Fragile Bird

US Politics: Speak Into the Microwave

402 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

19 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

Yeah, those "somewhat higher tax rates and more expansive welfare programs" you're talking about is instituting a social safety net.  Otherwise known as instituting socialist policies as a safeguard against the volatility of pure capitalism.  Otherwise known as the institution of democratic socialism after the great depression.  Otherwise known as over half of the GDP of most countries when you aggregate social security, health care, and welfare programs.  Otherwise known as exactly what I was referring to.

And, again, no, Stalin and Mao weren't socialists.  Mao didn't even refer to himself as a socialist.  And even if Stalin actually observed fidelity to Leninism, that's still derived from Marx's retarded manifesto that has nothing to do with the modern idea of socialism.

Still don't see how such a flagrant disregard for a number of core tenets of socialism (like, not being based around having a free market capitalist system) can make them more pure socialists than Stalin or Mao. 

If we go into what people self define as, though, how many of these Trump supporting "Neo-nazis" or "fascists" actually see or call themselves that? Very few, I would guess. Even Richard Spencer is an "identitarian". Then you have the "Alt-Right", "Ethno-Pluralists", "Paleconservatives", "Counter Jihadists", and a plethora of other kinds of nationalists and far right groups. I think actual self defining nazis and fascists are very rare these days. 

Most of said right wing ideologies do have certain ideological differences compared to one another, and definitely towards actual nazism and fascism as well. Is it thus wrong to lump them together like what I'm doing with various socialist movements and historical socialist/communist dictators? 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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Posted (edited)

16 minutes ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Well with Mao in particular a couple of tens of million people died starved to death because of his economic policies. I think starving to death seems pretty horrible, so in that sense I would argue that you are wrong in that economic policy wasn't one of (or the major) reason for why living in his China doesn't seem to have been very nice. 

When the fuck did you get the idea I was arguing for Mao's cultural revolution?  Yikes.

Edit:  I apologize.  I thought you were responding to me when you obviously weren't.  I should go to bed.

16 minutes ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

But okay. So a planned economy a la Stalin or Mao isn't "real socialism", but a free market capitalist program with some government intervention and welfare polices, developed by a German liberal-conservative party, that is real socialism?

Now you're getting it.   Especially considering the party that has either been in the governing coalition or the leading opposition in Germany's party system since World War II is called the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

Edited by dmc515

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2 minutes ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Still don't see how such a flagrant disregard for a number of core tenets of socialism (1.  like, not being based around having a free market capitalist system) can make them more pure socialists than Stalin or Mao. 

If we go into what people self define as, though, how many of these Trump supporting "Neo-nazis" or "fascists" actually see or call themselves that? Very few, I would guess. Even Richard Spencer is an "identitarian". Then you have the "Alt-Right", "Ethno-Pluralists", "Paleconservatives", "Counter Jihadists", and a plethora of other kinds of nationalists and right wing groups. I think actual self defining nazis and fascists are very rare these days. 

2.  Most of said right wing ideologies do have certain differences compared to one another, and definitely towards actual nazism and fascism as well. Is it thus wrong to lump them together like what I'm doing with various socialist movements and historical socialist/communist dictators? 

1.  That's because you've been conditioned to think free market capitalism and socialism are antithetical.  They're not.  Marx and Engels wrote two influential books on the subject 150 years ago.  There have been plenty others.

2.  Sure.  If you want to differentiate between neo-nazis, the KKK, white supremacists, and "economic nationalists" or what have you by all means do so.  Doesn't change the fact if they're ideology is racist, I'm still going to call it racist.  Just like I would call Mao and Stalin's ideology abject genocide, no matter what they called it.

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It is obviously futile to claim that among the wide spectrum of meanings that could be associated with "socialism" one is "right" and others are "wrong". The discussion about the words is completely moot. The goal is usually to condemn by association, e.g. that western European style social democratic policies (that were and to a large extent still are enacted by European mainstream conservatives as well) are historically or conceptually connected with the atrocities by Mao, Stalin etc. It should also be noted that it seems at least an open question whether social democratic systems tend to (d)evolve into more socialist or more capitalist ones. (While some may claim otherwise, for me the last 25 years show that the second possibility seems closer to the truth.)

One could use the same association for free market capitalism and genocide during the 19th century (or earlier) in the Americas, Africa or India or the starving workers in 19th century Europe.

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Posted (edited)

9 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

1.  That's because you've been conditioned to think free market capitalism and socialism are antithetical.  They're not.  Marx and Engels wrote two influential books on the subject 150 years ago.  There have been plenty others.

