Third Party & Independents Archives

Why Socialism Fails

Socialism has been with us for some time and for many people who are convinced they speak for the best of all of us it has been touted as the only true humane form of government. Unfortunately, it only works when it can take the human part out of the equation. Diversity must be ignored and abandoned if we are to live in a truly socialist world, something that I believe most people are not willing to give up.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is the slogan used by Socialists, their description of how in a perfect world we would only take from society what we need and we would give to society all we could. Notice the phrased I used, ‘a perfect world’. A world that ignores the hopes, dreams and desires of the human beings that reside in it. Let’s be honest, if it were a perfect world, we wouldn’t really need government at all, would we?

By ignoring the reality that every human being has their own desires out of life, their own hope to live life in the way of their choosing and their own dreams of how they want their life to end up we effectively rip the soul out of us all. And with it goes our motivations for trying to do better for ourselves and our society. What incentive exists in a Socialist society that drives a human being to reach beyond themselves to create something new, to solve problems that no one believes can be solved. To reach for the stars or attempt heroic feats that the legends are full of?

But the real failure comes from enforcing this new society. Who decides what a person needs? Who decides what a person should be giving to the society? What happens when that one person decides that his needs aren’t being met and strikes out on his own, is he arrested and thrown in jail?

What results is a society where a group of people are put in charge of deciding these things. They evaluate what the ‘average’ person would need since there is no way that they could sit and analyze every citizen’s unique situations in order to make sure that every need is met. While the lower able or desirous among us are lifted up beyond their setting, the more desirous and capable are sucked down to the lowest common denominator. We limit the ability of our society to grow and ensure that we end up never meeting the needs of everyone equally.

What happens when someone chooses not to 'play by the rules' and tries to acquire more from life than they need, as dictated by those we put in charge to decide that. In a Socialist society they would either have to be 'cast out' or the force of the government would have to be used to make that person fall back into line. Bleak options and harsh punishments for someone who is simply realizing the nature of humanity.

The real lie is that we are all equal. We are not. Some people are smarter than others, some people have a stronger desire for self-improvement. It’s a reality of life that the Socialist can’t accept. They feel that everyone should be identical to each other, have the same needs and desires out of life as everyone else. And if someone does want more, they are looked at as ‘greedy’. When it is exactly that type of overreaching and self-motivation for more out of life that pushes society into larger and better ways of living while dragging those that are content with much less along with them.

Socialism only works in small groups of people. When everyone in the group agrees going in what the needs are and are all happy with those limits. This is how small tribes of American Indians were able to follow a basically socialist model. The limits were religious in nature, religion itself created as a means of ensuring people acted different than their nature, and the entire tribes freely agreed to live by those limits. Those that didn’t or couldn't accept the bargin left the society and struck it out on their own. But in a large country such as the old USSR or the USA there is little hope that this type of society could ever succeed. Not because it’s not a great idea ‘in a perfect world’ but because we don’t live in that world, we live in this one. And humans are not cookie-cutter copies of each other when it comes to what we want out of life.

Personally, I prefer making sure that everyone has the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. Being able to do what they want with their own lives, making their own decisions, as long as they do not encroach on the ability for others to do the same. Of course, that’s Libertarianism, the enemy to Socialism, because it accepts and embraces that we all have different desires out of life and those that want more than others are not villians or evil because of it. It's a struggle that has been going on for years and one that I don't expect to see end any time soon.

But we all must ask ourselves, is it really a bad thing that we might want more out of life than our neighbor? Or is it really a good thing for society that we push ourselves that much harder in order to provide a better life for us and our families? I believe that it is a good thing, something that we should embrace and make our own.

Where do you stand?

Posted by Rhinehold at April 13, 2006 3:21 AM
Comments
Comment #140373

I don’t understand Rhinehold why folks such as yourself, very intelligent, continue to be drawn to the either, or, black and white polarization of free capitalism and socialism.

China tried total socialism and it failed them, and so, they moved to a mix of socialism and capitalism, which is propelling their nation to the forefront as the economic giant of the future as America falters.

Russia tried it and it was a dismal economic failure. They have been trying to find the mix that will work for them and to overcome their paradigms of the past, but, they aren’t managing it very well.

Europe is rapidly unknotting its constrictions toward ever better balance of capitalism and socialism through the European Union and their own domestic economies.

The U.S.’s huge push away from the Elymosenary system toward a more socialist mix with its capitalist foundations propelled it toward achieving the greatest and most well off middle class any society has seen in modern times. Now that mix has become imbalanced along with many other systems previously checked and balanced by various mechanisms.

So, if modern history teaches us anything on this subject, it is that socialism like capitalism alone and without the other is doomed to fail. It is the mix of the two that succeeds to varying degrees depending on the mix and the circumstances. Socialist policies grow civil content and elevate a nations workers to a level of middle class mininum standards without regard to race, religion, or political bent. Capitalism fuels the economic growth and jobs that minimizes the need for too much socialist policy, which can drain the nation of its fiscal reserves and resources.

So, when I hear folks say capitalism is evil, or socialism is evil, without historical context or qualification, I just shake my head. Because socialism works in most nations in the world, right along side capitalism in those same nations.

One without the other begs either 1) revolution or civil war, or 2) such massive accumulation of wealth into so few hands as to strangle the nation’s economic free flow of resources, or 3) such a drain on fiscal resources as to bankrupt a nation.

Togehter, capitalism and socialism have the potential to moderate economic extremes, and complement each other, fueling each other’s success if the right mix is maintained and adjusted to changing circumstances.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2006 4:13 AM
Comment #140375

Rhinehold:

I was going to sleep when I heard you rattling cages.

I think it isn’t a big surprise that I agree with your premise that socialism inhibits excellence by not rewarding effort and punishing ambition. Socialist governments can only function well if the populace is culturally homogenous and shares a common view of the goals of society and the role of government. I don’t believe that true individualism is possible under a socialist system.

This will be a lively thread. Good job.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 13, 2006 4:23 AM
Comment #140379

Rhinehold,
Good post, but could it be that the “Learned of Society” did not grasp the idea of what was meant by “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”

While Society by Law is to provide their Citizens with their wants and needs, IMHO the Founding Fathers used the terms Self-Sufficent to mean that A Consumer would be able to afford to purchase what they consume. Given the modern day economy I would say that this would mean in todays terms being Economically Viable and Financially Independent. Therefore, IMHO the translation would go something like this; Government is to oversee a Society that can give every Citizen a job according to his/her ability so that the person my live a Simple Productive Life according to his needs and become Financially Independent by investing in his Own Inherent Best Interst.

Certainly, the Corporations have that ability do they not?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 13, 2006 5:03 AM
Comment #140380

goodkinged, we are a socialist nation in part. Of late we have gone overboard, but, please tell me which of these socialist programs you would cut:

The military
Public Schools
The Interstate HighWay System
Border surveillance and enforcement
The National Park system
Printing Money and anti-counterfeit efforts
The Congress
The White House
OMB
CBO
Wildlife Preserves
Dams
Bridges
State Parks
Road and Traffic Signs
National Safety Board
The entire Court system of the U.S.
Foreign Diplomatic Corps
State Dep’t.
Foreign Aid
The Iraq War effort
Indonesian Tsunami Aid
Rebuilding Katrina Devastation
Aiding Katrina victims

All these and a great, great deal more are socialistically supported by taking taxes from those who can afford and providing the benefits to all, or others.

If all this is socialism, and it is by defintion, and much of it has been with us for the last century, how do you explain the US’s rise to global prominence in the last century if socialist policies and programs are such killers of individualism in this the greatest individualist society on earth?


Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2006 5:08 AM
Comment #140382

David:

Please. You have dug a pit and covered it with a handful of sticks and leaves for the unwary to stumble into.

We both recognize that all forms of government have a responsibility to provide for the general welfare of the populace. Generally, these governmental obligations are composed of services and infrastructure that can’t be supplied without the resources of centralized government. Governmental obligations include items that are too expensive, cumbersome or logistically infeasible to be provided by the individual or local government. Considering the laudry list of societal infrastructure you listed above, you apparently believe that governmental infrastructure in nonsocialist countries consists of a lonely ballotbox set up at a crossroad.

Offer a serious list of services to be debated and I’ll bite. Until then, goodnight.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 13, 2006 5:31 AM
Comment #140384

goodkingned and Rhinehold,

I agree with David, your characterization of Socialism and Capitalism as diametric opposites is false. A true freemarket economy would be akin to the catastrophic business cycles of the late 1800’s and 1929 in the USA. Pure socialism or more precisely communism has never existed in the real world, to my knowledge. Painting socialism as an evil and capitalism as angelic is the bottomless pit of pits. We all know Russia failed. Tell us something new.

Posted by: gergle at April 13, 2006 6:58 AM
Comment #140391

Rhinehold adn goodkingned,

I can’t find any modern examples (or any examples, really) of pure Capitalism OR pure Socialism at work. Every historical example I can find, from the U.S. to the U.S.S.R. and everywhere in between, involves some manner of free enterprise on the part of the people, with some level of government services on top.

Socialism only works in small groups of people.

Not really, but you’re getting VERY close to the real issue here. Social programs, while by no means evil, work better on a local scale. At one time, we had a tiered government in this country, where the States had actual power. Today, most of that power has been surrendered to the Federal level, where social programs are mired in inefficiency.

I believe in what I call, “A Communist family; a Socialist community; a Capitalist nation.” In other words, the closer you live to someone, the more responsibility you have to help them.

David,

I guess I’ll be the first to bite at your list. I think the following items should be handled at a Federal level:
The military
The Interstate HighWay System
Border surveillance and enforcement
Printing Money and anti-counterfeit efforts
The Congress
The White House
OMB
CBO
Federal Courts
Foreign Diplomatic Corps
State Dep’t.
Foreign Aid
The Iraq War effort
Indonesian Tsunami Aid

The following should be handled at a State or Local level, with little-to-no involvement by the Federal government:

Public Schools
Dams
Bridges
State Parks
Road and Traffic Signs (except on U.S. highways)
National Safety Board
State Courts

And the following should be the primary responsibility of the States, but with Federal funding where appropriate:

The National Park system
Wildlife Preserves
Rebuilding Katrina Devastation
Aiding Katrina victims

Of course, we can bicker about individual items on the list, but the general point is that we should expect a different level on the Socialism-vs-Capitalism scale for our State governments than we do our Federal government.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at April 13, 2006 8:34 AM
Comment #140406

Rob,

I’m pretty much with you on that one. States each have extremely different cirumstances to deal with, and the federal government has no place making policies the way they do.

There is one problem, if everything was devolved to the states, the states who are extremely poor would have less ability to implement these policies. I actually think this is a good thing because the states will then compete in a free market model, meaning that the best off states would attract the most people, and the deep south would be depopulated, and eventually could be closed off.

whooops let my anti-redneck/anti-any-areay-that-is-that-goddamn-hot prejudice show on that one.

Posted by: iandanger at April 13, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #140412

Even if you can solve all the human/social problems, socialism fails for a simple technical reason: it doesn’t have an accurate price mechanism so nobody can tell the relative scarcity of goods and services. This leads to very inefficient and wasteful activities.

Government bureucrats step in to run the economy, and try to take the place of price, supply and demand, but they ALWAYS lack sufficient knowledge and expertise. Nobody, no planners, nobody can assemble all the data necessary to make such decisions that the market makes effortlessly.

So socialism can work in small, homogeneous societies that are not changing very much. That’s it.

When we talk about government ownership and management in a basically free market society, we are not talking socialism or even a “mixed” economy. The difference between socialism and market economies is reliance on market mechanisms. The key to the free market is choice and price set by market forces. To the extent you allow them, it is good and it works.

Posted by: Jack at April 13, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #140422

ian,

pollkatz has a great (if old)graphic comparing a states politics and their dependencies on the Federal dollar.

Jack,

You need to think beyond the “Free market is the answer to everything” mantra. It’s tiresome and fatally flawed. Among other things, socialism talks about ownership. Bush wants to be the owner along with a few of his buddies, socialism says the owners should be more equally distributed.
The problem as I see it is political corruption. Socialism fails because the government is too powerful and becomes unresponsive to individual needs, kind of like the GOPer rule we have now.

Posted by: Dave at April 13, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #140445

Jack said: “When we talk about government ownership and management in a basically free market society,…”

You are talking about socialism. There goes Jack redefining words to make his spaghetti stick to the wall.

Gov’t. ownership and management take from all and give to a few. Can anyone say Haliburton, Lockheed-Martin, or how about the Big Pharma industry or energy industry now being subsidized in ever larger amounts by the Bush Administration. And we can argue all day long which small groups of private persons and investors should benefit from governments taking money from everyone. But, it is still socialism. Now if government is going to do these socialistic things, why, many will argue, shouldn’t government aid those who can’t aid themselves like Katrina victims (the poor) or the afflicted (senior citizens)?

