeat Act may seem beneficial to some, it actually holds the power to impose long-lasting detrimental effects on women’s lives in Texas. The Texas Heartbeat Act disregards and punishes women for situations that they cannot control, such as those involving rape or incest. Victims of rape or incest often face nearly insurmountanable amounts of trauma from the experience alone. The Texas PAGE 3 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST BY MANYA DAV I S Since then, a plethora of heated controversy regarding abortion rights has erupted throughout the United States. This controversy is being driven by two groups: pro-choice and pro-life. Pro-lifers argue that a fetus is a child the moment it is conceived, and a large part of their reasoning stands on the basis of religion. Therefore, many believe that abortion is considered murder. However, prochoicers do not agree that it is morally correct to force one’s belief onto someone else. With the Christian demographic of Texas so large, the recently enacted Texas Heartbeat Act presents as a major win for the pro-life movement. On Wednesday, September 1st, 2021, Texas government officials passed a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Heartbeat Act refuses to take into account the victims in these scenarios who have been forced into pregnancy. Not only must they deal with the copious amounts of emotional and mental stress, but they are forced to confront the overwhelming reality that they might be pregnant because of the offender’s actions. Furthermore, the new Texas Heartbeat Act prevents those who are pregnant from getting an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. However, Texas Governor Greg Abbott justifies the law since it “doesn't force victims of rape and incest to carry their pregnancy to term because it ‘provides at least 6 weeks for a person to be able to get an abortion” (Cohen). Unfortunately, due to the variance of pregnancy symptoms, some “people don’t notice symptoms until a few months into their pregnancy,” according to Planned Parenthood (Attia). This means that victims themselves may not know that they are pregnant until well past the cutoff period for termination in Texas. Being unable to terminate a pregnancy or deal with the outcome for at least another nine months causes substantial anxiety. As such, when forced to carry out a physically straining pregnancy as a result of sexual assault, victims can face a whole other host of complications such as postpartum depression, trauma, and possibly even suicide. The prevalent neglect in the Texas Heartbeat Act in regards to cases of sexual assault vividly highlights the extremely damaging repercussions brought on by the enforcement of the law. By disregarding the physical and mental health of women in Texas, the Texas legislation is rapidly stripping away the rights of the women in regards to their own bodies, forcing them to endure long-term physical and mental stress. With the enactment of the Texas abortion law, women are manipulated into believing that PAGE 4 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST fetal viability is more valuable than their own lives, safety, and well-being. Pro-lifers, especially those in Texas, argue that a fetus becomes life at conception. They believe that it is living and deserves the same rights as any other human being. According to a reading titled “An Argument That Abortion Is Wrong,” “[f]etuses are both human and alive,” and because “[h]umans have the right to life ... fetuses have the right to life” (Marquis). Although some may consider a fetus as “living”, it does not endure all of the physical stressors that a mother to be has to experience during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, infections, and in serious cases, death. Even so, many pro-lifers in Texas claim that since the fetus can experience “unreflective pain … mediated by the developing function of the nervous system as early as 12 weeks,” the process of termination will actually do more harm than good (Sobolik). However, Kate Connors, a spokesperson for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, contests this claim, stating that “based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester” (Miller). The third trimester does not begin until around 27 weeks of pregnancy. Before then, the fetus’s nervous system has not developed enough for its brain to send pain signals to the rest of its body. The majority of abortions occur within the first two trimesters, before the fetus can feel anything. Therefore, it is safe to say that when aborted, a majority of the fetuses do not feel pain. Those that do are most likely terminated to prevent harmful implications for the mother. To reiterate, the Texas Heartbeat Act prevents women from getting an abortion six weeks into their pregnancy. By this time period, although the fetus