2.  Sure.  If you want to differentiate between neo-nazis, the KKK, white supremacists, and "economic nationalists" or what have you by all means do so.  Doesn't change the fact if they're ideology is racist, I'm still going to call it racist.  Just like I would call Mao and Stalin's ideology abject genocide, no matter what they called it.

Right, and see same argument can be used to answer the question why "socialist" is a bad word in many circles today. If individuals adhering to a certain ideology kill tens of millions of people and destroy numerous countries, it will probably get a bit of a sketchy reputation among many persons regardless of what its present day adherents self define as, claim to want, or if they attempt to wash their hands of the crimes of their predecessors or not. 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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21 minutes ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

If we go into what people self define as, though, how many of these Trump supporting "Neo-nazis" or "fascists" actually see or call themselves that?

In public, or in private?

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13 minutes ago, dmc515 said:

Now you're getting it.   Especially considering the party that has either been in the governing coalition or the leading opposition in Germany's party system since World War II is called the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

In addition to this, the Social Democrats organized themselves in the 1860s and their core aims were improving the conditions of the German working class who were exploited during the Industrial Revolution (which happened quite a bit later in Germany than in other countries).

And yeah, I have to admit that worded myself a bit awkward earlier. Of course misguided economic policies were one of the factors that made living under communist dictactorships miserable. Doesn't change the fact that they didn't use social market economy.

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Posted (edited)

5 minutes ago, mormont said:

In public, or in private?

Don't know if it would make that much of a difference. It seems to be a general trend among radical groups to be very aware of differences that to outsiders might seem rather small or trivial. 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, Jo498 said:

It is obviously futile to claim that among the wide spectrum of meanings that could be associated with "socialism" one is "right" and others are "wrong". The discussion about the words is completely moot. The goal is usually to condemn by association, e.g. that western European style social democratic policies (that were and to a large extent still are enacted by European mainstream conservatives as well) are historically or conceptually connected with the atrocities by Mao, Stalin etc. It should also be noted that it seems at least an open question whether social democratic systems tend to (d)evolve into more socialist or more capitalist ones. (While some may claim otherwise, for me the last 25 years show that the second possibility seems closer to the truth.)

One could use the same association for free market capitalism and genocide during the 19th century (or earlier) in the Americas, Africa or India or the starving workers in 19th century Europe.

Well yes, and I think in that case it would be more tasteful to admit that actual socialism is a rather dangerous ideology which it should be important to maintain a distance from, but that some of its policies are nevertheless good and can be appropriated by other systems, than it is to say that Mao or Stalin weren't "true socialists" and that the ideology in question can't be blamed for any of the countless atrocities of the last century. 

Edited by Khaleesi did nothing wrong

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20 minutes ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Don't know if it would make that much of a difference. It seems to be a general trend among radical groups to be very aware of differences that to outsiders might seem rather small or trivial. 

It is a great, and long-established, trend among neo-Nazi groups to publicly avoid identifying as such for propaganda reasons despite privately ascribing to those views. So yes, it makes a huge difference and no, it's not trivial. Spencer is one individual who almost certainly privately identifies as a neo-Nazi but would vigorously deny it in public.

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Actually, while condemning by association is silly and distinguishing between different aspects, "bugs" and "features" is necessary, I am all for clearly pointing out the atrocities both of "socialist" totalitarian systems and of past and present capitalism. But not to exonerate the alternative position, rather to show how easily we tend to commit atrocities.

 

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Richard Spencer openly advocates ethnic cleansing and a white only state. He denounces Jews and quotes Hitler and nazi propaganda. People give nazi salutes at his rallies. He accepts open neo-nazis as allies. I don't see why he would secretly in private be a neo nazi after doing all that publicly.

 

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8 minutes ago, DunderMifflin said:

Richard Spencer openly advocates ethnic cleansing and a white only state. He denounces Jews and quotes Hitler and nazi propaganda. People give nazi salutes at his rallies. He accepts open neo-nazis as allies. I don't see why he would secretly in private be a neo nazi after doing all that publicly.

Nevertheless, he publicly rejects the label of neo-Nazi. Why? Largely (as I say) for propaganda reasons. Nazi isn't a label anyone wants. People don't want to agree with Nazis.

Which shows there's no point in trying to apply 'self defining' to neo-Nazis, because they have a track record of being dishonest in public about what they privately self-define as. In fact, it's a deliberate tactic of theirs. So we have no choice but to define them by their actions instead.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, dmc515 said:

If you think that's socialism, I can't help you.  I'm rather surprised by the lack of understanding of what socialism actually is.  Democratic socialism has run the western world since World War II.  Well aware most Americans have conflated the term with with communism, but I did not expect that here.

Not gonna get any argument from me on the bolded.  On the underlined, the point is the extremes on the right are more influential and numerous than the extremes on the left.  That can be empirically demonstrated as both the mass and elite levels.

DCM,

Are you excluding Maxist-Leninist Socialism from Socialism by definition and claiming only "Fabian Socialism" is "True Socialism"?  How is that not the "no true Scotsman" fallacy?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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Posted (edited)

46 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

DCM,

Are you excluding Maxist-Leninist Socialism from Socialism by definition and claiming only "Fabian Socialism" is "True Socialism"?  How is that not the "no true Scotsman" fallacy?

I think it's more of a case of avoiding misrepresentation by reclaiming a label.

More to the point, The discussion was started by some poster claiming that universal healthcare (or even the far less ambitious ACA) amounts to socialism and is therefore bad. What people did was to point out that the kind of socialism that promotes these kinds of programs tends to be social democracy (or the slightly more radical democratic socialism), not the totalitarian Leninist or Maoist models that are indeed incompatible with either of modern democracy or capitalism. Indeed,totalitarian dictatorships tend not to promote the health and welfare of all of their people any more, no matter where on the political spectrum they started out. (Cuba seems to be the one reasonably stable dictatorship that still provides those services to a remarkable extent. It's still a dictatorship, which I despise; but it's still better than almost all of the others)

Edited by theguyfromtheVale

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Posted (edited)

9 minutes ago, theguyfromtheVale said:

I think it's more of a case of avoiding misrepresentation by reclaiming a label.

More to the point, The discussion was started by some poster claiming that uuniversal healthcare (or even the far less ambitious ACA) amounts to socialism and is therefore bad. What people did was to point out that the kind of socialism that promotes these kinds of programs tends to be social democracy (or the slightly more radical democratic socialism), not the totalitarian Leninist or Maoist models that are indeed incompatible with either of modern democracy or capitalism. Indeed,totalitarian dictatorships tend not to promote the health and welfare of all of their people any more, no matter where on the political spectrum they started out. (Cuba seems to be the one reasonably stable dictatorship that still provides those services to a remarkable extent. It's still a dictatorship, which I despise; but it's still better than almost all of the others)

tgftv,

So, Stalin and Mao weren't pushing totalitarian flavors of Marxist-Leninist socialism and disclaiming them isn't an example of "no true Scotsman"?  Totalitarians can't employ socialist economics?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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1 hour ago, Khaleesi did nothing wrong said:

Well yes, and I think in that case it would be more tasteful to admit that actual socialism is a rather dangerous ideology which it should be important to maintain a distance from, but that some of its policies are nevertheless good and can be appropriated by other systems, than it is to say that Mao or Stalin weren't "true socialists" and that the ideology in question can't be blamed for any of the countless atrocities of the last century. 

Sorry, I didn't quite understand what your definition of socialism is. Could you provide your definition please?

In your defense, looking up Wikipedia, the definition is significantly different in English (I'm assuming: UK & US) and in French (France, which is a social democracy).

 

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2 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Sorry, I didn't quite understand what your definition of socialism is. Could you provide your definition please?

In your defense, looking up Wikipedia, the definition is significantly different in English (I'm assuming: UK & US) and in French (France, which is a social democracy).

 

Rippounet,

Any politically or economic system untempered by rationality and human empathy can and is used for the purposes of oppression and the garnering of power/wealth to particular individuals.  There is not perfect system that cannot be abused.

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It is always bad style to avoid giving an argument and instead relying on buzzwords and associations. So unless one explains why ACA or European style socialized healthcare open a plausible (or better a more plausible one than the status quo ante such a reform) causal path to Maoism or any of the bad features of 20th century Eastern bloc and similar systems, the buzzword can and should be ignored. It doesn't help much either to demand definitions of socialism if encyclopedia articles offer around dozens of subdivisions and nuances of what historically has been called socialism in the last 170 years or so.

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Posted (edited)

24 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Rippounet,

Any politically or economic system untempered by rationality and human empathy can and is used for the purposes of oppression and the garnering of power/wealth to particular individuals.  There is not perfect system that cannot be abused.

The thing is, the French definitions don't describe it as a system. It's generally defined as "A number of very diverse schools of thought and political movements whose common point it is to seek a fairer economic and social organisation."

The definition of it as a "system" can be found on the French "Wikiliberal" which has, as its name implies, a neo-liberal bias, and is thus anti-socialist.

Edited by Rippounet

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