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Recently I witnessed the ugly side of socialism. Strolling through Louisville, Kentucky’s Tyler Park I watched 500 kids from Moore elementary school running, swinging, and playing tug of war.

Their screaming, laughing, and smiling faces signaled a good time. None were whining, moping about, or throwing a fit. On the surface it looked innocent enough, but to a professionally trained observer of human behavior, like me, the underlying message was clear. Young malleable minds were being indoctrinated with toxic notions of entitlement and community at the expense of hard work and individualism that made this country great.  

The park was free, no admission, paid for by public tax monies. Their guardians that afternoon were public employees feeding on tax moneys confiscated by the government from the hard working 50% of Americans who pay taxes. I imagine the teachers were counting the days until their summer break freed them from their six hour daily grind and a vacation calendar resembling Swiss cheese.

Children lined up single file, six deep to drink from a community water fountain. No funnel cakes, corn dogs, snow cones, or flavored sugar water in sight. Opportunities for wealth enhancement were non existent. Why should you and I be forced by government to subside these little non-productive, non-tax paying, social parasites?

Surely, Louisville’s Mayor Fischer or members of the city council know developers willing to take this “white elephant” off the tax payer rolls. Tyler Park is located but a few blocks from Bardstown Road, with it’s interesting shops and great restaurants. The perfect location for apartments, condos, or even a cul-de-sac leading to expensive McMansions that will enhance the city’s tax base. We might have to grant the developers interest free loans, default guarantees, or tax incentives, but that is how the system works.

If this is successful, Louisville has an entire system of Frederick Olmstead designed parks with Indian names that also could be privatized.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Remember (4+ / 0-)

    that the Supreme Court said that a city could take private property by eminent domain if it believed it could increase its revenue base by doing so. It would be very easy for a city to give up its parks. Short term gain, long term loss as people move away.
    I live in an area where old people have driven young people and their children away. My kids still live here because they work hard and their dad helped them get started buying a home. I like that noisy, crazy scene you describe and wish I saw more of it in my town.

    •  The Parks Are City Property Now Aren't They? (0+ / 0-)

      Bring in the bulldozers!

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:44:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For now they are public property but (5+ / 0-)

        who knows next year. They are talking about privatizing our bridges, even asking the Feds permission to toll the Interstate bridges.

        I don't know what consciousness is or how it works, but I like it.

        by SocioSam on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:46:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  SocioSam - there is absolutely nothing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep, lina

          about your park scene that has anything remotely to do with socialism. Now, if the kids were making shoes in a government factory, we would have something to talk about.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:49:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, free parks are socialism (7+ / 0-)

            A capitalist park would have fences, a gate, and a cashier charging you. Also socialist: the police, education, fire department, roads, and public libraries. We use socialism every day because it works better than the alternative.

            What do you think socialism is? The government owns everything and tells you what to do? Yeah, uh, that's not even remotely socialism. Look, people lie when they name their governments. The People's Democratic Republic of Korea is neither democratic or a republic, for instance. We don't use Korea as an example to smear democracy or republicanism. Yet people do tend to use the actions of tyrannies to smear socialism. I wonder why that is?

            •  SethR - there is absolutely nothing socialistic (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              about state, local or national public parks, roads, sewers, water systems, highways, police, fire, armed forces, libraries, K12 public schools, or state colleges and universities.  When government owns the means of production that's socialism. When citizens join together to provide routine public services, paid for with taxes, it reflects a long American tradition that has nothing to do with socialism.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 02:40:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You keep repeating that lie (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mint julep

                Let me debunk it using your own language: "When government owns the means of production that's socialism."

                Okay, the park IS the means of production. Why do you think we have them? They produce happiness. The government owns it. The park is a government owned and operated happiness factory.

                What is a road, but a means of production? Roads are transportation factories. We have private sector toll roads, public roads are socialism. Sewers are the means of producing public health and sanitation, government owned, socialist.

                What is a water system but a mean of producing clean water? What are the police but a means of producing public safety? What are the armed forces, but the same thing on an international scale?

                We could do all these things using a capitalist system. You could buy a membership in a fire or crime prevention company. Obviously, we could have privately owned water systems. We do have privately owned schools. So what ARE public schools, obviously they are not private schools, what are they? Socialist

                Obviously you simply have something against socialism and do not want to use the word even when nothing else fits. Your capitalist background is showing. Obviously, you make money off of lending for profit. VCLib, Venture Capitalist, am I right?

