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Author Topic: AmeriPol thread  (Read 1519418 times)

scriver

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32925 on: October 16, 2019, 03:34:49 pm »

ONE APE WEAK

MANY APE STRONG
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smjjames

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32926 on: October 16, 2019, 03:40:59 pm »

So, I am curious what definition of "socialism" you guys are working off of, for the sake of a lengthy rambling post I wish to write later. I'd rather have my information correct going in.

As per the way it gets used by Republicans and some Democrats, it means: 'Thing I don't like and don't want to have an actual discussion about'. Case in point, things that AREN'T socialist get called socialist.

I'm perfectly aware there is an actual definition and historical definition, but given that it's been abused so much that I don't think even the Republicans know what socialism is anymore, other than maybe 'thing that is done in more liberal Europe'.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 03:44:30 pm by smjjames »
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smjjames

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32927 on: October 16, 2019, 03:46:07 pm »

Have you ever seen a politician use socialism in it's correct context and definition? Bernie Sanders maybe, but anybody else?

Do YOU know what a politician means when they cry 'SOCIALIST!!!!11!!'? I bet not. (meant as a rhetorical question to everybody, not just ispil. I realized that it may look a bit personal attacky when it's not intended that way)
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Doomblade187

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32928 on: October 16, 2019, 03:46:46 pm »

Uh, Ipsil wants the historical and dictionary definition, I think.
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smjjames

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32929 on: October 16, 2019, 03:49:31 pm »

Except that it's the politicians who often define words for the masses, whether it's the correct definition or not, particularily one that gets abused as much as socialism/communism does.

I'll get off my soapbox now since you guys have already heard my opinion on it plenty of times.
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WealthyRadish

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32930 on: October 16, 2019, 03:58:00 pm »

So, I am curious what definition of "socialism" you guys are working off of, for the sake of a lengthy rambling post I wish to write later. I'd rather have my information correct going in.

I think it's worth distinguishing what might be considered socialist economic ideology from what might separately be considered socialist policy. Most modern liberal parties were forced by the early 20th century to co-opt socialist policy on business regulation, labor restrictions, welfare policy, universal suffrage, and social justice, but remain adamantly opposed to the "ideological" component (most fundamentally opposition to private property and wage labor).
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 04:08:37 pm by WealthyRadish »
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smjjames

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32931 on: October 16, 2019, 04:04:29 pm »

Well, in a general way, my vague definition (or my general understanding of it anyway) of it is that it's kind of the opposite of capitalism but not exactly a mirror opposite. It mainly involves stuff like safety nets, strong regulation on capitalism like doomblade said, increased worker rights in general, sometimes government owned companies/industries (not that it's neccesarily a good idea for things other than healthcare, just that it's included), bigger government usually.... basically everything done in liberal parts of Europe?

Rather vague and not real helpful, I know. It's basically everything not-capitalism while not having the extremes and authoritarianism of communism (which itself is a type of socialism).

So, I am curious what definition of "socialism" you guys are working off of, for the sake of a lengthy rambling post I wish to write later. I'd rather have my information correct going in.

I think it's worth distinguishing what might be considered socialist economic ideology with what might separately be considered socialist policy. Most modern liberal parties were forced by the early 20th century to co-opt socialist policy on business regulation, labor restrictions, welfare policy, universal suffrage, and social justice, but remain adamantly opposed to the "ideological" component (most fundamentally opposition to private property and wage labor).

Which is pretty much what scriver meant over on the EuroPol thread.
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SalmonGod

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32932 on: October 16, 2019, 04:08:14 pm »

Pretty sure the correct, original, meaningful definition of socialism is that workers own the means of production, and have meaningfully proportionate power over how they are managed.  This is basically what's stated in the first sentence of the Wikipedia page for Socialism, as well.  That is the core criteria for what gets considered socialism or not, according to classic Marxists who are formally read and educated on it.  And by this definition many historical examples of countries that are commonly referred to as socialist are not considered socialist by that crowd.  They're considered "State Capitalist".  Because the means of production were not directly owned and managed by the workers.  They were owned by state governments, which didn't have good mechanism for accountability to the working class.  Workers had very little direct involvement in how their workplaces were managed, and strongly centralized governments used their control over their nation's production to behave much like capitalists.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 04:11:21 pm by SalmonGod »
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smjjames

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32933 on: October 16, 2019, 04:18:38 pm »

Hm, are there any countries (or maybe cities/towns/villages or city-states if you have to go below nation or nation-state level) that are considered socialist by that crowd? Even if you have to go deep into B.C.

I figure that agricultural societies would be the closest (if we're considering settled societies rather than nomadic or semi-nomadic), but even then, there's still social stratification and it's probably more likely that a local government would have something closely resembling True Socialism than a nation.

