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I was reading the interesting review of what seems like the interesting book by E.J. Dione Our Divided Political Heart, and I was thinking in my own four chamber heart that the thesis is something that I, too, had entertained. In fact, there seems no escaping the observation that today's conservative has adopted something less vocal than Libertarianism, less developed than Anarchism, as a motivating principle. The motivation seems to be, well, Id. In fact, we might as well call it infantalism as conservativism.

Dione seeks to explain how today's Tea Potty conservatives see "socialism." To them, "socialism" does not derive from Karl Marx, but from "social" or "society." (It's ok to laugh. Sharing a laugh is socialist, too, and one of the first marks of a puddinhead is using words without knowing their meaning.) However, after thanking Mr. Dione (well, DemFromCT) for aiding me to that understanding, I began to notice that some other ideas were sticking together.

You see, there is nothing "social"-ist in what the tricorn hat crowd is upset at. It doesn't rise to egoism, because having an ego means recognizing both shame and desire and negotiating between them to assert a balanced and healthy will. It also has nothing to do with actual polity because they are not speaking of change or conservation in any meaningful way. It is just being of a different society, a different table at the restaurant, a different party.

President Obama (and you and I) is a "socialist" for maintaining EPA regulations (conservative) and for proposing and enacting open enlistment by gay service members (liberal). Saying that institutions must carry health insurance that covers contraception is not a change or a conservation, but rather a standardization of what twenty-nine states (in a Protestant "up yours" to Catholics in the case of some) already had. Telling Arizona that the national borders are a federal matter and that we cannot have fifty different policies and the federal power coming like a dog with its weapons to the whistle of each governor is an Articles of Confederation issue. What unites these?

The argument in potentis. I hope I can explain their thoughts after this thingiemabob.

Recall, if it's not too awful, that the Thomist argument against contraception is based on potential. An egg that is fertilized by a sperm but which does not develop is a potential human being that has been destroyed in potentis. It is not murder, but it is sin. The other argument involved is one derived from Onan, more or less. (Let's all learn and practice: "onanism" -- the word feels good, doesn't it?)

The story of Onan is in Genesis 38:7 ff:

But Er, Judah's first born, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him. Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother." But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. And what he did was displasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him. Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, "Remain a widow in your father's house, till Shelah my son grows up...."
A peculiar story we might say.

Most of you would probably find it difficult to derive doctrine from it, but you are not 19th century clerics trying to stop boys from doing . . . ewwww. They drew the lesson that interfering with procreation got Onan killed and displeased God. (Onan simultaneously, incidentally, replicated the brotherly hate found in Cain, and he disobeyed a patriarch, and he was denying issue to the line, and we don't know what it was that got Er killed, and the entire nation depended at that time on being fruitful and multiplying. . . .) However, from the in potentis and the Onan argument, we get the prohibition on male masturbation and female contraception. (Bill Hicks alluded to the argument when he said that, if each portion of the process is a potential life, "I've wiped entire civilizations off my chest.")

Do you remember 2010? Which one?
Do you remember how President Obama SLASHED defense spending? Even as Iran was threatening us, President Socialist cut our only ability to defend ourselves! Or do you remember that absolutely none of that happened and that was precisely how it was reported to our fellow citizens on the right? You see, President Obama increased military spending, but he increased it by less than the GOP wanted, so that is a net decrease. When Robert Gates decided to move allocations of money, some programs ended and others expanded. Thus, something got "cut." What greater proof do you need?

If this is fracture is familiar, it should be. The same game was played against President Clinton and President Carter. President Carter -- our very own Ethelred the Unready according to journalistic myth -- oversaw a staggering military build up while he was blamed for "cutting" defense. All that is necessary to play this game is to make up an impossible number, submit it, have someone scale it down to reality, and then that person has "cut." If you have the power, build in automatic increases, and then, when revenues fall and someone stops that auto-draft, that person is "cutting."

Like the Thomist, the Republican is arguing that a prevention of what could be is the same thing as the destruction of the real. Similarly, stopping their desired goal because of a lunatic or unconscionable method, is swearing eternal enmity against all that they are.

"When a government and a business love each other very much..."

For those of us who actually use "socialism" to mean -- you know, socialism -- it has more and less precise meanings. One operative definition might be, "An economy where the state controls or manages businesses and exchanges traditionally conducted by small groups of individuals in a fluid and unregulated manner." Therefore, where "government provision of services and goods" competes against and with a private provider would also be a sort of socialism, because the state has an inherent advantage.