                •  Seth - I am a proud capitalist (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  and I do have something against socialism. I think that socialism, as a national economic system, is not compatible with individual freedoms. However, I don't consider the items I mentioned to have anything to do with socialism. As I said in my earlier comment, when the kids are working in the shoe factory we will have something to talk about.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 03:04:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Socialism creates freedoms (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mint julep

                    Let me be frank with you: outside society, you have no freedoms. You either have or lack power. The word freedom doesn't even enter the picture. It's nothing more than an abstract concept, and it exists only inside the human mind. Without other humans to help you, your powers are very, very limited. Only when human beings gather together into groups does the word freedom take on any meaning.

                    Individuals create societies through contracts that define freedoms and their costs. Societies then turn those potential freedoms into actual freedoms by enforcement of the contracts. All freedoms are trades that involve you giving up or limiting some power in order to gain something you desire more. I might like the power to swing my fists wherever I like, but I like having freedom from getting punched in the face even more, so I limit my power in order to gain a freedom.

                    Society creates freedom. More cooperative societies create more freedom. Competition creates freedom only for the winners, regardless of how they won. It reduces freedom for the losers, and so in the end, capitalism produces no extra freedoms, it simply allows some people to steal power and freedom from others.

                    Look at the socialist democracies of Europe if you want a better example of what modern socialism really is. Ask people over there if they feel free. They do. Of course, the fucking capitalists HATE that they are successful. That's one reason they engineered this little economic kerfluffle. So they can impose "austerity" on the damn socialists, who are doing things by themselves, for themselves without giving a damn tithe to the rich. Can't have that, must destroy cooperation so the peasants have no choice but to kiss our asses while they hand us fat sacks of loot.

                    You don't get to redefine words on a whim, "Socialism is what I say it is an nothing else." If you have a rebuttal to my argument, present it. I think I fucking well whipped your ass, logic wise. If you think differently, take my points apart  like I demolished yours. All I hear from you is "blah blah blah socialism sucks blah blah." A third grader could present a better rebuttal than you have.

                    •  SethR - I have no interest in debating (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      because I can't change your mind and you can't change mine. We just have a very different world view regarding what economic system would work best for the US. I respect your view and the socialist democracies of Western Europe are a good example of combining free markets and the use of government to redistribute wealth and income. I also acknowledge that capitalism has Darwinian attributes that don't treat the less successful well at all. However, for all its faults I personally still prefer the US capitalistic system to the western European democratic socialist system. I am not willing to embrace a system that provides a more even distribution of income and wealth at the cost of my personal economic freedoms.

                      What I don't understand is why you feel the need to attack me personally? Isn't this site about the open discussion of ideas? I have said nothing offensive to you. Why the attack?

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 04:33:50 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  What "personal economic freedoms?" (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        Economies only exist within society. The ability to hoard wealth is not a natural one, you would not have that ability without society's help. Freedoms only exist within society: without society backing you up, you would have no freedoms, only the personal power you possessed. Freedom is something human beings create for each other, through cooperation.

                        As I made clear, the only "personal economic freedom" that capitalism gives you is the freedom to economically oppress your fellow man. Competition is about stealing other people's freedom so that you have more and they have less, and doing it in such a way that the loser must agree, by the rules of the game, to give up those freedoms he lost.

                        Cooperation is about building freedom for all  parties. As I said, it is the only way freedoms are created, as opposed to power. There is an old proverb, I believe of African origin, that says, "It takes a strong tribe to create free individuals and it takes free individuals to create a strong tribe."

                        If you and I were in the same room, would one of us have the power to kill the other? That could easily be demonstrated one way or the other. Would we have the freedom to do so? That depends entirely on society. Most of the time, the agreement we have made is that no, we do not have that freedom. If you and I were enemy soldiers, it would be down to power again. If I were a death row prisoner and you were an executioner, then yes, you would have the freedom to kill me.

                        I would have neither the freedom nor the power to do the same to you. The only reason I would not have the power to do so is because of society. The reason I would not have the freedom to do so is because of the agreement I entered into when I chose to be a member of society. I agreed that, were society to find me guilty of certain crimes, I could be put to death.

                        Now let me be clear: capitalism is not the free market, and the free market is not capitalism. Socialism and the free market can coexist, actually, capitalism, socialism and the free market can all coexist. So why are you so quick to dismiss the presence of socialism? If parks, roads, fire and police departments, public libraries and education are not socialist, what are they?