You see, there is no escaping the mixed economic concept of a large society as a blend of socialism and capitalism, we being the biggest example in all the world of that successful marriage, until recently.

Our mix is out of whack today because too much socialism is benefitting the very wealthy as well as too many poor without being paid for from collections revenues from all, creating debt that cannot be sustained and supported without horrendous opportunity costs.

But, Jack, it is intellectually dishonest to redefine definitions in order to support a 1960’s perverted view of ideology which was never valid, socialism bad, capitalism great! Even in those days our system chose to bail out the private corporation called Chrysler and subsidized giant corporation’s R&D like Dow Chemical. Things got so bad that now the government takes money to underwrite workers pension plans, banks, defunct savings and loans (which we are still paying for).

It is about the proper mix and the naive polarization arguments about one system being inherently better than the other no longer has a basis in reality. For in reality, ALL societies on the face of the earth are a mix of socialist and capitalist systems.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #140446

David, brilliant reply. I agree completely— a mix is key.
I also thought of a few other instances of socialism you left out: The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Child Labor Laws, The Smithsonian, The Library of Congress, and all Public Lending Libraries. There are probably many many more that others could think of.

Dave, I agree with you, too. You wrote:
“The problem as I see it is political corruption. Socialism fails because the government is too powerful and becomes unresponsive to individual needs, kind of like the GOPer rule we have now.”

Exactly. And let’s be clear here, when we say “GOP” these days what we’re truly saying is that Big Business has completely taken over our govt. Check this out: Want Proof of the Hostile Takeover? Read This.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 13, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #140449

Rob, I agree. I too would like states to compete for ideology and to divest the federal government of many of its involvements in the personal lives (Terry Schiavo), and local responsibilities of states and community.

On the other hand, we the people want our society as a whole to prosper, be secure, and protect our rights and freedoms, and so there is a role for national educational standards which directly impinge upon the nation’s future economic viability, and a role for the feds in protecting our rights and freedoms, and a role in insuring the highways and roads, bridges and dams that support commerce in America are not degraded by individual states inability to maintain them.

These and millions more are the problems that attend a society whose population grows beyond local villages and hamlets and agrarian based ecnomics. I have been railing against overpopulation in the U.S. for these very reasons since the mid 1960’s. The greater the population, the greater the geometric complexity of the people trying to maintain a common defense, rights and freedoms, and economic independence.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #140450

iandanger, would you like to see New Mexico fail border security while competing with Arizona which exceeds all expectations, if those coming through New Mexico reach Dallas, Denver or your hometown with a dirty bomb?

Is it OK for slavery to be reinstituted in S. California to make its agriculture the most profitable in the world while union workers in Michigan bankrupt the Big 3 automakers and the State of Michigan? Allowing states to be competitive can be a good thing in many areas, and in many others, the worst.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2006 2:29 PM
Comment #140451

David

We probably disagree little in practical method.

I rarely use the word capitalism because I don’t think it describes any system that has existed. I use free market, which includes market mechanisms, the rule of law and a reasonably democratic political system. That is why I don’t advocate capitalism because it is a non-functional idea. I don’t advocate socialism for the same reason. The difference is that nobody really advocates capitalism. In fact, the term capitalism tends to be much more used and defined by the detractors of the free market than by its proponents.

What I do advocate is the use of market mechanisms in the context of rule of law and democracy. Government can achieve many goals and some of them are legitimate. But it cannot repeal the law of supply and demand. So government should build infrastructure that everyone can use. It can support facilities for R&D that will benefit society. It can run parks and set up regulations to protect the environment. What it cannot do successfully is manage business or choose winners and losers among its people. That is a job for the people themselves, not their government.

Let’s take your Katrina example. Government can (and did) support the refugees in their initial needs. It can rebuild roads and infrastructure to help get the region back on its feet. It should not rebuild places that are unstable (very low lying places) and it should not continue to support individuals who by now are not getting on their feet.

It should also NOT go against the market mechanisms (and the environment for that matter) by trying to restore economic and social relationships that were severed by the storm and now make no sense. Let the market determine (within the rule of law) where and what will be rebuilt. I guarantee that without government mandates and money, the underwater parts of New Orleans will not be rebuilt. That would be good.

Posted by: Jack at April 13, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #140452

Thanks, Adrienne. I felt pretty good about that reply myself. And you are right, the number of programs which are socialized in part in this country reach from corporate board rooms to agricultural workers in farm fields. And would take a few books to list, define, and explore.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #140462

Given the fact that all systems of government for modern nations must provide numerous services in order to satisfy the needs of the populace, it is not possible to define socialism or capitalism in terms of expenditures. All first world nations must have roads, schools, healthcare, defense and a plethora of other necessities and all of these items will be subsidized to some degree by the federal government. Modern society has many needs that cannot be met by a decentralized system and this is increasingly true as the cost of providing these services rises. But, the existance of centralized services and institutions, such as a judicial system, does not indicate that the government is socialistic.

Rather than examining the expenditures of a nation to determine where that nation rests on the continuum between socialist and capitalist principles, I suggest that is more appropriate to study the revenue stream. How governments generate funds and the underlying principles of wealth redistribution they adhere to are more reliable indicators of the political philosophy of nations.

If a nation subscribes to a policy of funding social needs by drawing a disproportionate share of revenue from those relatively wealthy citizens and corporate entities, this reduces the assets available to grow the economy, further reducing the government’s revenue stream. Due to the decreased revenue, the government is required to increase the amount of wealth redistribution to sustain the economy. If this cycle continues there are not enough assets available to the investor class to stimulate economic growth. The working poor and the middle class also suffer from unfair taxation policies reducing the value of their labor. The logical conclusion of the this cycle is an overall reduction of the national wealth and diminished potential for economic growth.

Perhaps more damaging than the deterioration of a nation’s economic indices, is the damage done to the citizens receiving unwarranted economic aid. If goods and services are delivered to citizens without requiring investment of effort or capital on their part, there is no incentive to strive to achieve selfsufficiency. This practice enables the development of a mindset where aid becomes entitlement.

The role of government, as I see it, is to facilitate the personal and economic growth of the citizen. Socialism, in my humble opinion, does not meet these needs.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 13, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #140464

We can not all live at the expense of everyone else.

That is a myth perpetuated by pandering politicians, and those that are envious and jealous of those that have more than them.

Now, people can interpret that many ways, and draw all sorts of non-sequiturs, but it stands the test of time.
_________________________
… the “great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else” — by Frederic Bastiat 1848

_________________________________________
Stop Repeat Offenders.
Don’t Re-Elect Them !
_________________________________________

Posted by: d.a.n at April 13, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #140469

david, i was being sarcastic.

I do believe that under most circumstances education is a regional issue, best managed by the states. Can there be national standard curriculum, yes, but why? The government shouldnt be sanctioning funding and making broad requirements, because the testing process itself changes the nature of schools, ask any teacher.

The only time the federal government should step in to state issues is when the supreme court decide on a case and the state doesn’t follow it.

Border Security should be run by the states with federal money because each state has vastly different circumstances regarding illegal and legal immigration.

What is ironic is that what you are saying sounds more like Tom Tancredo than anyone else I’ve heard. His opinion is that the border should be strictly enforced, immigration should be allowed, but that all industries should have to pay at least minimum wage. As it stands, the agricultural system depends on migrant workers that can be exploited, and minimum wage work will make those farms harder to run.

Well, whats going to happen is either theyre going to fix the problem with technology or go bankrupt. It is their responsibility to run their industry in a profitable manor under the law, so if they can’t make a profit without breaking laws, i say let them go. If your business is not profitable under the law, breaking the law is not an option, do it differently, or get a new job. I don’t care what it does to our economy or the price of vegetables, I buy from local farmers who grow organically on family farms, and they still get by.

But that doesn’t really change the fact that the federal government is coequal to the states, and can ONLY do what is mandated in the constitution, which does include protecting the borders.

Posted by: iandanger at April 13, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #140471

Iandanger wrote this extremely sensitive and tolerant bit:

I actually think this is a good thing because the states will then compete in a free market model, meaning that the best off states would attract the most people, and the deep south would be depopulated, and eventually could be closed off.

whooops let my anti-redneck/anti-any-areay-that-is-that-goddamn-hot prejudice show on that one.
Posted by: iandanger at April 13, 2006 10:48 AM

What states and what percentage of the population do you consider expendable to achieve your utopian goal of enhancing state’s rights and citizen protection?

Posted by: goodkingned at April 13, 2006 3:42 PM
Comment #140472

IMO, the function of government is:

  • legislate within the framework of the Constitution (which is not written in stone),
  • enforce the laws to protect every citizen’s civil and human rights,

  • provide for the national defense,

  • provide for the truly needy (which is a very small percentage of the population),

  • manage foreign policy to build relationships, promote human rights, and sustain a united front with our allies,

  • and have vision when no corporation or person(s) are motivated to (e.g. alternate energy solutions, disease research, etc.)

That’s about it.

But, look at what happened !
Look at what how our bloated government has grown to nightmare proporations. It is out of control. Government is FOR SALE. Politicians are bought-and-paid for, and slumbering voters allow it.

Unfortunately, people have grown too dependent on government. They want the government to take care of them from cradle to grave, provide them with healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, etc., etc., etc. It is so utterly ridiculous, even illegal aliens have come to expect (even demand) these things too, with 32% of 12 million illegal aliens receiving welfare.
I’m not sure who is getting the worst deal here.
We are teaching our neighbors some very bad habits.

It won’t be long before people want the government to wipe their butt for them too.

Where did we go wrong?

Posted by: d.a.n at April 13, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #140476

Anybody have any examples of “socialism” in the US Constitution?
Just curious.

Posted by: kctim at April 13, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #140478

kctim:
“Anybody have any examples of “socialism” in the US Constitution?”

Absolutely.
The Preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 13, 2006 4:38 PM
Comment #140480

Bzzzt. Although the term ‘general welfare’ has been hijacked recently, a quick perusal of constitutional history shows that it is not referring to socialism.

Promote and Provide are two seperate words with altogether different meanings as well.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 13, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #140481

It also helps to note that socialism as a well formed concept wasn’t really in existence in the late 1700s, in English anyway. The idea did not really catch hold until the mid 1800s as a means of political governance.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 13, 2006 4:43 PM
Comment #140484

goodkingned,

Does that not sound just a bit like a joke? I was making a point about how some people like to apply the free market model as solving every situation, it was supposed to be ironic.

I still don’t like rednecks (or anyone who’s particularly anti intellectual or embraces the flag of a nation who’s founding principle is that some people are inherently unequal and therefore can be subjugated), and I still don’t like the heat (I can’t be outside for more than 5 minutes in Florida, I swear to go that state is actually what Hell feels like) but as for my southerner extermination plan? We’ll kill as many of them as we have to, whatever it takes to stop them from breeding.

Posted by: iandanger at April 13, 2006 5:00 PM
Comment #140485

Rhinehold,
You’re just so wrong. How were we to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice and insure domestic Tranquility if we weren’t willing to provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty?

“Promote and Provide are two seperate words with altogether different meanings as well.”

Indeed.
The meaning of Promote — To raise, advance, further
The meaning of Provide — To supply. To take precautionary measures. To prepare.

“It also helps to note that socialism as a well formed concept wasn’t really in existence in the late 1700s, in English anyway.”

True, but that is neither here nor there. Certain aspects of the same underlying ideas were part and parcel with the founding of our nation.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 13, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #140488

to be technical, you can’t for a more perfect anything, you’re either perfect or you aren’t.

Our founders couldn’t speak the damn language.

Posted by: iandanger at April 13, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #140490

Thanks Adrienne. I really am just curious as to what you all read as socialism in the Constitution.
Of course, even though your wrong about what “promote the general welfare” means, reading into it in order to justify feel-good legislation and all, I still thank you for your answer to my question.

Posted by: kctim at April 13, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #140493

Iandanger:

Re your extermination plan. You might find it easier in the winter because we are sluggish in cold weather.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 13, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #140496

kctim:
“Of course, even though your wrong about what “promote the general welfare” means,”

I thought I made it pretty clear to Rhinehold. It means to raise, advance and further the general welfare of our people. You disagree? Then what do those words in the Preamble mean to you?

“reading into it in order to justify feel-good legislation and all,”

We can disagree on what kinds of legislation might raise, advance and further our population, but it sounds to me like you’re the one who wants to “read into” what I wrote by dismissing me with the term “feel-good”.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 13, 2006 5:41 PM
Comment #140497

Southerner extermination plan?
The hell with that, lets do a “big city” extermination plan and get the country back to what it was meant to be.
The land of the free.

Posted by: kctim at April 13, 2006 5:41 PM
Comment #140500

Adrienne
“It means to raise, advance and further the general welfare of our people. You disagree?”

Bigtime.
“raise, advance and further” does NOT mean to “coddle”, “do for” or to “know better than.”