Therefore, American government avoids entering into competition with free market providers of goods and services. The government hasn't created a car company, for example, even though it is in the interests of itself as a military and a population. It has not created an electric utility. When private providers have abused market power, government has regulated rather than seized. Hooray: no socialism here!

No matter how awful the challenge -- wars, OPEC boycotts, etc., our noble, freedom-loving government has avoided socialism.

Yeah, well, we think about the world as it is. They think about the world as it might be and declare that it already must be so.

Right now, for example, the government does not compete with oil companies. Well, if it regulates them, isn't that state involvement? Isn't that a form of state control? If it's a form, then why isn't it socialism? If it has the seed then it has the whole thing. When Paul Broun of Georgia wrote an anti-abortion bill for his state legislature and used the term "homonculus" for the sperm, it was both hilarious and telling.

Do you wish to tell a privately competing company not to pour mercury into streams? Why, isn't that the state owning a piece of your company? Isn't that what they used to do in the Soviet Union?

If you want a contraceptive pill, then you might have sex without pregnancy, so you already are having lots of sex (especially if you're attractive; if you're not, you'll get called other names)! If kids in high school can get condoms, then in one case or two a child might be promiscuous, and therefore the children are humping each other constantly. (I have never had a woman say to me, "You know, I don't like you much, and I'm not in the mood, but, since I can't get pregnant I'm all for sex!" Contraception is not, I'm afraid, the only thing standing between two people making love. There I go thinking about real people again, though.)

More frighteningly, Mitt Romney and the House GOP have yet another, new, definition of "socialism." For them, if there is a service traditionally provided by government that is not sold to a private interest or divested to profit-making entities, that is socialism. In other words, if you keep insisting on having police instead of security guards, you're a socialist. If you demand that water come to your citizens through a utility, you're practically a communist. If you want a bond to build a public library, you should probably be arrested and sent to a for-profit Sylvan glade.

So, the next time you hear that the president is a "socialist," remember just how he is. He is the way that Taft was, the way that Teddy Roosevelt was, the way that JFK was, the way that your mother was, the way that every person who advocated thinking of others in the here and now was.

Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 9:32 AM PT: According to the poll, the one socialist feature that must be freed to open competition is. . . the Bureau of Weights and Measures. At last, it's as long as you can afford to pay for.

Originally posted to A Frayed Knot on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Poll

Which socialist endeavor should the government "free?"

15%11 votes
12%9 votes
2%2 votes
9%7 votes
17%13 votes
4%3 votes
10%8 votes
27%20 votes

| 73 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  No, birth control is NAZI (9+ / 0-)

    thereby socialist because they were the national socialist party.  But ultimately birth control is genocide.

    :eyeroll:  The worst part is, I didn't even make up this facetious argument.

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:54:58 PM PDT

    •  Oh, I know. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myboo, UniC, SuWho

      "National Socialism" has the word right in the title, so it must be true, just the way that the Peace Maker Missile made peace. This is another form of conservative thinking, the contagious magic thinking. (I think that's the term from Fraser's The Golden Bough: If you write the name of something, then that is magical and makes the thing true.)

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:34:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Different kind of magical thinking (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac, SuWho

        I think you're thinking of the Law of  True Names, whereby if you know the True Name of something you can control it.

        "Contagious magic" derives from the "Law of Contagion", which holds that things once in contact tend to remain in contact. (This is not the explanation for "I sneeze into my handkerchief and lend it to you, therefore you catch my cold" - but it is at least within sight of the right ballpark.)

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:21:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Golden Bough (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SuWho

          I should find a copy -- probably Project Guttenberg has it, given the age -- of Fraser's The Golden Bough. When I was sixteen, I think, I was on a "The Waste Land" kick, which got me reading the notes, which got me reading Jesse L. Weston's From Ritual to Romance, which I was not ready for, but it got me to Fraser.

          Fraser classified magic by contagion, and you're right -- it's contact ("I put a cursed item under your house eaves, so now you'll die") -- and homeo-* and . and ..  My memory isn't giving me his names. It is giving me the concepts, though.

          I was really impressed with his discussion of knowing the true name (just can't remember his term). Heck if he doesn't seem to be right. There are American Indian tribes with the 'true name' belief, and then there were Scandinavian and Celtic groups with the idea that weirding was knowing the word. Oh, well, I don't suppose forgetting from a span of 34 years is too bad.

          Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

          by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:24:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You read Eliot and Fraser at 16? (0+ / 0-)

            That's effin' humbling.

