Tuesday, August 4, 2009

McCarthyism is the opiate of the masses

by Cylinsier

Its time for a brief educational lesson. In response to the repeated and aggressive assertions that our President and by extension our government is on the fast track to Stalinistic regime (I've seen comments referring to us as the USSA on many a conservative political blog), I've decided to do my duty to the uneducated masses and break down exactly what socialism and communism are and why you needn't fear them like monsters under your beds.

Let's first make something crystal clear: Socialism is NOT communism. The two have related characteristics but they should never be confused as being one in the same. I will break it down into details, but the simple way to think of it is like this: socialism is an economic system and communism is a political system. Furthermore, though many tend to disagree, the two are not mutually inclusive as a rule. You can have either one without having the other. And whereas communism, like all political systems, tends to be fairly black and white (either you are communist or you are not), socialism exists on a scale. At one end of that scale is Laissez-faire capitalism and at the other is full one government ruled economy with many points of stability lying in between.

Socialism in its most basic form means that the economy is owned and run by the state or the workers. In ideal situations the state and the workers are one in the same. In a democracy, they are not exactly the same but through the power of the voters, the workers essentially control any parts of their economy that are controlled by the government. In a country like America, for all the kicking and screaming about social programs, voters have a privilege that many other nations do not afford their citizens; the right and ability to change who runs the programs and therefore the programs themselves. The political hardliners seem to get in a tizzy when they see programs they don't agree with getting more funding or vice versa, but this is in fact the will of the majority. If people really didn't like it, they would vote to change it.

Communism, unlike socialism, is a political system which is ruled by a single party. Its one of those "looks great on paper" systems that tends to fail every time it is put into place in the real world. This is because it leaves the door wide open for corruption. There is no doubt in my mind that communism is an ideal form of governing. The problem is we are not an ideal people. We are no trustworthy and we can not handle the type of power communism instills in us. The system is fine but it will not work until humans evolve. For the time being, it must be avoided.

Socialism, in measured doses, has its merits though. I can make the argument that China is a communist state with a ever increasing gait in the direction of capitalism. I think an equally stable argument can be made that the US is a democracy with a steadily maturing appreciation for socialism. What I do not understand is why this idea frightens so many people who do not have any understanding of what it means. I'm not talking about those that can debate the merits of capitalism over socialism on a scholarly level. I may disagree with them but I respect their opinions. What I'm talking about are the ones who hear the word socialism and think of the USSR. The two should not be equated under any circumstances save in text book footnotes that mark down for the record that the USSR at times claimed to be socialist. Read my definition of socialism above and then decide for yourself if the Soviet citizens ever had a say in what their economy did. Reach your own conclusion.

All I'm saying is that "socialism" shouldn't be a four letter word. When you hear "socialism," think of many of the programs we already have in place. Certainly many need to be reformed, but some are in good shape. Programs that are socialist in nature are the USPS, the FAA, the Interstate system, Social Security, the Peace Corps, the FDA, the FDIC, the CDC, the Department of Energy and the EPA among many more. Again, the nature of socialism is simply that the people own the economy. The agencies are a functional part of the economy. If you pay taxes and vote, you are part owner of them. Its that simple. Sphere: Related Content


Wesley said...

Blogitard…Your ignorance is breathtaking yet I see you have the capacity to define the argument the way you want and then defend the fa├žade you have created.

So let me break it down for you B-Tard. In a civil society the individual has a duty to respect the unalienable rights of others and values, customs, and traditions, tried and tested over time and passed on from one generation to the next, that establish society’s cultural identity.

In the civil society, private property and liberty are inseparable. The individual’s right to live freely and safely and pursue happiness includes the right to acquire and possess property, which represents the fruits of his own intellectual and or physical labor. As the individual’s time on earth is finite, so too, is his labor. The illegitimate denial or diminution of his property enslaves him to another and denies him his liberty.

You are expressing modern liberal ideals that stands on a belief of the supremacy of the state, thereby rejecting the principles the Founders put in the Declaration of Independence. For you, as you have so adequately expressed, the individual’s imperfection and personal pursuits impede the objective of a utopian state. So you are promoting what de Tocqueville described as a soft tyranny. Which becomes increasingly more oppressive, and usually leads to hard tyranny (some form of totalitarianism). The Founders understood that the greatest threat to liberty is an all-powerful central government where the few dictate to the many.

According to Marxist doctrine, socialism is a stage of society between capitalism and communism where private ownership and control over property are eliminated. The essence of socialism is the attenuation and ultimate abolition of private property rights. Attacks on private property include, but are not limited to, confiscating the rightful property of one person and giving it to another to whom it doesn't belong. When this is done privately, we call it theft. When it's done collectively, we use euphemisms: income transfers or redistribution.

Regardless of the purpose, such behavior is immoral. It's a reduced form of slavery. After all, what is the essence of slavery? It's the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes of another person.