cannot feel pain, pro-lifers in Texas still incriminate women for being irresponsible or financially incapable of raising a child. By putting this immense pressure and manipulating the women of Texas to avoid abortions, pro-lifers are creating a stigma around abortion that shames women into neglecting their wellbeing by not getting an abortion when necessary. The societal pressures that women in Texas face has proven to put them further in danger because it prompts them to undergo unsafe procedures for fear of backlash from the Texan pro-life community. Some abortion care providers even emphasize that “they no longer feel as if they are able to continue safely providing this care in Texas” (Gerson). This could put women in need of an abortion in serious danger because the route of pursing an unsafe abortion may not be successful or there could be unforeseen side effects that wouldn’t have occurred had a safe abortion been performed. Another alternative that women may turn to is traveling out of state to get an abortion in a state where it is legal. In this case, there are also drawbacks since not everyone has the financial means to travel across state lines. Disproportionately affected women, such as those with financial struggles, therefore, will be forced to carry the pregnancy to term or perform the procedure unsafely. Both equally dangerous options will have damaging effects on women which could have been otherwise avoided by not enacting the Texas Heartbeat Act. Women in Texas also fear the enforcement of the new legislation because it gives people more of a reason to antagonize women while lauding those who emphasize the antagonism. A new policy in the Texas Heartbeat Act allows citizens of Texas to report and sue anyone who aids a women in getting an abortion for up to 10,000 dollars plus legal fees. PAGE 5 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST This policy not only, as some news outlets put it, “turns citizens into bounty hunters” (Picchi), but also empowers and encourages those who have violated women to do more harm to them. For instance, if a woman seeks help to get an abortion as a victim of rape or incest, her offender is legally allowed to report her and recieve a payout for sexual assault. While Texas Governor Greg Abbott claims that Texas will nonetheless strive to “eliminate all rapists from the streets” by “aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them,” Amy Jones, the CEO of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, argues that “if it were that easy, rape would no longer exist” (McCammon). Instead of eradicating rape, this law incentivizes perpetrators to further harm the women of Texas. Texas government officials will more likely smudge the boundaries of what is or is not considered rape in order to validate the policies of the Texas Heartbeat Act. The law then becomes a way for offenders to once again target victims for their own benefit, further abusing the women of Texas. Since the enactment of the Texas Heartbeat Act on September 1st, 2021, there has been an outstanding uproar from individuals and communities with varied viewpoints. While the law may seem like a tremendous victory for the pro-life Texan community, it is vitally important to recognize that the manipulative and harmful nature of the law can and will serve to hurt and antagonize the women of Texas in the future. Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signs the Heartbeat Bill Into state law.
PAGE 6 THE WORLD IS GRIEVING Sadness reaps its belongings as my clouds– a cloak covers everything in darkness forcing my inhibitors' eyes to shut and lulling them to sleep while the others who walk my land stay far from here not caring to oppose it I tell my own story with each blown-away piece of rock, each shard of glass deposited in what will be just another layer of my sediment. My people are helpless to the doom and destruction “here in Mariupol, this is the third failed assassination attempt of their president” their country, their world, you betray them leave them in my streets, watch as their bodies blend with the ashes from my crust the smell of decay cakes on the walls of their empty living rooms, “How are the rich content while we are dying, do they feel no shame, no guilt? little miss news reporter has no idea of what is happening yet she will write of my misery. she doesn't smell my trees burning. She doesn't hear the bombs going off at night in my valleys. She doesn't taste the tears of my mourning. she doesn't touch the rocks of me that spell out ‘children are here’ so that officials know exactly who they are harming.
PAGE 7 “When do you think the war will end?” their eyes glaze over, with shots of hallucinogens going straight to their dome. isn’t this enough? use my belongings as ammunition for manslaughter, allow war to happen on my grounds but use my wheat to make potions that wash away the pain. you strip away every nutrient frommy land but douse the soil in your chemicals If I could lead my horse to water, I could make it drink, yet the unspoken noise of glorified racism and misogyny litter my sea. you refuse to listen. “How does pollution impact minority communities?” scientists are shot down for determining the antidote to the chaos As I wither away, ashes to ashes and dust to dust each continent grieves me, each plastic bottle a symbol of their love, every person pronounced dead after using opioids, the flowers of my land, a show of their gratitude, each soul that slips away as they are killed in my hills and valleys at war with no end in sight a sign of their respect, the dust particles, ashes and other soot that strip the air frommy lungs, forcing tears frommy eyes, a cure for my date of expiration.