            "Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous." -- Molly Ivins

            by dumpster on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 11:30:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was effing weird (0+ / 0-)

              As the exchange goes in "A Fish Called Wanda,"
              Kevin Kline's character, Otto: "An ape? Oh yeah? Well, an ape doesn't read Nietzsche!"
              Wanda: "Yes, it does, Otto. It just doesn't understand it."

              To say that I didn't understand "The Waste Land" is an understatement, but I understood good parts of it, and I had a thesis that even now I think is sort of right. But, no, I didn't get past "Burial of the Dead" and know much of what was happening.

              On the other hand, I did get Fraser. (Worse, by the way, was later that year and the next, I was reading Kant. (I actually think Serious Philosophers should only be read when very young, as that's the only time one has sufficient energy to get through that opaque prose.) With Kant's "Pure Reason," I understood every paragraph but didn't understand the whole until college and a History of Continental Phil. class.

              Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

              by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 01:42:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  contagious magic (is not) thinking (6+ / 0-)

        John Kerry fought in Viet Nam, George Bush joined the champagne unit, but John Kerry was a coward.
        Barak Obama was born in the US, but John McCain was born in Panama, but Obama isn't an American citizen.

        Being on the left means having to think, being on the right means owning a keyboard with Republican tendencies.

        Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

        by UniC on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 03:32:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, no, no (0+ / 0-)

      Today's Quiverful Movement (have all the kids you can) started with the Nazis. It was official party policy.

      •  You have them. Not you. You. (0+ / 0-)

        If you want really weird, check out the Mormon idea that all the people that will ever be have already been created as souls waiting up in heaven, and it's Your Duty to ensure that they get born into Mormon bodies. That's why a man should be spreading his seed broadcast and women should have lotsa babbies.

        The RCC just has this strange set of accidents that hardened into attitude and then snake eyed meanness.

        Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

        by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:58:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a socialist (5+ / 0-)

    Sorry, your definition sounds more like old school Russian communism. We've been having socialist internationals for over a hundred years now, you might want to catch up on some of the more recent thinking. For example: did you know that much of Western Europe considers itself a "Socialist Democracy?" even though the state doesn't own all businesses? Amazing, huh?

    For your edification, let me provide a much more realistic definition of socialism. Anything that is owned and  controlled by the public is socialism. That includes everything on your list. Embrace the word with pride, don't run from it! We are and always have been a socialist country where it counts. Please don't play into the capitalist hand by continuing to demonize the word.

    •  I think you may have missed me (8+ / 0-)

      I certainly don't demonize the word. I was being more than a bit sarcastic.

      As I said, there are greater and lesser definitions. Some rely on strict economics, others on philosophical intent. Christian Socialist and Democratic Socialist, for example, can be to the left of each other or the right of each other country by country, so we can't look at the word as magically elevating or demonizing anyone.

      I was offering a very basic working definition from Marxism. I.e. the question is whether the collective, based on revenue from taxation, competes against the individual, based on revenue from venture. This distinction is built into U.S. legal code, and that's why I used it.

      No, I don't think Soviets are necessary for socialism. In fact, I'd kind of argue that functioning socialism only occurs on either a small, democratic scale or when there is a compelling moral commitment to the social good, or both (i.e. town to canton sizes and religious/revolutionary communities). State level socialism is inherently introducing a layer of administrative loss that must diminish the value of the product. It can be tolerated, but it will eventually lead to a mess.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:41:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Socialism on a small, local scale? Smells like... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Geogre

        ANARCHISM!! Oh noes!

        State level socialism makes sense in certain cases, like natural monopolies or externalities. The market fails to deliver efficient allocation of resources in these cases, making public ownership and democratic control the best solution.

        Capitalism introduces its own set of losses, of course. I mean, "administrative loss" is just another name for "owning class profits." Competition itself produces inefficiencies, but we generally ignore those losses in our calculations. And frankly, Marx was right about certain things. Money is power, any individual who accumulates enough money can use it to unfairly influence the lives of others. This leads to concentration of wealth and all the social evils that it engenders.

        I particularly like the model of the Basque cooperative, Mondragon. Everything is a cooperative, cooperative housing, banks, staffing agencies, business planners, factories, design firms, etc. And if you want to start your own, you get tons of help from all the other cooperatives.

        Of course, they are a socially homogenous minority group and they all have a compelling moral commitment to the social good.

