Day: August 21, 2017

Social Evil

Social Evil

A social evil is any action or consequence that is not in the public interest or which is anti-social and works against the development of society. Social evils cause damage to the society or its citizens in physical, emotional or cultural form. Terrorism would be an example of a social evil as would be prostitution , organized crime, alcoholism, pollution, dowry in any form or corruption. Following is a list of 10 social evils: 1. A decline of community A major theme that emerged from the consultation was a decline of community and weakened local neighbourhoods. Participants elt that neighbours no longer know or look out for one another, which left people feeling isolated, lonely and fearful – particularly the elderly and those who live alone. People also spoke of a decline of community in a more abstract sense, in terms of a lack of public spiritedness or social responsibility. Older people spoke about how different things used to be: While it was recognised that new kinds of communities were emerging (such as virtual or online communities) people felt these were an inadequate substitute for the face-to-face interactions of more traditional local communities. 2.

Individualism and selfishness There was a strong sense that this decline of community has corresponded to a rise in individualism. Participants suggested that people increasingly look after their own individual or family interests without considering the needs of society or the community. This individualism was seen to have damaging consequences, fuelling selfishness and greed and leading to isolation and fear as people struggle to cope and live fulfilling lives alone. 3. Consumerism and greed A common theme was that values and aspirations rooted in communities and relationships have been eclipsed by an xcessive desire for consumer goods. Greed emerged as a key issue, seemingly a symptom of society valuing things in terms of money or material worth. People argued that the concept of need or of having enough has been forgotten and that we are losing sight of the things that are really important in life – things that can’t be bought and sold, such as friendship and kindness. These issues of consumerism and greed did not emerge as strongly from the unheard voices, but there was a shared concern about the impact of celebrity culture on society and particularly on young people. 4. A decline of values

One website participant suggested: “in the world we’ve created, there’s no such thing as ‘right and wrong’ any more”. Participants felt that we lack a set of shared values which guide people’s behaviour and interactions. This was strongly associated with individualism, selfishness and consumerism: people were described as pursuing their own desires regardless of potential harm to others. The consultation also identified other virtues that participants believed informed people’s behaviour more in the past. A decline of honesty, tolerance, empathy and compassion, respect and reciprocity were seen to have amaging consequences for society. People felt that this decline of values has occurred not only at the individual level: the media, business institutions and the government were criticised for being dishonest and selfserving. Participants often associated this issue with a decline of religion and the loss of Christianity as a foundation for ethical behaviour in Britain, although other participants identified religion itself as a social evil, that causes confusion and conflict. The decline of the family Family breakdown and poor parenting were said to underlie many other social problems and to eave young people without sufficient guidance or support. While ‘bad parents’ were criticised, it was also argued that parents were often doing their best in difficult circumstances. People emphasised that parenting is a skill and that getting it right can require support. Young parents were highlighted as a group in particular need of guidance. Participants agreed that having a strong family was very important for children, but disagreed about the importance of a traditional family structure. Some felt that having a cohesive family of any form was enough, whereas others highlighted the importance of having a mother nd a father. Experience of family breakdown among the unheard voices was widespread. Many of the young people involved had grown up in care, something universally described as negative. They talked about periods of family disruption or violent family backgrounds acting as a catalyst for ‘going off the rails’. This was also suggested by web respondents, who saw family breakdown as a cause of anti-social behaviour among young people. Young people as victims or perpetrators There was disagreement about whether young people are the perpetrators or victims of social evil. Some participants criticised youth culture nd blamed young people for anti-social behaviour, binge drinking, violence, gun and knife crime and other problems. Others focused on how young people are failed by their families and the school system, and are misrepresented in the media. There was also concern about the perceived “growing gulf between the old and the young”, as one website participant put it, and the negative attitudes this can encourage between generations. Young people in the unheard groups talked about how their place in wider society felt uncomfortable. There were concerns that young people lack good role models and that some ace limited opportunities and job prospects. Negative stereotyping was a common concern, borne out by comments from older participants, who expressed their – at times unfounded – fear of young people: “Young people [have] no manners, no self-control, no respect for anything. ” (Website participant) “There is a wealth of potential in young people … they tend to be stigmatised rather than encouraged. ” (Website participant) “I noticed there was a bunch of youths standing around and my immediate reaction was to stop and think ‘Oh my goodness, shall I go the other way? ’ Until two seconds later I ealised it was my own son and his friends. But that reaction was in me already. ” (Older woman, carer, discussion group participant) Misuse of drugs and alcohol Participants saw the misuse of drugs and alcohol as very damaging to society, primarily because of the connections between substance misuse and violence, crime and anti-social behaviour. Drug and alcohol misuse was suggested as a cause of ill-health, poverty and family breakdown. Conversely, drug and alcohol misuse was also described as a consequence of family breakdown, weak communities, child abuse, domestic violence, poverty, stress, nemployment and lack of opportunities or education. Participants recognised that it could provide “a means of escape from social, economic, and other personal problems” (website participant). There was also concern that celebrities, films and television can sometimes glamorise drug and alcohol use, especially among young people. The misuse of drugs and alcohol stands out, then, as a social evil that is both the cause and consequence of many other social problems. Many of these concerns were echoed in the personal experiences of the unheard voices: some older participants highlighted the damaging nature of drug-taking and the evastating effects drugs could have. Ex-offenders who took part in the research spoke about the connections between drugs and crime in their lives. It is worth noting that participants in the unheard groups also recognised the role of personal choice, emphasising that sometimes they took drugs because they enjoyed it. Poverty and inequality Poverty was described as a social evil because of its debilitating effects on people’s lives. This was reflected in the testimonies of the unheard voices, where poverty was described as a trap – a constraining force that prevents people from achieving their aspirations.

Participants suggested that poverty was closely intertwined with other social evils. For example, they described how, in a deprived community, making money from drug dealing can seem an appealing option to young people, reflecting the notion that poverty is “the keystone to other social problems” (website participant). There was widespread concern about inequality – the polarisation of society into ‘haves’ and ‘havenots’. Web respondents felt that growing inequality in Britain is socially divisive and morally wrong, partly because income differences do not always reflect people’s efforts. Participants in the nheard groups added a different perspective. They recognised that people doing well would welcome growing affluence, but noted that there was a whole swathe of people not benefiting. While some participants expressed a sense of disillusionment and hopelessness, others talked about personal responsibility for getting ahead in life. Immigration and responses to immigration People had a variety of perspectives on immigration. Participants sometimes identified immigration itself as a social evil, but often focused more specifically on the competition for limited resources (such as jobs and housing) that t can create. Participants felt that local residents can lose out to immigrants for these things. In this way, the social evil was the systems in place for those in need, rather than immigrants themselves. Other people highlighted the economic and social advantages that immigration has brought “Why bring over more and more people when you can’t sort the problems you got? ” (Young person with experience of homelessness, discussion group participant) “ … if you’re poor, you’re struggling all the time – you have no choices in life. That’s what poverty does to you, it gives you no choice. ”