Redistributing wealth is communism

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undertheradar
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Post by undertheradar » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:06 pm

Well, the mass media has always had a severe liberal slant... Fox and CNN not being there in the past... they are recent additions, so I thought you would be quite pleased. Then there is the radio... how many Rush's are there? I cant think of too many liberal talk-show hosts...

You said it pretty well though... "If the republicans were in any way succeeding (which you seem to be saying) then wouldn't things be different?" You are right... the Republican machine is broken at a fundamental level. Believe it or not, the US has been in a very conservative cycle since WW2. Once the communist threat was made an issue, the Neoconservative Mccarthyism movement took over for a long time. Many of the pro-union, labor backing socialist ideals that were implimented prior to this era were reversed. The past 50 years have been VERY, VERY conservative. The rest of the 1st world has gone more liberal, and for very good reason... yet we are still stuck in the mud. Fact of life: the higher the population density, the more liberal government must be. We are no longer an agrarian society where what one person does on their property isnt even within sight of the neighbors.

There are plenty of countries to go to that are more right-wing, as I have pointed out... America is hardly the 'right-wing' utopia, never was, never will be. If you want conservative government, there are plenty of Central and South American countries, as well as China, Cuba, etc... that are conservative dreams.

Calculus
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Post by Calculus » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:16 pm

To get back on point... Redistributing wealth is communism.

The ideal system is to be ruled lightly by a strong government. Its this thing called freedom, which you seem to be letting go of so easily. I cannot help but wonder what we thought would happen when we started to slowly but surely chip away at the foundation of this country. I'm not saying that this country cant be successful under socialism, but it would no longer be the icon of freedom that it as always been.
Fact of life: the higher the population density, the more liberal government must be.
It would appear that you contradict yourself here:
If you want conservative government, there are plenty of Central and South American countries, as well as China, Cuba, etc
Should China, which has a large population density, be on this list?

Anyway, wheels are now in motion that cannot be stopped... Lets hope that they bring us to a successful place.

undertheradar
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Post by undertheradar » Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:55 pm

I think you are forgetting that with 'personal freedoms' come alot of 'personal responsibilities and risks'. For instance, if we were all expected to buy our own health care w/o any government regulation or employer support, many would simply go without it because its too expensive. Some would be fine with this, but many who come down with an illness that is serious would quickly become bankrupt. Similar situations happen in other markets as well when the 'free market' is allowed to run its course. Monopolies form, consoidation of wealth, and economic feudalism persist. Countries with heavy agricultural exports like coffee in south america are like this... there is a 'ruling class' of those who own all the land, and the 'working class' which is 'allowed to live and work the fields'... much like share cropping. There is little to no opportunity for advancement because wage slavery is used. Sure, its a 'free market', but thats a bit like playing a game of monopoly where one person starts with $10000 and the rest start with $100. 'Free markets' are a myth... they are subject to supply and demand... production and markets... not so 'free' when you really look at it. The government may not control it, but other people, companies, etc still do. Like health insurance... opponents of a national system say many things will happen, that we will pay more because we will have to foot the bill for those who cant afford it. Wait... we already do that... its called medicaid, because most people CANT get employer based health coverage (many are elderly/retired, too young/poor, or disabled and would have no hope in a private only market). In the US, we also pay more per capita (thats everyone, not just those who pay) yet we dont even cover everyone. We pay almost 2x per capita as the highest cost socialized medical systems (UK). And while it is true that some cant pay their own way, it is better for society as a whole if everyone has access to see a doctor... even if they are a hypo, because seeing a doctor all the time results in preventative care which is loads more effective and cheaper than when that person ends up in the ER. Also, even though the government doesnt run it now... guess who pays for those ER visits by those who cant pay? The insurance companies. And guess who pays them? Those with insurance. So if its socialized through the government or the insurance company, does it really make a difference? Both have mehods of quality control and 'limitations of service' (socialized boob jobs...lol, but private doesnt pay either)... both are similar in almost every way, but I would rather be calling up a non-profit agency to argue a bill than a greedy insurance company that has share-holders to answer to and a 30% profit margin (while most socialized systems only have about a 6% operations margin).

Redistribution is not communism. It is socialism. Learn the difference. Under communism you would never have 'redistribution' because everyone earns the same regardless of productivity, achievement, etc. in the first place... as in, there is nothing to 'redistribute'. Socialism merely means that a group of people get together and decide how to spend their money as a whole... as in, a democracy. It still allows for higher earning and reward based on individual labor. If a group of people get together and decide to pay 10% taxes, or 90% taxes, its socialism. And Democracy, by definition, is socialism, because we the people decide how to spend our money as a whole, and how much we will spend together or seperate. Lets look at all the socialized systems we use... military to defend, schools to educate, medicare, police, fire protection, FBI, CIA, NSA, Justice System, etc. Thank GOD those things are socialized. Can you imagine having to pay the bill first to get the firemen to come out? Can you imagine a private operated police department system? Only the rich would have police protection, and those who cant afford it wouldnt get anything. The irony is that the wealthy areas often dont need the protection, but the poorer areas do. Its been coined the 'NEW White Man's Burden'... sort of a twist on the old use of the phrase. You simply cant 'wish those less fortunate' to go away. You cant demonize them as 'those people' (a subtle form of bigotry that the right has used to gain support for so long). If crime increases... who pays? The poor? Heck no. The rich end up paying more and more. The more you 'leave it alone', the worse the problem gets, and eventually costs even more money because its too little too late in the end.