        Or rather, it is easy for them to see and embrace their commitment. We all have a compelling commitment to the social good. It is built into our genes. We succeed because we are cooperative by nature. Cooperation is a more successful strategy than competition, by and large. If it weren't, we would all still be single celled organisms.

        Cooperation simply feels better than competition, for most normal non-sociopathic people. Living in a dog eat dog world is a hollow and unfulfilling prospect for most of us, even if we do well at it. Yet that is the world that we choose, collectively, to create. Seeing the world that way is a self fulfilling prophecy. We can't cooperate because we don't want to be taken advantage of by the sharks. So we try to become the sharks. But we aren't, and so we get eaten.

        And THAT is the whole reason we need government in the first place. At the same time, government, the tool we created to mitigate the damage that sociopaths can cause, can easily be taken over by those same sociopaths. Thus the absolute necessity of an educated and involved populace. Tree of liberty, blood of tyrants and all that.

        •  Oh, capitalism must fail (4+ / 0-)

          Capitalism not only introduces inefficiency, the basic problem of renting capital is insoluble. Price = cut for materials, cut for investors, cut for owners of the facilities, and payment to labor (incl. non-productive labor that might include inefficiency). So long as that is the case, the worker cannot purchase the end product, and so long as that is the case, a capitalist system must grow in order to cover the inherent inequality.

          That criticism by Marx hasn't changed, and it hasn't been solved. The 'solution' has been imperialism -- growth by exploitation of foreign markets. The response has also been the capital class developing a post-productive or post-capitalist system whereby they trade capital for gain without any real or productive tie.

          States can solve monopoly abuse by treating them as utilities and/or anti-trust, but these only reset the game to the "normal" paradox of the need for 3% growth to stand still.

          Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

          by The Geogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:31:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ditto. More people need to have an understanding (0+ / 0-)

      of what Socialism actually IS before writing about it.

      When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

      by Bisbonian on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:40:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where I stand? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave in Northridge, UniC

    I was writing about the thought processes and meaning of words for the far right. Myself? I've been in favor of democracy and socialism and morality for all of my adult life. I read and write in Marxist and neo-Hegelian thought, but I'm not orthodox or particularly interested in hero worship. Marx got a fair amount wrong, but what he got right is still right and still hasn't been addressed.

    As Hamlet asked, Who would bear the rich man's contumely?

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:44:53 PM PDT

  •  Contraception is to socialism as abortion is to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UniC, The Geogre, milkbone

    Communism.

    Today a condom, Tomorrow, Stalin.

  •  I disagree. (8+ / 0-)

    I think in many cases, the syllogism is much much simpler.

    Socialism is bad.
    Obama is bad.
    Therefore Obama is a Socialist.

    By the same reasoning, it is elementary to prove that the President is a bed-wetting Nazi drug dealer.  As are we all.

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:26:21 PM PDT

    •  The classes of the right (0+ / 0-)

      Well, see, over here you've got your right wing diner customer, and over there you've got your right wing pundit or Congressman. Sometimes they meet, as when the Tea Potty put some of the former into the class of the latter, and, of course, Eric Ericson.

      I think you're dead on with the guy shouting, "And now Obama has said that he ain't going to help Arizona. So what do you think of that? He dudn agree with 'em, so he's not gonna do his consitutionel doody" is working by your process. I was trying to outline the more frightening shifty crud that the Professional Thinkers of the Right are doing.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:34:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Professional Thinkers of the Right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Geogre

        ...are less and less relevant.  If Bill Buckley was alive today, he would be sidelined.  His brand of intellectual justification is no longer needed.  Here's what the Right now requires:

         - The real strategy, coming from places like PNAC, which no longer makes any attempt at legitimacy; it is about the naked exercise of power.
         - The talking points for the media, designed to keep swing voters confused, and liberals chasing our tails.
         - Red meat for the Dittoheads.

        If you see where "thinkers" fit in that picture, you're more perceptive than I am.

        Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

        by Boundegar on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:38:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Seems like everything's socialist except (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UniC

    clubbing thy newighbor over the head with a dinosaur bone.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:36:40 PM PDT

    •  Well, even that could be, if we all owned the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UniC, vadasz

      dinosaur bone collectively.

      When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

      by Bisbonian on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:45:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right, because for us to have the bone, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone

      we have to be alive at the same time as the dinosaur, and we all know that's true, because Texas says so. Why, just look at this fuzzy photo of a log! That's Nessie, that is, so humans and dinosaurs were around at the same time, and man was meant to beat the snot out of his fellow man.

