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The_Walrus
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09 Apr 2021, 1:36 pm

I don't think there are any socialist countries in Western Europe. Every country in Western Europe has a market economy. In fact, some of the countries which routinely get described as models by Americans who are sympathetic to socialism are amongst the most pro-capitalist. The Nordic model, for example, involves high rates of income tax, generous public services, and a favourable regulatory environment for businesses. Switzerland is frankly a plain bizarre example to reach to - its economy is built on financial services, as well as high-value exports.

That said, of course I accept the point that it is wrong to describe things like government-funded healthcare as "socialism". But in fairness, I don't think Mr Reynholm started out by rubbishing government-funded healthcare on the grounds that it is socialist. He instead criticised some specific politicians on the grounds that they are socialists. This seems fair to me for two reasons:

1) The politicians in question all, to my knowledge, self-identify as socialists.
2) The politicians in question all support policies that could fairly be described as socialism.

For a long time I viewed Sanders as being slightly to the right of the British socialist Jeremy Corbyn (deemed too left-wing for the country with the most left-wing healthcare system in the world). It turns out that Sanders is actually considerably to the left of the extreme left wing of European politics: https://capx.co/bernie-sanders-is-far-m ... ns-labour/

Of particular note is Sanders' "jobs guarantee", which is an incredibly stupid idea. Essentially, anyone who wants a job will be given one, on $15 an hour plus benefits. This is not something we see anywhere in the world and while it might sound nice, think about it for a few seconds and it falls apart. People would need to be given jobs which don't rely on skills, where failure is unimportant, that aren't strictly necessary, that aren't capital intensive, that don't require supervision by people doing important work, and which can be easily abandoned when someone gets a different job and then picked up much later when some other person comes along. At best, you'll get a lot of uneconomical local arts shows funded by the federal government and run by people with very varying levels of talent. At worst, people will be digging holes and filling them back in again.

Ultimately, I think that the reason socialism is so often associated with dictatorship is because capitalism is an emergent phenomenon when people are allowed to own property, start businesses, and take out loans. But even if you look past the brutality and look solely at the economies, compare East and West Germany (or East Germany and West Berlin), North and South Korea, or China and Taiwan. Each is/was a country torn in two between a capitalist half and a socialist half. In each case, the capitalist country is much better off. Even today, West Germany is richer and more progressive than former East Germany despite 30 years of capitalism because East Germany was so far behind.

The reason I am a liberal rather than a socialist is because I believe capitalism fundamentally works. We should use the awesome power of capitalism to help make people's lives better. That's not an excuse to shrug your shoulders and say "all good things are socialism, socialism is bad, therefore good things are bad". The best results come when the market and the government are in harmony.



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09 Apr 2021, 4:24 pm

Probably most of the anti-socialist rhetoric on the right memorized talking points and nothing more; I don’t get the idea that most voters on either end really understand what’s being said.

My objections are not strictly speaking targeting socialism or communism. I’m against all collectivism. It is something that has been attempted throughout human history and has spectacularly failed every single time. We overlook the early Christian church was a collective, and the book of Acts shows how quickly cracks form in an organization that eschews personal property. The Apostle Paul was a rugged individualist who supported himself while on mission trips. The early British colonies were collectives of people seeking relief from persecution. They learned the hard way what happens when you remove incentives to work when they nearly all died after a difficult winter. And, of course, the breakup of the USSR is probably the notable example.

It’s not so much that countries like the US who have socialist policies are inherently evil because of socialist policies for their own sake. It’s that the principle of having socialist policies and wealth redistribution shifts control over one’s life and property to the collective and away from the individual. The problem is if the government is entrusted with some things that are apparently benign, are there actual limits as to how far the government can be allowed to intrude on the lives of individuals? The example of Norway is not, hey, look how miserable people are in Norway, it’s just another Venezuela! No, by and large life is good in Norway because people still have a wide margin of freedom outside the few significant social programs they do have in place. It’s not officially a statist country. But it does have its problems as I’ve mentioned before, and if this followed a similar trend as to lead to the establishment of a fully, state-mandated, collectivist system of government, those foundational cracks would be amplified.



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10 Apr 2021, 10:52 am

How are you defining "collectivism", Rho?

I'm all for treating people as individuals and giving them control over their own lives, but once you start grouping "eschewing personal property" in with wealth redistribution (itself a very broad term!) then it seems to be a simplification to treat them all as the same thing.