The irony is that despite what you claim as 'less freedom' under more socialized government, the reality is that more socialized nations offer more opportunity to all their citizens. I already made the comment that it has been researched and found that the 'American Dream' (of starting with little and working up through the economic classes) is dying in America. It is actually easier to do so in countries like the UK, France, and Germany, and for many reasons. Sure, their Doctors might only make about 1/2 compared to here, but they dont have to pay half their income for insurance premiums, or be afraid that the next lawsuit could mean the end of their career. They are also likely to have had their med school paid for by this same socialized system... so they dont have $200,000+ in student loans to pay off. Getting into a good school is merit based as well, so a poor kid could make the grade and end up practicing at the top medical schools. Here? Not as likely. Sure, they pay more in taxes, but they get things like a 35 hour work week, more leisure time to spend doing the things that count (and because they rest better, the productivity of a German worker is higher than a US worker who works 50+ hours a week). They have so many things that EVERYONE needs, like healthcare or public transportation... without having to worry how they will pay for it. In this regard, they actually end up with more buying power, and pay less than with a private system. They may pay more taxes, sure, but they also have little other expenses to worry about. THAT is FREEDOM for ALL, not just those who can afford it like here in the US.

undertheradar
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Post by undertheradar » Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:17 pm

Calculus wrote:
Fact of life: the higher the population density, the more liberal government must be.
It would appear that you contradict yourself here:
If you want conservative government, there are plenty of Central and South American countries, as well as China, Cuba, etc
Should China, which has a large population density, be on this list?

Anyway, wheels are now in motion that cannot be stopped... Lets hope that they bring us to a successful place.
Uh, I did not contradict myself at all. China has alot of people, but alot of space too. You obviously base your 'facts' on 'opinion' rather than research, and should consider actually researching something before you end up making retarded assumptions. China has a rather low density... as it has a few large megaplex cities (where yes, there is more 'socialism' and liberal government to control such things like pollution and crime), but most of China is very rural and occupied by farmers.

China's population density: 138/km2 Most of Europe, including Italy, Germany, and Switzerland have higher population densities.

The traditional definition of right/left is how many hands are involved in government... ultra-right would move towards a ruling class and eventually dictatorship/monarchy. Left would be a pure democracy where everyone gets a say. So yes, any dictatorship is considered right. Some may argue that this is different than the perverse version offered in the US where right and left are defined as 'liberal' and 'conservative' (from a government interaction/control perspective), however, when you look at how things are interconnected, you will realize that they are actually very similar. A more liberal government does perpetuate a democracy, and a more conservative government does tend to support a 'ruling class', either through government or economic means (which too are related). You might think its absurd, but consider the Republican-Nazi connections... Henry Ford, Prescott Bush (GW's Grandfather), and several others, some still in both parties.

You want conservative government... okay... just go find a dicatatorship. Conservative enough for you?

Calculus
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Post by Calculus » Sat Feb 28, 2009 5:59 pm

First off, WOW, thats a lot of typing...
China, Cuba
Chinas pop density, as you said is ----138
Cuba pop density is ---------------------102
United Kingdom --------------------------246
Germany ---------------------------------232
Italy----------------------------------------193
Poland-------------------------------------123



Here, in the US... ------------a mere 31.

The average density of the WORLD (land only) is 45
Check for yourself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... on_density
Since when do we deserve the HIGH POPULATION DENSITY TREATMENT?

judge56988
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Post by judge56988 » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:41 pm

undertheradar wrote:
Democracy, by definition, is socialism, because we the people decide how to spend our money as a whole, and how much we will spend together or seperate.
I don't think this is a valid argument at all - take a look at this article, which nicely explains the different types of democracy. Nowhere that I can see does it mention socialism, far less that democracy is by definition socialist.
The Thatcher government of Britain was a representative liberal democracy but not socialist - at least not in the way of previous Labour governments, who had wasted millions of tax-payers money propping up uneconomic loss making nationalised industries during the 1970's. The rich were squeezed so badly that there was the "brain drain" - all the clever people left the country to work elsewhere. That period of socialist government was a disaster for this country.

A democracy could, for instance, stop welfare payments to unemployed people because, perhaps, the majority felt that too many people were abusing the system by claiming benefit whilst also working. They might also decide by a referendum to, for the sake of example, stop funding:
erssa wrote: talentless artists, gay animal sanctuarys, fold dance festivals and other useless projects, religious baby factories through child benefits, lazy, freeloading, career unemployed people etc.
My point is that in a democracy in the purest sense, everything would be decided by referendum enabling all those eligible to vote to have their say on every issue. My feeling is that this would lead to a form of "mob rule" and a less socialist state where the poorest ended up being much worse off. Also a representative democracy can be non-socialist if the majority of representatives feel so inclined. (While the inclination of those representatives depends on the prevailing public opinion at the time of their election)

Another "fact" is that the amount of money being spent by Western European governments on such things as pensions, medical care and social security has become unsustainable. There are fewer people working and paying taxes whilst the post war baby boom bulge in the population is approaching retirement age and as has already been said, they are living longer, thus requiring a great deal more cash for their pensions and care.