“dismissing me with the term “feel-good””

Not at all ma’am. I am simply saying socialism is nothing but “feel-good” legislation.

Posted by: kctim at April 13, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #140505

kctim:
“raise, advance and further” does NOT mean to “coddle”, “do for” or to “know better than.”

I agree. Though it might mean “educate”, “help out when and where needed”, and “allow for choices and opportunities”.

“I am simply saying socialism is nothing but “feel-good” legislation.”

And I am simply saying that unchecked and unregulated capitalism is “feel-bad” legislation. Hence, I agreed with David’s assertion that a uniquely American mix of both is, has been and will be, the key to our societal health, success and happiness.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 13, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #140506

Iandanger & Kctim

Not to worry. Look at the demographic & economic trends in the U.S. The South is where much of the action is. Didn’t the south steal much of the auto industry just recently? The North Carolia’s research triangle has more PhDs per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. Greenville/Spartanburg, SC is one of the favorite places for foreign investment. four of the top ten public universities are in the south (two are in Virginia - UVA is #2; William & Mary #6 - only California with nearly five times the population does better)

Iandangers books are old.

Posted by: Jack at April 13, 2006 6:07 PM
Comment #140508

Socialism, capitalism, who cares what you call it? In practice, lefties are called socialists by the righties and righties are called capitalists by the lefties.

Instead of analyzing an issue to determine if it’s good or bad for most of the people, we use words like “socialism” to denigrate the people who make suggestions.

I do not use these words. I believe that if a bill helps Big Business but hurts most of the ordinary people it is a bad bill - never mind how academics would describe it. And if a bill improves the common good it is a good bill - though opponents may call it socialistic.

Our political discussions are filled with name calling. Let’s talk instead of what’s good for the people.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at April 13, 2006 6:10 PM
Comment #140510

kctim,

Anybody have any examples of “socialism” in the US Constitution?

The first things that came to mind were Post Offices and post roads (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7). If a Government-owned postal service isn’t Socialist, I don’t know what is.

Southerner extermination plan? The hell with that, lets do a “big city” extermination plan and get the country back to what it was meant to be. The land of the free.

Yeah, ‘cause the last thing we want are people who know how to live near each other in peace. Let’s get rid of those people and give the country back to those who can’t stand having neighbors less than a quarter-mile away…

iandanger,

The Southerner Extermination Plan was already tried — back in the early 1860s. It was scrapped in favor of the Southerner Persecution Plan — a.k.a. “Reconstruction”. That plan was ultimately scrapped about the time of the Great Depression — when the stock market collapsed, the Northerners decided they needed people who were experienced at being poor, and so embraced the South once again. (Most Southerners, on the other hand, didn’t know that there was a depression, or even what the stock market was.) Ever since then, more and more of us escape from the South every year to cooler lands to the North. This includes not only me (who left Arkansas in 1980), but also our last two presidents! Then again, with all of your old people moving down there to retire, there’s not a lot of room left for hard-working hillbillies anymore.

Ya know, we recently had a debate here about increasing defenses on the border to prevent illegal aliens from entering the country. Are we to assume that you would prefer to put those defenses on the Mason-Dixon line?

:-)

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at April 13, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #140511

Adrienne
“I agree. Though it might mean “educate”, “help out when and where needed”, and “allow for choices and opportunities”.”

I could agree with maybe educate, but still have a hard time with that one at a federal level.

“And I am simply saying that unchecked and unregulated capitalism is “feel-bad” legislation. Hence, I agreed with David’s assertion”

I know you agreed with that. That is why I was asking where you all think it says anything like that in the Constitution. I was wanting your all’s opinions.

“that a uniquely American mix of both is, has been and will be, the key to our societal health, success and happiness”

Well, no surprise I’m sure, but I totally disagree.
I believe they compete with each other in order to get absolute power.
Socialism is winning and therefore we have the dependency problem we have now.
Dependent people are controlled people.
We are now being controlled by our govt and its special interests.

Posted by: kctim at April 13, 2006 6:18 PM
Comment #140513

Adrienne & kctim,
Actually, the role of our Elected Officials is to use the Evidence given to them by All Parties and Indiduals on a certain issue and attempt to make the best guess on how to use their Limited Resources (Tax Dollars) to Level the playing field so that Every American has Equal and Fair access to the Commerce Market. Thus, promoting General Welfare.

In fact one of the major movements in the production of Low Income Home Ownership in the 90’s came about by pressuring the Democrats and Republicans to realize that their Domestic Tranquility and General Welfare was at risk by the growing gap between the Working Poor and the Silver Spoon of Society.

KCtim, you are right about the Democrats and Republicans misusing their power to promote Social Welfare Reform and Corporation Welfare; however, I will still be making fun of both political parties 20 years from now unless the Conservevative and Liberals WAKE UP and RECOGNIZE that the role of Government and “We the People” is to find a way through both sides of Human Nature and start using Our Power to do what is Politically Unalienable Correct for All Consumers not the Who can Zoom Whom mentality that came out of the Republicans in the 1980’s. Just thenk God that the Youth Generation of the 21st Century understands that math.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 13, 2006 6:22 PM
Comment #140514

Rob C.
“The first things that came to mind were Post Offices and post roads (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7). If a Government-owned postal service isn’t Socialist, I don’t know what is”

Very interesting. Thanks for your input on that. I will try to read over that some and from your view.
Thanks again.

Posted by: kctim at April 13, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #140518

kctim:

I think the cities have an extermination plan that they already implementing. If we teach them how to shot straight they could make great progress. Them city folk has initiative.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 13, 2006 6:54 PM
Comment #140521

Hear! Hear!

Paul Seigel thanks for recognizing the divisive and
red-baiting nature of this argument.


Jack, Red-Blue isn’t enough for you? You want to re-explore the U.S. Civil War, too?

Posted by: gergle at April 13, 2006 7:27 PM
Comment #140523

ian,

If one of those rednecks you so despise had made a racist joke, would you not feel compelled to call them racist? Would you be happy that you had to read that on Watchblog?

Assuming, yes, how is anything that you said in your joke any different than that?

Btw, I grew up in the South and moved to the North after college. In my experience, there are as many people per capita that fit your redneck stereotype up here as there are in the South.

Posted by: Rob at April 13, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #140531

This seems to be a non-issue. Extremely centralized and extremely decentralized economies are failures, we all know that. A well understood and practically harnessed market serves to better mankind. Our arguments should be about which goods, services, resources, and factors of production should be regulated, by whom, and why (i.e. David and Rob’s discussion). This has been the real discussion in our society since the beginning.

Posted by: Amani at April 13, 2006 8:14 PM
Comment #140532

By the way, as for my two cents, I think our constitution does a darned good job laying out those concerns in most cases. I’m proud of it. Whether we choose to follow it, abuse it, change it, or ignore it is another matter.

Posted by: Amani at April 13, 2006 8:22 PM
Comment #140534

Jack, yes, on substance we agree for the most part. I do indeed agree with you that free market forces, to the extent they actually exist, would resolve all issues over time. But, where we differ is that I don’t believe free markets are a humane answer to ALL of life’s problems, and free markets are rare.

Free markets have and will destroy all other value systems for profit IF regulation which defends other values besides profit are not in place or exercised. And that makes free markets rare. Monopolism is the end product of truly free markets. And most liberals and conservatives agree that monopolism is inherently bad for society except perhaps within the military which is not a free society by any civilian standard from the gitgo!

Now, we do agree that free market forces countered by defense of other and equal priority values (social values), can accomplish amazing things for society like our Interstate Highway system and the tremendous advances in medical science in the span of 100 years. And when discussed in this fashion, real, productive, and beneficial programs, products, services and policies can and do result.

Where so many intellectuals on both the right and left fail to live up their graduate degrees is when they try to argue for real world policy based on a tug of war between socialist and capitalist ideologies.

You and I have a great deal of common ground because as I read your writings, you are more centered in predominantly positive outcomes without being derailed by ideological tugs of war.

And I join you in common ground in recognizing that that no answer to any problem can be implemented without creating additional problems. There is an opportunity cost to any choice. We both seem to agree that policies and national decisions should resolve more problems than they create, and that should be the performance test for decision makers.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 13, 2006 8:38 PM
Comment #140537

Man, now i know not to make any of my pro-abortion jokes, you guys take things too seriously. I don’t actually dislike the south (besides that weather, jesus), I’m planning an extended road trip there at some point in the comming year. I do dislike people who wear/hang the flag of the confederate states of america, because it is the flag of a nation which waged war against the United States based on the principle of inequality.

Now, I am aware that there was a whole lot more to the Civil War than slavery, but it is undeniable that the Northern attitude toward slavery was one of the main tipping points toward cessesion.

I make jokes about basically everything, and I really don’t mind any kind of humor, I think just about everything is fair game. What bothers me is actual acts of intollerance, or advocating intolerance. See, the point of my statement was that the deep south has such a woefully bad education system (k-12) that without federal money, they would have to make a major change in their system in order to improve. I think the change would be preferable to having the central beaurocracy do it, but it isn’t going to happen.

I live in Maryland by the way, the “old line state,” so I see my fair share of Urban, Suburban, and rural areas, and I gotta say I prefer rural.

Posted by: iandanger at April 13, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #140538

By the way, lets recall that in Alabama it was illegal to marry someone of another race until the year 2000, and in the referendum on the law, 40% of the population voted to keep it.

That means 40% of voters in Alabama in the year 2000 thought that it was wrong to “mix blood.”

Anyone else find that disturbing, since it was 33 years after the supreme court case that struck down Anti-miscegenation laws as unconstitional?

Posted by: iandanger at April 13, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #140543
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is the slogan used by Socialists.

It’s also the credo of a fellow named Jesus of Nazareth. He went about well before the 1700’s telling people about it.

(The funny thing is, most of the people who claim to follow him are exactly the sort of Social Darwinists who hate the idea of Socialism…)

As it happens, there are eight rather heavily Socialised democracies ahead of the United States on the World Quality Of Life Index:

and we, with our Spencerian/Hooverian supply-side VooDoo deficit bullshite are Falling on that list rather rapidly…

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 13, 2006 9:14 PM
Comment #140544

ian,

Issues such as miscegenation bring Yugoslavia to mind. How much really stands between 1 nation and 50 nation-states? How long before DickBushRovian politics stretch the bonds beyond their breaking point again?
The proximity of that point is why I’m having my kids taught Mandarin and Spanish.

Posted by: Dave at April 13, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #140545

I was driving through Alabama a couple of years ago listening to a Rock and Roll Station near Birmingham. The DJ played Lynyrd Skynyrd’s retort to “Alabama” and pronounced that Neil Young was someone who just didn’t get it, he wasn’t from Alabama. I thought that was rather odd this many years later and given the history of the civil rights movement….But Osama wants us back in the 16th century.

Posted by: gergle at April 13, 2006 9:17 PM
Comment #140547
It’s also the credo of a fellow named Jesus of Nazareth. He went about well before the 1700’s telling people about it.

Betty, please provide any evidence that this was the credo of Jesus. I think you will find your assertion a very large stretch…

I don’t remember Jesus remarked at all on governmental policies. The philosphy he expused was mostly Taoist in thought. There was nothing socialist in his teachings, unless you really don’t understand the meaning of the word.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 13, 2006 9:35 PM
Comment #140551

Betty

And all the bottom ones are heavily socialized.

The other thing is that if you add the populations and GNP of all the countries together, they make about 1/4 the population and GNP of the U.S.

Beyond all that, all those countries have strong market economies. You also probably know that a place like Sweden has very low corporate taxes and some have NO taxes on captial gains. And all those countries have homogeneous populations.

International comparisons are hard. There are only a few hard and fast rules. Countries with freer economies are almost always better than those without. Globalization and prosperity are stongly linked. And democracy goes with both.

I don’t dislike socialism. Of course you have to have some price mechanism. I lived in Norway and liked lots of its social democratic aspects. It just does not work in a large and diverse system. And it does not adapt well to change.

Even in Scandinavia, it breaks down as the population gets more diverse. Among the trade offs in socialism is integration of diversity. That is a big problem for Europeans and why they have such trouble with immigrants. Ours are nothing by comparison.

Posted by: Jack at April 13, 2006 9:55 PM
Comment #140561

Rhinehold,
Point of Order. Jesus did speak out about Government policies when e said that a Rightous Nation wil be judged by how well they treat their “Poor.” Sorry, but just trying to keep the record straight.

Jack,
If Nations/Societies are to provide All the Needs and Wants of their Citizens than tell me how your Free Market plans to make that happen. However, Greed is no longer in the question because if it was than the area effected by Katrina would have money running out of the ground.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 13, 2006 10:50 PM
Comment #140568

Henry,

Can you point me to that bible verse please?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 13, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #140601

If capitalism were to fail, what would that look like? How would such a failure unfold?

Is the free-market system sympathetic to democratic values? Does corporatism take into account the needs of society as a whole? Does capitalism have any responsibility to future challenges and national goals?

If, as some have suggested in this thread that America is a unique blend of socialism and capitalism, who decides how the mix shall be? Is this decided by the voters, the political and business elite, corporations?

Do we as American citizens have real imput in how these decisions are made, and in what directions these polices are formed? If we are the model of economic and political justice for the world to emulate, if the free-market system and capitalism in general is the ideal, if this is all self-evident and socialism doesn’t answer the call for individual freedom to succeed—then what doesn’t capitalism satisfy, what doesn’t the free-market and globalization answer in the human realm?

Is the free market and capitalism responsive to human desires, to human frailty, to human needs? Is our government concerned about your ability to search for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? Is it responsive to injustice and inequity, does it strive for open doors for everyone who wants a chance to succeed?

Are our economic and political leaders committed to truth and justice? Fair play and well-being of our children and grandchildren?

Are we as a nation and as a people committed to the truth—wherever the truth takes us?

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 14, 2006 3:10 AM
Comment #140603

Rhinehold,
Sorry I don’t quote the Bible; however, if you read the New Testement of the King James Version I do believe you will find it. The Book of Mark comes to mind, but be warned I haven’t looked it up in years.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 14, 2006 3:40 AM
Comment #140604

so what about the general welfare clause! well lets go right to the horses mouth himself mr james madison president and CONSIDERED the father of our constitution, and creator of the sacred bill of rights. mr madison said quote. ‘” with respect to the two words ‘general welfare’, i have always regarded them as qualified by detail of powers connected with them .to take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was NOT CONTEMPLATED BY ITS CREATORS”

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at April 14, 2006 4:23 AM
Comment #140613

Why does capitalism screw the public?

Ever wonder why monopolies protected by their K street groupies (congress) are screwing you?

Insurance scam

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 7:31 AM
Comment #140617

Jack:

Your definition of Socialism indicates to me that you were brought up in a Political Education Camp somewhere in either China or the Ukraine in the 1970’s.

What totalitarian dictators call Socialism is as accurately relevant to actual Socialism as the phrase “Compassionate Conservative” is to the actuality of Conservative Social Darwinism. How many nations have styled themselves to be “Democratic Republics” - or, even worse, a “People’s Democratic Republic” - when they are neither of The People, nor democratic, nor a republic? And they are certainly not an example of Socialised Democracy (or Democratic Socialism, if you prefer).

What you want is absolute run-amok unbridled Industry and Commerce: a Plutocratic Oligarchic Hegemony (or, an Oligarchic Hegemonic Plutocracy, if you prefer). This is in keeping both with your status as the owner of a Pulp Mill (as I believe you recently confessed to), and as a True Dyed-In-The-Cotton Southron Gennelman. I don’t blame you for it: you are likely more the product of your environment than of any inherent defect of character.

Still, it would be wise for you to smell the Kool-Aid burning: you have been called time and time again for Spinning Talking Points in this forum, by posters wide and varied, who have been here far longer than I have. I see it in different articles here several times a week. And when you go about defining Socialism exactly as Joseph Stalin and Mao Tsetung did, you rather make my point better than your own…

There has never been a Communist government on Planet Earth. Not one. They all fail and become tyrranical oppressive dictatorships because of an inherent flaw in Marxist Communism, to wit: Human Nature. The so-called “caretaker government” becomes a dictatorship of nomenklatura oligarchs, who ride about in Mercedes sedans whilst the proletariat are confined to Trabants or Bicycles.

Socialism, on the other hand, is simply the putting into practise the dictum: No Government Should Exist Which Does Not Serve The Needs Of the Governed. And what are the Needs of People? Why, they are what they have always been: Food, Shelter, Healthcare, Education, Security, Defence, Transportation.

Now, if Government cannot or will not provide these Basic Needs to those Citizens who cannot do so for themselves, you will not only see America looking like Calcutta or New Delhi, but there will not be any purpose served by Government save to Serve Itself.

Or, of course, the interests of the National Pulp Manufacturers Association Of North America (NAMBLA).

And the like (Halliburton, Enron, Exxon, Bechtel, McKesson, ADM, URS, Colgate-Palmolive, Ford, General Dynamics, General Motors, Tycho, IBM, Etc.) - is that why you depise Socialism so much? Too many resources going to The People and not enough going to Corporate Welfare?


Rhinehold:

The phrase in question was: “From each, according to their Ability, to each, according to their Need.” I stated that this was the credo of Jesus. There is no mention in that phrase of Governments whatsoever. However

The New Testament is absolutely chock full of Examples (and, by the way, there are quite a few in the Old, as well). Here are a few:

Matthew 19:21 : Jesus said unto him, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the Poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me.”


Mark 10:21 :
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the Poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.”


Luke 6:30/34/35 :
“Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest.”


Luke 14:12-14 :
Then said he also to him that bade him, “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the Poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the Just.”


James 2:2-8 :
For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a Poor man in vile raiment, and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, “Sit thou here in a good place,” and say to the Poor, “Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool,” are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of Evil Thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the Poor of this world rich in Faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? But ye have despised the Poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

And so forth…

It is notable that Jesus also advocated paying one’s Taxes (good Socialist that he was). Of course, Rome had for many decades at the time of Christ (and for several hundred years thereafter) fed its poorest residents - Citizens and Non-Citizens alike - by the means of grain-allotments. Taxes, collected largely in the form of coins bearing the image of one or another Roman ruler, paid for this grain allotment, which was second in National Expenditures only to the maintenance of the Legions. Hence, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,” - i.e.: Pay Your Taxes.

Jesus had quite a Socialist Programme going: he provided Food, Education, and Healthcare to all who applied. And whereas he might have made a good living as a Court Magician or a Wine Merchant (if he set up his warehouse near a River, that is), he chose to practise amongst The Poor.

From each, according to their Ability, to each, according to their Need.

There is hardly a closer sentiment to that which he taught! Until the Pharisees - who were making a killing on the exchange-rate between Temple Coins and all other specie - caught him at it, that is…

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 14, 2006 8:22 AM
Comment #140619

Ah, just as I thought. You have mistaken compassion with socialism.

Sorry, but you are mixing your terms in a way to lead you to believe something that is just not reality. I don’t have time to get into it right now but later I will explain how Socialism is a form of governing, Compassion is a way of treating our fellow human beings regardless of what the government does or doesn’t do and is a part of most philosophies, not just Socialism.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 14, 2006 8:51 AM
Comment #140622

Tim Crow,

If capitalism were to fail, what would that look like? How would such a failure unfold?

Start with the Great Depression and extrapolate. That’s one option.

Another option involves the formation of unregulated monopolies that gain too much control over the government. Once they can remove the rights of We The Consumer through legislation, the rest is just clean-up.

Both Socialism and Capitalism have their advantages and disadvantages. Neither is well-suited — in its purest form — for running a government. The best place is somewhere in the middle. The biggest difference between the US and many Eurasian countries is that we’ve started with Capitalism, and added enough Socialism to fix the problems of Capitalism. Many other countries (i.e. China) are going about it the other way around. We’ll probably all end up in about the same place (much as the European monarchies-turned-parlaiments did).

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at April 14, 2006 9:21 AM
Comment #140655

The saddest thing about this article is that it’s necessary for liberals to hear.

They think that the advancement of engineering and medicine would’ve occurred naturally. They think it’s natural for someone to spend hours and days and weeks away from frineds and family just to produce something which would raise their pay 1/4 of a cent per day … once the benefits of invention or entrepreneurship are spread across the entire populous that is.

Yes, socialism is the perfect answer … only thing getting in the way is that little ole darn thing called “human being common sense”. If a person is going to struggle to achieve, they need to be the one who reaps the most benefits of a struggle. Otherwise, why struggle? Joe down the street will eventually make things better for everyone anyway … . right??!!

Posted by: Brian S. at April 14, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #140666

Brian:

You display too much common sense to be given credance here. Successful application of personal iniative and the resulting accumulation of wealth is baad. Hmm, ok.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 14, 2006 1:42 PM
Comment #140674

Brian S.

Typical American Pig. I guess you believe everything is for sale. There are never advancements in science or medicine unless someone can make a huge killing.

I think you’ve just described yourself, not most scientists I know.

I wonder why so many advances come from European countries with socialized medicine?

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #140680

Gergle

We have a significant free rider problem with Europe (and Canada). Most new drugs and procedures are invented for the American market and the R&D costs are defrayed here. As you know, the first kind of any pill costs millions, after that it is pennies. The socialized medicine comes in and takes the lower prices after they are absorbed.

European medicine is not particularly innovative. Even European drug makers aim first at the U.S. market. We subsize the world in this fashion. BTW - the same economics are at work in U.S. television shows and movies, although that is changing.

You don’t have to be greedy to understand why money matters. Money buys the labs and tests that make new procedures possible.

Price is important to sort out the true costs of something. The biggest problem of socialism is the technical one of inefficient pricing. If you sell steak and hamburger at the same price, which one do you think will run out first?

Posted by: Jack at April 14, 2006 2:49 PM
Comment #140684

Right Jack, we have three different forms of viagra.

Actually, Jack, a lot of useful research does come from Europe, hate to burst your American bubble there.

Conflating Hollywood with medicine is just plain weird, Jack.

My point wasn’t that money isn’t needed for research, it’s that the prime motive for scientists isn’t money, not that they don’t want it.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 3:24 PM
Comment #140686

Gergle, Read our policy and observe it or you won’t be permitted to comment here anymore. This will be your only warning.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at April 14, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #140695

Jack, where do you think the idea for the Nuclear Bomb came from? Hint, it wasn’t the USA.

Einstein, who revolutionized Physics, was from Germany. It wasn’t money that brought him to the US. Most of the scientists at Roswell and in Chicago were European.

The largest accelerators in the world are in Europe, not the US. They started one in Texas but killed it, after wasting millions. The big accelerators are where all the leading edge physics is occuring today.

This is an interesting link on medicine:

healthcare myth


Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #140696

To Watchblog: manager exactly where do you see a violation? perhaps I’m just too stupid to understand. I actually agree with Jack on some issues. I attack arguments, not people. If it was the comment to Brian S., Perhaps I should use sarcasm in italics. I was refering to the way Americans are percieved.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #140698

Watchblog Manager;

I truthfully am not sure what violation you are refering to. If his argument, condescending to liberals as stupid, then why isn’t my argument condescending to piggish American-centric thinking valid?

I sincerely do want to smear anyone here, i just use fire to fight fire. Please edify me.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #140699

Gergle

I didn’t find anything offensive.

Anyway, Einstein. European yes. Came to U.S. - why?

The same is true of many Euro scientists and researchers. I read an article in German press that something like 75% of the German researchers that go to U.S. never return to Germany to live (although they talk about it a lot).

I believe that someone coming and choosing to stay say a lot about conditions. You don’t find nearly as many of such Americans going to Europe permanently and they are different. They send us researchers, scientists etc. We give them retired folks, art students and leftist professors. We get the better part of the business.

Posted by: Jack at April 14, 2006 4:38 PM
Comment #140700

OOPs, please enter “is valid ” after stupid on post above and ” do not want to smear” instead of the Freudian slip above. You rattled me.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #140702

Gergle

Just what we were talking about. It is joint research between the right leaning AEI and the left leaning Brookings, so I figure it is in the middle.

Posted by: Jack at April 14, 2006 4:47 PM
Comment #140704

Thanks Jack,

Umm…Einstein, being Jewish, as were many of the nuclear scientists, had a little problem with Hitler. He wasn’t seeking fame and fortune.

More currently, I do think our schools attract a lot of scientist. I’m not saying America is slovenly in science, just not the only game in the world.

And the primary motive of most scientists is curiosity, and serious work, not money. Some are motivated by greed, fame, sex,etc…..they ARE human after all.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #140705

Interesting link Jack, not what I expected either.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #140708

Gergle, the following comment is an attack on another participant at Watchblog. I don’t care to hear what others do, we will deal with them as we go. I am addressing what you did in saying:

Brian S.

Typical American Pig. I guess you believe everything is for sale.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at April 14, 2006 5:10 PM
Comment #140714

Gotcha. You didn’t catch the sarcasm. I will note that for the future, and will refrain from that type comment. Thank You. By the way, I am American, too, and don’t consider myself a pig, but I do understand the reaction.

To Brian S.: I apologise if I offended you.

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 5:36 PM
Comment #140717

Gergle

It is not fame and fortune that drives many people. But money buys better facilities. They can do better work in the U.S. because facilities are better and conditions are better and some of that has to do with money and competition.

Money is a “hygiene factor” for most intelligent people. At some point they have enough and getting more is no longer a strong motivator for them. BUT not having enough is a real problem. It is also true that money shows value. If I pay you to do something, it shows I think it is a good thing. If I ask you to do it for nothing or a little money, I may be less serious. That is why professional experience (i.e. paid) is usually better than volunteer experience (i.e. unpaid) in similar situations.