Great things can and do come from individuals acting in their own self-interest, but they're not always the optimal thing. And sometimes, individuals acting in their self-interests leads to behaviour that could very easily be described as "collectivist". The free market and democracy both work on a similar set of principles, and they lead to things like insurance providers and the welfare state.



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10 Apr 2021, 8:49 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
How are you defining "collectivism", Rho?

I'm all for treating people as individuals and giving them control over their own lives, but once you start grouping "eschewing personal property" in with wealth redistribution (itself a very broad term!) then it seems to be a simplification to treat them all as the same thing.

Because they pretty much all are. I see the expectation that people share and share alike to be a harmful one because it never works out. The early Christian community, for instance, worked fine as a collective as long as people were willing to share property in common. It was when two members of the community were struck down dead that early Christians began to see the effects of greed inherent in such a system. Wealth redistribution as seen in the United States takes the form of the highest achievers being taxes the most to support increased benefits to victim classes. I have no problem with any welfare system designed to prevent people from dying of hunger, exposure, or illness. I do have a problem with benefits being allocated to victim classes in the form of entitlements that kill the incentive to do meaningful, productive work in cooperation with those who achieve wealth through ideas and labor. The early American edict that "you don't work, you don't eat" was a response to individuals and groups who saw no point to achievement when all colonists were rewarded equally for unequal effort. No one begrudges special treatment for the elderly and the sick, for example, who actually deserve special treatment. But when one group is compelled to work while another enjoys the fruits of that labor, it is to be expected that productive achievers will feel resentment towards victim classes and those who benefit from acts of greed and envy.

My definition of "collective" is within that context. I'll explain further...

The_Walrus wrote:
Great things can and do come from individuals acting in their own self-interest, but they're not always the optimal thing.

Indeed, and that's half the point. Individual producers and achievers will always run the risk of failure, but that's merely a byproduct of progress. People like Bell, Edison, Franklin, Da Vinci left behind reams of failed plans and designs, yet they are primarily known for their successes. On the other hand, you have people like Bernard Ebbers who, in my opinion, were motivated more by fear of failure rather than outright greed. Part of the problem is that federal regulations often open the door to fraud by allowing loopholes that incompetent CEO's can slip through. Bernie Madoff, for instance, ran a massive Ponzi scheme dating back to the 1980's. All the red flags were there. They were just ignored, which served to only frustrate investigators. I don't get the impression that Ebbers or Madoff are "bad people" per se, but their craving for the approval of others fed their fear. As soon as their schemes broke and their crimes made public, their friends and supporters were nowhere to be found. While these men believed themselves to be acting in their own self-interest, more or less, their actions were devoid of reason. Madoff in particular was operating to benefit Jewish traders specifically, and in this case you find a near-textbook example of ethnic collectivism at its finest. It is no different in principle to antebellum white supremacy and racial slavery. It's effectively the same as Aryan collectivism in pre-war Germany. It follows essentially the same tenets of Soviet communism. As such it is failure by design.

There is such a thing as cooperation and trade that benefits individuals and, by extension, groups of individuals linked by common interests. Common or overlapping values do not constitute collectivism because the way these groups achieve their goals is by voluntary, individual effort. When someone gives of their resources for no immediate return, the expectation is that there WILL be a reward, a return on investment. Collectivist practices, by contrast, cannot expect any reward. There are more givers and few takers under collectivism, and often there is little return on empty promises to those buying into it. Collectivists will make the excuse that they cannot return value on the sacrifices of the many because the actions of some enemy prevents it. Blacks in the United States are permanently disadvantaged because only those with white privilege can succeed. This is a myth, pure fantasy, and American liberals are committed to intellectual racial slavery since before the Civil Rights era. Capitalism is the enemy of communism. Jews are the enemy of National Socialism. There is always an excuse, always someone at fault or responsible for the maladies of the group. There is never personal responsibility for achievement. "Always/Never" hyperbolic language is common rhetoric, and community leaders have no interest in actually eliminating the enemy or solving the problem. While religion may be the opiate of the masses, blaming everyone else for one's own problems is far more potent.

The_Walrus wrote:
And sometimes, individuals acting in their self-interests leads to behaviour that could very easily be described as "collectivist". The free market and democracy both work on a similar set of principles, and they lead to things like insurance providers and the welfare state.