In fact, I think our whole (Western) way of life is unsustainable; and at number one in the unsustainability charts is... the US. This current economic crisis is, I fear, just the beginning.
undertheradar wrote: The irony is that despite what you claim as 'less freedom' under more socialized government, the reality is that more socialized nations offer more opportunity to all their citizens. I already made the comment that it has been researched and found that the 'American Dream' (of starting with little and working up through the economic classes) is dying in America. It is actually easier to do so in countries like the UK, France, and Germany, and for many reasons. Sure, their Doctors might only make about 1/2 compared to here, but they dont have to pay half their income for insurance premiums, or be afraid that the next lawsuit could mean the end of their career. They are also likely to have had their med school paid for by this same socialized system... so they dont have $200,000+ in student loans to pay off. Getting into a good school is merit based as well, so a poor kid could make the grade and end up practicing at the top medical schools. Here? Not as likely. Sure, they pay more in taxes, but they get things like a 35 hour work week, more leisure time to spend doing the things that count (and because they rest better, the productivity of a German worker is higher than a US worker who works 50+ hours a week). They have so many things that EVERYONE needs, like healthcare or public transportation... without having to worry how they will pay for it. In this regard, they actually end up with more buying power, and pay less than with a private system. They may pay more taxes, sure, but they also have little other expenses to worry about. THAT is FREEDOM for ALL, not just those who can afford it like here in the US.
Makes me wonder if you have ever actually been to Europe, let alone lived there!

undertheradar
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Post by undertheradar » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:13 pm

judge56988 wrote:
undertheradar wrote:
Democracy, by definition, is socialism, because we the people decide how to spend our money as a whole, and how much we will spend together or seperate.
I don't think this is a valid argument at all - take a look at this article, which nicely explains the different types of democracy. Nowhere that I can see does it mention socialism, far less that democracy is by definition socialist.
The Thatcher government of Britain was a representative liberal democracy but not socialist - at least not in the way of previous Labour governments, who had wasted millions of tax-payers money propping up uneconomic loss making nationalised industries during the 1970's. The rich were squeezed so badly that there was the "brain drain" - all the clever people left the country to work elsewhere. That period of socialist government was a disaster for this country.

A democracy could, for instance, stop welfare payments to unemployed people because, perhaps, the majority felt that too many people were abusing the system by claiming benefit whilst also working. They might also decide by a referendum to, for the sake of example, stop funding:
erssa wrote: talentless artists, gay animal sanctuarys, fold dance festivals and other useless projects, religious baby factories through child benefits, lazy, freeloading, career unemployed people etc.
My point is that in a democracy in the purest sense, everything would be decided by referendum enabling all those eligible to vote to have their say on every issue. My feeling is that this would lead to a form of "mob rule" and a less socialist state where the poorest ended up being much worse off. Also a representative democracy can be non-socialist if the majority of representatives feel so inclined. (While the inclination of those representatives depends on the prevailing public opinion at the time of their election)

Another "fact" is that the amount of money being spent by Western European governments on such things as pensions, medical care and social security has become unsustainable. There are fewer people working and paying taxes whilst the post war baby boom bulge in the population is approaching retirement age and as has already been said, they are living longer, thus requiring a great deal more cash for their pensions and care.

In fact, I think our whole (Western) way of life is unsustainable; and at number one in the unsustainability charts is... the US. This current economic crisis is, I fear, just the beginning.
undertheradar wrote: The irony is that despite what you claim as 'less freedom' under more socialized government, the reality is that more socialized nations offer more opportunity to all their citizens. I already made the comment that it has been researched and found that the 'American Dream' (of starting with little and working up through the economic classes) is dying in America. It is actually easier to do so in countries like the UK, France, and Germany, and for many reasons. Sure, their Doctors might only make about 1/2 compared to here, but they dont have to pay half their income for insurance premiums, or be afraid that the next lawsuit could mean the end of their career. They are also likely to have had their med school paid for by this same socialized system... so they dont have $200,000+ in student loans to pay off. Getting into a good school is merit based as well, so a poor kid could make the grade and end up practicing at the top medical schools. Here? Not as likely. Sure, they pay more in taxes, but they get things like a 35 hour work week, more leisure time to spend doing the things that count (and because they rest better, the productivity of a German worker is higher than a US worker who works 50+ hours a week). They have so many things that EVERYONE needs, like healthcare or public transportation... without having to worry how they will pay for it. In this regard, they actually end up with more buying power, and pay less than with a private system. They may pay more taxes, sure, but they also have little other expenses to worry about. THAT is FREEDOM for ALL, not just those who can afford it like here in the US.
Makes me wonder if you have ever actually been to Europe, let alone lived there!


I have lived in the UK and Germany. I go to Austria on business, and visit family in Germany, Poland, UK, and Czech Republic. I have been to France, Italy, Denmark, and Holland, and a couple others as well. I am a regular on several political sites in the US... I often get set up in debates against Libertarians... which in the US have come to be known as the opposite as the rest of the world.

You spent the first part of that talking about how you dont think democracy being socialist is valid... okay. Then you mention the Thatcher government, which by the way, IS socialist (and the UK is still considered one of the most socialist countries in the purest sense of the term socialist). No, Its not an argument based on anything here, just what I am bringing to the table. Much of the 'given information' here is flawed. The OP doesnt know the difference between socialism and communism, and many here have the perverse American interpretations of words like socialist, right-wing, and left-wing.

Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown, both members of the Labour party, right? And the Labour party is part of the larger international political party known as... da da da... SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL!!! In the US it is known as the DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA!

Your link points to the different forms of democracy... great. You cant find a 'type' of democracy which is socialist, THEY ALL ARE. I defined socialism a post or two back. Since WW2, the neoconservative movement in the US (which bled into other countries Im afraid) equated socialism with communism and dictatorships... which is not true.

What you talk about with direct referendums is the basis for why we do not have, nor want a 'pure democracy'. The US is actually a 'representative republic', to prevent the 'tyranny of the majority'.... or 'mob rule' as you say. But those representatives still represent the people's will... if they didnt they would be voted out of office. So ithe US government is a little right of not only communism, but also a pure democracy (same with UK). If we had representatives that didnt have to listen to the people on a regular basis, that would be a more conservative/right-wing government. But based on the ideal that this is a government 'for the people by the people', and that 'all men are created equal' and that everyone here gets to vote for our represented officials, well... we are more left wing, or socialist, right off the bat. Once again, the simplest definition of socialism is 'when people come together as a group to decide how to spend their money'. This means everyone spending has a vote... its a 'pooling' of sorts. Even if you get together and decide to only spend 1% of your income together for government, that is still socialism because it is something decided together, and could have been 99%.

