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why are folks so paranoid about “socialism” anyways?
Posted: 09 May 2012 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Occam. - 08 May 2012 02:37 PM

No, no, no.  It’s easy to go to a link for an “official” definition.  That’s not what I was asking.  Most people have strong opinions related to these words and what they think they mean.  I was asking that each of the members who are participating here state, in their own words, what they mean when they use the word, socialism.

Occam

I think of socialism as a system in which citizens’ taxes are used to provide needed/desired services (for the citizens) that would not otherwise be provided.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 10 May 2012 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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TimB - 09 May 2012 02:36 PM
Occam. - 08 May 2012 02:37 PM

No, no, no.  It’s easy to go to a link for an “official” definition.  That’s not what I was asking.  Most people have strong opinions related to these words and what they think they mean.  I was asking that each of the members who are participating here state, in their own words, what they mean when they use the word, socialism.

Occam

I think of socialism as a system in which citizens’ taxes are used to provide needed/desired services (for the citizens) that would not otherwise be provided.

So a federalist system of government where the national government provided for the national defense (for example) would be “socialist”? 

Your definition seems rather broad.  But at least you’d cheerfully admit President Obama’s a socialist.  wink

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Posted: 10 May 2012 12:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Bryan - 10 May 2012 12:00 AM
TimB - 09 May 2012 02:36 PM
Occam. - 08 May 2012 02:37 PM

No, no, no.  It’s easy to go to a link for an “official” definition.  That’s not what I was asking.  Most people have strong opinions related to these words and what they think they mean.  I was asking that each of the members who are participating here state, in their own words, what they mean when they use the word, socialism.

Occam

I think of socialism as a system in which citizens’ taxes are used to provide needed/desired services (for the citizens) that would not otherwise be provided.

So a federalist system of government where the national government provided for the national defense (for example) would be “socialist”? 

Your definition seems rather broad.  But at least you’d cheerfully admit President Obama’s a socialist.  wink

As is anyone who professes to believe in Jesus   surprised

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Posted: 10 May 2012 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 10 May 2012 12:24 AM
Bryan - 10 May 2012 12:00 AM
TimB - 09 May 2012 02:36 PM

I think of socialism as a system in which citizens’ taxes are used to provide needed/desired services (for the citizens) that would not otherwise be provided.

So a federalist system of government where the national government provided for the national defense (for example) would be “socialist”? 

Your definition seems rather broad.  But at least you’d cheerfully admit President Obama’s a socialist.  wink

As is anyone who professes to believe in Jesus   surprised

Lord of Lords and king of ... taxes.  Got it.

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Posted: 10 May 2012 02:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I see no inherent conflict between a free market economic system (capitalism) and a fair sharing of costs for social services (socialism).

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W4U

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Posted: 10 May 2012 02:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Write4U - 10 May 2012 02:27 AM

I see no inherent conflict between a free market economic system (capitalism) and a fair sharing of costs for social services (socialism).

... so long as the fair sharing of costs for social services is not accomplished via a free market system?  grin

I find it very interesting how quickly we went from the horrible sin of calling progressives “socialists” or “communists” to a definition of “socialism” that we can apply to pretty much anybody except for anarchists.

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Posted: 10 May 2012 04:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Bryan - 10 May 2012 02:43 AM
Write4U - 10 May 2012 02:27 AM

I see no inherent conflict between a free market economic system (capitalism) and a fair sharing of costs for social services (socialism).

... so long as the fair sharing of costs for social services is not accomplished via a free market system?  :-)

I find it very interesting how quickly we went from the horrible sin of calling progressives “socialists” or “communists” to a definition of “socialism” that we can apply to pretty much anybody except for anarchists.

I have never shied away from the word socialism as long as it is attached to an economic modifying system. But then IMO all “pure” systems lead to either economic or social problems one way or another and should be tempered with a restraining counterpart. I believe we named it a system of “checks and balances”. When the sytem becomes unbalanced, as we have now with tax cuts for the wealthy and reduction in social services for the poor during wartime. The result is a general collapse of civilization as we are witnessing now.

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Posted: 10 May 2012 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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I have never shied away from the word socialism as long as it is attached to an economic modifying system. But then IMO all “pure” systems lead to either economic or social problems one way or another and should be tempered with a restraining counterpart. I believe we named it a system of “checks and balances”. When the sytem becomes unbalanced, as we have now with tax cuts for the wealthy and reduction in social services for the poor during wartime. The result is a general collapse of civilization as we are witnessing now.

And here again it totally depends on what form of socialism one means as there are several, including Democratic socialism as an example. The whole concept was changed by Marx and Engles from Robert Owen’s original intent of a “Utopian” form. It seems to me from reading several posts that what most of us advocate is a form of mixed economy with some restrictions placed on private industries by the Government such as regulation of the stock exchange and anti-trust and monopoly laws. If you see this as a form of socialism then so be it. Some on the right IMO wrongly attribute this to pure socialism, but it is the only way for our system to work effectively for every citizen’s benefit. History has shown time and again that laissez-faire capitalism leads to oligarchy and eventual rebellion.

http://economics.about.com/od/howtheuseconomyworks/a/mixed_economy.htm


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 10 May 2012 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Bryan - 10 May 2012 12:00 AM
TimB - 09 May 2012 02:36 PM
Occam. - 08 May 2012 02:37 PM

No, no, no.  It’s easy to go to a link for an “official” definition.  That’s not what I was asking.  Most people have strong opinions related to these words and what they think they mean.  I was asking that each of the members who are participating here state, in their own words, what they mean when they use the word, socialism.