CONFLICTING VISIONS OF SOCIALISM THE TITO- STALIN SPLIT
BY FRANK L I N RANGE L As the first and most dominant socialist force in the world, the USSR cast all other leftist movements under its shadow, especially during the Cold War. One of these client states was Yugoslavia, located in a premium strategic point and led by a popular socialist veteran, Josip Broz Tito. Stalin and Tito’s ideological differences and Yugoslavia’s unique position in terms of foreign policy led to a public split between the two countries. Tito’s critique of classical liberalism, and the disagreements that he had with Stalinism, led the USSR and Yugoslavia down different paths both ideologically and internationally. At the time that these two leaders were forming their political identities, the US was the main power that exemplified neoliberalism, a modern defense of classical liberalism. During and after the Second World War, the US and its government prided itself on its capitalist, free-market ways. They portrayed itas the main difference between them and the Stalinist USSR. Their capitalist policies reflect the values of John Locke and property, one being “only by putting a value on gold and silver, and tacitly agreeing in the use of money; for, in governments, the laws regulate the right of property”(2). The US, both back then and now, organized its economy in a capitalist, mostly free-market system. The government did step in at times to keep things relatively fair by regulating the practices of private companies, very similar to how Locke described how the capitalist system would function in a state that practices classical liberal ideals. The aspects of classical liberalism that Stalin and PAGE 9 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST Tito criticize differed little in nature. After the first world war, these two men began to form the identities they would carry with them as leaders. As both Tito and Stalin derived their ideologies from Marx’s critique of classical liberalism, they had similar problems with the belief system that it holds. Locke, one of the most influential in creating classical liberalism, critiques the previous system, feudalism, by saying that people should own their own property. “Through the earth and all inferior creatures be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person; this nobody has any right to but himself”(2). The Marxian critique vehemently opposes this value. In the eyes of socialists and Marxists, private property inevitably leads to the creation of the bourgeoisie, whose only function in society is to exploit the working class. If people are allowed to employ others on their land, it will lead to wage slavery, where people depend on their employers to survive (1). Today, this is known as living paycheck to paycheck. Both Tito and Stalin took these critiques and applied them in different ways for their respective countries. Stalin had another major influence that fought alongside him in the Russian Revolution as well, Vladimir Lenin. Although they agreed on most things, one important difference manifested itself in the Yugoslavian case. When it came to foreign policy, Stalin and Lenin differentiated in a key way. Lenin was instrumental in creating the Communist International, or Comintern, as a way to ensure an alliance between communist revolutions. During the Russian Civil War, he helped to establish communist-led states in Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Mongolia. Lenin very much believed in the spread of world communism, but Stalin opposed his perspective. Instead, he supported the idea of
PAGE 10 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST "Communism in one country” (5). This idea is based on the fact that every other major power at the time was opposed to the USSR, which was true when Stalin came into power. Through this belief, Stalin wanted to set up satellite states that would serve as buffers against the capitalist world, rather than grow organic communist movements. Tito, like many other leading socialist figures at the time, had many core criticisms of Stalin and his regime. One of these main criticisms was directed at “communism in one country.” Tito believed in growing organic communist revolutions like Lenin, so this policy brought him to such lengths as to call the Stalinist USSR imperialistic, claiming, “the trade of the Soviet Union With the socialist countries is carried on a purely capitalist basis. They sell as high as possible and buy as cheaply as they can, trying to get as much as possible from socialist countries under the pretext of strengthening the international working class movement by helping the first country of socialism”(7). The USSR, in Tito’s eyes, had essentially set up colonies across Eastern Europe, demanding complete control and using them only for ulterior motives. In the Marxian sense, Stalin’s policies would be very capitalist. The Yugoslavian leader despised the massive bureaucracy in Stalin’s government and believed that it betrayed the most basic socialist principles. Stalin had set up an enormous network of insiders and bureaucrats to serve his every need. Every decision came from the top down and was centralized, directly going against the concept of the disintegration of the state. Tito writes, “What about the withering away of the state in the Soviet Union? Are there any tendencies in that country to turn over the state functions, either economic or political, to the lower organs? Are there any signs of decentralization? So far there have been none”(6). In Marx’s theory, this kind of extremely centralized state will inevitably become a tool of the bourgeoisie, and in Tito’s eyes, and in the eyes of many socialists today, the Stalinist USSR was a bourgeois state. Tito brought his own alternative forward instead. The brand of socialism that Yugoslavia enacted honed in on a specific aspect of Marxism and broadened it widely. Tito’s vision for socialism centered around the idea of a worker-controlled economy. This form of organizing socialism is today known as market socialism. In essence, the workers are given full control of their workplaces, most commonly factories, rather than the state owning all property. Tito claims, “Our state also has a general fund for capital accumulation, and each factory is obligated to give a part of its accumulation fund to the state accumulation fund in relation to its productivity. This is about all that the factories are to contribute to the general industrial development. After all these deductions are made, the rest goes to the workers”(7). Tito had it all planned out, even down to how taxes would work in this system. His main goals were to give all profits to the workers that produce the products, and go down a path that would lead to the disintegration of the state. He Josip Tito, Yugoslovian leader
