Let me add another source from “mere orthodoxy” about anti-racism, and the section on “anti capitalism.”

“ Defining what an ideology is, by what it does, is wrong. There will always be a difference between the aspirations of a system of thought and the actual results of that system of thought. Knowing what an ideology is, as both the idea and the results of that idea is of critical importance, but it is a critical distinction that Kendi does not allow here. Given Kendi’s openness to critique and reevaluation, it would not surprise me if, in a few years, he acknowledges this as a procedural failing, even if his conclusions about capitalism remain the same.”

This can of course be used to support or refute both of our arguments, but there are nuggets that are valuable here in either case...

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I enjoy listening to Brett Weinstein in general but this interview with Brendan O’Neill is a “great conversation” on this topic:


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And just ... another tidbit:

Let’s take the “balance” approach for the sake of argument. (The approach that says there is a happy medium between socialism and capitalism. I don’t really think that’s the most accurate or rational approach, but I’m happy to take it on those terms for the sake of discussion):

“Balance” is subjective. To assume that our system (the American one) is purely or completely capitalistic and free market/laissez faire would obviously be inaccurate. We have many of the things that Marx had on his list of “administrative” or policy prescriptions. (Just went through the Manifesto this last week in our Great Ideas Discussion).

Actually in the US we have roughly half (including a free public education, progressive tax code, etc).of the ten things on Marx’s list.

If we had ALL of those things would that make us more “balanced” or tilted towards Marxism? It can easily be argued (with this line of thinking, which again makes me a little crazy) that the US is at least half Marxist already and that the other countries have gone way too far in that direction.

And let’s look at it over time.

Nobody can deny that on the “net net” we’ve increased the size, scope and regulatory prowess of our government. With a few exceptions (no longer have a 90% tax bracket, interstate banking is a thing, etc), we have gotten more socialistic, and it hasn’t really helped solve any of the issues that it is purported to solve. Why not?

And when it doesn’t the solution always seems to be: MORE. And we point across the pond to universal healthcare or wage caps for CEOs...or the $15 minimum wage or free college and keep adding... just one more thing (or six) and we’ll be “balanced.” Meanwhile the rest of the world is backing off of their extremes... because they’re really not that balanced.

Name any of Bernie’s favorite “Democratic Socialist” countries and ASK them if they are socialist or want to be socialist, and they all say “no” and “no.”

Are they “more socialist than us”?

Sure. But so what? Is that better? Are there other differences that are relevant? What is the difference between Norway and the United States that could be relevant regarding “universal healthcare” for instance? It’s NEVER as simple as “it works well for them...” I mean... should we rejoin the Commonwealth? Maybe a monarch is the secret to success? :)

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“Sustainable balance” is not “socialism”... not Marxist, and nothing in the government structure which seeks to accomplish the goals of socialism or communism.

You want to know what all those countries have in common though?

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Oh my, I can hardly keep up with all of the things I suggest which are not and can not be socialism, yet I am consistently accused of coming from the left and having such threatening socialist ideas!

Fascinating that they should use these terms in describing their own government and here we redefine how they feel about their government for them? That also confuses me. I also am not sure who in those countries are seeking to defect to our great states of freedom. Although perhaps you have more insight on immigration from these nations.

Mocking the past certainly keeps the present stuck at the station. We do not define universal health care as it works for other countries but learn to define how health is a basic human right. Access to care should not be determined by financial or social status. It should be a right of citizenship. As should education. Why? Because either way as a free country, America is an enabler of free men to do as they will. Is it not wiser to use our federal resources to raise generations of healthy + educated children rather than watch parents run a rat race (every man for himself unless you have friends in high places) in hopes that their children will inherit some spoil? All the while our government invests in foreign oil, nuclear warfare, and "policing" nations that are none of our business or responsibility. Not to mention perpetuating the war on drugs right here on our own turf which enslaves millions of black men and women, infringing on their rights and mocking their liberty with every state which votes green. Shameful, how the federal funds are spent. I do not advocate for more federal funds, i advocate for refocusing federal funds. It is, after all, the money of the people.

I am sure you want to tell me what you believe these countries have in common! I will not stop you. First amendment. ;)

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We’ll quickly two things:

Those countries do NOT profess to be socialist. So sitting here and calling them socialist and conflating such with “social democratic” would be, precisely, “redefining how they feel about their government for them...”

So “social democratic” is not socialist. “Democratic Socialist” pretends to be “social democratic” but if you dig deep enough you see Marxist values that our friends in Scandinavia are not espousing.

The only countries which CALL themselves “Democratic Socialist” are essentially communist.

Secondly: the one thing that all countries with single payer healthcare systems have in common:

A monarchy and a national church. (Canada doesn’t have a national church but it does technically have a monarchy).

What does that mean? Not 100% sure. I do have some ideas, but it doesn’t really matter. It’s enough to illustrate that their systems and cultures are significantly different. The relationship between individual and citizen in that circumstance just HAS to be different... EVEN if nobody thinks the monarch has any REAL power and or only 5% of the population goes to church.

Add to that the “e pluribus unum” nature of a vast continent wide federalist system contrasted against very homogeneous populations they size of New Jersey (or smaller), and you get a recipe for not comparing the two rationally.

In summary, a) I’m not going to ask them to get rid of their monarchy because I don’t want one, and b) we shouldn’t behave like subjects of the Federal Government because we want “free healthcare.”

It’s (as always) more complex than this... it that’s why God invented books and phones. :)

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I would take issue with "when you dig deep enough" because honestly when we dig deep enough or speak persuasively enough, we can create whatever affect we please.

The fact is discrediting the effort of these countries to care socially for citizens (via nanny policy? Did I get that right?) as evidence that socialism has some positive form is simply chauvinistic from that angle. In my opinion.

In response to A + B, first there is no precedent requiring a monarchy, perhaps that is where they went wrong. I, for one, believe the separation of church and state is necessary to maintain sanctity of human life. Second, we do not want free health care. Free access to health care is a human right. Nothing in life comes free. Every free man should have equitable access to resources as they pursue their American dream.

If the premise of this article is that there is no good form of socialism, I disagree. I am also tired of following loopholes in arguments. Namaste for today. 🙏

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Who is discrediting? I don't even know where or how I did that? Wait... who is being chauvinistic? I'm really confused on that.

A national church is precisely the opposite of "separation of church and state," and yet these states are still able to care socially for their citizens... which is it? Again... quite confused.

"Free access to healthcare is a human right"... that may be true, though I would question "free"... nothing is actually free, as you point out. So let's just say (for the sake of argument)... "access to healthcare is a human right"... well, here's the thing about rights: if someone has the right to something, this means the government has very limited ability to restrict access to it. That's the nature of rights. So you'll understand when pesky conservatives like me have a problem when some of these "single payer" states actually legally restrict people from seeking care outside of their system.

The premise of the article is that there is no good form of socialism; it's actually the title. But it's actually much broader than that. The point is that "IDEAS HAVE CONSEQUENCES"...

TLDR Abbreviated version:

"Socialism" is not the same as "Social Democratic." Socialism means the centralization of property and the means of production. Not one country in the world that you feel like we should emulate does that. So we should deliberate about social programs on terms in which our ENTIRE SYSTEM of rights are not being called to question.

Socialism is a SYSTEM which is NOT compatible with capitalism. They are opposites. Socialism is a philosophy which DEFIES the system of free markets and property rights.

So before we go off on a path in which we seriously consider that more social programs are in order (or not), I deemed it important to make sure we do it on terms in which property rights and human rights are not laid down on the altar of "equity." Rights of property and due process are guard rails against excess. ALL of the countries that have the dreamy, yummy social programs you love have those guardrails in place...because NONE of them are socialist (because in socialist countries they DON'T have those rights)...

And remember, this is RIGHT ALONGSIDE OF: we can't be fascist either. Not even "fascist light" or just a little bit of fascism, or a "balance" between fascist and democratic republicanism. There is no NEED to insert REALLY BAD IDEAS (from the 19th Century left or right) into a modern discussion about role of government in the social safety net. It's not necessary, and it's dangerous.

This doesn't mean I'm conceding ANY of the arguments about more social safety nets, but that if we are going to have them, we should do it on rational terms about role of government and not really bad ideas.

That's all I got. If it's still not clear (I'd recommend reading the article again just in case), then... you know...that's why God invented phones and book clubs. :)

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My reference to chauvinism was due to a personal pet peeve I have in discourse. The pattern includes my opinion or perspective being consistently denounced based on personal bias rather than facts. Followed by a barrage of facts of extremism. A simple dive into these different countries reveal aspects of socialism in their democratic programs. Socialism tends to work well in small groups, it is not proper for ultimate governance. In my opinion, neither are Federalists or Capitalists.

In reference to the article, my stance is that there can be a good form of socialism when balanced in government.

Every form of government creates victims. That is why we need balance. In my Utopian Government, Federal, Social + Capital programs would exist to ensure everyone has free access based on their individual needs and persuasion.

I recognize I do not have your book learning and I have no desire to argue facts of extremism. Just to clarify my platform.

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Well... this is a "good faith" place for discourse.... so unless someone literally says, "Oh bless your heart little girl, that's so cute..." or some such (LOL), in text form we may have to assume someone is NOT being chauvinist, lest we dismiss their arguments out of hand without regard to the arguments themselves. Is that fair, or am I being harsh?

This doesn't excuse anywhere that I may take a slightly... dismissive tone. I'll acknowledge that. It's not unheard of for my being interpreted that way... it's something that comes across in long-form prose from me that I have tried to get better at, but it is not intentional, and again... good faith assumptions are paramount.


I think your Utopian platform is perfectly worthy of exploration. And conservatives HEART balances... even "checks and balances"...And though my book learning is not... complete by any means, I just know that socialism is not NECESSARY to achieve what you're describing, and that it actually is antithetical to it.

To be perfectly clear: this is not about "extremism"... it has to do with fundamentals. And (from everything I know, and of course my knowledge is by no means exhaustive on any of these things), the fundamentals of "socialism" are contrary to those of private property rights... full stop.

But the "balance" you seek is not between capitalism and socialism. The balance is between bigger government programs (safety nets, social programs, provisions, redistribution... what have you)....because... you are RIGHT. *Socialism doesn't work except on a very small scale* (even then I would argue the point - Plymouth Plantation tried it... too big?), we should dismiss it as a possibility for anything larger than a village... so in terms of State, Federal, or even County/City/Town governance, it is not feasible... so we are agreed... mainly as it does not in the long term have allowance for small differences which are necessary for a free people to thrive outside of some sort of commune, or more often... you know, their immediate household in most circumstances.

(Another interesting note: "Capitalism," in contrast, only works - or at least works best - on a very large scale. It's another example of the way in which the two regimes are not compatible.)

THAT BEING SAID, I personally would sign on to a program that is: Free Market, Federalist, and Social... in that order (the "capital" is less important than the rights that accompany them)

We could argue about that... where the governments' roles are, and where they shouldn't be... how much by the Federal Government, how much local... etc (enumerated powers). But for now, I see no evidence that giving up fundamental property rights (common law, rights of contract, free markets, all basic premises that are slowly laid to waste when socialism is pursued) should ever be a part of it.

If one wants to insist on using the term socialism to mean things that it doesn't mean, I'd simply say that it's unnecessary and clouds the conversation. (That is the conclusion and summary of my article).

Really appreciate your feedback, here though... I've got books on the topic of questioning capitalism's inherent goodness, and there is merit to asking the questions. The term that I've seen used is "frenetic intemperance".... and even though a) the solutions proposed are not always in terms I agree with, they are worthy of consideration (though they are quite... ahem... Catholic. ;)) Whole conversation for another day... :)

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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Butch, You have some of your definitions backwards. Socialism is what we saw in the Soviet Union. Communism as defined by Marx is what you get AFTER socialism and it is the secular utopia where society transforms into a post scarcity end-state. Socialism is defined as the 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. The state is a dictatorship and controls the means of production. Marx never explained how to get from Socialism to Communism. Why? Because even according to Marx Communism is a utopian dream to be preceded by a dystopian state where retribution is exacted upon the bourgeois by the proletariat.

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You may be right. I wrote these things for the uninitiated, but would agree that I could have screwed that up in places. Let me put it this way:

Marxism isn’t the only form of socialism. Socialism precedes the Communist manifesto and Marx/Engels take on what the viewed as the right form of it.

Communism as Marx and Engels saw it has never (to your point) been achieved (because it’s not possible). But Marxist regimes with the GOAL of Communism HAVE been implemented. And those regimes (with the goal of “full communism”) are branded as a certain extreme brand of Socialism which don’t match up with what the “Democratic Socialists” are aiming for... which is some sort of “balance”...

While I can admire that search for balance and compromise...I would argue that IF that is the goal, then we have already gone past it, and to achieve proper balance we should start swinging back in the other direction.

My preference though is not to argue over “more socialism” or “less capitalism” or the reverse, but to talk about human liberty and rights in a rational way in which business owners and even (GASP!) rich people are not treated like alien oppressors (“bourgeoisie”) and instead like human beings.

Or as Mike Rowe would put it: “the world is bigger than employers and employees.”

Regardless of the terms, the current “Democratic Socialist” zeitgeist archetypes are almost precisely those of the mid 19th century, and I’m not sure why the same ones tearing down statues of old white guys would want to buy into the rank bigotry of these particular old white guys.

But what do I know?

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You are correct that Marxism is not the only form of socialism. The French Jacobins (and others) preceded Marx and Engels. That said, Marx did crib a lot from the French and today, Marxism and Socialism are synonymous as the Marxist brand of socialism is dominant. Even magazines like The Jacobin are Marxist in their espoused view not jacobin.

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A lot of this is of course the fault of the new leftist mixing Marxism with post-modernism AND identity politics, creating this toxic brew of madness which ends up at... believe it or not... really fascism. This would be funny if it wasn’t so predictable and sad.

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The post modernists are shadow marxists. Derrida and Foucault both demolish the concept of structures. The idea that there is an infinite numbers of interpretations of a given situation is a truth. The problem is there conclusion from that first truth is dead wrong, that conclusion is althat all interpretations are equally valid.

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Fascinating segments of an argument but it does leave me wondering about New Zealand, Finland and Denmark just to name three other government structures besides Sweden which seem to have struck a sustainable balance of socialized democracy + fundamental parliamentary structure. These countries also have rich histories of honoring the capabilities of women in leadership although I am quite convinced one must have nothing to do with the other for the sake of bipartisan review. :)

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Socialism is the state taking control of the means of production. The means of production are agriculture, mining, and heavy industry which is the mills that convert the raw products from mining and agriculture into the first stage of usable product. Pig iron and flour are two such first stage products. NONE of the nations you list are socialist. A nanny state is not socialism. Period.

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You are, obviously, more well versed in exacting exactly what socialism is and is not. Again, I simply pointed out each of those countries have found long term success integrating social democracy into their various forms of government. All things are possible. All things are not probable. Especially when we determine things always must be so. Period.

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