The moral question stands out in starker relief when we acknowledge that spending programs coming out of Congress do not represent lawmakers reaching into their own pockets and sending out the money. Moreover, there's no tooth fairy or Santa Claus giving them the money. The fact that government has no resources of its very own forces us to acknowledge that the only way government can give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- take that dollar from some other American.

Can a moral case be made for taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong? I think not. That's why socialism is evil. It uses evil means (coercion) to achieve what are seen as good ends (helping people). We might also note that an act that is inherently evil does not become moral simply because there's a majority consensus.

And if you still have any doubts, socialism does not help the poor. Rather, it reduces everyone to the same lowest common denominator of poverty and misery, while at the same time drying up the very sources of capital.

And if you still can't see it...when was the last time you saw a boat full of refugees headed for Cuba? Did you notice how Hugo Chavez shut down all the radio stations last week? Did you see how China shut down the Internet during the Olympics? In your ideal state, this little circle jerk blog would be out of business.

Cylinsier said...

This is a very well thought out and well written response to my blog. It therefore saddens me that you are obviously far too stupid to understand the point I was making and have thus wasted probably the better part of your day writing it. I try as hard as I can to make the difference between socialism and communism clear. What I was advocating in my blog, since you missed it, is a mix of capitalism and socialism to create an economically sound nation.

What you did was write about 10 paragraphs attempting to insult my intelligence by arguing against my case for communism. Which is really too bad since I didn't make a case for communism. You sealed the deal by mentioning Cuba and China in your closing arguments, nations which are communist. If you'll kindly take the time to reread my blog, you'll note that I said that I already realized that communism cannot work for mankind. Hell, China isn't even strictly socialist anymore.

And finally, you proceed to argue with a whole lot of opinion and very little substance or fact. You make the cardinal mistake of most conservatives in assuming that you are somehow privy to the objective understanding of good and evil beyond all other humans who disagree with you. So while I applaud your effort and syntactic ability, I find your ultimate point to be dull and off target. I would like to invite you to read my post again, more carefully this time, and craft and equally entertaining response, this time to what I said as opposed to what you imagined. Thanks for reading and I hope to see more comments from you!

Wesley said...

You flatter yourself that I spent the better part of my day writing my comment. It took as long as it takes to wipe my ass which is a favorable comparison to answering your tripe both in its bouquet and vein popping joy.

True to form, you are a liberal elitist and rather than engage me on the valid points, you change the subject and attack me personally. The only time I mentioned communism was when I said that “According to Marxist doctrine, socialism is a stage of society between capitalism and communism where private ownership and control over property are eliminated.”

Admit that you just counted the paragraphs due to your ADD and wrote this answer based on what you thought I said.

Socialism has never worked and cannot possibly create “an economically sound nation,” because as I said it reduces everyone to the same lowest common denominator of poverty and misery, while at the same time drying up all sources of capital. This is not opinion. This is a fact of economic history.

Like I said, you are promoting what de Tocqueville described as a soft tyranny. Which becomes increasingly more oppressive, and that leads to hard tyranny (some form of totalitarianism).

Because I happen to use China and Cuba as examples you had the communism exorcist vomit seizure. As you adequately pointed out we are already on that slippery slope between capitalism and communism with some elements of socialism in our midst (the bankrupt Medicare and the bankrupt Social Security etc.) You advocate that these failed socialist douche-bag programs are not enough and we should try more of this fucked up shit and slide further down into communist hell.

Where was the fact in your argument? At least I have historical precedence that socialism NEVER works. Who do you think you are to establish some very sophomoric squishy shit definitions of capitalism and socialism, and then run off and make arguments based on that same steaming pile??? Nice try B-tard.

I do not pretend to judge good and evil for others but I believe there is a certain body of things that all people can agree are evil. So let me get this straight, are you saying that my judgment that slavery is evil is a controversial fringe conservative opinion???

Where was the moral judgment I made that places me above all who disagree with me, in deciding good and evil? Do you disagree with the assertion that you cannot make moral case for taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong? This is what we call “theft” until it is done on a larger scale and then we call it “redistribution.”

Do you disagree that coercion is an evil means to what are seen as good ends? In fact, is there anything where you will draw the line and say that one choice is evil and the other one is good? Probably not if you are an ethically void leftist fuck.

Ellipses said...

The argument that "Socialism never works" is bullshit. The United States is, and has been for sometime, a clever mix of socialism and capitalism. All modern societies are. Some to a heavier degree than us. The European Union, on the whole, is an essentially socialist body. Individual member states have varying degrees of socialist societies. The EU does fairly well, not despite this, but BECAUSE of it.

I absolutely can make the case for taking from one and redistributing it to others... Because we have numerous worth-while programs that currently exist that do that right now. Part of my tax bill goes to highways in Oregon. Part of my taxes pays for the helmet of a soldier in Iraq. Part of my taxes ensures that an 80 year old woman has her blood pressure medication. Part of my taxes pays for chemistry books for other people's kids. Part of my taxes pays for the trucks that put out fires on the other side of town. Part of my taxes pays for the food and shelter of poor children.

