Do you want a socialist government? Would you have more or less freedom?

Discussion in 'Political Discussions' started by me again, May 17, 2018.

  1. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Full story:
  2. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    I wish that Kameleon Gillibrand would say that but she has not.
  3. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    How would you define a death that was "caused" by Socialism? Under that definition, how would it compare proportionately to deaths "caused" by capitalism?

    I don't think the answers are as clean as the writer of the article tries to make it when he just blurts out that Socialism is responsible for 100 million deaths.
  4. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

    I have voted in ten presidential elections and voted for the socialist candidate three times.
  5. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Paging Stanislav!

    Capitalism is not a political system. Properly understood, capitalism is not a system. It is government leaving people alone.

    Socialism is a political system. Socialism is force. Government force. It is not people voluntarily acting in collective fashion as they are free to do without socialism.

    Want collective health care? Form a cooperative with like-minded people and leave everyone else alone. Form a cooperative for anything you want done in collective fashion. And leave the rest of us alone.

    I think that socialism is every bit as dirty as anyone might happen to blurt out.
  6. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Why would you want to force some One True Way on every living soul? You don't like freedom?
  7. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    It will be difficult to deny that the USA is a mixed economy with a combinations of market capitalism and market socialism. Here are a few support, biggest spender on healthcare, biggest spender on prison system, biggest spender on food stamps, Medicaid and social security, biggest spender on farming subsidies, biggest economy, most innovative, best post secondary.
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    The figure comes from overt massacres, deliberate mismanagement, and willful negligence on the part of a number of communist governments, including:
    • 65 million in the People's Republic of China
    • 20 million in the Soviet Union
    • 2 million in Cambodia
    • 2 million in North Korea
    • 1.7 million in Ethiopia
    • 1.5 million in Afghanistan
    • 1 million in the Eastern Bloc
    • 1 million in Vietnam
    • 150,000 in Latin America
  9. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Short answer: No and Less.

    Decimon is right in pointing out that Kirsten Gilibrand never said (and probably would never say) what the quote in the OP attributes to her. It's from an opinion piece in the Washington Times by Bradford Richardson.

    Long answer follows:

    Having answered 'no' and 'less', I won't say that I'm a libertarian either, since I don't think that government is the root of all evil or that the solution to every problem is less government. Government obviously has valuable functions. The scope of those functions is the subject of constant negotiation, which implies that government is not yet totally monolithic and still has somebody to negotiate with. While government is not the root of all evil and less government the solution to every problem, the unchecked growth of government is a clear and present danger to liberty (and ironically, to liberalism in the older sense).

    The way I see it, socialism extends government control over more and more of human life (often for the best of motives, helping those who need help, eliminating unfair advantages, protecting the environment or whatever it happens to be). If people perceive a problem, many of them look first to the government and demand new programs and new laws. But however well-intentioned, that tendency ultimately leads to the powers in control getting more and more say over the small details of your life.

    Marxism seems to be the reductio-ad-absurdem of the socialist tendencies. The private sphere is reduced almost to nothing, the market is abolished and a single all-powerful Party is put in control of everything. Choice is minimized almost to the vanishing point. You live in government housing, you work for the government, you consume government-provided products and you only enjoy whatever freedom that government still gives you. Everything flows down from the aristocrats on top, rather than up from the bottom as in Democracy. So if the government goes bad, which it often does from the outset since it was installed by revolutionarics, you very easily end up with an Orwellian 1984-style situation.

    Even worse, despite the atheism that it wore on its sleeve, Marxism was deeply eschatological with its revolutionary apocalyptic final-judgement ushering in its classless kingdom of (no)God. Given the utopian dream of the future to come, it didn't really matter to many Marxists how many little people (reactionaries!) lost their lives today. They were just speed-bumps on the road to paradise.