                        I'm not attacking you, I'm attacking your sorry excuse for an argument, which I feel to be dishonest and constructed out of nothing more than appeals to emotion, namely fear. Your part in this whole thread boils down to "Nuh uh! Besides, booga booga booga STALIN!"

                        Were you to actually present a compelling argument, you could change my mind. Your inability to present a compelling argument is not an indication of lack of an open mind on my part. Up until this last post I saw neither a compelling argument nor any willingness to cede any ground whatsoever on your part. I still do not see a compelling argument but I do see a willingness to try to find common ground. Now I have reason to show you some respect.

                        I made a case, using your own language and logic, as to why these things are socialist and you made no counter case, you just kept repeating assertions without backing them up with any sort of chain of logic. I simply have no respect for that style of "debate."

                        If you'd like to continue this debate, I would actually enjoy someone intelligent trying to counter my arguments. It allows me to make them stronger. But there is simply nothing I can do with  "Nuh uh! Besides, booga booga booga MAO!" which is why I get frustrated.

                        You see, it isn't just that we have differing views on which system might be best, I believe we differ on our basic philosophical underpinnings. I'm fairly certain you have very different ideas about where rights and freedoms derive from, probably something along the lines of "natural rights," am I right?

                        Those differing underpinnings lead us to different conclusions. If you want a debate, let's debate the philosophical roots of our positions. I've presented at least some of my arguments. Your turn.

                •  Public ≠ Socialist (0+ / 0-)

                  Saying that parks are an example of Socialism is not only completely false, it's absolutely ridiculous.

                  One thing I've learned over the last few years is that the Left is just as ignorant about what Socialism is as the Right.

                  •  Blah, blah, blah, unsourced assertion, blah blah (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mint julep

                    You sir do not know even the rudiments of argumentation. Please explain the socialist democracies of Europe, why they are so successful, why they call themselves socialist democracies, and why they (GASP) still let private citizens own things, even the means of production, when they are socialist. Yeah, that's not going to happen because you have no fucking idea. You have bought the lie about socialism hook line and sinker. I AM a socialist, and I know what socialism is, today, in the Western world, obviously far better than you do.

                    So, make a damn argument if you believe otherwise. Bare-assed statements of opinion, such as you display here, are NOT an argument. They are opinion. And not informed opinion, either.

                    You may want to educate yourself a tiny little bit before attempting to build an argument, lest you sound even more like a blithering idiot than you already do:


                    is a good start, with lots of educational links. Looking forward to handing you your ass in a real debate, so get crackin'.

                    •  Those countries in Europe... (0+ / 0-)

                      are practicing a watered-down, softcore version of Socialism.  I'd hesitate to call them Socialist at all.

                      And I'm not going to debate w/ someone who thinks parks and police departments are examples of Socialism.  You're too ill-informed.  Mao was Socialist, Khrushchev was a Socialist... you sir are not.

                      •  Of course you would hesitate (0+ / 0-)

                        Because they are a powerful counter example to your misguided thesis, that socialism is 100% evil. You keep spouting nonsense that only Mao and his ilk were socialist, and you ignore any evidence to the contrary. You won't debate me because I've been demolishing your insipid "arguments." And they are only arguments in the Monty Python "Five minute argument" sense, i.e. not arguments at all, merely contradiction. Go on, run away with your tail between your legs because I won't let you frame the argument in a false light, it only proves that I have totally destroyed your argument.

                        Socialists:1, Capitalists:0

                        •  I never said Socialism was evil... (0+ / 0-)

                          nor did I say it was good. I made no argument for or against it.

                          All i stated was the examples you used are not examples of Socialism.  Socialism is an economic system.  Parks, fire departments, public bathrooms, etc. are not part of the economy.  They produce nothing, they distribute nothing.  They are no more examples of Socialism than they are of Capitalism or any other system of economics.  

                          Just like the Right, you're misdefining Socialism to suit your argument.  They point to to things they think are bad and call it Socialism when its not(healthcare reform).  You're pointing to things that are good and call it Socialism when its not either.

                          •  Your free economics lesson (0+ / 0-)

                            "Parks, fire departments, public bathrooms, etc. are not part of the economy.  They produce nothing, they distribute nothing."

                            This is the most ludicrous misunderstanding of economics I have heard in a long time. Of course those things are part of the economy. The economy is nothing more than the sum total of the things humans do and the value they derive from doing it.

