Social Media. Education. Reaction.

One of the things that creates huge tensions within British society, which observers have frequently noted, is the wide educational divides between the university educated and the poorly educated. This isn’t just a reflection on educational achievements either for it also bases itself in class too as those who are university educated are primarily middle class where as those who are poorly educated are primarily working class. It is something which has been particularly influential when it comes to peoples politics. Thanks to social media it has become easier to see the differences in their politics, their beliefs, thoughts and reactions to events, and its the reaction which is most interesting.

Upon reading Revolt on the Right (2013), which tries to explain the UKIP phenomenon, one of the things you learn about are the differences between the beliefs and values of the different levels of education. This is summed up most effectively by the terms civic nationalism and ethnic nationalism; the former being favoured by the university educated for its inclusive ideals, the latter being favoured by the poorly educated for at face value that is what determines whether you’re British or not. In civic nationalism being British is less determined by birth but by acceptance of law, British values and integrating into the community. Ethnic nationalism on the other hand says that whether you are British or not is determined by birth, focusing much more on ethnicity. Along with this view on how to define whether you are British or not, there are contrasts between the two when it comes to multiculturalism, diversity and immigration too. The university educated hold there beliefs firmly in their hearts, valuing them importantly. On the other hand the poorly educated tended to feel the opposite as some see it as a threat to British culture and a threat to social cohesion. They also care more about issues such as the jobs market, housing and welfare as these were immediate concerns rather than high minded ideals.

It comes as no surprise that there are differences between the poorly educated and the university educated on the ideas of diversity, multiculturalism and immigration. For it reflects the different lifestyle choices that were made and the influence they have. For in university its not just locals who are present, not just people from down south or up north, for it is somewhere the entire world attends. In university you are surrounded by all types of people from most walks of life originating from the vast planet we inhabit, which gives a unique insight into experiencing other cultures. Whereas for the most part the working classes exist in homogeneous estates and apartments, in pubs and at sporting venues. These differences help shape the views in which they hold.

Thanks to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter you can make this observation just by following your news/twitter feeds. Especially in the aftermath of a terrorist attack committed, specifically by Muslim extremists. While for me I don’t have many poorly educated people as most of the people I associate with or have associated with in the past went onto university, I do see their reactions to the reactions of the poorly educated. They are often scornful at the attempts to put blame on Muslims for the attacks, saying that an individual does not represent the whole community and that we should reject the hate, bigotry and xenophobia from people below them in such events. This is a reflection of the different levels of education for university broadens your knowledge, forces you to expand your thinking and intellect,  so they think deeper about the issues. To the contrary those who are poorly educated take things more at face value, resulting in the reasoning which brings them to see this as a problem with Muslims and their crass ideas on how to deal with it.

Whether they are correct or not, whenever you see this kind of reaction all it appears to be is a continued demonization of people whose opinions are no longer accepted. Those below are nothing more than a bunch of uneducated racist swine whose opinions mean nothing, that they should be ignored and their anger cast aside as their views are not within the bounds of political correctness.

Whatever comes about because of this, it is clear that there remains a stark education divide which helps to self segregate the different communities through political correctness. Anyone who conforms will be saved, those who don’t will be the lost and the damned, reviled and vilified, lost and forgotten. How to bridge the gap, how to fill the void, how to unify people despite their differences and satisfy each party will be a big question in the years to come.

The Unexpected bookworm

It’s may have been around 6 months since I made one of the first posts detaling my enjoyment of the film 1984. I’ve come a long way since then. Through the portfolio of pieces I’ve written, at the most 3 in one week, as if I was doing nothing but writing, to the slower and more gradual output of one a week, written more in the style of an essay in which I’d do a first draft to ensure its quality. Not only has my writing and content (hopefully)improved but also my ability to learn. I’ve taken to the hobby of reading.

Ever since I was required to read The Woman in Black as part of my English GCSE course last year it pushed me into the paper format for learning. It’s something I’ve never really done. I might own a good collection of history books but they’re mainly for show, when I bought them I had every intention of reading them but after the first few pages the interested petered out. In my comprehensive days I only read read pages of textbooks required for lesson without much interest. But now things seem to have changed, for the better. My desire to expand my knowledge combined with the forced reading of The Woman in Black has opened a new world.

Given the bus journeys which I take regularly to college, a good 40 minutes each way, I’ve got some ample time to expand my knowledge through the paper format. I mean I could read the Metro which is free on the bus I get but it doesn’t really interest me. For me published books are the way forward, after all getting a book published requires a lot more than some hatchet job or gossip stop in a paper. Not only that but unlike articles on the internet, which require a good thorougher search or ones from the paper, which if you miss an edition and no one you know has one then you’re basically goofed, books can be found congregating on the dusty shelves of stores such as Waterstones or one of the most important public services, the library. In the Library is a plethora of different novels, historical accounts and academic pieces which are displayed in their volumes, ready for those who seek to find that which is sought. One benefit is that unlike their media brothers books usually last for quite a good week or two, deeper in insight and depth of the detail.

The books I mainly read are political in nature, ranging from George Orwells infamous 1984, an introduction to ideologies and even books written by that notorious leftie Owen Jones. That last one may surprise a few people. It has given me an opportunity to read different points of view however. This is incredibly important as it allows me to release the shackles of conformation bias, helping me to see the larger picture and increase my knowledge, giving me a greater understanding of things. Bias is certainly one of the things which plagues online columns but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What is bad is sticking within your own conformation bias bubble which is a lot harder to break on the internet I find as you can always just close the tab and never look at it again, where as with books you feel encouraged to read through.

It has certainly not only changed the way I learn but also my tenacity to learn. Reading has thus become an important part of my self education and ultimately self enlightenment, its like my own rebellion against the unconscious ignorance which we all suffer. Quite a liberating experience if I must say so. Reading also allows me to maximize the use of spare time, making me as efficient as possible, an important step for self improvement.

While reading is not easy, its certainly worth it.