    So millions of people died, in botched collectivization schemes that led to mass starvation, in labor/death camps in Siberia (the "gulag archipelago"), in the 'great proletarian cultural revolution', in the destruction of Buddhism in Mongolia and Tibet, in Tiananmen square, in the killing fields of Cambodia, and in countless other examples.
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  10. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    Many of these were dictatorships, depots, leftists, rightists, tribals, fascists, marxists, communists, super power proxies, and everything in between.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    "But that wasn't real socialism!"
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  12. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Well, if I understand the point of "Bloodlands", much of the 20th century in Europe was this massive bloodbath, starting with the "imperialist" WWI (which BTW Soviet propaganda liked to hold up as an example of the death toll caused by capitalism.) Marxism was just one of the banners people used.

    Of course, classic socialism (defined, once again, as public ownership of the means of production and more or less ban on private enterprise) as an economic system utterly failed, and the only way people tried to implement it was through one party rule, in practice a corrupt authoritarianism pretty much from the get go. But that's not how you fine fellows use the word, do you now?

    It does not take a genius to point out that a label people use to refer to the happiest nation on Earth (that's Finland), as well as to the industrialized world's capital of misery (North Korea) is not very useful. Used this way, it's an all-purpose snarl world used by the today's right (self-proclaimed "freedom" and "free enterprise" champions who nevertheless have no problem with prison-industrial complex, monopolies, and cartels like Big Pharma) to beat up on anyone disagreeing with them. Or simply pointing out that government action achieved a bunch of things in this country.
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  13. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    "Government leaving people alone" is every bit as unrealistic as "communism", and would likely result in quite unworkable society. Some might say places like Somalia are the closest to this.

    Yeah, except no one knows how this would work exactly. While nations had built all kinds of universal-coverage healthcare systems that work reasonably well, from public-option regulated competition (Germany) to single payer (Canada) to even fully socialized medicine (who said "Cuba?" Canonical example is UK's NHS). I KNOW none of this exactly "perfect"; demanding perfection in real world is a dishonest arguing technique. Marx's Communism and Ayn Rand's libertarianism are "perfect" because both are fictional visions that ignore (parts of) the way real world works.
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  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Some might, but only people who either don't know what they're talking about, or who are willing to mislead to "prove" a point, or both.
  15. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Well, the analogy is problematic, but way less so compared to bringing "GULAG!!!!11111" screams into discussions of some state-paid community college proposals or state-mandated vaccinations for public school enrollees.
    I gather that you know of no "real" libertarian paradise, then?
  16. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    This could be renamed Political and Philological discussions. I am a degree info success by embracing philosophy. I was already sold on DL long before DI.
  17. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Leaving people alone is not the same as anarchy.

    “The makers of the Constitution conferred the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by all civilized men—the right to be let alone.” -Justice Louis D. Brandeis

    Ayn Rand would bristle at your calling her libertarian.

    Insurance is voluntary collective action that worked quite well until government mandated coverage ruined it.

    And we've had mutual insurance companies and mutual banks and such. Voluntary collectives can work well because people can join or leave at will. With government dictated collectives you have no options.
  18. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Oh good, a potentially provable statement. When did it work well? Will you be so kind as to define "well"?

    Countering an irrelevant example with another irrelevant example, people who "leave at will" vaccination programs are the reason a child can still (potentially) get sick and die of measles in America or Western Europe. The thing should have been extinct for at the very least 20 years now.
    Another BTW: people can't join a mutual insurance company "at will". They should be able to afford a premium. Not a problem for most kinds of insurance, but is much more problematic given the nature of the product and the actuarial math involved in health insurance. Would a health cooperative be able to turn down or price out persons with pre-existing conditions?
  19. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    Well? Well, well is when people voluntarily buy in to an insurance plan. And they did.

    That is outside of the scope of insurance.

    Depends on the plan. They would vary and people would choose between.

    It should exclude people not seeking to purchase insurance until ill. Congenital problems can be covered in the parents' plans.
  20. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    My understanding is that there is no one definition of libertarianism. I once thought that I was a libertarian but I may not have after reading what it is to be libertarian.

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