Occam

I think of socialism as a system in which citizens’ taxes are used to provide needed/desired services (for the citizens) that would not otherwise be provided.

So a federalist system of government where the national government provided for the national defense (for example) would be “socialist”? 

Your definition seems rather broad.  But at least you’d cheerfully admit President Obama’s a socialist.  wink


We are all socialists.  We are all capitalists, also.  Neither capitalism nor socialism should be considered perjorative unless either is unfettered.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 10 May 2012 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Write4U - 10 May 2012 04:16 AM

When the sytem becomes unbalanced, as we have now with tax cuts for the wealthy and reduction in social services for the poor during wartime. The result is a general collapse of civilization as we are witnessing now.

If “unbalanced” is equivalent to “collapse” then you’re just expressing a truism.

Some European states are following a course of “austerity” that features tax increases on the wealthy while sustaining spending on social programs.  They don’t appear to be performing any better than other states.
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/299425/europe-s-failed-austerity-michael-tanner

If you want to talk balance, using a “pay-as-you-go” (Ponzi) system to pay for social programs is guaranteed to throw things out of balance with any large demographic shift toward a gray population.  Such systems are typical of European socialist states.

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Posted: 10 May 2012 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I wouldn’t refer to any of today’s European states as socialist. Taxing the rich out of necessity is very different from following an ideology where people believe it is the “right thing” to do—which is what socialism was always about (or at least tried to be). I don’t personally think tax increase on the wealthy is going to solve much, but it may add a few years to their lives before they become completely outnumbered by the poor, which will happen sooner or later. Socialism out of desperation is not socialism, just like handing over your wallet to an armed thief is not philanthropy.

[ Edited: 10 May 2012 12:56 PM by George ]
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Posted: 24 May 2012 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Good discussion topic. I’ve recently asked myself a lot of the same questions that are being asked here given the way the right wing and the Republican party likes to toss around terms like “socialism” and “marxism” these days. I’ll try to outline what I’ve come to understand of all this…

First, from what I’ve read in the economics and sociology literature, the term socialism can be defined as any set of policies wherein a government takes a portion of the wealth of a populace and re-distributes it directly to some or all of that populace in the form or money, goods, or services based on need. From what I’ve seen, this typically refers to goods or services that might otherwise be provided by the private market, so it doesn’t refer to shared services like military spending, policing, or operating the legal system.

You can then subdivide socialism into two main categories: democratic socialism, and revolutionary socialism (communism).

Democratic socialism is what you see in the US in our Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs, and in many of the European countries: programs that are put in place by democratic governments with popular support and according to the will of a majority of its citizens. As in the case of the US and Europe, these policies often sit alongside a market economy. Economists refer to this arrangement as a “mixed economy”.

Revolutionary socialism or communism is what you see or saw in the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, etc. It involves full government ownership of all property, and a centrally-planned economy where the government makes all the decisions about what gets produced when, how it gets distributed, and so on. The “revolutionary” philosophy here is that the only way to “free” the oppressed lower class (the so-called “industrial proletariat” in Marxism, or the peasantry in Maoism) from the tyranny of the capitalists who exploit them is to seize and hold power by force. This is how you end up with the famously-brutal totalitarian regimes in the communist countries.

Most Americans aren’t familiar with the distinction I just laid out. To most, socialism is synonymous with communism, and communism is evil. Republicans and right-wing commentators know this. So when they try to slap the “socialist” label on Democrats and liberals, what they’re really trying to do is get people to think of them as evil communists.

Allan West didn’t even bother pussyfooting around. He went straight for the “C word”.

Gotta stop here. Hope the discussion continues and would love to hear what people think of what I laid out.

And maybe at some point we can start a discussion about the left’s favorite slurs: “Nazi” and “Fascist”...

[ Edited: 24 May 2012 10:24 AM by Maswah ]
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Posted: 24 May 2012 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Maswah - 24 May 2012 10:12 AM

Good discussion topic. I’ve recently asked myself a lot of the same questions that are being asked here given the way the right wing and the Republican party likes to toss around terms like “socialism” and “marxism” these days. I’ll try to outline what I’ve come to understand of all this…

First, from what I’ve read in the economics and sociology literature, the term socialism can be defined as any set of policies wherein a government takes a portion of the wealth of a populace and re-distributes it directly to some or all of that populace in the form or money, goods, or services based on need….