Perhaps you should look up some definitions of socialism (from a good, unbiased source like a history book). Many 'socialist' republics, like China and USSR, NEVER WERE actually socialist because the ruling body that was in charge of the revolutions in those countries (as well as Cuba), never actually turned over the power back to the people (which was the original plan, but they got a taste of power...). A dictatorship, by definition, can not be socialist. But when we hear 'socialist', we start thinking 'Russia' or 'China'... because thats what the western world did to demonize them (a Nazi tactic that the Neoconservatives and McCarthyists borrowed).

Look at what 'socialized medicine' means. Look at how all of our government systems like the military, police, and fire protection are also socialized, and you start to get an idea of what socialism really is. If enough people decided they didnt need fire protection anymore (maybe all homes will be fireproof or something), they would get together and cut that program and the taxes related to it, and that as well would be socialism.

I think many here have a distorted view of what socialism really is.

I also think many here equate right and left with conservative vs. liberal, which is not exactly correct, although related. The classical or 'international' definition of how right or left a government is based on how many people participate in it... what percentage of people have a say in government. The ideal in the US is that everyone has a say, which means far left right off the bat. We temper that with representation, but overall, hey... anyone can run for office, and everyone has a vote as to who those officials are... and sometimes we do have direct referendums (often at state level) on issues.

Now here is the twist that I think will floor many here. I do not consider either major party in the US to be more or less conservative than the other... or, if anything, I consider the Democrats to be the conservatives for many reasons, including spending.

Dems get painted as 'tax and spend' liberals, yet of the past 4 presidents, 3 being republicans, only Clinton actually could even claim he balanced the budget and came up with a $200 billion surplus. Rappin' Ronald Reagan ran up about an equal deficit, Bush Sr. about 2x as much, and Bush Jr... well... we still dont know. Obama might get viewed as a 'tax&spend' liberal, but thats because Bush has left the country in economic shambles... had some 'balance' been used earlier on to prevent this crisis, Obama wouldnt be put in this position. So despite the republican's claims of being fiscal conservatives, the Dem's are the real fiscal conservatives. And maybe with a more pro-active, slightly liberal government, we can avoid disasters (because Americans are America's worst enemy)... spend a little up front to prevent mass disaster later. It seems to me thats a better plan than what the conservatives have... 'do nothing until its too late then pick a fight with someone to solve it'. But really, overall, it could be said that both parties spend about the same... its just a matter if you would prefer that money be put into making military weapons and fighting overseas, or if you would rather have a more conservative foreign policy and spend the money on the homefront.

Bin Laden did what he set out to do... he knew he wouldnt hurt the US in a direct confrontation, but he has made the population at large 'scared' enough that we are jumpy, flaky, and fearfull of everything much more than before. He suckered us into a battle that he knew we couldnt easily win, and now we are stuck... spent tons of money on minimal results, and meanwhile our roads are falling apart, banks are going under, and business is moving away. In the end Bin Laden has hurt us the best way he could... economically. If you disagree with me... think about this: if that airplane that went down last month killing almost 100 people had been a 'terrorist related incident'... tell me that the crap wouldnt have hit the fan! Its sad that without it those people aren't remembered in the same way, but really, had that been an attack on our soil... another airplane attack almost a decade after 9/11, I think the American public would have 'lost it' and the stock market would crash again overnight.

I agree that the 'western way of life' is not sustainable... not in its current form. We need to quit sending $1 billion to the middle east everday for oil for starters.

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Post by Techno Pride » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:00 am

For those who're against sharing wealth with lazy people, smokers and other "non-deserving" people of society, have you considered the likelihood of yourself being caught in a situation where you might also require the benefits? It's just a bit strange that anyone would claim that they have full control over outcomes in their own lives.

Since state welfare is similar to insurance with regards to the concept of self-sufficience and risk pooling...A common excuse I've heard for not buying life insurance: "i won't get cancer, everything will be fine for me. Why should I pay for those who lead unhealthy lifestyle or make fraudulent claims?". They save 5% of monthly income if they don't buy insurance, in exchange for the ??? % likelihood of savings being emptied and bankruptcy in event of serious illness. I've heard stories of hospitals telling sick people to F O (politely, of course) because they couldn;t pay the surgery deposit. Sure, you don't drink, you don't smoke, you exercise regularly...and you're sure you read the ingredient list of every food you consume and the air you breathe in is clean. I'm pretty sure no one asks for the ingredient list when they dine out at a restaurant, even then you can't tell if the milk has been laced with melamine.

Similar to state welfare systems, insurance risk-pooling is subject to fraud. Most states/countries and insurers probably need to improve their fraud detection and prevention methods, but that's another story. Let's analyze the cons of self-insuring and risk-pooling.

Risk pool -> contribute $ to non-deserving people and fraud
Self-insure -> bankruptcy if costs > savings

Remember, every decision comes with its consequences. While we like to think of the benefits we get from taking an action, have the drawbacks been taken into account?

While you're looking into your crystal ball, mind sharing the winning number for next week's lottery?

All I'm asking is for you to consider the likelihood and consequences should your beliefs and actions turn against you.
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judge56988
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Post by judge56988 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:11 am

Undertheradar, Isn't this argument about semantics?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Socialism as:
"a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange"
This is still the popular perception of what Socialism is. You talk about "Socialism" in it's purest sense but I believe you are talking about socialism in a more modern way - without the capital S if you like. Socialism began during the industrial revolution when the workers believed that it was not right that the factory owners were getting extremely wealthy and they were not. It was the foundation of Marxism and Communism. Marx took it to another level. It's core belief is that the state should control industry and profits (if any) should benefit the country as a whole. Granted, it does differ from Communism in that it allows for workers to be paid differently according to what they do.
What you are now calling "socialist" government is far removed from what most people see Socialism as traditionally being - it is government with a greater or lesser degree of social concern, as in caring for the sick, old, unemployed etc. This could be democratic capatalist or even a benevolent dictatorship. So yes, Socialism in it's original sense is democratic but I maintain that democracy is not by definition "Socialist".
Socialism in it's original form, has I think proved to be a failure. In the Soviet Union the people lost their freedom of choice and the country became a totalitarian state based on a socialist model. In the UK the socialist policies led to inefficient state run industry that could not compete in the world market. (Look at the British car industry in the 1970's!) Perhaps Socialism could be successful if it were worldwide and if all humans had a concientious work ethic and were by nature not so competitive and greedy. As a system though, it makes it too easy for what Richard Dorkin would call the "parasites" in society to thrive which ultimately leads to it's failure.

Welfare systems are an integral part of a modern, humane society; but they have to be sustainable and as Techno Pride has just said, less open to abuse. I don't think anybody with any kind of humanity will object to the old, sick and poor benefiting from welfare, because as many posters have pointed out, any one of us might fall on hard times and need the state to help us.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:19 am

A society only succeeds in the long term if there is no under class.

I leave it to you to figure out what that means.
Sincerely, Neil
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Post by judge56988 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:15 am

NeilBlanchard wrote:A society only succeeds in the long term if there is no under class.

I leave it to you to figure out what that means.
I have to disagree here. All societies through history have had an underclass of one kind or another and a lot of those societies have thrived for centuries. Some kind of a class/caste system is a natural state of affairs for humans. We are not all born equal, contrary to what some might wish were otherwise. We are competitive, we gang up on the weak, we ostracize those that are different...the list goes on. What enlightened humanist people are trying to do these days is change the world; to get everyone to live together happily, sharing and eking out their limited resources, feeding the millions of Africans who can't grow enough food for themselves because they live in an overpopulated desert...again, the list goes on.
You want to live in harmony with nature, so why try to constantly battle human nature?

There are ignorant [curse deleted] out there who WILL take your charity and then smile while they stab you and steal your wallet as well; and the pity of it is that they want to live like that. They want to be outside society - it's their nature, just like it's your nature Neil, to look for the best in everyone and to be eco friendly, in short, to care!

Two single tickets to Utopia please.

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Post by undertheradar » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:46 am

judge56988 wrote:Undertheradar, Isn't this argument about semantics?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Socialism as:
"a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange"
This is still the popular perception of what Socialism is. You talk about "Socialism" in it's purest sense but I believe you are talking about socialism in a more modern way - without the capital S if you like. Socialism began during the industrial revolution when the workers believed that it was not right that the factory owners were getting extremely wealthy and they were not. It was the foundation of Marxism and Communism. Marx took it to another level. It's core belief is that the state should control industry and profits (if any) should benefit the country as a whole. Granted, it does differ from Communism in that it allows for workers to be paid differently according to what they do.
What you are now calling "socialist" government is far removed from what most people see Socialism as traditionally being - it is government with a greater or lesser degree of social concern, as in caring for the sick, old, unemployed etc. This could be democratic capatalist or even a benevolent dictatorship. So yes, Socialism in it's original sense is democratic but I maintain that democracy is not by definition "Socialist".
Socialism in it's original form, has I think proved to be a failure. In the Soviet Union the people lost their freedom of choice and the country became a totalitarian state based on a socialist model. In the UK the socialist policies led to inefficient state run industry that could not compete in the world market. (Look at the British car industry in the 1970's!) Perhaps Socialism could be successful if it were worldwide and if all humans had a concientious work ethic and were by nature not so competitive and greedy. As a system though, it makes it too easy for what Richard Dorkin would call the "parasites" in society to thrive which ultimately leads to it's failure.

Welfare systems are an integral part of a modern, humane society; but they have to be sustainable and as Techno Pride has just said, less open to abuse. I don't think anybody with any kind of humanity will object to the old, sick and poor benefiting from welfare, because as many posters have pointed out, any one of us might fall on hard times and need the state to help us.
That definition is very similar to the definition I gave. The one I gave was a little simpler and inclusive. The one you give 'isnt always correct'. Consider many of the socialized systems and how that definition doesnt apply. The one thing that gets left out of that definition is that the community may opt for less control and more choice... sort of a 'even by not making a choice you still have made a choice' situation.

Socialism started long before the industrial revolution. I think you are blending Soviet/Marxism with Socialism. Those examples were never true socialism because the community never had a say... only the dictator did. The results had nothing to do with the 'socialist model' or any ideals presented by Lenin or Marx.

As for democracy not being socialism? How so? A democracy is also a community that decides how that same community "as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange". The fact that they may decide to only regulate 1% or 99% of what can be regulated is beside the fact. People under past and present forms of socialism still have had their own 'spending money' after all.

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Post by undertheradar » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:58 am

judge56988 wrote:
NeilBlanchard wrote:A society only succeeds in the long term if there is no under class.

I leave it to you to figure out what that means.
I have to disagree here. All societies through history have had an underclass of one kind or another and a lot of those societies have thrived for centuries. Some kind of a class/caste system is a natural state of affairs for humans. We are not all born equal, contrary to what some might wish were otherwise. We are competitive, we gang up on the weak, we ostracize those that are different...the list goes on. What enlightened humanist people are trying to do these days is change the world; to get everyone to live together happily, sharing and eking out their limited resources, feeding the millions of Africans who can't grow enough food for themselves because they live in an overpopulated desert...again, the list goes on.
You want to live in harmony with nature, so why try to constantly battle human nature?