Also, a thought, are hunter-gatherer societies in general (obviously there'd be differences from one culture to another) considered True Socialist by that crowd? That's the oldest society type and the base that all of them started with since that's all you have once you go back far enough.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 04:23:51 pm by smjjames »
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SalmonGod

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32934 on: October 16, 2019, 04:48:46 pm »

Hm, are there any countries (or maybe cities/towns/villages or city-states if you have to go below nation or nation-state level) that are considered socialist by that crowd? Even if you have to go deep into B.C.

I figure that agricultural societies would be the closest (if we're considering settled societies rather than nomadic or semi-nomadic), but even then, there's still social stratification and it's probably more likely that a local government would have something closely resembling True Socialism than a nation.

Also, a thought, are hunter-gatherer societies in general (obviously there'd be differences from one culture to another) considered True Socialist by that crowd? That's the oldest society type and the base that all of them started with since that's all you have once you go back far enough.

I'm not too authoritative a source on this point, and there's potentially a wide variety of answers out there.  Keep in mind that most of the stuff I say is informed by many hours of random internet browsing, and participating in or spectating discussions involving people who are better read and educated on the subject than I.  For my own part, I became disillusioned by the power dynamics I saw going on around me in my teen years (I'm now 36), and obsessed with breaking down and understanding how social power structures worked mechanically.  Capitalism and authoritarianism have always seemed to me toxic and propped up by contradictory and fraudulent arguments.  From what I can tell, I came to many of the same conclusions as Marx on my own (as in I've been complemented by Marxists for my understanding of Marxist theories that I'd never heard of before until I received those complements), but since I came to those conclusions on my own and have never actually read Marx or any associated literature, I'm not necessarily the best at describing those formal theories in the most accurate language.

I'm going to put forth two points for the purposes of this thread at the moment.  First, there's a pretty harsh divide between authoritarian and anti-authoritarian leftists (economic left), and there's a reason the ones who have put the most effort into their views (imo) trend anti-authoritarian.  Among anti-authoritarians, I don't think most would be very interested in talking about whether hunter-gatherer or early agrarian cultures would count as socialist, because it's only relevant on very narrow, academic points to what socialism would be mean for us in the modern day.  In terms of nation states, I think most agree that an actual socialist state hasn't ever existed (and may be an oxymoron, due to the nature of what a nation state is), and the closest we've ever come is some short-lived, localized experiments such as the Catalonians.  There's also plenty of debate as to whether a temporary authoritarian state following a revolutionary uprising of the worker class is a necessary component of the transition to true socialism, and that step has just been botched so far (in most cases some blame for this easily attributed to hostile international politics by capitalists).
« Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 04:50:40 pm by SalmonGod »
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Maybe people should love for the sake of loving, and not with all of these optimization conditions.

wierd

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32935 on: October 16, 2019, 05:52:15 pm »

the issue is that (due to politicians being politicians) the word has been diluted to the point where "socialism" is both red and blue at the same time. (and no, I don't mean novel mechanical refractive properties.)


Salmon is correct as to the original definition.  These days, that flavor of socialism is more properly known as "Marxist Socialism".

We also have "European Socialism", and a few others.


What exactly IS socialism?  In the modern climate, it essentially is an umbrella term for the desire for government to be supportive and actively engaged in the maximization of assuring that basic civilians are empowered to interact meaningfully with the rest of the societal framework. In this way the government creates institutions and policies that are "Pro society", and thus "socially oriented"; ergo "Socialist".

Take for instance:

a properly functioning FCC, rather than one that panders to big media companies and ISPs.
Copyright rules that serve their purpose without becoming corporate welfare at the expense of culture
Healthcare systems and treatments that actually serve the public instead of a wealthy class's bottom line
Public education that actually works at educating young people, rather than being a tool of the state for indoctrination, or of the wealthy class to generate mindless workers
Employment rules that actually protect workers from financial and material abuses by their employers
Reforms of antitrust policy to go after abusive market players and foster competition
and of course, the oft-cited-- Reforms to public welfare that assure that people actually receive the help they need, when they need it.

At face value, these all seem like no-brainers that anyone would want. All of them are "Pro-social" in context-- The government and big finance get very little out of any of them except lots of work, and or less profits and more oversight. 

Since they ultimately revolve around "taking something away" from the empowered wealthy classes, to promote a more healthy society overall, they get smeared with the "marxist socialism" brush, which has a guilt by association PR problem, due to the running track record extreme failure that extreme implementations have had in the past (USSR, Cuba, Venezuela, China, etc..) no matter how wildly divergent from the core principles of marxist socialism those governments have ended up.  The desire to not lose the power and ability to institute quid pro quo via the lobby system, the ability to directly coopt a regulatory body (in the case of BOTH the FDA *AND* the FCC), and to control the narrative (via the for-profit press) which this demographic currently enjoys, this mis-appellation has become pathological, concerted, and even fervent.