I have no problems with insurance providers when they're actually providing something. In the United States, insurance doesn't actually insure anything. The way insurance works here is they are pretty much given exemptions from anti-trust laws. Providers can only be approved on a state-by-state basis, which means they are free from competition. There are exceptions, of course, but the alternatives are not much better. The lack of meaningful competition for health insurance means insurance companies can charge high premiums with high enough deductibles that they'll never have to actually reimburse any claims. Obamacare was a cheap attempt at actually FORCING competition, which meant at the outset insurance was affordable. But the insurance mandate drove premiums up over time, while deductibles has always been prohibitively high. The theory was and is that young people are healthy and won't make any claims, and that will offset any expenses incurred by those who are already sick and those who are elderly. As expected, it was a colossal failure--a predictable failure that I believe was intended to justify a single-payer system, i.e. socialized medicine. Single-payer, Obamacare, whatever...they always sound like great ideas until reality sets in and drive up expenses. With as little income as we have in our family, we've always been encouraged to go the route of Medicaid, which really is a social program. Well, that's well and good until we start actually filling out the paperwork for it. And that's when that pesky issue with our skin color and marital status kicks in and suddenly we don't qualify. The way insurance works for us is nearly identical. We can't afford it.

What we did to stay legal and hopefully avoid the problems of insurance companies refusing claims while not putting 100% of our earnings into premiums and going bankrupt over deductibles was we enrolled in a health sharing program that was out of reach of insurance regulations. It was a great idea at the time. But as is typical with collectives, it was prone to mismanagement at the administrative level. There is a 6 month delay between processing claims and issuing payment. Payments are reimbursed directly to the patients who then in turn pay health providers. What they proceed to do is look through their own procedures to find any and all ways not to pay claims, such as the time frame that care was provided and claims made. After we did paperwork to get procedures pre-approved, they pretended not to even know who we were, as though the pre-approval process never happened. By the time checks began to trickle in, almost every provider we dealt with for my wife's surgery turned us over to collections. After 6 months of endless phone calls with the sharing company, they finally told us we had a 180 day waiting period before we could get checks. They insisted on drafting premium payments before paychecks so that we have no money to pay them with, and when we forced them to draft only on the mutually agreed on date they were supposed to take their payment, they dropped us from our membership. Phone calls to the company revealed that those are automatically generated emails and snail mail letters and mean nothing--yet despite these meaningless formalities we still can't access anything. So...basically we're stuck with trying to keep our membership long enough to pay off our bill collectors, at which point we plan to see if there are any better options.

Anyway...the point in this mini-tirade is just to look at the realities of quasi-socialized systems. The main problem posed by insurance companies is that when one pays into or invests in a system, the expectation is equal trade in benefits when services are necessary. You don't buy insurance policies because you expect to get sick. You buy insurance because you do NOT expect to get sick. The point of having it is to make life right again when unexpected things happen. So when unexpected things DO happen and insurance companies fail to meet what we DO expect from them, to help us, insurance companies make themselves about as useful as a Bernie Madoff investment. The only difference is Madoff somehow gets life in prison while insurance companies do exactly the same thing and somehow get away with it. Maybe I should start a get-rich-quick scheme and register as an insurance company so I can live a comfortable life. Collectivist businesses and organizations are all effectively the same because they never really help anyone except those who earn their money working for them. It's all very disappointing and is to be expected due to the nature of collectivists groups.

I'm not saying all insurance companies and all sharing or cooperative organizations are inherently evil. If you invest in a business such as insurance and can reliably collect when a legitimate claim is made, you have participated in trade. You haven't sacrificed "for the greater good" when you get a later return on an earlier investment. When people do their jobs honestly and goods/services are rendered in exchange for cost and profit, everyone involved benefit. Jesus Christ would tell His followers to sell all their personal belongings and follow Him. Paul was no exception in giving up everything for the sake of the gospel. But Paul was also a businessman who self-funded all his missionary journeys so that he wouldn't be a drain on fledgling congregations. The ideal of loving your neighbor and generous giving have everything to do with valuing others (for your own reasons), hence success among groups working for a common cause depends on meaningful exchange among individuals. Collectivism requires self-sacrifice, dropping all your resources into one big pool, and one person or a small group of people make the determination as to who qualifies as needy and who does not. People who are talented are at an unfair advantage from birth, therefore talented and strong people are supposed to sit back and give incompetent people an equal chance. Cooperation and trade do happen best in groups, but this allows for each individual to express his own talents and strengths to benefit himself via trade with others who have talents and strengths of their own. I'm a teacher. I get pleasure from helping people learn new skills. People want the skills I offer because they feel it improves their lives. They are willing to pay for instruction from me. In turn, I need food. So I trade my money from music lessons for food from the local grocery. And there's an entire network of providers of food from grocery store employees all the way down to farmers, agricultural chemical suppliers, plant and animal breeders who stay ahead of emerging diseases, and so on. My students support scientists and farmers and shelf stockers just by studying with me. It may have overtones of collectivism, but it is capitalism in action.