There are ignorant [curse deleted] out there who WILL take your charity and then smile while they stab you and steal your wallet as well; and the pity of it is that they want to live like that. They want to be outside society - it's their nature, just like it's your nature Neil, to look for the best in everyone and to be eco friendly, in short, to care!

Two single tickets to Utopia please.
You are correct, there are several societies that have had class and caste systems... I suppose that includes slavery as well. So I guess slave societies are justified as well??? Your argument doesnt hold water.

OTOH, success of a society is not determined by how well SOME do, but by how everyone does. Otherwise the underclass is still a burden that will limit the upper.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_sgpq1P_iA

"A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying,"
~Pope John Paul II

This is one of many similar quotes about how a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. Keep that in mind when you start spreading your right-wing 'apathy is part of society' viewpoint... something the Republicans and other right-wingers took right out of the Nazi playbook after WW2 (because we decided that the communists were the next big problem, and who had the most experience spreading propaganda and fighting the commies before? The Nazis.) Be careful of your bigotry, you might be subject to it yourself someday.

There is another one by Warren Buffett, I cant seem to find right now... but it goes something like this: Lets say you get to make the rules of society before you are born... taxes, government, economics, etc... but then the catch is that you dont know where/how you will be born... which country you will live in, how rich or poor, black or white, disabled or healthy, etc. How would this change your 'rules' then?

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Post by blackworx » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:29 am

Undertheradar: Given that "socialist" is the word that is used by those whose manifesto is broadly described by judge's quoted dictionary definition to describe themselves, regardless of the distinction made many times over by yourself, I'd have to say I'm with judge on the semantics thing. I got to a certain point in your (very well written I might add) posts and thought the same thing myself. Mind you, any effort to undo the demonization the word has suffered is alright in my book, after all in common usage it is practically a pejorative term, to be uttered alongide words like "pinko", "hippie" and "commie".

I'm very much with you on your characterisation of the right vs left debate in western politics, but I'd have to join in and say that from your description of European style government it seems you have a very rose-tinted view of life on this side of the pond. For instance, I know many doctors and not one of them has the luxury of a 35 hour week. That's not to argue right or wrong; despite our social care system's many, many failings I believe very strongly in it and am glad to hear a non-US-centric US voice arguing in support of the ideal.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:05 am

Hi,

Of course there are folks who tend to live outside the law. But, the point I'm trying to make is, the structure of a society (based on a good Constitution, like the USA has) must be able to have folks who are not born into priviledge at the very least need to have their rights protected, and better yet, they need to be able to improve their situation.

Otherwise, revolution or some other upheaval will bring down/change the society.

Any good Constitution must protect the rights of the minority (or less powerful) from the tyranny of the majority (or the more powerful). Nothing Utopian about that! Just practical realism.
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

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Post by judge56988 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:23 pm

undertheradar wrote: That definition is very similar to the definition I gave. The one I gave was a little simpler and inclusive. The one you give 'isnt always correct'. Consider many of the socialized systems and how that definition doesnt apply. The one thing that gets left out of that definition is that the community may opt for less control and more choice... sort of a 'even by not making a choice you still have made a choice' situation.
Oh, so "my" definition isn't always correct? Better tell that to the publishers of the OED. No doubt they will want to consult you on the REAL meaning of lots of other words too. The words arrogant and prick spring to mind...wonder what they mean in this context?
undertheradar wrote: You are correct, there are several societies that have had class and caste systems... I suppose that includes slavery as well. So I guess slave societies are justified as well??? Your argument doesnt hold water.
Why don't you read what I have written? I did not mention slavery, I said that societies with class systems had thrived for hundreds of years. Now that you mention it, slavery has been an integral part of many successful societies for several thousand years. I am taking a societies "success" to be a measure of it's longevity and it's legacy in terms of art, science, philosophy etc. I am thinking specifically of the Romans, Egyptians, Ancient Greeks and even the Victorian era in Britain.
undertheradar wrote: This is one of many similar quotes about how a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. Keep that in mind when you start spreading your right-wing 'apathy is part of society' viewpoint... something the Republicans and other right-wingers took right out of the Nazi playbook after WW2 (because we decided that the communists were the next big problem, and who had the most experience spreading propaganda and fighting the commies before? The Nazis.) Be careful of your bigotry, you might be subject to it yourself someday.
Again, try reading what I have written. What are you talking about? I am not putting forward any right or left wing doctrine, I am saying how the world really is and has been. I am talking about the reality of human nature. And after you've finished insulting me by calling me a right wing bigot, put aside your idealistic, teenage political fantasies and get real!
undertheradar wrote:There is another one by Warren Buffett, I cant seem to find right now... but it goes something like this: Lets say you get to make the rules of society before you are born... taxes, government, economics, etc... but then the catch is that you dont know where/how you will be born... which country you will live in, how rich or poor, black or white, disabled or healthy, etc. How would this change your 'rules' then?
That's naive. Nobody makes any rules. Things are just how they are and we have to make the best of it. If you're born a gazelle on the plains of Africa, chances are you're going to end up as lunch for a lion. The Utilitarian philosophy of aiming to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number is, I think, still valid. A consequence of this is that there will always be some who get the shit end of the stick. You also have to weigh up how much good you can do with the resources that you have available.
Blackworx seems to think that you have a rose tinted view of life in Europe - I would agree with that and add that you seem to see life in general through rose tinted glasses. You must have a very naive viewpoint. I thought like you when I was 15 years old; I thought everything was so simple and the problems of the world seemed so easy to solve and we could all live happily together in a wonderful peaceful community. The only trouble is that to be able to do that you'd have to kill all the bad guys first and that's a bit too Stalinist for me.