Posted by: Jack at April 14, 2006 6:02 PM
Comment #140718

Mr. Remer,
I agree with you that we are largely a socialist nation. Unfortunately socialism is a lot like crack cocaine. Once you are hooked, it’s extremely difficult to break the habit. However, if you can break the habit, and make it through the period of discomfort that follows, your life is infinitely better. That being said, and with some authority I might add, here are the programs that if the Federal Gov’t were not involved, would be run more effeciently, and provide a better service for the people. They could all be done privately, or by state and local govt’s, and done better. We would also be a wealthier country, by far.


The military
Public Schools
The Interstate HighWay System
Border surveillance and enforcement
The National Park system
Printing Money and anti-counterfeit efforts
The Congress
The White House
OMB
CBO
Wildlife Preserves
Dams
Bridges
State Parks
Road and Traffic Signs
National Safety Board
The entire Court system of the U.S.
Foreign Diplomatic Corps
State Dep’t.
Foreign Aid
The Iraq War effort
Indonesian Tsunami Aid
Rebuilding Katrina Devastation
Aiding Katrina victims

and of course…WELFARE!


I know the probable response is to claim that I have no compassion, and those who support socialism do. WRONG! If you want to help someone in need, do it. If you get 50 million people to voluntarily join you, great! When you vote to confiscate hard earned money from EVERYONE who works so you can feel compassionate, and save a buck because you’ve forced millions who may not agree with you to contribute, YOU SIR ARE THE PERSON WITH NO COMPASSION. In fact, that is theft, and it’s evil. That is why SOCIALISM ALWAYS FAILS. Eventually Atlas will shrug, and the 49% will no longer agree to support the 51%, no matter how many elections they win.

Posted by: David C. at April 14, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #140740

David C., since little of your comment accurately reflects what I have written, I don’t see a lot to respond to.

I am even confused about your list. Are you saying the military would be better run by private organizations? If so, do you really think national security would be better served by a privatized force which could be invaded and infiltrated by organized crime and criminals? And would patriotism be as large a factor if soldiers were dying and losing limbs for someone else’s profit instead of their nation?

If you meant the military is best run by the government, then how do you propose getting rid of the OMB and CBO which provide the hard data government officials need to make their decisions?

Your list needs clarification - are the crossed out ones to be run by gov’t or private industry?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 14, 2006 8:02 PM
Comment #140757

There is a funny thing about this thread, Irregardless of what you say positive about capitalism, any tendency toward a more socialist model brings out arguments that socialism is ineffective and failed in the Soviet.

I haven’t read one post that stated scialism alone was preferencial to capitalism. There has only been points made that capitalism alone does not make good government.

I feel like I’m in a Robert Altman movie or Joseph Heller novel and someone keeps shouting “Better dead than red”

As I stated from the start, I think this is a false argument. It’s simply a cheering section. Sis! Boom! Bah! There doesn’t even appear to be agreement on the meaning of the words. For those that care to explore this I offer two links.

Socialism

Capitalism

Posted by: gergle at April 14, 2006 9:29 PM
Comment #140767

Rhinehold / (Jack):

No, I am not at all confused; in fact, I think you are:

“Socialism” is not what obtained in the former Soviet Union, nor what is presently practised in the “People’s Republic” of China. What they had/have is a ruthless totalitarianism far closer to Fascism than to either Socialism or Communism (as it is defined).

Socialism is merely any form of governance whereby basic Needs of The Governed are met by The Government. Basic Needs include: Shelter, Sustenance, Education, Healthcare, Security (both Personal [Police / Fire / EMT] and National [Military]), and Transportation. Socialism says that any Government which does not meet the Needs of the Governed should not exist. In order to pay for meeting those Needs, Socialism relies upon taxing the Governed - from each according to their Ability to pay - and then directing those revenues into programmes designed to prevent: Exposure, Starvation, Ignorance, Ill Health, Disaster / Theft / Trauma /Foreign Subjugation, and Immobility - the Needs of the Governed.

That is what Socialism truly is. It is the conscious decision of a Society to ensure that its Government provides for its People: nothing more, and nothing less. It does not require the abandonment of Capitalism, Commerce, or Free Enterprise. It does not require the nationalisation of Industry (although, this may be a Good Idea under certain circumstances).

Democratic Socialism simply adds the component of Democracy to the idea: within the existing framework of Socialised Government, the People get to Vote in both the election of representatives and in referenda. Socialism no more threatens Democracy than the Constitution of the United States does.

And if you disagree with the concept that one of the things Christ told his followers is identical with “from each, according to their ability, to each, according to their need,” then you have missed his point entirely.

But then, that’s what the fabled “Pro-Life” Pro-War, Pro-Gun, Pro-Death-‘Penalty’ “Christians” are all about, isn’t it? Talking the Talk without actually Walking the Walk…

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 14, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #140769

gergle:

I like the Wikipedia - but to define Modern Socialism in the terms used by the Nomenklatura of the former Soviet Union is a grievous error.

At the time in which the UK was the most heavily Socialised, there were no dicta demanding that all Industry or Commerce be owned Collectively by “the people” or by the State.

THIS IS A FACT.

And yet, no one (least of all, Jack or Rhinehold!) would deny the fact that the UK was heavily Socialised (much more so than presently) within living memory.

Since these two things conflict, one must necessarily draw the conclusion that the definition of “Socialism” given in the Wikipedia makes a common error: conflating it with Marxism or even the so-called (not actual) “Communism” of the Soviets and the “People’s Republic” of China.

We must recognise the actual nature of Modern Socialism (particularly of Democratic Socialism) if we are not to fall into error.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 14, 2006 10:25 PM
Comment #140778
Where do you stand?

It’s pretty simple, I think. Socialism fails because people who benefit from the socialized resource have no ownership in terms of feeling responsible or being responsible for it. I think most people are at some level cognizant of the fact that we are each responsible for the military, the legal system and safety services.

It really just sticks in my craw to hear Limbaugh and others of his ilk railing against the “communist” tendencies of the “left” wanting to solve everyone’s problems from cradle to grave, but does he think the military, the legal system and safety services (fire, ambulance, health departments, etc.) should be privatized? Not at all. No, but liberals are commies - don’t forget that.

It wasn’t all that long ago when you would receive the services of the military, the legal system and safety services only if you could afford it. Not all that long ago, if you wanted someone to come try to put out a fire pon your property, you paid the firemen a yearly subscription. If you hadn’t paid and you had a fire, too bad. I assure you it was not conservatives who came up with the concept of a municipality levying a tax to support a fire service.

Now we’ve got people such as those who frequently post on this blog wanting to do away with basic services like schools and water systems because they’re socialist.

Posted by: wanna_be_jack at April 14, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #140787

Betty,

Nope, I have not gotten anything wrong. I accurately describe socialism just as you did, a form of government not mentioned by Jesus.

(btw, you lose a lot of weight when you suggest I am christian… It often helps to know what you’re talking about especially when attacking someone you should try to be accurate)

However, let me explain.

The concept of a rightous man helping those who are less fortunate is not isolated to socialism. THAT is not what makes socialism. Heck, if that were the case, religious that are nearly 5000 years old like Taoism and the more recent Hebrew and even more recent Christian philosophies would be considered to take from socialist thought, when socialist thought is really only a few hundred years old.

Jesus never mentions, to my recollection and I couldn’t find it, that GOVERNMENT should be charged with taking care of everyone’s needs. HE does mention that people should be more concerned about the needs of those who are in need instead of collecting more wealth that they don’t need. THAT IS NOT SOCIALISM, that is being human. That is compassion.

No, socialism is just as YOU explain “Needs of The Governed are met by The Government”.

Now, what does this mean? Why can’t the needs of the people be met by the people, why must it be met by the government? Well, simple. Some people are greedy bastards and those of us who are compassionate and want to help others feel like they are being let off scott free! They don’t have to do their job and help their fellow man. So, some people who believe in socialism, like Betty, believe the only fair way to deal with this is to use the force of government to make them.

So, the basic idea of socialism in a society that is not like minded (or Diverse, as I explain in my original post) is to use the Police Power of the government, their legal right to kill their citizens if need be, to take what someone works to earn and give it to someone else.

Of course, the real problem is that when a government is charged with such things they invariably get it wrong. Government is bureaucratic by nature, especially one as large as we have in the US. So instead of determining those who are really in need, we just code up some rules and follow them. The result is that people who know how can abuse the system while those who need help are often left out of the system and not helped.

So basically, Socialism is Forced Compassion.

I personally find this concept abhorrant. Forcing anyone to do what they should, as good human beings, do is legislating a morality that we should not be involved in. Instead, we who do care and do have compassion should be working with charities and like minded people to help those in our communities who need it. In fact, we do that now, because so many people currently fall through the cracks of the mindless bureauracracy that is the modern welfare system.

But, without the government helping, the poor would get poorer and the rich richer! That’s the mantra we hear day after day. But, let’s take a look at America’s foray into socialism.

The New Libertarian has an article about how our redistribution programs have been working. It’s not exactly what I’m talking about but the two graphs detailed on this page point out an interesting thing that happens when government starts taking care of everyone.

Going from all of 3% in 1943, this has now ballooned to over 64% in 2005, suggesting the government has not so much been an agent of governance as a political agent of wealth redistribution. Consider the total percentage of the nation’s wealth that has been redistributed and it is very clear who is winning the ideological battle of economics.
Going from under 2% in 1947 to, now, a full 12% of GDP redistributed. Now, consider that the two largest wealth redistribution programs (Medicare and Social Security) are going to balloon in the next 20 years.

The charts provided show exactly what has been going on.

And people say that I am crazy and want to ‘go back to the government of the 1800s, which isn’t exactly true and used as a way to try to ‘poo poo’ my arguments, but Betty here is talking about the time of Europe when it was first tinkering (and some abandoning) socialistic methods of government.

In fact, I believe that necessity is going to point out that forced charity is not worth it in order to make those self-rightous who can’t stand that someone else might not be sharing their load feel better.

As Harry Chapin once said, you can’t expect the rich to do anything, they’re too busy trying to keep ahold of what they have. And you can’t expect the poor to do anything because they are doing everything they can to get by. No, it is us, the middle class, the farmers, the lawyers, the doctors, the machinists, the office workers, etc. It is up to US to band together and take care of people who need it.

Forcing someone to be compassionate, that is the height of self-rightousness, IMO.

But what is one of the main reasons that people such as this can’t stand the thought of people like the Red Cross and Goodwill taking care of the people who are in need? Well, because they might turn down helping someone because they are abusing them. Government can’t do that. We must take care of EVERYONE and that’s just not right, is it?

Nevermind the people who *I* know who refuse to work because they don’t have to. I was told by one woman that she would rather stay home than to get a job, the money she gets from the government is enough to live on so why bother?

WE’RE suppose to pay for them to do nothing? Excuse me, but *I* have a problem with that. I have a problem with the 3rd generation welfare recipients that we’ve created in this country. I have a huge problem with encouraging this type of behavior and basically breeding hard work and self-initiative out of americans because we want to force our compassion on others.

What most people who are really down on their luck are people to help them. A mentoring program would be much more beneficial than giving people a check. If one person would just take the charge of helping one other person, giving them someone to talk to, give advice, answer questions, suggest ‘anti-depressants’ when needed, etc. then we would be helping out all of those people who are in need and get them back into the society in a healthy way.

Instead, we create people who feel there is nothing wrong with living off of the hard work of others because they were raised that way.

That’s the problem with Forced Compassion —- Socialism, it takes the humanity out of helping others and turns it into a clean governmental program. How nice is that, we can now saftely ignore those poor people, since our ‘government’ is doing something about it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 14, 2006 11:37 PM
Comment #140793

Betty

You are arguing against a point I didn’t make and you are defining socialism is such a way that it encompasses most types of system. As I write all the time, I believe in a free market that includes a market mechanism, rule of law and democracy. I don’t much care what you call it. I generally like what we have now in the U.S. It depends on what you want. The current systems in Ireland, Netherlands, Finland and New Zealand are also working well. The interesting things about ALL these places is that they were working much less well until they instituted market based reforms. France and Germany have not done so and are in trouble now and in the future with their systems. The difference is not what they give the people; it is how much and well they use the market mechanism.

If you allow the market mechanism to work, your system can work. If not, it cannot. It doesn’t matter what you want or how good people are. The market mechanism is what tells you how hard it is to make things or how scarce things are. If you charge the same for steak and hamburger, you will quickly run out of steak.

The U.S. has special needs because of our diverse society. Europeans have a much harder time with immigrants than we do. One reason is their greater state sectors and the rules and responsibilities that entails.

The Soviet Union, China and the like were socialist by most definitions. You are right that they are similar to fascism. That is because fascism is another form of state control. The state determined prices and tried to control supply and demand in all these systems. The Italian fascists and German Nazis called themselves socialists. Rembember the National Socialist Workers’ Party. Leftist have always chose not to remember that.