communist status in the Greek Civil War the Balkans to clamp down even more on Eastern Europe. So, to keep both continuity and control over the Eastern Bloc, anything and everything that Stalin said about the split was ideologically based. Tito was not originally set on distancing Yugoslavia from the USSR as much as he did. In response to the resolutions and overall policy of the USSR of differentiating Yugoslavian and Soviet ideals, “the Yugoslavs insisted that they were not in any way deviating from the Marxist-Leninist line. Not until later, when Tito sought to bolster domestic support for his leadership and to give the Yugoslav model a new ideological justification, did he embrace the argument that the split occurred because of Yugoslavia’s own path toward socialism”(4). While this was going on, Stalin sent multiple threatening letters to Tito and the Yugoslav government about PAGE 11 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST believed that this is the most Marxian way to go, stating, “Such decentralization is simply applied Marxism. We are giving factories to the workers, and this strengthens our state and makes the workers feel, more than ever, that they are the owners of the mean of production”(7). Tito was also different frommany different socialist thinkers at the time in that he did not think that his application of socialism was the way for every country. As has been expanded upon, Tito believed that each socialist movement should be allowed to determine their own interpretation of Marx. To Tito, Yugoslavia exemplified this attitude: he claims, “We have only applied the science of Marx and Lenin to our specific conditions. There is no new tendency that could be called Titoism. This must be explained to the masses. Otherwise, it would be harmful to the international working class movement, if it were thought that this is some new tendency”(7). He recognizes that each revolution is different, and so the organization of each socialist system will be different. Obviously, there are limits to this, as he has been shown to be a harsh critic of the vast bureaucratic systems of Stalin’s USSR. When Tito broke Yugoslavia off from the Eastern Bloc, Stalin took as many avenues possible to control the narrative surrounding it. The main reason that Stalin put forward into the public was that their conflict was a purely ideological one: “The Cominform resolution of 28 June 1948 accused the Yugoslavs of deviating from the Marxist-Leninist line. The published letters exchanged by Soviet and Yugoslav leaders from March through May 1948— letters that were merely a prelude to the Cominform resolution in June—were entirely ideological in tone”(4). Stalin did not want it to be known, especially to the other members of the Cominform, that he was essentially using the dispute over the Joseph Stalin, photographed 1920 its international policy and attitude towards the Balkans and the Greek Civil War (4). In response to Stalin’s aggression, Tito took Yugoslavia down a path that trapped the Eastern European country between the two superpowers of the time, the US and the
specify his critique of classical liberalism even more. After Stalin’s death, Tito and the new Congress of the Communist Party in the USSR began to make amends. The two countries opened up trade between one another, and the aggressive rhetoric from both sides died down. In 1956, Tito made a speech to the twentieth Congress, saying, “The visit of your leaders, Comrades Khrushchev, Bulganin, and Mikoyan, to our country last year, in 1955, and the announcement of the so-called Belgrade Declaration, not only ushered in a new period in the development of relations between our two countries and our relations with the other countries of people's democracy, but it also had a powerful, positive influence on the development of international relations”(8). In the end, what was true at the beginning of this process is true at the conclusion of it. The fact that the USSR was the most powerful socialist state influenced Tito’s own ideological path in one way or another, leading to Yugoslavia’s ultimately tumultuous existence. PAGE 12 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST USSR. In the few years following the split, Tito made it clear that Yugoslavia was not in favor of either the capitalist US or the Stalinist USSR, saying in an interview, “Yugoslavia does not belong to any bloc. If not attacked, she will not participate in any war. She will only go to war if attacked ... Aggression is not our method of spreading the revolutionary movement in the world”(7). Tito went to great lengths to express Yugoslavia’s neutrality, especially as it seemed more and more inevitable that the two superpowers would soon be mired in conflict. However, this position of neutrality was much more US-friendly than Yugoslavia’s position was when it was a part of the Eastern Bloc. this newfound friendliness between the two nations - for Yugoslavia the promise of trade, and for the US lowering Stalin’s power - had consequences on Tito’s ideology. As his relationship with the US lessened in negativity, Tito’s words began to resemble some main tenets of classical liberalism. During the process of the split, Tito was challenged many different times by both western media and other socialists on his methods. In response to questioning if the Yugoslav system could survive external pressure, he declared, “It can hold out. Why not? The best methods by which we can help the international working class consists of this: that we struggle to construct socialism in Yugoslavia with the fastest possible tempo and for the raising of the living standards, in one word, for the creation of socialism. This would be the best example for other countries”(7). The idea of never-ending progress is core to the idea of classical liberalism. Especially in the Industrial Revolution, standard of living was one of the main ways that scholars measured human “progress.” To see Tito exemplify this same ideal is to observe the ways in which his country has affected his own ideology. Continued contact and military assistance with the West allowed Tito to change and
PAGE 13 BY L I AM I ND I GO TITANS' FALL Panic Lights blare and whistles blow The keys turn, buttons glow With that final word, that final press All are thrown in a deep distress For that great death bell has been rung And this final fate can't be unsung Upon vast lands and towers fall Those grim titans now quickly fall As a mother strokes her son's thin hair And tells the tale of past lands so fair Where drills had no need to be taught And war was not for childs' thought Dust and ash form dunes so grand And trees of dark char cover the land Tales of old invoked anew The darkest peace we ever grew
SOCIAL DEMOCRACY ALL DOWN WAY THE How the Swedish model of government pushes back against the argument that any socialization will lead to full socialism