      After all, am I my brother's keeper? Duh! Of course I'm not! That's in the Biiiible.

      (They really quote this. They really say that we would make them their brother's keeper.)

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:37:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sometimes it seems we live in the era of stupid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buffie, The Geogre

    kind of a sad thing.

  •  Oddly enough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre
    Do you wish to tell a privately competing company not to pour mercury into streams? Why, isn't that the state owning a piece of your company? Isn't that what they used to do in the Soviet Union
    both the Soviet Union, and the People's Republic have a terrible track record with pollution.  I say, pollution on that scale is communist!
  •  Socialism doesn't derive from Karl Marx (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UniC, The Geogre, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    I can't believe people keep repeating this idiotic canard.  The first socialism I can think of offhand was Robert Owens' at New Lanarck in 1800.  This radical red showed his utter contempt for the Free Market by refusing to employ children under 10, choosing to educate them instead; he also greatly improved conditions for the workers at his mill and insisted on paying them a living wage.  This was called "utopian socialism," and it lasted until about 1968.  Other great socialisms that preceded Marx include Fourierism and Christian Socialism.  Marx was an outlier, but he gained great popularity because he told workers what they wanted to hear: that they could really FUCK their employer and their landlord.

    Socialism was the word for whatever means by which people might be able to find some relief from the unmitigated nightmare called free market capitalism.  The science of sociology was invented to determine the best sort of socialism to implement.

    A "moderate" in this environment is a person who splits the difference between half-assed government and a total shitpile.

    by Dinclusin on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 12:18:05 AM PDT

    •  Much earlier in multiple religious (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigjacbigjacbigjac

      17th c. in England had two changes of religion and persecution or fears of persecution, and both generated flight into communalism. The now-famous Little Gidding was one such community, but Christopher Hill made a career out of exaggerating the real presence of socialist sentiment and practice among the Diggers, Fifth Monarchists, and Levellers at the Civil War. After the war, when they "lost," they went to the New World in some cases and set out for community in others. (Big population of Levellers in Boston.)

      Please be aware of how I use the term in the above essay. I tried to forestall this conversation by admitting that there are a lot of different ways of defining socialism and that the one I was going to use was not intended to be precise or exclusive.

      State socialism as opposed to communal or purely reactive socialism is from Marx. There were Fabians and Syndicalists and other systematic approaches, I grant, but when discussing the federal/state presence or absence of socialism, the Marxist model is probably wisest. Furthermore, Marxist is certainly what early 20th century American legislators reacted against, and then Leninist is what they absolutely overreacted to.

      The Marxist analysis remains valid, in my opinion. If I were going to live in an invented place, though, I would organize the society around any one of a dozen religious community socialist models.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:47:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "For them it does not derive from Karl Marx" (0+ / 0-)

      The contrast in that sentence was meant to be the prior era's conservative, which demonized socialism as Communism and saw everything as a choice between Marxism and "freedom." I was not implying that knowing a genuine source of socialism was even a possibility.

      For that matter, I'm not certain there is a source of it. As I said before, we can find a first usage of a term, but not the concept.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 08:58:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice ideas/explanations (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LJ in VA, The Geogre

    Perhaps also, the seeming confusion is simply because Socialism was the next natural target after Capitalism's 100 year war against Communism was 'won'.
    We've been taught to react, not to think so it's understandable that Americans by and large have no real understanding of Socialism. We know that nuance or complexity doesn't go down well with many Americans. Culturally all the mechanisms were in place (See Saddam Husain was behind 911) to brand Socialism as a negative or in not-so-extreme cases a hate-word because propaganda always relies on the premise that people are not rational.

    I suppose that if I accept that the right has nothing left to believe in but cloud beings, voodoo economics and fear then helpful definitions are just unpatriotic liberal deceptions.
    Since you can't shake the hatred & fear from the word Socialism by explaining or defining it, the only real option is to undermine their faith in the word Capitalism.

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 03:13:09 AM PDT

    •  Populism 2012! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HLGEM 1

      I've been saying since 1992 that we need the Farmers and Progressive Party. We already have a bunch of Pete Seeger songs to play.

      Capitalism f-ing imploded. It showed its butt and rubbed it in our faces. 9/18/08 was a day on which not a single person consumed or produced one less item than the day before, and yet half the wealth of the world "was erased" by the "financial crash" that occurred with bonds (i.e. promises) derived from mortgages (loans) derived from collections of subprime high interest rate loans that the traders did not own.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 04:52:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Certainly, some Greeks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Geogre

        are putting away their suits and picking up tillers since there's no point in waiting for Capitalism to 'save' them .. but really, Greeks only flocked to the current system a few decades ago so it's not beyond reason for a reversal.