Collectivism is the opposite: Students have to get permission to study, my fees are set for me, I'm only allowed to use certain instruments, I'm only allowed to purchase a set amount of food, farmers and other related producers have to produce according to a quota, and those who do well aren't allowed luxuries because that would be unfair to those who didn't do as well. The idea of personal property and other forms of individual ownership are foreign terms, and my piano or clarinet or guitar could be seized and given to someone else based on some imaginary "rights" arbitrarily assigned to another person for whatever reason or no reason at all.

Hopefully that will help with understanding how I define collectivism. It's called many different things throughout history, but they all amount to the same thing.



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10 Apr 2021, 8:54 pm

Collectivism is normally mean't to define socio-cultural constructs that differentiate cultures i.e. collectivist Vs individualist



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10 Apr 2021, 8:59 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
1950s Gay Panics: Beliefs that cults of gays were infiltrating and converting people to “deviant” lifestyles leading to suspicion, firings, and arrests.


I'm late to this party but you should include the 1980s spreading of the myth that gay people were deliberately spreading AIDS to the straight population. There were calls to close of San Fransico's Cuban district and to ban gay people from employment until it could be determined that HIV could not be passed via saliva. Anti-gay violence was also at a high.

Fast forward to Trump's MAGAs and they are also peddling anti-gay conspiracies
https://www.advocate.com/politics/2018/ ... btq-people



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10 Apr 2021, 9:56 pm

cyberdad wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
1950s Gay Panics: Beliefs that cults of gays were infiltrating and converting people to “deviant” lifestyles leading to suspicion, firings, and arrests.


I'm late to this party but you should include the 1980s spreading of the myth that gay people were deliberately spreading AIDS to the straight population. There were calls to close of San Fransico's Cuban district and to ban gay people from employment until it could be determined that HIV could not be passed via saliva. Anti-gay violence was also at a high.

Fast forward to Trump's MAGAs and they are also peddling anti-gay conspiracies
https://www.advocate.com/politics/2018/ ... btq-people


Did you mean Castro?


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10 Apr 2021, 10:12 pm

Tim_Tex wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
1950s Gay Panics: Beliefs that cults of gays were infiltrating and converting people to “deviant” lifestyles leading to suspicion, firings, and arrests.


I'm late to this party but you should include the 1980s spreading of the myth that gay people were deliberately spreading AIDS to the straight population. There were calls to close of San Fransico's Cuban district and to ban gay people from employment until it could be determined that HIV could not be passed via saliva. Anti-gay violence was also at a high.

Fast forward to Trump's MAGAs and they are also peddling anti-gay conspiracies
https://www.advocate.com/politics/2018/ ... btq-people


Did you mean Castro?


Yes sorry...Castro street



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21 Apr 2021, 9:04 am

Hypocrisy: Right-wing outrage mob gets liberal academic fired - Washington Examiner

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What’s one thing worse than left-wing snowflakes? Conservative hypocrites.

Conservatives, after all, ought to know better than to engage in the outrage-mongering and cancel culture we so often decry on the Left.

Yet some are still apparently unprincipled enough to forget this all when an opportunity to “own the libs” presents itself. Breitbart reporter Kyle Morris is the latest conservative to embrace leftist tactics, after he reported on old, supposedly offensive tweets from University of Alabama Dean Jamie Riley, with the clear goal of jamming up the left-wing academic.

Mission accomplished. After amplification from right-wing pundits such as Laura Ingraham, an outrage mob quickly pounced. Just a day later, Riley was out of a job.

A look at the actual tweets in question reveals this shameful campaign for the blatantly political stunt that it is. Riley’s tweets were certainly questionable, and did denigrate the flag, but he wasn’t exactly screaming bloody murder. In fact, his positions were pretty much in line with what most woke leftist academics think. Conservatives can’t seriously think that being hopelessly wrong is a fireable offense, especially at a public university bound by the First Amendment to honor freedom of speech.

Here’s one of the tweets Breitbart hounded on: “The [American flag emoji] flag represents a systemic history of racism for my people. Police are a part of that system. Is it that hard to see the correlation?”

Newsflash: woke liberals think America is racist. They might be wrong, but it’s not even that uncommon a stance, let alone one worthy of termination. Meanwhile, Riley's other tweets invoked white privilege and questioned whether movies about slavery were really just meant to "keep black people in their place."