I am aware of how government style has changed over the millennia, from tyrannical "Big Man" through monarchy, feudalism, communism, fascism, autocracy to representative liberal democracy. It constantly evolves but one thing is certain, no system of government is going to please everybody all the time. And, it's quite obvious to me that governing a country is far from easy. However it is all too easy for people to criticize whichever government happens to be in power, often with the benefit of hindsight. I am positive that there will be new and different styles of government evolving in the future that will take into account the way in which the world is changing; although I very much doubt that there will ever be a system of government that will please everybody, and I'm also positive that there will be someone like you bitching about it!

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Post by blackworx » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:49 pm

You'll be needing somewhere to put those gloves then...

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Post by judge56988 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:35 pm

blackworx wrote:You'll be needing somewhere to put those gloves then...
:lol:

Well, I object to being called a right wing bigot.

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Post by undertheradar » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:32 pm

judge56988 wrote:
blackworx wrote:You'll be needing somewhere to put those gloves then...
:lol:

Well, I object to being called a right wing bigot.
I didnt call you a bigot, merely that you might want to look in the mirror with regards to how bigoted your statements are. If you dont like that, well... then dont make bigoted statements!! Duh. You might not realize it because its common rhetoric for conservatives, and its so subtle yet commonly 'coined'... yet if you had a direct confrontation with 'those people' whom you demonize, I think you would be changing your tone very quickly.

Of course, now that you have been confronted about this, I see now you are making arguments for 'survival of the fittest'... anarchy and tyranny (because they are just 'natural'...lol). Yeah... Id say you fit right in with many of the Libertarian crowd. Sorry, Im not selfish enough to share your conservative individualist attitude. I suppose some people dont know what 'putting others ahead of themselves' really means. We rise and fall as a society bub... what good is all the money in the world if the world is in shambles?
Last edited by undertheradar on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:01 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by undertheradar » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:37 pm

judge56988 wrote:
NeilBlanchard wrote:A society only succeeds in the long term if there is no under class.

I leave it to you to figure out what that means.
I have to disagree here. All societies through history have had an underclass of one kind or another and a lot of those societies have thrived for centuries. Some kind of a class/caste system is a natural state of affairs for humans. We are not all born equal, contrary to what some might wish were otherwise. We are competitive, we gang up on the weak, we ostracize those that are different...the list goes on. What enlightened humanist people are trying to do these days is change the world; to get everyone to live together happily, sharing and eking out their limited resources, feeding the millions of Africans who can't grow enough food for themselves because they live in an overpopulated desert...again, the list goes on.
You want to live in harmony with nature, so why try to constantly battle human nature?

There are ignorant [curse deleted] out there who WILL take your charity and then smile while they stab you and steal your wallet as well; and the pity of it is that they want to live like that. They want to be outside society - it's their nature, just like it's your nature Neil, to look for the best in everyone and to be eco friendly, in short, to care!

Two single tickets to Utopia please.
So who are these "ignorant _____" out there?

So... 'why bother fighting human nature, eh?' Thats your argument now? Okay, so now you are making an argument for right-wing 'survival of the fittest', tyranny of the rich, etc?!?! Do you realize what you are saying? I suppose 'might makes right' is okay with you... and undoing the very principles of democracy are what you would like. Well, that puts you in some good company... Hitler would love you. Dictatorships, right-wing utopia, etc... screw the rest, eh? So you wish the Nazis had won WW2 as well, eh? Im sure their right-wing ideals would be very pleasing to you.
Last edited by undertheradar on Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by undertheradar » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:55 pm

judge56988 wrote:
undertheradar wrote: That definition is very similar to the definition I gave. The one I gave was a little simpler and inclusive. The one you give 'isnt always correct'. Consider many of the socialized systems and how that definition doesnt apply. The one thing that gets left out of that definition is that the community may opt for less control and more choice... sort of a 'even by not making a choice you still have made a choice' situation.
Oh, so "my" definition isn't always correct? Better tell that to the publishers of the OED. No doubt they will want to consult you on the REAL meaning of lots of other words too. The words arrogant and prick spring to mind...wonder what they mean in this context?
undertheradar wrote: You are correct, there are several societies that have had class and caste systems... I suppose that includes slavery as well. So I guess slave societies are justified as well??? Your argument doesnt hold water.
Why don't you read what I have written? I did not mention slavery, I said that societies with class systems had thrived for hundreds of years. Now that you mention it, slavery has been an integral part of many successful societies for several thousand years. I am taking a societies "success" to be a measure of it's longevity and it's legacy in terms of art, science, philosophy etc. I am thinking specifically of the Romans, Egyptians, Ancient Greeks and even the Victorian era in Britain.
undertheradar wrote: This is one of many similar quotes about how a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. Keep that in mind when you start spreading your right-wing 'apathy is part of society' viewpoint... something the Republicans and other right-wingers took right out of the Nazi playbook after WW2 (because we decided that the communists were the next big problem, and who had the most experience spreading propaganda and fighting the commies before? The Nazis.) Be careful of your bigotry, you might be subject to it yourself someday.
Again, try reading what I have written. What are you talking about? I am not putting forward any right or left wing doctrine, I am saying how the world really is and has been. I am talking about the reality of human nature. And after you've finished insulting me by calling me a right wing bigot, put aside your idealistic, teenage political fantasies and get real!
undertheradar wrote:There is another one by Warren Buffett, I cant seem to find right now... but it goes something like this: Lets say you get to make the rules of society before you are born... taxes, government, economics, etc... but then the catch is that you dont know where/how you will be born... which country you will live in, how rich or poor, black or white, disabled or healthy, etc. How would this change your 'rules' then?
That's naive. Nobody makes any rules. Things are just how they are and we have to make the best of it. If you're born a gazelle on the plains of Africa, chances are you're going to end up as lunch for a lion. The Utilitarian philosophy of aiming to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number is, I think, still valid. A consequence of this is that there will always be some who get the shit end of the stick. You also have to weigh up how much good you can do with the resources that you have available.
Blackworx seems to think that you have a rose tinted view of life in Europe - I would agree with that and add that you seem to see life in general through rose tinted glasses. You must have a very naive viewpoint. I thought like you when I was 15 years old; I thought everything was so simple and the problems of the world seemed so easy to solve and we could all live happily together in a wonderful peaceful community. The only trouble is that to be able to do that you'd have to kill all the bad guys first and that's a bit too Stalinist for me.

I am aware of how government style has changed over the millennia, from tyrannical "Big Man" through monarchy, feudalism, communism, fascism, autocracy to representative liberal democracy. It constantly evolves but one thing is certain, no system of government is going to please everybody all the time. And, it's quite obvious to me that governing a country is far from easy. However it is all too easy for people to criticize whichever government happens to be in power, often with the benefit of hindsight. I am positive that there will be new and different styles of government evolving in the future that will take into account the way in which the world is changing; although I very much doubt that there will ever be a system of government that will please everybody, and I'm also positive that there will be someone like you bitching about it!
Paragraph1: OED's definition is just one of many. I suppose you think all the other available definitions provided are wrong and only OED can be correct. And please dont resort to personal attacks just because you cant win your argument in a rational or logical manner. I can call you names as well.

Paragraph2: Uh, you may have not mentioned slavery directly, but your support of a class/caste system would include a 'slave class'... if either through wage slavery or through government mandate... its still slavery. You are now justifying a society's 'success' in how long they existed and their lagacy of art/science/ etc?!?! No doubt, the Incas, Mayans, Aztecs, Mongols, Ancient Chinese, Romans, and Egyptians were 'successful', but if you listened to that youtube link I posted, I think you would realize that success does not mean something is justified. A serial killer might be very good at what he does, but this does not mean its a good idea to be one. If success is your qualification for what we should do, well then, slave societies have been very successful, so maybe we should have that as well?!?! Im sure the US government could change and become a very successful dictatorship... I would hardly consider that a justification of it.

Paragraph 3: I think I covered this already. I havent been a teenager for more than two decades. Now you might be the one who gets the adjectives 'arrogant' and 'prick' used with your name.

Paragraph 4: I think you missed the point of that quote... right over your head I see. Some people DO make the rules though (someone has to), and the idea is that maybe what is best for you isnt best for everyone, and maybe only doing what is good for you isnt best for everyone around you. Sorry for having an optimistic viewpoint on life... sheesh... whats your problem? Whats your damage, should everyone be as depressed as you about humanity? I know socialized systems have their own problems... my point was that these problems can exist in either a private or socialized system... but there are other criteria for determining what should and shouldnt be socialized.

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Post by judge56988 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:49 pm

My replies in red.
undertheradar wrote:
Paragraph1: OED's definition is just one of many. I suppose you think all the other available definitions provided are wrong and only OED can be correct. And please dont resort to personal attacks just because you cant win your argument in a rational or logical manner. I can call you names as well.

Show me one that doesn't agree with the OED

Paragraph2: Uh, you may have not mentioned slavery directly, but your support of a class/caste system would include a 'slave class'... if either through wage slavery or through government mandate... its still slavery. You are now justifying a society's 'success' in how long they existed and their lagacy of art/science/ etc?!?! No doubt, the Incas, Mayans, Aztecs, Mongols, Ancient Chinese, Romans, and Egyptians were 'successful', but if you listened to that youtube link I posted, I think you would realize that success does not mean something is justified. A serial killer might be very good at what he does, but this does not mean its a good idea to be one. If success is your qualification for what we should do, well then, slave societies have been very successful, so maybe we should have that as well?!?! Im sure the US government could change and become a very successful dictatorship... I would hardly consider that a justification of it.

And how would you define a successful society?

Paragraph 3: I think I covered this already. I havent been a teenager for more than two decades. Now you might be the one who gets the adjectives 'arrogant' and 'prick' used with your name.

I still maintain that you are an idealist and I'm a pragmatist - that doesn't imply right wing or left wing.


Paragraph 4: I think you missed the point of that quote... right over your head I see. Some people DO make the rules though (someone has to), and the idea is that maybe what is best for you isnt best for everyone, and maybe only doing what is good for you isnt best for everyone around you. Sorry for having an optimistic viewpoint on life... sheesh... whats your problem? Whats your damage, should everyone be as depressed as you about humanity? I know socialized systems have their own problems... my point was that these problems can exist in either a private or socialized system... but there are other criteria for determining what should and shouldnt be socialized.

Did you miss the bit where I mentioned the Utilitarian philosophy of "the greatest good for the greatest number"?


As for your previous two posts, or rants, you just can't understand my point can you?
I detest fascism and any other form of totalitarian government. My father and uncles all fought the Nazis in WW2. Winston Churchill was in my opinion the greatest man of the 20th century.
In order to make the world a better place for everyone, we have to first understand why people behave in the way that they do. Ideals are wonderful but they have to be tempered with pragmatism. If everyone was as kind and altruistic as you appear to be, there would be no problem...it's just that most aren't.

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Post by NeilBlanchard » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:21 pm

Hi,

I think this is the best place to post this:

http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index ... oId=220252
Sincerely, Neil
http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/

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