The welfare state in Sweden was established more than a century ago by the Social Democratic Party of Sweden, which held power for close to eight decades. The welfare state can loosely be defined through strong social programs meant to uplift the livelihoods of the Swedish people funded through a heavy tax burden. The early democratic socialists established the welfare state with the goal of creating a “folkhem”, or people’s home, in Sweden, where all people could be supported throughout their lives by government welfare programs (1). Who the “people” of Sweden are has changed over the last century, but the goal of creating a place for all to be supported has remained. Sweden was one of the earliest established countries to turn against classical liberalism and create a government system partially based in socialism (2). Classical liberalism can be defined by limited government acting in the best interests of the people. Democratic Socialists in Sweden critique this being the best model of government by insisting that the role of the government is to support the people, which can only be attained through larger involvement. This Nordic Model of government began in Sweden in the 1920s and has continued to develop today as the Social Democratic Workers Party has shaped the Swedish government. The basic tenet of classical liberalism is the government should act in the best interest of the people in order to facilitate the progress of society. Classical liberal theory defined the role of the state to be as limited as possible. According to John Locke, government must be “... prescribed no further BY SHANAN R I L EY than is for the general good of those under the law ”(3). Liberals believe that any government intervention beyond that which is absolutely necessary to maintain order in a society is overreach. The people in turn have a right to overthrow the government when they believe that it is no longer acting for the greater good. Locke writes in the same document, “The liberty of a man in society is to be under no other legislative power but that established by consent in the commonwealth” (4). Locke goes on to say, “... everyone who enjoys his share of the protection should pay out of his estate his proportion for the maintenance of it. But still it must be given by his own consent” (5). The consent of the people is essential to the function of a liberal government. All the power within a society is derived from the people, and the people have the right to take that power away at any time. The question of who the “people” are has impacted the classical liberal view of equality. Early classical liberals like Locke argued that the “people” consisted of everyone in the society who was contributing to it. “ Any man that hath any possessions or enjoyment of any part of the dominions of any government doth thereby give his tacit consent” (6). However, he did not believe that all people were equal in society, only that laws should be applied equally to everyone. He expressed permissibility towards social distinctions in society, saying, “Age or virtue may give men a just precedence… ” (7). Essentially, all people are equal in the eyes of the law, but social distinctions can be formed. It is not the place of the government to intervene to promote equality. In the early twentieth century, Swedish democratic socialists began critiquing classically liberal government by instituting welfare systems with the ultimate goal of creating a "folkhem". The Swedish PAGE 15 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST
Democratic Socialists Workers Party (SAP) came to power as a part of the majority coalition government under Per Albin Hansson. He did not become Prime Minister until 1932, succeeding Hjalmar Branting, the first SAP Prime Minister, but in 1928 he delivered a speech to the Riksdag which laid the foundations for the future agenda of the party (8). In the speech he expressed the need for Sweden to create a system of government that supported the people from cradle to grave (9). He spoke about the importance of creating a big tent of support in Sweden and the idea that the "people’s home" belonged to everyone. Mary Hilson, a scholar on Swedish socialism, writes that the speech expressed the vision for Sweden to be a place “where individuals could expect to be treated equally regardless of social status, and kindly without the stigma that had been attached to earlier recipients of welfare benefits” (10). In order to achieve this Hansson says, “workers must be accorded a share on economic administration, democracy must be introduced and applied to social and economic life” (11). During his four terms as Prime Minister, Hansson was able to institute many of the reforms that he described in this speech, including the expansion of the pension system and large scale public works efforts to fight unemployment (12). Hansson’s speech aligns with the party program from the 1920s, but political realities pushed Sweden in a much more liberal direction. The SAP party program in 1920 says, “All natural resources, industrial undertakings, institutes for banking and credits, means of transportation and communications are to be transferred to the ownership of the State with expert management and proper guarantees against bureaucratic methods. Workers and consumers should participate in the administration of state undertakings. State control should be applied to undertakings remaining in private hands” (13). This programme painted a picture of a socialized country, which for many members of the party was the goal (14). The SAP oriented their agenda around a cooperative transition to government led socialization. However, the political reality of the time did not allow for this programme to come to fruition. In order for the SAP to accomplish the welfare reforms that were the central to their goals, they were forced to compromise with the Farmers and other more conservative groups, ultimately leading to the party moving away from socialism in favor of a slightly more liberal approach (15). The compromises that were made under the Red-Green alliance gave more power to both business and the government. Government instituted regulations combined with heavy tax burden on businesses that operated in a free market system are hallmarks of the welfare state and came as a result of this period of political compromise (16). Within Hansson's government, Ernst Wigforss, one the most prominent Swedish Model theorists, served as the minister of finance and helped create an economic system that both supported free enterprise and made room for broad welfare systems. His work remains largely untranslated into English, but secondary accounts describe how his theories focused on, “social policy, full employment, and the possibilities of cooperation with private capital… and sufficient equality of property to prevent classes based on inherited wealth” (17). As a member of the Riksdag and the Minister of Finance he shaped many of the policies that aided in the transition to a fully functional welfare state. He argued against Marxists ideologies and instead advocated for socialization within a capitalist PAGE 16 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST
A prominent proponent of the Swedish Model, Ernest Wigforss served as the SAP's Minister of Finance from 1936 to 1949.