                            Let me clue you in on a basic socioeconomic point: "socialized" is the opposite of "privatized." Something is "socialist" if it is not privately owned.

                            Look, we do have a few private roads. Have you never driven on a toll road? So why aren't all roads toll roads? Because roads constitute a natural monopoly, and a positive externality. We simply can not have an efficient free market in roads and even if we could, the benefits of offering publicly owned, maintained, and controlled roads are so great, and the costs of excluding people from the use of roads is so high (how do you fence off something everyone needs access to?) that any sane society implements a primarily socialist road network.

                            I hate to disappoint you but we DO want a socialized health care system. As opposed to privatized, which is what we have now, with a dose of dysfunctional insurance scams added in for good measure. The capitalist leaches attach themselves to anything, like healthcare, where the failures of the free market offer them an advantage.

                            Socialism is the socialized ownership of the means of production. Democratic socialism, which is the specific type I am espousing here, includes the democratic control of the means of production in the definition. Roads produce value. They take effort to maintain. How in the world is that "not part of the economy?" The same for the rest of the things on the list. They provide value. The free market is an inefficient way of allocating resources towards that production of value, for a variety of reasons, and so we do things democratically: we own these means of production in common, and we profit from them in common. We also, with our taxes, pay for them in common. Because we like having free roads. Get it?

                      •  They call it a political spectrum (0+ / 0-)

                        because there are all kinds of places you can land on it.  Any system can go to such extremes that it fails to uphold whatever noble thing it was trying to accomplish.  Imagine if I took Industrial Revolution capitalism—total laissez faire; children working in textile mills, workers dying in fires because they're chained to their machines, unrestrained rape of natural resources, all of it!—and then claimed that this represented all capitalism everywhere, and that you, sir, could not call yourself a capitalist unless you were properly brutalizing your proles and producing enough pollution to light rivers on fire.

                        In the end, unless you can point to tangible and effective public control over the means of production, then you have no claim on socialism.  The kind of top down enforcement you see under a guy like Mao or Stalin is far closer to fascism in practice.  I know that isn’t what they called themselves, and I don’t care.  They lied.  It would be like calling Saddam Hussein’s Iraq a functioning democracy because they had elections even though there was only one name on the ballot.

                        European social democracy is not an extreme form, by any means, but it fits the bill.  As does your local vegan co-op and any publically maintained services or utilities that exist for the benefit of all regardless of private profit.

                        Your emotional, propaganda-driven aversion to the word is irrelevant.

          •  I don't think you know what socialism is. (0+ / 0-)

            And, admittedly, there are several flavors of it.  In a general sense, it amounts to public control of stuff, through democratic government, workers councils, that sort of thing.  This would include parks and schools and such.  In small scale, it might be something as simple as your local co-op.  It's easy to confuse public control with government control, and the main factor in even seeing a divide between those two tends to be how responsive the government is to the people.  In a properly functioning democratic republic, that could be quite a bit.  In our democratic republic, bought and paid for as it is by captains of industry and finance, not so much.  So your confusion is understandable.

  •  Heah heah! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SethRightmer, marina, Lily O Lady

    Hah, just kidding:

    Arguments that socialism R bad and socialism = communism are bullshit.

    The word socialism has been ruined though. We can't advocate what Bellamy and other American leftists once advocated, because they've told lies about the labels.

    It's branding, and it's BS.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

    by OllieGarkey on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 01:45:24 PM PDT

  •  The horror! (5+ / 0-)

    Why, the very idea of public parks rankles any capitalism loving rugged individualist to their very core. You know what makes a good park? Fences, and a cashier at the gate. This so called public park is obviously a tragedy of the commons waiting to happen. Meaning, commoners may, tragically, be using the park right now! Disease-ridden indigents probably sleep there at night, who knows what sort of drug dealers are taking advantage of this free prime real estate, and of course, the whole place could be taken over by a wild pack of protesters at any time!

    This illustrates the real danger of such public spaces: people who don't have the money or connections to own a press or a television station might be able to get their ideas out to some limited segment of the public. I mean, I'm all for free speech but you should either do it in private or buy a media outlet of some kind like a respectable person. Public parks are not a place for free speech! And anyhow, who really wants to hear what a poor person has to say? They're poor for Christ's sake! They probably smell bad too.