At some point, when your current system is so ragingly antisocial, ANY policy that seeks to restore previously lost social freedoms or powers to the masses of society becomes "Radical socialism!(tm)". 

For me personally, I draw a very important distinction between "No, you do not get to engage in shameless anti-societal behaviors for personal enrichment; that is sociopathy" and "I'm gonna help myself to all your bank accounts."  Modern socialism has much more in common with that first one than the letter one.  However, to those individuals and demographics that pad their bank accounts using the practices being taken away, they appear very much the same thing;  It is this that must be exposed and held to account.  I do not propose raiding private accounts. Quite the opposite in fact, I propose preventing the powerful from exploiting the weak for profit.  The powerful just feel that this is functionally the same thing (because they are sociopaths.)

Ultimately, this "Pro society" angle is why the term originally began to become diluted in the first place, however.  Most everyone agrees that shameless exploitation (such as occurs via naked capitalism without meaningful oversight) is a pathology. What most everyone cannot agree to, are a workable set of norms and rules on how to prevent this in the face of a continuously changing technological frontier, that enables both the society AND the powerful, in unpredictable and profound ways. (Such as social media, regenerative medical technologies, alternative energy technologies, etc.)

Since government does not have a crystal ball to look into, it has difficulty predicting when it needs to say no to "Just a little more welfare spending-- Some people are still disadvantaged". Because of this, well meaning governments can completely destabilize their internals and become insolvent.  There is a disconnect between the plutocrats and the rest of society about where that line is.

This is why there are so many flavors of modern socialism. (Eurosocialism, anarchosocialism, et al.)

It sounds to me like what you are REALLY asking, is what is the US Left's (Eg, Sanders, Warren, and Co.) flavor of socialsm.

Basically, it boils down to that short list of "everybody sane, who isn't well entrenched as a power abuser would want these" features cited way up top in this post, and the necessary legal and government policy changes required to satisfy them.
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Lord Shonus

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32936 on: October 16, 2019, 08:38:45 pm »

I must be missing something. Why would people fear getting healthcare?

While the answer wierd gave isn't wrong, it applies more to the upper-end lobbyists than it does to the rank-and-file voters. Ignoring conspiracy theorists and nuts, there are three major reasons why a lot of people are uncomfortable with the notion of expanding public healthcare.

The first is, quite simply, a matter of cost. A lot of people don't realize just how much tax money already goes (inefficiently) to healthcare, and think we'd be going from spending 0 tax dollars to spending hundreds of billions, and there's no way to do that without massive tax hikes. The actual scenario (that most people would spend less in extra taxes than they would save by not paying for insurance) is something that has to be explained very carefully, and is easy to dismiss as a shell game.

The second is the not-unreasonable fear that the existing infrastructure would collapse. Stories about the medical community abound, and it is not well known just how much hospitals spend on administration and billing. Nor do most people realize that the "Doctor shortage" and "nurse shortage" is a deliberate policy of professional organizations to keep wages high. Thus, it is easy to believe (especially when you get outside major cities into areas that might only have one hospital) that a public healthcare system would effectively be the "burn it all down and start from scratch" option as most hospitals collapse due to loss of revenue.

The third is more subtle. A lot of companies already put restrictions on employees to keep insurance costs down. For example, my work will not hire anybody who smokes, and any employee that fails a nicotine test will be terminated immediately. There have been publicized cases of companies banning anything but the healthiest food from their property, and a few attempts to mandate pure vegan diets for employees. As company policies, these have inherent limits - they can't follow you home and check your fridge for bacon, or monitor your soda intake, or force you to exercise at gunpoint, etc. There is real fear that, once the government is footing the bill, the government will have both an incentive and a legal justification to force you to live "healthy", and (unlike a company) the government has the power to make it stick with bans, fines, and even jail time.
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Naturegirl1999

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32937 on: October 16, 2019, 08:44:49 pm »

This is very interesting to read. Sometimes I think that a big enough company can become a government though, with governments caring more about profits than their people/environment, governments seem more like giant companies with too much power.
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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32938 on: October 16, 2019, 08:51:49 pm »

This is very interesting to read. Sometimes I think that a big enough company can become a government though, with governments caring more about profits than their people/environment, governments seem more like giant companies with too much power.

This is why socialists hate liberals. Democracies need close watch from an informed and diligent electorate to avoid becoming, well, what the USA is.
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Naturegirl1999

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #32939 on: October 16, 2019, 08:55:42 pm »

This is very interesting to read. Sometimes I think that a big enough company can become a government though, with governments caring more about profits than their people/environment, governments seem more like giant companies with too much power.

This is why socialists hate liberals. Democracies need close watch from an informed and diligent electorate to avoid becoming, well, what the USA is.
Yes. I'm hoping the next president and next Congress members will actually fix these problems, but I don't think they will
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