economic system (18). The compromise between socialism and capitalism to form a welfare state was pushed forward by Wigforss and other members of the SAP. In a more modern Sweden, the issue of who the "people", as outlined under classical liberalism, are has begun to redefine the political landscape. Throughout the twenty first century cultural and linguistic diversity in Sweden grew as a result of increasing immigration. This influx led to the rise of conservative and nationalist identity groups like the Swedish Democrats. The SD is a far right nationalist group that received more than 5% of the vote in the 2010 elections, granting them representation in the Riksdag (19). This is an escalation of the trend towards conservatism that had been growing in Sweden since the center right coalition took control of the government in 2006, ending almost eighty years of Social Democratic leadership. A study published by Oxford university finds that, “Both recent immigration and proportion foreign- born reduce support for the Swedish welfare state… immigration is the only county-level variable that negatively affects Swedes' attitudes, and it is the only regional variable that is significant across all models” (20). The basis for the welfare state is redistribution, which lost support as the country became more diverse. In an increasingly heterogeneous society the effectiveness of collectivism has been called into question, in turn calling the entire welfare state into question as well. To catch up with the changing political situation, the Social Democrats adapted their positions to welcome a broader group into the party. Magdalena Anderson, the current Prime Minister of Sweden, spoke about the issues around immigration in her address to the government in 2021. She states, “Everyone who can work should work. Having a job and your own income gives you the freedom to decide for yourself how you want to live and with whom. This applies equally to all, regardless of your gender or where you come from” (21). The SAP attempted to increase support for the welcoming of immigrants but assuring the native Swedish public that everyone benefiting from the welfare state would also be contributing to it, which is a distinctly Lockean idea. All those that want to participate in the society must contribute to its growth and development. The Social Democrats believe that anyone who wishes to contribute should be given the opportunity to do so. The Social Democrats are also working to expand the welfare system to better support the changing needs of the public. In the same speech, Aderseron says, “The welfare system as a whole will be strengthened. It is the greatest redistributive power that exists” (22). Wealth distribution was one of the founding principles of the Swedish welfare system and has remained one of the most important elements of the government system. PAGE 18 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST Magdalena Andersson served as Sweden’s Minister of Finance since 2014 and was elected as Social Democrat leader in 2021.
an unemployed person for the first two hundred days of their unemployment and 70% for one hundred days following that term. The government also works with individuals to help them find employment while maintaining monetary support after that period has ended (27). All of these benefits are funded through heavy tax burdens. Sweden has the highest individual tax rate in the world at 47% (28). However, the corporate tax rate is much lower, at only 22% (29). The lower tax burden on corporations is meant to stimulate the economy and attract business to Sweden, another compromise made by the SAP. The welfare system is wide reaching and actively impacts the daily lives of all Swedish people. It is through large involvement and high tax rates that the Swedish government is able to best support and serve the people. Classical liberalism directly opposes the implementation of welfare reforms, but social democrats in Sweden have successfully implemented a government system based on welfare that is widely supported by the people. By working within a capitalist classically liberal system and compromising with moderates, the Social Democratic Workers Part of Sweden, has successfully executed its vision of creating a folkhem. In an increasingly modern world, the ways that the wealth is distributed have changed to fit with the current needs of the Swedish people. Anderson says, “The many people born in the 1940s are entering their eighties and should receive the secure care they deserve. For this reason, the general central government funding will be increased further” (23). Universal pensions were among the first social reforms adopted in Sweden under the leadership of the early Social Democrats, and their importance in the lives of the people and politics has remained. Even in an increasingly conservative Sweden, the Social Democrats are still able to enact reforms and grow the welfare system. In practice, all of the theories and policies come together to form the modern Swedish welfare state. The government provides a multitude of services for Swedish citizens, including healthcare, pensions, housing in certain circumstances, and generous unemployment benefits. Healthcare is provided through privately and publicly operated care centers that are financed almost entirely by municipalities rather than the central government (24). Nearly all of the hospitals in Sweden and a majority of the primary care clinics are owned by the government, making it one of the largest publicly owned industries (25). The pension system and the housing benefit are both a part of Swedish policy initiatives to guarantee a standard of living to all citizens. The ODEC assesses, “For a single person, the full guaranteed benefit in 2018 was SEK 96,912 for a single pensioner born after 1938 or 21% of gross average earnings … [and a] housing benefit that covers housing costs up to a maximum of SEK 5,560 per month for a single pensioner” (26). The minimum standard of living is also supported by unemployment benefits. The government provides 80% of the previous salary of PAGE 19 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST
IMSA TEACHERS’ THOUGHTS ON THE STATE OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES Is the study of our culture and society, then, doomed to obsolescence? No. It goes without saying that art, literature, history, and social interaction lay at the very heart of what makes us human. They do what no mechanistic science can: they express how it is to exist, and they guide us towards a vision of a happier, more just world. To wield science without humanism is to disregard the end of science itself: uplifting humanity. In this article, we showcase Mr. Kearney, Dr. Cross, and Dr. Kotlarczyk’s perspectives on the humanities and social sciences at IMSA and in the world at large. They argue for the importance of their fields, offer suggestions for education, extracurriculars, and employment, and provide advice for prospective students. Though we attend a math and science academy, their words are a reminder that our future educations and careers need not, and should not, be consigned solely to Feynmann diagrams and indefinite integrals. Our world is far too complex and beautiful to qualify through cold equations alone. BY Y I HAN DENG If the warnings of educators, researchers, and disgruntled postgrad students across the country are to be believed, the humanities and related social sciences are in crisis. Look up “humanities in decline” and you’ll find editorial after editorial lamenting the downfall of such-and-such university’s English department or the dismantling so-and-so program’s anthropology concentration. Worryingly, the statistics seem to corroborate these anxieties. Though the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in fields such as ancient history, philosophy, theology, and more have fluctuated drastically in the past seventy years, undergraduate enrollment in the humanities has declined by over one-third since the Great Recession, even as the rate of college matriculation continues to climb. Obtaining a degree in the humanities or the social sciences is increasingly seen as conventionally unemployable - even meaningless - and even those with advanced degrees tend to earn less than graduates in other fields. PAGE 20 VOL. 1, NO. 1 ZEITGEIST
Why do you think the humanities and social sciences are valuable in general and at IMSA? Dr. Cross History, which is what I know most in the humanities, is valuable because it is transformative. It increases cultural literacy and helps us to recognize that the human experience is expansive. It not only helps us to understand others, it also helps us to understand ourselves. History shows how we came to be who we are and why we live the way we do. It shapes us and defines our identities. History, therefore, has the potential to help you become a person of character and an engaged citizen. History is also useful. As I suggested earlier, it teaches critical thinking skills. But also, because it touches upon all forms of human endeavor from arts and languages to science and economics, history is one of the most versatile undergraduate majors, preparing students for work in education, law, business, media, publishing, and many other fields. Companies often value those with educational backgrounds that set them apart from the crowd. I keep in mind what MSNBC host Rachel Maddow once said: “We need people who are good at explaining facts, who are good at editing, and who can visualize things in creative ways. We need good artists and we need good writers – and history is king of that.” Dr. Kotlarczyk Without the humanities, what do you have? Without literature and history and culture, what holds us, as people, together? American schools have been cutting and minimizing art and music programs for decades, and look where we are. Don't get me wrong, I love and value STEM. Without the humanities, though, we become a soulless technocapitalist culture of Elon Musks and Jeff Bezoss whose only interest in or understanding of humans is discovering the fastest way to take their money. The humanities have the potential to make us better citizens and people. With the rise of fascism and authoritarianism both here and abroad, it's more important than ever to have a citizenry that understands its past and can think critically about it. The fascist and authoritarian movements know this, which is why they're trying so desperately to censor topics like discussions on race and gender, and why they're passing laws to try to control what is and is not taught in schools. Ideas have power. The humanities teach us how to engage with and handle that power, instead of being afraid of it. Mr. Kearney I always tell my students that I never expect them to go into academic social science. Rather, I know that they will be successful doctors, engineers, scientists or entrepreneurs. With that in mind, however, they cannot escape the fact that they will always be plugged into the world of politics and economics. They need to vote, they need to pay taxes, and the social world will continue to go on around them. As such, I find it incredibly important to expose students to the concepts that political science and economics have to offer. Moreover, I believe that taking courses in game theory or research design affords students the opportunity to think more critically and deliberately about the world. This allows them, I hope, to become more discerning consumers of media and information in a world that is increasingly overwhelming in that regard. Our students at IMSA and their generation more broadly have the ability to enact great change in the world, but it is critically important that they understand how that work works if they wish to do so. PAGE 21