        If I was talking to a Republican about the markets I keep it simple. I'd describe the crash as caused by a lack of confidence in Capitalism.
        If there was a glimmer of hope of a reasonable conversation, ie not being told that if I wanted Socialism I should go live in Iran or some such shit, I'd add that these people were playing with our countries future, they were making themselves rich while creating nothing ... then when it all went wrong, they gave us the bill.

        Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

        by UniC on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 05:45:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Down with the Humanities! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre

    You wouldn't be able to discuss the Medieval mindset of the present day Republican party if some socialist had not given you an education in the Humanities.  This is why we need more home schools and home colleges or at least a free market privately owned college system so that no one can be tempted to study the humanities ever again.  Only the Church ought to be in the business of education and then educate only men, preferably in Latin. ;P

    Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

    by Tchrldy on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 06:13:12 AM PDT

  •  Strange Brew.... (0+ / 0-)

    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." - President Merkin Muffley

    by Farkletoo on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 08:18:35 AM PDT

  •  president eisenhower was one of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre

    biggest socialists of american history, what, with the national interstate highway system and all. all paid for with tax dollars, and available for all to use, mostly free of charge, as much as you want.

    we've been a socialist country since the first british settlers arrived in jamestown in 1607, and collectively worked, under the direction of that well known communist, capt. john smith, to grow/hunt food, and defend the community from outside attack.

  •  A note about Onan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre

    Having kids was social security in those days. So the "sin of Onan" was denying his sister in law support, letting her starve...kinda like Paul Ryan.

    •  :-) (0+ / 0-)

      Like I said, I have always read that as a sin of defiance of the father in law. After all, I think Onan had a wife already, so he was ordered to produce heirs for the first born, and he refused. This was against law (even though I don't think those laws are really set forth yet).

      He was also giving the middle finger to his brother. Worse yet, that whole "Er displeased the Lord" thing is peculiar. In fact, Genesis 38 is peculiar, because that formula, "he displeased the Lord so the Lord slew him" occurs serially and only there in late Genesis. It's not a thought we find elsewhere. (Think of all the people who displease the Lord in later books.)

      Then there is leaving the sister-in-law without social security, as you say. There is also leaving the patriarch without grandchildren upon whom to pass a lineage by direct primogeniture.

      I absolutely don't know what's going on with Onan, but I know that it's very strange, and the last thing I'd do as see it as exemplary.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 07:06:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Government regulations should (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Geogre

    stop enriching corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater.  That damn, dirty government is giving them taxpayer money and it's making them weaker and unable to compete with real businesses, like the US Army, which is.  um...  Okay, wait.

    We take money from the US Army, which is an arm of the government.  And we give it to Halliburton KBR, which is a "privately" owned corporation which only exists because of the contracts that the government gives it.  Halliburton, in turn, does a crappy job piece of shit job, but doesn't have to compete with anybody for the job, not even the Army.  Soldiers can be and are reprimanded for doing work that Halliburton has contracts for.

    So what they want is a system in which the government gives business to friends of politicians, the businesses don't otherwise participate in free enterprise in any recognizable way, and their sole function other than this phony make-work is to lobby congress for more overpriced no-bid contracts of the same type.  

    When did we redefine capitalism to be that?  

    They haven't just redefined socialism in a lazy and tribalist way.

    •  Well said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo

      The thing is, Catch-22 was supposed to be a satire and absurdist, but Milo Minderbinder says,

      "I'd like to see the government get out of the war business altogether and leave it all to private enterprise."
      We used to LAUGH at that.

      Bush II not only brought in mercenaries (Black Water/Xe/ Whateverlitigationdodgingnamenow) but for-profit prisons as an experiment in basic governance (CACI, Titan, which were involved in the earliest torture in Abu Gharib and appeared to soldiers as indistinguishable from CIA, as they had been told they had to listen to the "outside contractors"). Then the entire quartermaster corp gets turned over to KBR?!

      One of the things the US military did/does better than any one and any thing on earth is logistics, so it's a good idea to hand that over to a for-profit corporation. They say that they'll do it more cheaply, with a profit margin, than men and women under command will without profit. However, they can only function if, once they exist, the government is forbidden from competing with them!

      When? When Dunce the Second ruled like Dunce the First.

      Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

      by The Geogre on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 04:34:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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