  •  damnation! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, Lily O Lady, SocioSam

    it's time to get some fuckin' BILLBOARDS set up in that heathenistic park!

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 02:02:17 PM PDT

  •  If something is fun, never let em do it for free. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, SocioSam

    Guiding principle of capitalism...

    wait, aren't I paraphrasing a Villain?


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 02:09:52 PM PDT

  •  Oh, I thought you witnessed the Holodomor. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SocioSam, espanostifer

    ...but I'm glad you had a good day at the park.

    •  What was socialist about the holodomer? (0+ / 0-)

      Tyranny is tyranny, whatever it calls itself. Look, there's this place, calls itself a Democratic Republic but the head guy owns everything, says he's a god, and kills his citizens with impunity Obviously this means that ALL democracies and republics are hell-holes of repression. /snark

      You selfish capitalists always show up in discussions of socialism with your lies and your lack of historical knowledge, slinging shit and trying to destroy cooperation. Because that is what socialism is: cooperation. And cooperation is better, more fulfilling, and more efficient than competition, which is the basis of capitalism.

      Socialism represents the caring, egalitarian, cooperative future and capitalism represents the repressive, hierarchical and selfish past. Socialists will win this game in the long run, because we're right. Lies and hate only get you so far.

      •  Socialism must be enforced (0+ / 0-)

        it isn't so much cooperation as it is submission.

        After all, if it were people living freely, improving their lives by improving other's lives, that would just be capitalism.

        Utopia is only possible by forcing people to live the proper way.

        •  Bullshit, its capitalism that must be enforced (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SocioSam, mint julep

          That's why we have cops, to protect the property and privilege of the rich. Why do you think we've had such a crackdown on OWS?

          What you describe has nothing to do with capitalism. You don't even know the meaning of the word. It is obviously just some sort of magic totem for you, the thing from which all good things spring. Idiot.

          Capitalism is lending money for profit, full stop, end of story. It is not "living freely" nor is it "improving other people's lives." Look around you, is that what the rich are doing?

          Utopia is possible and it doesn't involve repression at all. Which is why capitalism will never achieve utopia, capitalism requires repression in order to maintain the unfair advantage of money lenders over the workers.

          Money lenders have never created one single good thing in all the world's history. They just took credit for it all. But if they weren't unfairly hoarding all the money to begin with, we wouldn't need them to lend it to us.

          •  Taxes are not charity, friend (0+ / 0-)

            Taxes are taken, more or less, at gunpoint.

            Lending is a service found in a capitalist society.  It does not define it.

            From Encarta World English dictionary:

            "an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit"

            Your fear of the police are unfounded, and I'm sure you've called them to protect you at least once in your life.

            "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first." -Mark Twain

            by espanostifer on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 03:59:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Taxes at gunpoint? That's libertarian talk. (0+ / 0-)

              I am done with your fucking nonsense. Anyone who says taxes are taken at gunpoint is a fucking loon, a danger to society, and obviously a libertarian not a progressive. You do not belong here, Pualista. Go away.

              I LIKE paying taxes. With taxes, I buy civilization. It's a free fucking market, too, if you don't like the options on sale here in the United Sates of America, go patronize another establishment. That's the free market at work, you don't get to dictate to the store owner what he should sell, but you can take your business elsewhere. If you stay, then obviously you think being a citizen is worth the price you pay in taxes, you dishonest little shit.

              You are probably the type who goes into a restaurant, orders an expensive meal, eats it, then says, "I never signed a contract saying I would pay you for this food, I thought you were just giving it to me for free!"

              Now fuck off and go back to whatever libertarian rock you crawled out from under, this is the last time you'll ever get a response from me.

              •  Couple questions (0+ / 0-)

                What do you think happens when you don't pay taxes?

                -You ge a nasty letter.

                and if you resist?

                -You get another nasty letter

                and if you resist?

                -IRS comes to your house

                and if you resist?

                -They come back

                and if you resist?

                -They kick in the door

                and if you resist?

                -Weapons are drawn

                And if it weren't so, nobody would pay taxes.

                And you have so much faith in the equality-enforcers, so little faith in your neighborly society, despite the clear record of history, these two paths.

                I'll go back under my libertarian rock.  I wish you'd go back under your socialist rock and leave me alone.  But that would defeat the purpose.  You must enforce Utopia.

                "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first." -Mark Twain

                by espanostifer on Fri Jun 01, 2012 at 04:23:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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