I have no problem paying taxes, so far as they are put to decent use.

Cylinsier said...

Well you know you've made it as a blogger when the assholes come out of the woodwork and go into a Limbaugh-esque rage. But I'm glad you came back, Wesley. I was worried I might have intimidated you to the point that you'd be afraid to return. I'll try to answer your points in turn and hopefully by the time I'm done, you will have had time to wipe the spittle off your monitor so you can read it.

First, if you want to have a debate with me, you ought to remember your manners and not refer to it as tripe from the start. What you should do is attempt to formulate a factual argument against it, and then once you have done so, you can call it tripe. By starting out that way, I already know that you have a blatant bias against me and therefore that your opinion is, well, basically unimportant. However, I'm not doing anything at the moment so I'll be kind and continue.

I always find it humorous when a member of the party of "more money for me" tries to call me an elitist. After all, is socialism not about "redistributing the wealth?" This seems to be a direct contradiction. I encourage you to pick one or the other option and stick with it; you'll have more success.

I only attacked you personally as a form of welcoming you to the blog! Kind of a digital gut check. That you came back proves you have the thick skin needed to roll with the punches. So you can be my friend now.

I'm a little surprised that you are trying to say you only mentioned communism once. Perhaps in name, but your entire argument was against communism, not socialism. You are confusing the meaning of the two words. A couple text books might help you clear that up since I'm guessing you aren't actually going to consider anything I say.

I'm pretty good with details, so I just made a rough guess at the paragraphs based on a quick glance. Was I accurate? And I sort of had to write an answer on what I thought you were trying to say since you didn't actually say anything relevant to my point.

Now we're finally on to socialism. You make another common mistake in saying socialism reduces everyone to the same level and thus makes everyone poor. This is how I know that YOU are an elitist. Only an elitist would find it troublesome to be considered equal to others. You judge your level of success based on how many people you can look down on instead of how you improve the world. Being equal does not mean being poor. Unless you're a neocon.


Cylinsier said...

You also seem to be under the impression that I am advocating a purely socialist economy. I stated, more than once I believe, that I was advocating a mixture of capitalism and socialism. To state that history proves your opinion to be "fact" is both egotistical and misleading. You cannot prove a negative for one, and all purely socialist states up to this point have also been communist. It is communism that fails, not socialism.

I'm not promoting tyranny because tyranny refers to political leadership. We are strictly talking economics here.

And gain, you refer to a slippery slope being between capitalism and communism. I'll state it again: capitalism is an economic system. So is socialism. Communism is political. You've taken Marx's statement that socialism is the stepping stone between capitalism and communism too literally. Socialism and capitalism are opposite ends of the same scale. They are not on the same scale as communism. To be politically communism, Marx believed you first had to become economically socialist. In truth, you can become economically socialist but you do not need to continue on to communism. You must try very hard to unlearn this misinformation.

I also find it funny that you refer to the programs I listed as "failed socialist douchebag programs." Well, maybe you should give up your right to drive on the interstate, send mail, or have that huge sum of elitist cash you seem to value so much be left uninsured in a pile in the middle of your bank. Since you don't think the programs work, why don't you spend a couple weeks without them?

Okay, then you have a paragraph of you basically getting personally offended by the fact that you don't understand economics. I'll just pass on this one.

I agree that there are certain things that we can all say are evil. Forming militant opinions based on incorrect information for example. I'm not sure where slavery comes into this, but I guess all you conservatives have black people on the brain because of the current President. I also do not know what you are asking me about imminent domain. And this argument about coercion seems to be coming out of the blue as well. Sorry, but I think you sort of derailed yourself here at the end. There are plenty of things that are clearly evil that conservatives are guilty of doing, but why would we even bother going into that? We were talking socialism, not morals and ethics. I didn't realize that advocating some of the programs that you use every day made me "ethically void."

This was fun but also a little disappointing. Once again, you obviously put a lot of time and effort into this response but you are for the most part talking about things that have nothing to do with my argument. You keep trying to pull me off the subject and get into fights with me over unrelated points while repeatedly displaying your lack of understanding of my original post. You're also sort of a dick, for no real reason that I can discern, so I can only assume that you are just a generally unhappy person with too much time on his hands who likes to find people to project his own personal shortcomings onto so that he can then role play as Michael Savage or Rush Limbaugh and fancy himself as smart as the radio tells him he is because he can spew bile and ignorance with the best of them.

Don't take that as an insult, though. You do pretty well. I am very glad that we've got our first crazy neocon commenter! You guys are a rare breed on the internet since most of you shun technology. Thanks for reading and I hope you got your monitor cleaned off. Don't go messing it up again too soon.