You can tax and redistribute income if you want. This kind of thing is like alcohol. A little is good for you. A little more makes you feel real good. A lot ruins your health. The UK was indeed more socialized. It almost collapsed until Mrs. Thatcher put it right.

Posted by: Jack at April 14, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #140820

Betty, your facts about China are very undernourished. China practices collectivism, has since the time of Mao, though less so today. Farms are collectively owned though farmers may sell produce freely for earnings and profits in sem-free markets, many industries are still collectively owned and even babies born are governed by socialist economic policy rewarding one baby families and backing penalties for infractions of the policy (China simply could not allow population growth to and the subsequent starvation to foster another revolution).

While China is open and receptive to free enterprise, and more so to free markets ( I noticed this week they announced their inten to allow the Yuan to float), their state still dictates what economic policies are good for China and her people and which are not, and it changes as the nation’s needs change.

China is rapidly moving toward the mixed capitalist socialist model of western nations. That is why China is such an economic threat. Their middle class is going to grow like ours did after WWII, but 6 times as big and 4 times (approximately) as fast.

As for China being fascist, you are quite mistaken. There is no single dictator. There is the people’s Congress which is acquiring greater power in increments from the politburo, or the governing inner circle of executives/advisors, who can be ‘vetoed’ by Ju Hintao, the President. This is a far cry from a dictatorship or fascist state as we knew it in Hitler’s Germany or Moussolini’s Italy.

China’s government today is actually pretty unique, and more closely parallels Plato’s Philosopher Kings, military, and merchants/craftsman tiers than any other society in history. Having not visited China, I can’t say from first hand experience, but what I have read of the nation today, it is still closer to Communism in government than Democracy, though it is changing, and as I said, their economy is moving rapidly toward the mixed model from Mao’s socialist/communist model.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 15, 2006 3:26 AM
Comment #140822

Betty, consider this. All who are born in America or become citizens after birth, derive the benefits associated with that exclusive membership, opportunity, societal support for achievement, and recognition for performance, and the freedom to choose the course of one’s endeavors, for the most part.

Economics dictates that only a small number will achieve great fame, or wealth, or power. But, for all that do, first and foremost, that fame, wealth, or power derived from citizenship in the U.S. and would have been less likely anywhere else all other things being equal. In addition, those who achieve fame, wealth, or power, derive the benefit of having their status protected by our laws, culture, and social structure, for the most part.

Consequently, those who achieve fame, wealth, or power in America have an exceptional debt to America for their status. There is no doubt that personal incentive, effort, and persistence play a part in folks achieving such status. But, it is also fair to say, that there are a huge number of circumstances beyond their control which also facilitated their rise to fame, wealth, or power, not the least of which is the fact that they are in the U.S. with all its protections, support, and infrastructure which rewards fame, wealth, and power.

To me, that success dicates an extra obligation back to the society that allowed such status to be achieved. Some champion causes they believe will support America’s future, some become philanthropists to support the many people who didn’t have the breaks, luck, or innate qualities and will that fostered their success.

But, when it comes to economics, the wealthy do have a moral obligation to channel some of the wealth back into the society to support the country that protects their success. And since government cannot seek to fulfill even its most basic functions without the capital and revenues to support those efforts, taxation is necessary. Who but the most selfish and self centered would not say the wealthy have a greater obligation in taxation than the less wealthy?

How to fairly assess that obligation is at the heart of the the tax reform debate. But polls are showing of all the plans out there, the flat tax proposal makes sense to the greatest number of people as being the fairest, because it insures that those most fortunate pay most, and those least fortunate pay least or not all if incapable. Under any moral or ethical system the flat tax comes up as the fairest.

But, taxation is a purely socialist concept where the people of a society agree to be taxed to support the needs of the nation as a whole, (not just themeselves). If they agree freely, it is very likely a democratic society. If they agree under coercion, then it is likely a less democratic society if at all. But, in this basic economic function of government, all societies are socialist in part as they extract funding from all who can pay, and distribute the proceeds to small groups within and without the society to meet the needs of the government and in many cases, the society as a whole.

In democracies, this inherent function of goverment mandates at the most fundamental level, that the people have the responsibility for electing responsible, ethical, and duty to the people oriented leaders. A responsibility that has been abdicated through ignorance or apathy by a majority of Americans. I say a majority because almost half don’t vote, and of the half that do, only a portion spend the time and effort to insure their vote is based on an informed choice about the candidate’s record, character, and history; using instead the shortcut of party affiliation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 15, 2006 4:00 AM
Comment #140828

[TMR Syndrome: Too Many Replies]

*sigh*

Still, I suppose it’s nice to be noticed (said the squaddie with the LASER-dot on his dickie)…

`Not possible to reply in-depth to ALL FOUR (large) posts - TMR… - but, for a short reply:

1.) Advocating wholesale redistribution of wealth according to the meaning of “From each, according to their Ability, to each, according to their Need,” IS Socialism, at its very heart.

2.) The government of the PRC operates (and operated even more so, as was mentioned in passing) much more like a Fascist Dictatorship than it did either a classically-defined Marxist Communist state OR (certainly!) a Modern Socialised Democracy.

3.) Modern Socialism IS NOT ABOUT either Collectivism or Nationalism. (Good Lord! How many times do I have to repeat this Self-Evident Fact???)

2.-3.[a]) Calling an Apple a Peach does not make it a Peach - especially when it is really a Turd. If Wishes were Horses then beggars would ride. Soviet Russia was neither true Marxist Communism nor was it any sort of responsible Socialism (however, the one saving grace of the Old Soviet - as any present-day Muscovite will tell you - is that they ensured food on the table and a roof over the head). Post-Mao China is not Modern Socialism. Socialism as it is practised (successfully) today is merely putting into effect the premise that no Government which does not serve the Needs of its People should exist. How many times must I repeat these Facts?!

4.) *GOD*, how annoying! >:o[

5.) Some good comments, esp. re.: paying for Fire Services, etc. and the nature of Taxation as a Social Responsibility.

Sort it out amongst yourselves, boys: it’s 3:20AM and I am destined for the Hair Salon tomorrow, so you’ll have to apply the above Reply to yourselves as best you can puzzle it out.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 15, 2006 6:30 AM
Comment #140845

David Remer,
Clearly, I did not cross off the military on my list. That means this is a job best done by the Federal Gov’t. We can’t have a discussion if you can’t even understand that. This is crossed off, this is not.

Basically the Feds should build interstate highways, manage interstate and international trade and agreements, and defend the country and our borders. Right now they do everything but that.

Posted by: David C. at April 15, 2006 10:46 AM
Comment #140850

David C., then why did you remove OMB and CBO from the list since these are the research arms of the Executive Branch and Congress to obtain data the costs of decisions, proposed decisions, and past decisions?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 15, 2006 12:11 PM
Comment #140857

David Remer,
The Federal gov’t was more effecient in the past without the OMB or CBO. It’s only when the Fed’s (i.e.: we the people) decide they must be involved in, and fund every aspect of our lives that those offices become “neccessary”. If the Federal gov’t only funded what the Constitution prescribed, minus the “penumbras” and fanciful tea leaf readings that socialists ascribe to it, those offices would not be neccessary. I suppose if you want to have a France-like, bloated socialist gov’t we can’t live without them (/sarcasm).

Posted by: David C. at April 15, 2006 12:57 PM
Comment #140869

David C., I suggest you research the purpose and function of CBO and OMB. But, I get your drift. You are libertarian in your approach, the government that governs best is the government that governs least. I can’t agree with Libertarians on one basic issue, our society is not simple like it was in the 1700’s, and we are not a nation unto ourselves anymore, but immersed in a global economic and political web of interdependencies, very much like our domestic institutions and cultural groups.

Libertarians have many great arguments for downsizing government, cutting spending, and leaving folks to fend for themselves. I have heard them all, and they sound good, until the details and consequences of such an approach are unfolded.

I am glad there is a libertarian influence on our government, it has the potential of checking excesses of which there are many. But, at the heart of libertarian philosophy is “me” and to hell with everyone else. That is a hard heart to acommodate.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 15, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #140876

rinehold please check your dates, the founder of taoism was lao-tze he was born in 600 bc. and the works date from the 4th century bc to the 2nd century bc. according to the scholars. Abraham father of the hebrews and islam and the christians faith was born in 2000 bc. and the hebrew bible was in full use and complete by 650 bc, according to the scholars.

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at April 15, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #140898

Betty

The system I advocate is free market, with rule of law and democracy. This allows to the greatest extent people to make choices in the products they buy and the choices they make. It taxes and regulates at a reasonable rate. Most economic decisions are made by firms and individuals within the realm of broad regulation. This system is a continuum. If you look at theIndex of Economic Freedom, the countries considered free, especially the top ten do these things. These are the places free market people like me accept as good places to invest. These are the places whose policies are most often praised by the guys at Heritage and AEI. You can call them whatever you want.

If countries use the market mechanism for most economic decisions, respect the rule of law in most situations, and have a reasonably representative democracy, I am happy. Notice, I don’t demand perfection in any of these measures, since I have never heard of any place that is perfect.

I don’t care what things are called or what they say they are. I judge only by what they do in real life. I have observed, however, that people who call themselves socialists or communists usually deliver poor results. I don’t know if there is causality, but there is corelation.

Posted by: Jack at April 15, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #140901

Rodney,

I know the dates very well, having been a Taoist for some 20+ years.

Lao-Tse did not invent Taoist thought, though he was one of the first to attempt to put it into writing with his work the ‘Tao Te Ching’. But that doesn’t make him the ‘founder’, indeed the philophies and principles he has made popular had been around in Chinese culture long before he was born. It’s like saying that Adam Smith is the founder of capitalism when we know capitalism has been around much longer than him. Or Karl Marx the founder of Socialism, when really the thoughts and philosophies had been around before him. The are just the people who made it popular to modern societies that was equate with the thought’s foundings.

Taoism came from Dualism, which was thought to have started in the 2000 BC range, hard to date as most of it is oral tradition, however even that was not the beginning of the Tao and the concepts of Yin and Yang. Before Dualism was Anamisim, which is over a thousand years older than that, but we know very little of how that might have been different than modern day Toaism.

Hope that helps.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 15, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #140903
But, at the heart of libertarian philosophy is “me” and to hell with everyone else

David, I’m surprised at you for actually perpetuating this myth.

Libertarians are almost all concerned about helping others and ensuring that those that need help get it. We just do not think it’s the government’s job to FORCE others to help through coersion and the rule of the gun.

It is when charity comes from the heart that it does the most good, sterile checks from other people’s hard work without their agreement does little to heal the hearts and souls of those who desperately need it the most.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 15, 2006 4:48 PM
Comment #140917

rinehold my point was not what came first the chicken or the egg,i like dates and timelines and according to the web taoism as a religion started in about 600 bc. it became oficcal in about 400 bc. your quote” religious that are nearly 5000 years old like taoism” is not a correct timeline. in the web religions in china no.1 animism 2900 bc. no. 2 dualism 2000 bc. no 3. taoism 600 bc. using your analogy i could trace abraham back to 3760 bc. and that was not my point. thanks Rodney brown

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at April 15, 2006 7:03 PM
Comment #140919

David,

China tried total socialism and it failed them, and so, they moved to a mix of socialism and capitalism, which is propelling their nation to the forefront as the economic giant of the future as America falters.

Let’s see. Tried socialism and it failed. Try some capitalism and get success. Somehow this translates to: socialism works! Yeah!

So, when I hear folks say capitalism is evil, or socialism is evil, without historical context or qualification, I just shake my head. Because socialism works in most nations in the world, right along side capitalism in those same nations.

I’m curious to know how much do you subscribe to the Green Party Manifesto, David. Because what I read from your party is essentially full-on idealist communism. Where is capitalism praised in the green party?

Posted by: esimonson at April 15, 2006 7:12 PM
Comment #140927

Adrienne,

kctim: “Anybody have any examples of ?socialism? in the US Constitution?”

Absolutely.
The Preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Where exactly did you see socialism here? Just curious.

Your definition of socialism is extremely vague. So vague, it’s almost as though you didn’t want people to know what it really is.

The definition of socialism is not “helping people” or “being nice”. Neither is it a sense of “being together”, the definition of socialism is control of the economy by the state. It is the abrogation of private property. It is elevating the state above the individual. It is the opposite of free market.

Socialism is a policy of having a ‘controlled’ or ‘planned’ economy. This is why it doesn’t work. It’s basically dictatorship. Sure the propaganda is that it’s a ‘dictatorship of the people’, but we all know how that turns out.

Health and safety laws have nothing to do with socialism. To attempt to define this way is dishonest at best.

Socialism is the opposite of capitalism because what marks socialist policy is not togetherness, goodness, and helping, it is a definition that that togetherness, goodness, and helping can only come from the state.


So what is capitalism?

Is it really anarchy as defined by those who don’t like capitalism?

Capitalism cannot exist in anarchy. Capitalism is really nothing more than the evolutionary product of civilization. One man grows wheat, another bakes bread. In anarchy these two cannot trade the products of their labor. They have to have trust and stability in order to exchange what they produce. Under capitalism the state protects private property rights so that trade can exist and flourish.

This was not planned out. Nor was is hatched in the mind of a Marx, or ideologue. Rather capitalism came about over thousands of years of trial and error. The genesis of capitalism is actually working together. Mutually beneficial and voluntary trade. Nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by: esimonson at April 15, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #140930

Betty,

Jesus had quite a Socialist Programme going: he provided Food, Education, and Healthcare to all who applied. And whereas he might have made a good living as a Court Magician or a Wine Merchant (if he set up his warehouse near a River, that is), he chose to practise amongst The Poor.

From each, according to their Ability, to each, according to their Need.

There is hardly a closer sentiment to that which he taught! Until the Pharisees - who were making a killing on the exchange-rate between Temple Coins and all other specie - caught him at it, that is…

Betty, Betty, Betty… where does it say that Jesus provided food, education, and healthcare to all who applied? Do you recall any gospel stories about Jesus setting up a welfare office? I don’t.

Again, Socialism is not charity. Socialism is an economic policy. Did Jesus send out tax collectors who didn’t take no for an answer and put those who didn’t pay up into jail, to feed the poor, give them education and healthcare…?

If you want to define the gospel as socialism, then at least get the gospel right.

When Jesus comes back, and is in charge of what you want to define as a ‘socialist state’ I will gladly submit to His rule. But as long as men are in charge, you can take your socialism and… well, you know.

Posted by: esimonson at April 15, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #140944

Ah, eric. Glad to see they let you out.

Posted by: Dave at April 15, 2006 10:13 PM
Comment #140957

Dave,

Well, you know with these Republican budget cuts, the asylums don’t have the money to keep you very long.

Posted by: esimonson at April 15, 2006 11:08 PM
Comment #140973

Come on. Does everyone take the Bible literally? Does anyone here support the concept of the Jesus stories being based upon multiple persons who lived within two to four hundred years prior to the commonly accepted time of Jesus? Roman records document three individuals executed in this time period for anti-government cult activity named Yeheshua (Jesus). There were a number of revitalization religions existing at that time who offered believers a more personal relationship with divine and espoused the principles found in the New Testament. If you are interested, look into the history of Essene and Hermetic cults.

At any rate, assuming that you accept the figure of Jesus was a historical being, I always thought that the food He and the disciples distributed was donated by wealthy supporters, making Jesus an excellent example of a text book socialist. He was redistributing someone else’s wealth.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 16, 2006 12:58 AM
Comment #140975

The genesis of capitalism is actually working together. Mutually beneficial and voluntary trade. Nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by: esimonson at April 15, 2006 07:35 PM

Don’t forget the development of stored goods. Trade couldn’t flourish until excess production and a means of storage existed (usually under the auspices of the religious hierarchy).

Posted by: goodkingned at April 16, 2006 1:07 AM
Comment #140980

I have decided to start my own religion and economic system. I call it gerglism. And it is good.

Posted by: gergle at April 16, 2006 1:27 AM
Comment #140986

gergle:

Just a suggestion, but people like religions with lots of holy days. Holy days = days off.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 16, 2006 1:49 AM
Comment #140995

gergle, that it was good? what year was the religion started? and your economic system what type was it?

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at April 16, 2006 3:51 AM
Comment #141013

Rhinehold, but, you have not followed libertarian ideology to its logical conclusion. Charity extends only as far as its monetary value will aid the most folks. Example, Soup Kitchens make sense in inner cities where $500.00 can feed 500 people. But, that charity will not extend to the 20 folks in the rural area, where transportation, storage, and preparation costs will consume so much of the charity and feed only 20 for approximately the same amount of money.

The Elymosenary system was an abject failure in America after the Civil War and the early 1900’s precisely because of this basic economic fact, leaving millions of rural Americans without any assistance at all until FDR. That is why regardless of intent, libertarian ideology is heartless when it comes to those whose conditions, geography, or ailments require a premium on charitable dollars to be paid in order to deliver goods or services which can stretch much farther amongst others in need elsewhere.

The folks in the Tennessee Valley would likely still be backward, uneducated, and short-lived were it not for the Tennessee Valley Authority and the power and economic changes it brought to the area. Charities would never have ventured there because dollar for dollar, they could have helped so many more in the inner cities pricing assistance to Tenn. Valley residents out of the charitable loop.

It’s not a myth. It is a predictable and demonstrable fact that the consequence of libertarian philosophy is reinstatement of the Elymosenary system which proved itself wholly inadequate to the task of humanity in Charles Dicken’s England and rural areas from Indian reservations to Tennessee Valley residents, to western farm and ranch rural areas affected by the dust bowls and depression.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 16, 2006 9:55 AM
Comment #141017

esimonson,
That is why the goal of America’a Policies should be to make Every American Self-sufficient not just the top 20% (ie Economically Viable and Financially Independent; thus, the need for such charity would be left to the “Stupidity found in Society” and that is regulated by Self-Nature and Man’s Law.

Yet, if I read the Republican agenda correctly wouldn’t that upset the hierarcy of “The Rich in Society?” How could they control the populace if they are not forced to labor just to sustain their Life? Wheither it was Jesus or The Founding Fathers of America that set free the Will of “We the People” maybe debated from here to eternity, but the fact that Right & True Freedom begins at the point where you ar no longer a burden to Society and Society is no burden to you is a real number in the real world.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 16, 2006 10:11 AM
Comment #141021
I always thought that the food He and the disciples distributed was donated by wealthy supporters, making Jesus an excellent example of a text book socialist. He was redistributing someone else’s wealth.

No, it’s a texbook example of charity without government involvement working.

The money given by wealthy supporters was DONATED, not TAKEN BY FORCE.

I’m sure if you ponder a bit you will realize the difference and why this isn’t socialism.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 16, 2006 10:36 AM
Comment #141022

David,

The examples you provide are nearly 100 years old, the world of today would much better equip to handle these types of situations. Organizations like Red Cross and Goodwill (to name just a small few) who do this type of work these days can use today’s technology to help many more people than they ever have before.

And no, I don’t think you’ll find most libertarians are anarchists. I’m not saying the government doesn’t have a place in providing certain necessary services and the most basic of welfare. However, I think we can both agree that we are WELL beyond that point in America today.

And when it does come to providing these services and welfare, it should be done at a much more local level. People from one state to another really do have different needs and expectations from their governments, why force everyone in the US to follow the same ham-fisted form of government? The whole idea was that the federal government provided the things that states could not and regulated interactions between those states while proving every American was BASIC human rights, as spelled out in the constitution. It is not there to make all of the states equal.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 16, 2006 10:41 AM
Comment #141028

Rhinehold, I agree with your last paragraph. But, the Elymosenary system of charity follows the same eocnomic rules it did 100 years ago, put the money where it can do the greatest good. That means not servicing those where aid to cost ratio is higher.

You can’t have it both ways, Rhinehold. Either you believe in supply and demand economic free market forces or you don’t. But to argue the government should not be in the business of social aid and charity and at the same time insist that charity will defy putting its dollars where they will do the greatest good is a contradiction.

Charity does not have unlimited resources but demand for its services is unlimited. Hence charities will put dollars to use where the greatest good can be achieved. The Government has, since the 1930’s demonstrated a willingness and ability to serve those in need which charities would or could not and until the last few years, it has been mostly a positive endeavor for our society.

Reality however dictates that our government cannot continue to support the breadth of social assistance programs it now does AND its tenacious adherence to deficits and debt as the solution. The solution must accomodate a halt to expanding social assistance spending, curtailing some of it, redirecting some of it, and increasing revenues to zero out the deficits, and soon.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 16, 2006 11:15 AM
Comment #141032

Henry, self-sufficiency does not exist today. A hundred years ago, a family could own land and produce all they needed to sustain themselves off that land. That was self-sufficiency.

Today, our society and everyone in it is extremely dependent upon 100’s of millions of others for their sufficiency. Our entire supply chain for goods and services required to live just a few days was exposed most readily in the Katrina disaster. When some folks can’t or won’t fulfill their role, others will go without water, energy, and food. This is as true for the wealthy as the poor.

Self-sufficiency today is a myth, most especially for the larger industrialized and technically advantaged nations. There a few, very few, tribes in the Amazon rain forest and down Australia way, who still have the capacity for self-sufficiency, but their days are numbered.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 16, 2006 11:23 AM
Comment #141041

David,
True, the idea that even Bill Gates is Self-Sifficient by the standards of a hunderd years ago is the fundamentail problem that faces both the Democrats and Republicans Parties Thinking.

No, the 21st Century must either see the Learning and Understanding of just why it is in the Inherent Best Interest to make everone who adds positively to the function of Society Economically Viable and Financially Independent or risk falling into the same pattern that has seen in all Super Powers that dot Humanity’s Written History.

Surely you and others would agree that Every Consumer should be able to afford the Lifestyle that they seek and have the financial means to enjoy it would you not? Hint: Ben Franklin did mention that Compound Interst would be America’s Salvation.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 16, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #141045

Henry, I agree that everyone should have the opportunity to provide their own basic necessities and if circumstances of the society or nature prevent that, the government reflecting the charitable good will of its people should insure those basic necessities if private charity can’t or won’t.

This is the new reality. Government cannot and should not replace private charity, nor subsidize it, where such charity can and will insure basic needs to those who, for events beyond their control, cannot.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 16, 2006 12:51 PM
Comment #141061

Rhinehold:

Re: socialist Jesus, I was just yanking chains. I actually don’t believe in a historical Jesus. I think the Jesus figure is like the King Arthur figure, a composite.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 16, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #141080

David,
No what is needed is for “The Market” to look at each Human as a “Consumer”. Than figuring a profitable way to deal with the different problems can be solve by a Roomful of Grandmas if need be.

Jack and others dp bring up a good point and if I am not mistaken it was known in the 60’s that “You have to Sing for Your Supper.” Or to put it n Layman terms; live a simple productive life consuming to the lifestyle that you can afford and enjoy. However, some of us want quality instead of quanity, but that cost Bid Bucks and it seems that some people still can not see that far.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 16, 2006 5:54 PM
Comment #141120

The nice thing about gerglism is I define it. It’s kinda like capitalism and socialism that way.

David gets the gergle for best new word “Elymosenary “

Posted by: gergle at April 16, 2006 10:41 PM
Comment #141128

gergle, not a new word, though spelling varies. Some spell Eleemosynary,: The source of eleemosynary is Medieval Latin eleemosynarius, from Late Latin eleemosyna, “alms,” from Greek eleemosyne, from eleemon, “pitiful,” from eleos, “pity.”

Not a new word at all, but, a very important old word, which correlates charity with pitiful and lacking dignity, and alms or begging.

There is a greater dignity when government provides charity to the truly needy and places ethical demands and responsibilities on the recipient such that the recipient may, in fulfilling those demands and responsibilities feel empowered in overcoming the need for charity and recapture dignity and pride through having fulfilled a contract for receipt of that charity. For then it ceases to be charity and becomes a contract for assistance fulfilled which all business, workers, and governments acknowledge as something of value.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 16, 2006 11:21 PM
Comment #141145

David,
Take a Cookie, because that is exactly why both the Democrats and Republicans lose the argument over our Societal problems. One side attempts to hand evert citizen “Life on a Sliver Platter” and the other side still want to block the reform that would lead Every American becoming Economically Viable and Financially Independent. And yes even if the Youth of the 21st Century pushes to the extreme of being Politically Unalienable Correct the ned for charity would still exist due to the Rapitalistic Nature of Man.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 17, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #141164

Jack Said:

The system I advocate is free market, with rule of law and democracy. This allows to the greatest extent people to make choices in the products they buy and the choices they make. It taxes and regulates at a reasonable rate.

More on that later, Jack (it’s 3:20AM here and time for Betty to go Beddy) - but for NOW, here are two of today’s Big Stories:

#1.) OIL PRICES HIT $70.00 PER BARREL

and

#2.) VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY GETS $1.9 MILLION TAX-REFUND


You were saying, Jack…?

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 17, 2006 6:37 AM
Comment #141167
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY GETS $1.9 MILLION TAX-REFUND

It was sure nice of Mr Cheney to loan the US Government 1.9 Million dollars in an interest free loan for a year, though pretty stupid on his part. You’d think he’d know better.

So, what do your stories have to do with anything we’re discussing?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 17, 2006 7:24 AM
Comment #141210
The real lie is that we are all equal. We are not. Some people are smarter than others, some people have a stronger desire for self-improvement. It’s a reality of life that the Socialist can’t accept.

Dunno for socialists, but french revolution guys wrote a quite longer declaration:

Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common utility.

One should be a fool to think that every man on earth are equals in all. It just take eyes to see how it’s NOT. Ones think it’s fair, others feels it’s the sad reality and, in a very utopian attitude, tries to improve it.
Choose your side. Call it how you want, I don’t care. But, please, try caring beyond yourself: it’s great.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 17, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #141213

goodkingned,

I don’t believe that true individualism is possible under a socialist system.

Nope.
Jungle, in the other side, is the best system for true individualism.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 17, 2006 1:34 PM
Comment #141225

David,I meant Elymosenary was new to me. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary.

Posted by: gergle at April 17, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #141231

Philippe:

You just read the first couple of posts, huh? That was an opening volley, don’t take it too serviously.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 17, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #141266

goodkingned,

I confess. Sorry if I missed the plot, reading 128 minus my two own posts take me some time…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 17, 2006 6:28 PM
Comment #141313

Rhinehold:

Cheney made that money largely by exercising Stock Options he maintained - remember, the 400,000 Halliburton Options he retained, as well as his “deferred salary” from that firm? When he was supposed to be avoiding a Confilct Of Interest, “or the appearance thereof?” And Halliburton is doing what, now? In which region of the world? Where who gave them the No-Bid Closed-Door Contract to go there? So that they could steal how many Billions of Dollars - by means of Non-Existent Employees and phantom “Paper Taskforces” and Overcharging and “Lost” Money - from what Iraqi Industry?

An industry which just topped out its Unit Price at an all-time record High of $70.00+ dollars/barrel.


Philippe:

Spot on! Allow me to translate for the benefit of our more Conservative readers:

GoodKingNed: “I don’t believe that true Individualism is possible under a Socialist system.”

Philippe: “On the other hand, if you want to maximise Individuality, there’s nothing like life in the Jungle…”

They want life in the Jungle, Philippe! They are Social Darwinists, after all. Unless and until they (and their friends) are indicted: when a Good Old Boy can no longer rely upon the Network, and is facing some sort of Personal Crisis, they suddenly become Secular Humanists…


David Remer:

Mostly spot on! I think you hedge too much at the contingencies surrounding a Moral Government: Compassion is not debatable, even by the so-called Moral Right, who are infamous for their hypocrisy. I want my government to be Morally Compassionate - as a matter of National Pride, if nothing else! :o) And governments which are morally compassionate are just better places to live. The wealthiest of their citizenry can say, “I know that people are not suffering just because I made a profit.” And the poorest are not ready for class-warfare because they can say, “My life might suck compared to what the Rich can have, but at least my government keeps me whole.”

And let’s face it, Conservatives: the greatest lack of what you call a “welfare state” is evidenced by nations which have experienced Food Riots. It doesn’t usually go well for the Wealthy in such events. The French Revolution comes to mind, with all of you Social Darwinists playing the role of Marie Antoinette. She had the sharpest barber on her block. Do you fatcats really want to Go There again?


On an Aside to KingNed:

I think the Jesus figure is like the King Arthur figure, a composite.

You’re wrong, Ned: the Romans were too careful Record Keepers for that. In fact, they were the most fanatically meticulous keepers of Records right up until the Third Reich challenged them for that title. (The Romans still win though: they lasted longer and had more Time - and even then with no luxuries such as the Nazis had access to: telephone, typewriter, tape, etc.) And both Roman and Judaean public sources confirm not only the end of Jesus’ life: but other events along the course of it, as well as the usual contemporaneous records.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 17, 2006 8:48 PM
Comment #141348

Ms. Burke:

The Romans have records of three Jesus’s executed within a twenty year span. None of them list either Bethlehem or Nazarus as birth place or fisher or carpenter as their occupations. Revitalization religions with similar beliefs were popping up like spring flowers at that time due to the repressive nature of the dominant religious and societal structure and it was a common practice to combine the exploits of cultural heroes into dominant archetypes.

Since I am unconvinced by your offhand assertion that I am wrong, we should agree to disagree.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 17, 2006 11:48 PM
Comment #141374

Oh man, why a lot of Americans keep seeing socialism as communism, and communism as socialism? Socialism is no exterme-leftism, it’s rather center-leftism. Socialism is the fulfillment of equality and care for the social weaker in a capitalist society. Between communism and socialism there is a world of difference.

Posted by: Ouwe at April 18, 2006 2:40 AM
Comment #141384

Thanks Ouwe.
I guess it’s due to the too usual black or white attitude: if you’re not with us, you’re a pinko!
Hey, guys, wakeup, cold war ended. Senator McCarthy is dead. Get over it. Now.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at April 18, 2006 5:26 AM
Comment #141392

Ouwe (and Philippe):

Thank you for your blessed Reason in an age of deliberate and mindless Madness.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 18, 2006 8:06 AM
Comment #141500

Betty Burke

Long live the Judean People’s Front! To hell with the People’s Front of Judea!

SPQR

Quintius Fabius Maximus, Cunctator

Posted by: mental wimp at April 18, 2006 4:14 PM
Comment #141519

Another snobbish liberal Python lover!
Nit! Nit!

Posted by: Dave at April 18, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #141582

Betty, you are absolutely correct to bring the revolution against wealthy aristocracy to light as applicable to the U.S. Many on the left and right are projecting that that is precisely where we are headed as globalization exerts ever greater downward pressure on real wages for blue collar workers and inflation eats inexorably into seniors fixed incomes, all the while the upper middle class and wealthier who can afford to invest in emerging markets will continue to accrue ever greater wealth.

This reality is setting the stage for 1) a voter demand in coming years for a protectionist president. Something we have not seen before, and 2) Some form of radical wealth redistribution scheme by voters over the next 24 years. Failing a wealth redistribution scheme that wipes out home foreclosures, senior parents lacking health care, and blue collar workers capable of sustaining a family on their wages, violence organized or not, will be the only option left.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 18, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #141651
Long live the Judean People’s Front! To hell with the People’s Front of Judea!

I’ve got The Sandal!!! I’ve got The Sandal!!!!!

:o)


Failing a wealth redistribution scheme that wipes out home foreclosures, senior parents lacking health care, and blue collar workers capable of sustaining a family on their wages, violence organized or not, will be the only option left.

David:

Jefferson proposed that Bloody Revolution might be necessary every Five to Ten years in this land, just in order to keep The People in control of their Government. (Of course, that was before he became President…) ;o)

“The Tree of Liberty is watered with the Blood of Patriots and Tyrants: it is its Natural Manure.”

Everything you mention: Real Wages and Buying Power, the increasing Gap between the Haves and the Have Nots, Global control of Governments by Multinational Corporations - it all points me towards the Bullet Box.

Because I am a Patriot, not despite it.

d.a.n. is right about Laziness in many ways: we no longer have the Guts to realise when it’s time to man the Barricades.

Liberté! Egalité! Fraternité! Give me Freedom, or give me Death!

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

I, for one, am long-past Ready.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 19, 2006 8:56 AM
Comment #141735

Betty,
While Outright Rage has guided Man in the Ancient World, Wars have been fought by Man over the difference vetween Right & Wrong. Nevertheless, America’s Forefathers & Founders gave “We the People” the exact same Civil and Constitutional Rights as Our Parents & Grandparents in the 70’s. Call it a Voter Revolution, but I want to here the first Child of the 60’s tell their Daughter and/or Son that they do not have the same Rights as the Youth of the 60’s.

Now, it is time to for Americans to speak out to The Elders and Powers-that-Be and request from them that the Youth of the 21st Century move the Public Debate back to what is Politically Unalienable Correct. And in order to prove that Point of Order in Public Debate, the Children of the 70’s need to step up so that “We” can Teach the Politicans of the 21st Century the difference between Right & Wrong as “We the Consumers.”

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at April 19, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #142215

In my opinion, Socialism failed because socialist leaders denied God’s existence.

Posted by: Michael Warner at April 21, 2006 6:53 PM
Comment #142262
In my opinion, Socialism failed because socialist leaders denied God’s existence.

Lol, IMO that’s the only thing they go right!

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 21, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #142323

There’s no Fascist like a Godless Fascist…

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 22, 2006 9:52 AM
Comment #142644

Socialism failed because it lacked Capitalism and Democracy to keep it honest and responsive to the people’s needs.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 24, 2006 5:51 AM
Comment #142693

Since when is Capitalism responsive to the “people’s needs”? Even Democracy only responds to the majority will, or in our case, to the donor’s will.

Posted by: Dave at April 24, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #142880

Socialism hasn’t failed.

It was never tried in such countries as the Soviet Union or the “People’s Republic” Of China.

In modern nations where it is in place, the Quality Of Life Index is greater than in the United States:


01.) Norway
02.) Iceland
03.) Australia
04.) Luxembourg
05.) Canada
06.) Sweden
07.) Switzerland
08.) Ireland
09.) Belgium
10.) United States

(UN, 2005)


Hitler said that his Party was Socialist; Stalin said that his Party was Socialist; Mao said that his Party was Socialist - all of them were lying, totalitarian dictators.

If I tell you an Apple is an Orange, will you continue to report Apples as Oranges, just because I said it was so?

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 25, 2006 5:31 AM
Comment #144458

Socialism failed because it lacked Capitalism and Democracy to keep it honest and responsive to the people’s needs.

Perhaps its more like: Capitalism is failing because it lacked Socialism and Democracy to keep it honest and responsive to the people’s needs.

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0429-26.htm

Posted by: Tim Crow at May 1, 2006 3:26 AM
Comment #145606

There is no “mix” of socialism and capitalism. It IS “either/or”.

Posted by: FrankTruth at May 5, 2006 10:55 AM
Comment #145607

Read “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” by Ayn Rand.

Posted by: FrankTruth at May 5, 2006 10:57 AM
Comment #183120

I think some people are missing the point. This essay is dealing with what happens when the STATE ITSELF is socialist. There is a big difference between socialist programs within capitalist STATES and Socialist States. There is nothing intrinsicaly better (morally) about Capitalism or Socialism, but when the “STATE” is the final arbiter (not only of who makes and gets what but) of what people “need” it is inevitable that when needs go un-met, people will find ways to get those needs met (legally or illegally in the State’s eyes) and there will be people willing to provide those needs (legally or illegally).

Capitalism sucks, but it gives people the choice to suck. ;D

Posted by: Jon M at September 21, 2006 7:25 PM
Comment #183124

Oh, and to Betty. Those are all nations containing Socialist SYSTEMS - not socialist STATES. Each is a full participant in the world capitalist economy. For those with standards of living (austensibly) exceeding the US, note their legal immigration policies and their illegal immigration policies AND patterns. If those places support standards of living “better” than the US, why is the #1 destination of foreign immigrants the US? In other words, there’s a big difference between what people SAY and what they do. If given a choice vastly more people come to the US than all the others COMBINED. Check here for immigration patterns.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/activities/09/gapacket05.pdf#search=%22where%20people%20migrate%22

Posted by: Jon M at September 21, 2006 7:43 PM
Comment #238594

Rhinehold, the slogan “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is only the slogan of the final product of a socialist revolution, a communist society.

The transition from a capitalist society to a communist one would involve an intermediate socialist phase. During the socialist phase, the slogan would be “From each according to his ability, to each according to his DEEDS”. That is, workers would be paid according to how much they contribute, and the quality of their production. This would provide an incentive for your selfish innovators. The only difference would be that there are no capitalists being paid for doing nothing more than owning a share in the company.

The aim of the socailist phase is to build up industry so that it can easily provide for the needs of society. When this happens, people would be free to do as they wish, indulging in the creativity that had been denied them when they were forced to direct all their energies to survival and petty recreation.

At this point society and culture would have changed so that the slogan “From each according to his ability, to each according to his NEED” can be realised. This means that people would no longer view work as a necessary burden providing labour to society and only asking for what they need to lead a comfortable life in return. All the profits of their work would go to the entire society, not to capitalist owners.

Posted by: Duncan at November 17, 2007 3:54 AM
Comment #292985

People probably saw the need for collective ownership when big corporations needed bailouts from collective kitties of the not so intelligent common people. A few people who made wrong decisions and drove economies to the brink of disaster had to be bailed out with the money of common people who were still being kicked out of jobs. I know bankers who were still paid millions while common employees were being thrown away. Millions of people around the world were finding difficult to pay bills while the bosses of big financial corporations were still leading a life of great luxury. We educate doctors with tax payers’ money and they work for hospitals out of reach of common people. People who pay taxes don’t have money to own a small home while people who feed on these taxes gobble up cities and send realty prices sky rocketing, who the hell gave a few men rights to gobble up huge pieces of land when common men dream of a home for a whole life??
I remember talking to a poor fisherman in my home town long ago who said, we don’t pay taxes for the fish we catch, who owns the sea and it’s creatures? It’s not just that everything should be nationalized, there should be laws in place to make basic things like water, housing and health care and food are never out of the reach of common people, at end of the day it is everyone in the nation that builds the nation and not a few people and they should not be allowed to unfairly gobble up a nation’s resources.

Posted by: humancommie at December 23, 2009 8:36 AM
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