Why did you choose to study your field of scholarship? Dr. Kotlarczyk Since I was a little boy, fiction and literature have spoken to me and helped me understand our world in a way that nothing else does. Making a job out of it was a big risk, and one I resisted for a long time (I did not, initially out of college, think I would ever become a teacher or scholar). But for me, sharing my passion for reading and writing has been rewarding, at least so far. Dr. Cross From childhood I have had a curiosity about ancient civilizations. I was fortunate to have a family that encouraged this. Because of my father’s work we traveled often, and wherever we happened to live we always sought out historical landmarks. In this way I gained an education in historical narratives. But it was not until college that I recognized the cognitive value of history. It cultivates critical thinking skills. My freshman year I had a professor who showed me how to collect, evaluate, and arrange a variety of sources into persuasive arguments. I learned that history teaches not what to think but rather how to think. This was an important revelation and I determined to devote my career to it. Throughout my graduate experience, I earned high grades and plaudits from professors and colleagues, all of which reinforced history as the correct path for me. I was fortunate to land a full-time position as a Classicist straight out of graduate school, just as I was to come to IMSA as an Ancient World historian. Mr. Kearney My path to Social Science is an interesting one. I was a theater major in undergrad, but I simply was not a good enough actor to make it big. So I became a history teacher and was lucky enough to be offered a job at the high school that I attended. While there, I began to travel more and began to read a lot about international politics. I was blessed that I had some talent with regard to academics, so I decided to apply to graduate school. But I must admit that I had no idea what the academic field of political science actually looked like. I was accepted to a graduate program at Purdue based on my test scores alone. I had never taken a political science course in college nor any math courses since high school. I quickly found out that political science was indeed scientific and that a mere interest in global politics was not enough to be successful. I learned on the fly and realized that if I wanted to pursue the field, I would need to go to a school that focused even more strongly on the scientific and mathematic aspects of the field. I retook the GRE with a focus on my math scores and was accepted at the University of Wisconsin. There, I focused on those math and science aspects of political science; on research design, statistics, methodology and game theory. I never would have imagined that is where my career would have taken me 20 years ago, but I am happy that it has. PAGE 22
What does the current academic environment surrounding non-STEM fields look like, and why do you think that is? Mr. Kearney I think this is a question that assumes my field of study is non-STEM. I would contest that assumption. Quantitative political science, econometrics, game theory….these are all STEM related pursuits. I would love for more people to understand that. That being said, I also feel that the question must be answered in two different ways. Within my academic community, my field is highly regarded. Political scientists and economists continue to make contributions to the field and we know more now than ever before about human behavior as it relates to these aspects of civilization. Social scientists are key drivers of policies that affect us all on a daily basis. Broadly speaking, however, there continues to be a growing lack of respect for and trust in scientists across the board. We have seen this with people’s beliefs and reactions to the COVID epidemic, for example, or climate change. We are finding that people who are presented with results and findings with which they don’t like are simply willing to label them “fake news” and ignore them. This is particularly problematic in my fields of study since, by definition, our work is political in nature. It is my hope that we can turn the corner on this and return to a world in which we respect the authority of individuals who have dedicated their lives to becoming experts in their fields of study, whatever that field might be. I recognize that some fields, the arts or philosophy for example, are inherently open to interpretation and I do not have a problem with that. It is important that we have interesting conversations about all aspects of life. But I also believe that the more we understand that social scientists are not merely pontificating but rather helping to explain the world around us, the more we can engage in said world and work to make it a better place. Dr. Cross It is no secret that the humanities are best with difficulties. Even before the pandemic, schools were cutting budgets for the humanities, dismissing professors, and even terminating entire departments. My field, Ancient History, has been especially hard hit by low student enrollment and hiring freezes. The most obvious reason for this state of affairs is the relative lack of career opportunities. The most frequent question that I received when I was the Coordinator of Classics at Queens College, CUNY was, “What can I do with a Classics degree?” While it is true that the humanities are not the most lucrative field that one can enter, there are practical applications that one can gain from it that can enhance their professional skillset and give them a competitive edge. Humanities educators, unfortunately, have not always demonstrated this. Dr. Kotlarczyk There are a lot of robust communities of discourse in non-STEM fields.That said, there are at the moment some serious threats to non-STEM fields in America coming in the form of curriculum censorship. The anti-"Critical Race Theory '' and anti-LGBTQ laws passed recently in places like Texas and Florida are the canary in the coal mine for academic freedom in this country. PAGE 23