Yes good starter.  The most important part being most people can’t distinguish between the 2 types.  Most people can’t distinguish the difference between shoe polish and cow manure.
But it is an excellent scare tactic word-socialism.  The millions of people who benefit from socialistic programs are commonly found rallying against the boogey-man of socialism. Classic divide and conquer techniques, getting poor and middle poor people to vote against their own interests.  The wealthy obviously have good reason to.  Unless we start cutting all the socialistic programs that they benefit from.  Then somehow they can turn that around and label that as anti-American, or anti-capitalism.  Say for example if oil subsidies were cut.  Or if banks were held personally liable for losses as opposed to FDIC. Then socialism is a good thing!
Another example of a socialistic program would be curtailing imports from other nations.  In America we would see the almost unique phenomenom of monied interests screaming Un-American activities at a program designed to curtail foreign imports!  Friggin’ laughable!

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Posted: 24 May 2012 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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VYAZMA - 24 May 2012 10:36 AM

But it is an excellent scare tactic word-socialism.

Whether or not it is a “scare tactic” word rather depends on how people understand the term, doesn’t it?  Are you proposing that Republicans are appealing to people’s fear that welfare programs represent revolutionary socialism?

What if it’s simply fact that Americans prefer capitalism in a mixed economy to government planning and a robust dole system?

The millions of people who benefit from socialistic programs are commonly found rallying against the boogey-man of socialism.

It’s got to be maddening! You figure their vote is bought and paid for with the taxes of their children and they go and turn on you.

Classic divide and conquer techniques, getting poor and middle poor people to vote against their own interests.

Surveys of people who win the lottery show that they end up less satisfied with their lives after winning the lottery.  If a person votes to decline claiming lottery winnings, does it automatically follow that the person is voting against their own interests?  I see a parallel problem in your statement.

The wealthy obviously have good reason to.  Unless we start cutting all the socialistic programs that they benefit from.  Then somehow they can turn that around and label that as anti-American, or anti-capitalism.  Say for example if oil subsidies were cut.

Cut oil subsidies and the average joe will pay more at the pump.  Isn’t it terrible when people get others to vote against their own self-interest?  wink

Or if banks were held personally liable for losses as opposed to FDIC. Then socialism is a good thing!

It was actually the tea party that most vocally opposed the bank bailouts.  Most Republicans were against it, too.  The Democrats were pretty much on board with it.  Almost sounds like you’re calling the Democrats a bunch of socialists, vyazma.  Stop trying to scare people.  wink

Another example of a socialistic program would be curtailing imports from other nations.  In America we would see the almost unique phenomenom of monied interests screaming Un-American activities at a program designed to curtail foreign imports!  Friggin’ laughable!

Is it?  If an individual wants something from another country and is prevented from doing so by the authority of the government then isn’t government control of the economy the basic issue in play?  I’m afraid I don’t understand the hilarity you detect.

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Posted: 26 May 2012 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Bryan - 24 May 2012 11:13 AM
VYAZMA - 24 May 2012 10:36 AM

But it is an excellent scare tactic word-socialism.

Whether or not it is a “scare tactic” word rather depends on how people understand the term, doesn’t it?  Are you proposing that Republicans are appealing to people’s fear that welfare programs represent revolutionary socialism?

What if it’s simply fact that Americans prefer capitalism in a mixed economy to government planning and a robust dole system?

As was pointed out, people do not understand the term. In otherwords they are generally unaware that they are the recipients of socialist programs.
Obviously everyone likes a nice balance between the two.  Corporations and unfortunate people like the dole system!  This is indisputable. People like planning and regulation too. People also love capitalism.

The millions of people who benefit from socialistic programs are commonly found rallying against the boogey-man of socialism.

It’s got to be maddening! You figure their vote is bought and paid for with the taxes of their children and they go and turn on you.

  Rich and poor are still going to want government assistance. No?  You deny this? As far as voting, that’s not relevant!  Nobody’s turning on anyone. Everybody want’s their handouts.

Classic divide and conquer techniques, getting poor and middle poor people to vote against their own interests.

Surveys of people who win the lottery show that they end up less satisfied with their lives after winning the lottery.  If a person votes to decline claiming lottery winnings, does it automatically follow that the person is voting against their own interests?  I see a parallel problem in your statement.

Wow! Fascinating!  And highly correllary! Not really.  That was sarcasm. 

The wealthy obviously have good reason to.  Unless we start cutting all the socialistic programs that they benefit from.  Then somehow they can turn that around and label that as anti-American, or anti-capitalism.  Say for example if oil subsidies were cut.

Cut oil subsidies and the average joe will pay more at the pump.  Isn’t it terrible when people get others to vote against their own self-interest?  wink

So oil companies do get subsidies?  That was my point.  Large, monied interests getting socialist programs. Or do you get to decide what a socialist program is and what isn’t?

Or if banks were held personally liable for losses as opposed to FDIC. Then socialism is a good thing!

It was actually the tea party that most vocally opposed the bank bailouts.  Most Republicans were against it, too.  The Democrats were pretty much on board with it.  Almost sounds like you’re calling the Democrats a bunch of socialists, vyazma.  Stop trying to scare people.  wink

So banks got bailouts from the government? Yes or no? The rest of your comments are irrelevant.

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