Silly and insufferably woke? Sure. Fireable, or even worthy of media coverage? Hell no.

Think of the inverse: Conservative professors who say, believe homosexuality is a sin, well, their beliefs are probably equally outrageous in the mind of a leftist mob.

Ought they lose their jobs as well? Of course not, but that’s the dangerous precedent conservatives such as Ingraham and Morris are, wittingly or unwittingly, setting.

In his reporting on the incident, Reason’s Robby Soave hit the nail on the head:
“Many pundits on the right constantly inveigh against cancel culture: the drive to shame, punish, and ultimately destroy people for having said something trivially offensive at some point. But as long as the right is perfectly willing to enforce its own version of political correctness, it is difficult to to believe that they really agree in principle that you shouldn't do this kind of thing. If you only defend the cancelled when you agree with them, then you're not actually against cancelling. You're just protecting your tribe

One of the worst arguments I hear conservatives make in defense of the right de-platforming the left is "we are just making the left play by their own rules." They are no longer the left's rules, if you are enforcing them. Then they are your rules.”


Soave is exactly right. But unfortunately, these illiberal, tribal instincts seem to be increasingly prevalent on the Right

As long as these prominent conservatives continue to participate in outrage culture, they shouldn't be surprised when no one takes their (perfectly valid) criticisms of political correctness seriously.


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21 Apr 2021, 8:17 pm

This nicely illustrate the psychology of the left Vs right

According to this statement:
“The [American flag emoji] flag represents a systemic history of racism for my people. Police are a part of that system.

MAGAs are known to have high levels of obedience to authority, a trait known to be high in peasants/soldiers who swore fealty (oath) to their fuedal kings. Sucking up to the rich and powerful is a trait some think will help in there survival. Therefore to the MAGA any attack on the flag, national anthem or police is seen as an attack on their beloved authoritarian right wing dictator.


Think of the inverse: Conservative professors who say, believe homosexuality is a sin, well, their beliefs are probably equally outrageous in the mind of a leftist mob.

The left has always drawn on the lower classes who form unions to protect each other due to lack of trust in their rulers who regularly fail to protect them and more often than not abuse their privilege (at their expense) to feather their own nest. With this type of ethos those who are vulnerable are automatically drawn into the safety net (such as homosexuals) offered by the left.



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29 Apr 2021, 7:30 am

Idaho moves to ban critical race theory instruction in all public schools, including universities

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As some public school districts move toward embracing critical race theory in their curriculums, others -- like in Idaho -- are doing the opposite.

Idaho lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prohibit public schools, including public universities, from teaching that "any sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin is inherently superior or inferior," which, according to the bill, is often found in "critical race theory."

It also prohibits teachings arguing that "individuals, by virtue of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin, are inherently responsible for actions committed in the past by other members of the same sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin."

Critical race theory and teachings like it "exacerbate and inflame divisions on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, or other criteria in ways contrary to the unity of the nation and the well-being of the state of Idaho and its citizens," the bill reads. Proponents have argued that students are being indoctrinated.
The bill, HB 377, passed the state House last week and the Senate Monday. It now awaits the governor's signature.

Though the bill references critical race theory specifically, Idaho state Rep. Julianne Young and Sen. Carl Crabtree, both sponsors of the bill, claim the legislation does not prohibit any specific subject.


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29 Apr 2021, 6:46 pm

is inherently superior or inferior," which, according to the bill, is often found in "critical race theory."


Does that mean critical race theory is not evidence based?



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30 Apr 2021, 1:41 am

Speaking of "racist symbols", I read an article saying it's offensive to wear a parody MAGA hat. As in "Made You Look Again."



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30 Apr 2021, 1:42 am

TwisterUprocker wrote:
Speaking of "racist symbols", I read an article saying it's offensive to wear a parody MAGA hat. As in "Made You Look Again."


Offensive to whom?



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30 Apr 2021, 1:50 am

They accused the MAGA hat of being some sort of Neo Nazi symbol, and any parody is not taking it seriously.

I actually have not heard of Trump supporters being offended by the parody hats.



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30 Apr 2021, 1:52 am

TwisterUprocker wrote:
They accused the MAGA hat of being some sort of Neo Nazi symbol, and any parody is not taking it seriously.

I actually have not heard of Trump supporters being offended by the parody hats.


Its funny though, 99% of people who put the red hat on their head were already deplorable. The hat was like a cherry on top :lol: