Forums - Politics Discussion - Is Socialism Anti-American?

Is it?

Yes 85 28.72%
 
NO 183 61.82%
 
Opinion below 8 2.70%
 
other 13 4.39%
 
Total:289
the2real4mafol said:
mah062 said:
This is exactly why Socialism is anti-American. The super stupid simplified version that anyone can understand. The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work. Socialism-1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods 2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state 3 : a stage of society in theory transitional between and and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done. Therefore, socialism is destroying the American Dream. One of the ideals that made this country so great.

Does the American dream mean so much anymore? People are lucky to keep their jobs, yet alone become wealthy nowadays

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/economic-mobility-hasnt-changed-in-a-half-century-in-america-economists-declare/2014/01/22/e845db4a-83a2-11e3-8099-9181471f7aaf_story.html

It is dissapointing that there isn't more mobility, but still reassuring that there isn't less. The only difference is that the ladder is larger (greater inequality.) So it's less likely to go from the bottom to the top of the ladder, BUT it's just as easy as it was before to make each step. 



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sc94597 said:
the2real4mafol said:

Except there are no true free markets anymore, the authorities get all pissy if you sell stuff on the street or take in lodgers or anything. All of today's big business most likely started off selling stuff on the street before growing into shops, then national icons etc but that is seemingly discouraged now when compared to before.

Also, if we think of the current system in the US where the biggest companies use (really bribe) the state to rig the market so that stuff like hemp is illegal. I don't know that is considered free but i'm not sure how you balance it because i feel a handful of regulations are necessary like working conditions, working hours, minimum wage and environment etc. But even they hurt small business too so I don't know. All I know is that regulations are over the top right now.    

Arguably there was never an economy with absolutely free-markets in all areas. It would require anarchy, in my opinion. The government can't help itself from interferring in the economy, by its vary nature: whether it is democratic, autocratic, or something else. However, with the presence of government, we can always work toward that ideal, as it has lead and does lead to greater prosperity. When Europe turned from mercantilism (corporatism of the 17th and 18th centuries) to free-markets, there was an explosion (industrial revolution) of production, which later translated to higher standards of living (even if the workers felt exploited in the process.) 

The corporations bribe the state because the state has the economic power they could use. The translation of political power into economic power, which disrupts the market and creates unfair advantages (which is why there are vastly more government-created or induced monopolies than "natural" ones.) Regulations are necessary, but they do not need to come from government. Unions and collective bargaining can bring higher wages, by restricting the supply of labor, and the same can be said for working hours and working conditions. Legislation is not necessary, just people should use more of the economic power they already have. Yes, it might not be easy, but it is simpler and has long-term benefits, while legislation has long-term detriments on progress. As for environmental regulation, if there were a clear understanding of property rights, so that corporations that pollute are not protected from destroying the private property of others in civil court, then they would not be necessary either. One solution to the tragedy of the commons, for example, is to privatize all of the common land and people will put more value in taking care of it. 

Ultimately, we are seeing markets free regardless of whether or not people want it. We have more free-trade, and global interactions with the internet (which is much harder to regulate than physical economic media.) We are seeing alternative currencies, which will remove us from the tyrannies of central banks, and allow reasonable financial decisions without the influences of others. 


Friedrich Hayek said something along the lines of: People are frustrated by the luck-based effects of the market, but if there is a human conscious behind their misfortunes they are furious. 

I agree very much with this sentiment of his. While freedom might lead to unpredictable misfortunes, I'd rather have unpredictable-misfortunes than human-induced ones. In these natural misfortunes I can adjust my lifestyle and adapt, while in these human-induced ones I must go through a bueracracy that might not even reward me with the freedom to change my economic destiny, which is essentially the great socialist question: "who, whom?" Who will manage whom? 

 

Edit: I'd also like to say that the influence of the economic powers on the political power would reduce in a free-market as well. This is very much similar to the separation of church and state. Would you have thought 400 years ago that the best solution to church power over the state would've been to reduce the state's power over the church? Probably not, but this line of thought has lead (in combination with athiesm) to lesser influence of churches over states and vice-versa. I think the same logic applies to economic powers (big corporations) and government. 

You make a very clear case but I somehow feel the exploited generations of workers in the industrial revolution can't be brushed aside so easily. Thats one of the main areas socialists concern themselves with. But the thing is, these people were heavily exploited and despite how great you claim a free market to be, most workers couldn't escape exploitation otherwise they would of starved. It took a long time for the poorest to have any benefit from the new industry at all. In the mean time, most workers were abused and beaten by their boses to put fear into them to prevent collective bargaining in unions. They were overworked into an early grave and work and live in the worst conditions. I guess free markets allow for that, but is it really acceptable? I don't think it is. There will be always be a financial divide, I admit that but my problem is that why should someone become homeless because the person giving the jobs at their factory for example is being stingy and would rather pocket the profit for themselves rather than pay their workers properly and maybe hire more (and take a small but healthy profit)? 

In a modern context, neo-liberalism has allowed such problems as said above to happen on a global scale by outsourcing industry. To be honest, the big brands could make their goods anywhere they like but no they have to exploit cheap labour! Even though they would profit in an industrialised country anyway. Not as much but still, just shows how greedy it is

But it's the same in every country that has or is going through industrialisation. Workers are treated like crap and paid like it's almost slavery rather than work. The environment is neglected big time and so on. From what i've learnt in history, free markets are just like car salesman. You just can't trust them. Unfortunately, government is no better. I spose it's not talked about much, but property rights are as abused as worker rights really.

Anyway, I would like to see what you described as actually working. But i'm not sure if there is any cases of such of thing working like that 



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the2real4mafol said:

You make a very clear case but I somehow feel the exploited generations of workers in the industrial revolution can't be brushed aside so easily. Thats one of the main areas socialists concern themselves with. But the thing is, these people were heavily exploited and despite how great you claim a free market to be, most workers couldn't escape exploitation otherwise they would of starved. It took a long time for the poorest to have any benefit from the new industry at all. In the mean time, most workers were abused and beaten by their boses to put fear into them to prevent collective bargaining in unions. They were overworked into an early grave and work and live in the worst conditions. I guess free markets allow for that, but is it really acceptable? I don't think it is. There will be always be a financial divide, I admit that but my problem is that why should someone become homeless because the person giving the jobs at their factory for example is being stingy and would rather pocket the profit for themselves rather than pay their workers properly and maybe hire more (and take a small but healthy profit)? 

In a modern context, neo-liberalism has allowed such problems as said above to happen on a global scale by outsourcing industry. To be honest, the big brands could make their goods anywhere they like but no they have to exploit cheap labour! Even though they would profit in an industrialised country anyway. Not as much but still, just shows how greedy it is

But it's the same in every country that has or is going through industrialisation. Workers are treated like crap and paid like it's almost slavery rather than work. The environment is neglected big time and so on. From what i've learnt in history, free markets are just like car salesman. You just can't trust them. Unfortunately, government is no better. I spose it's not talked about much, but property rights are as abused as worker rights really.

Anyway, I would like to see what you described as actually working. But i'm not sure if there is any cases of such of thing working like that 

We must recall the conditions before industrialism, though. Were these people less or more likely to starve under industry or before industry? Was destitution greater before or during the industrial revolution?  You (and the socialists of that time) speak of poverty as if it were something new to the world brought into the world with feudal lords and then catalyzed by the bourgeois. The natural state of man is destitution. It is only through maximum production that man can quickly change that nature. This is precisely why the industrial revolution led to huge growths in population. People were able to take care of themselves and live longer, not less. Socialism doesn't get rid of exploitation, either. It just replaces the exploiters with different ones. Again, the great socialist question: who, whom? 

Free markets do not allow for beating people. That is a form of aggression and if the person who is beaten doesn't act in self-defense because he is too weak then either government or a private law enforcement organization (depending on whether or not you believe government should exist) will deal with this aggression. In the industrial revolution, government ignored the use of force and aggression, which made it essentially useless and that would've been where political power and action should have concentrated, having government interfere when force was used. This would mean to either have government enforce the law, or to remove it entirely so that private entities could. If people are beaten that is a failure of government, not the market. 

In a free-market it is risky to have employees who cannot take care of themselves. With further specialization, as we see today, it is even more risky. You forget, the industrialist needs his workers just as much as his workers need him. Without healthy, mentally stable, and fit workers -- productivity declines, and the total revenue he recieves personally declines (assuming he is greedy.) So it is for his own personal gain that he would take care of his workers (if he is able to do so, while still maximizing profits for the company as a whole.) We saw this with Ford, who turned his producers into his consumers with high productivity decreasing prices, and higher wages all working to increase demand. Both supply and demand grew, and new product was created, reducing total destitution. Despite what socialists might believe, labor is a commodity, and like everything else it has an equilibrium price. If the person selling his or her labor does not like the price he or she gets, then he or she will try a different occupation or not work for that employer. This is an incentive for the employer, who needs workers, to pay them the equilibrium price. 



RCTjunkie said:
Kantor said:
It's difficult to answer that, because "socialism" is such a broad term with so many different meanings.

I would say that, at its core, socialism is about state control of the economy and society, and in that case, yes, socialism is un-American, since it is the antithesis of the "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" that were the founding ideals of the United States.

Of course, no government of the United States has actually cared about those ideals in the slightest and it's mostly got worse as time has gone on.


This.

The Founding Fathers definitely wanted to keep control away from the government and in the hands of the people because of their negative experience with government across the pond.

Now technically if the people decided to give their power back to the government, it would still be their choice. An idiotic choice in a lot of circumstances, but a choice none the less.

You can't really define the founding fathers in such a simplistic, unified fashion. There was division among their ranks just as their is now between the idea of "big government" and "small government" in the form of the federalists and the anti-federalists. The federalists wanted a strong central government that could tax, raise armies, and possessed an authority that was above that of the states. Anti-federalists were oppose to a strong central government, believing that we should instead be a lose confederation of states. They feared central government because they thought it might give rise to a monarchy.

For a time, the anti-federalists had their way. Through the Articles of Confederation, state power was MUCH stronger, to the point that we had individual currencies and armies. The problem is that it didn't work. We had an opportunity to have a weak central government, but many of the founding fathers disagreed, giving us the constitution and a strong federal government.

Really, what the founding fathers wanted WASN'T a weak central government (though there were certainly many who did), but one ruled by white landowners. The constitution was very carefully crafted to limit the powers of the "unwashed masses" and to protect the country from the tyranny of the majority, which they worried would make the wealthy ruling elite largely irrelevant in government. Hence the electoral college and the original intentions of the Senate (a governing body that was not directly elected, but rather chosen by state goverments, nothing not changed until the early 20th century): they were a means to protect the elite wealthy upper class from the masses.

Of course, this last thing is something that's been slowly chipped away at for two centuries now. But I think it's important that we stop idolizing the Founding Fathers as some uniform body that loved small government (or even a true represenative democracy for that matter). They were just as divided as we are today. They were mostly slaveholders, and even the most progressive among them, if not supporters of slavery, were at least racist by today's standards. They are not neccessarily something to behold as the gold standard these days, something I think they acknowedged given the fact that they created the Constitution to be a living, breathing document that could evolve and change with the days.

For the record, what I've written here is mostly information off the top of my head and I did very minimal research for this. I don't have time to engage in extended debate that will requre such research. I will also acknowledge that I've simplified many things that cannot be properly fleshed out in a forum post.

I'm sure an argument can be made that, despite the differences between federalists and anti-federalists, both would still be considered small government by today's standards. This is something I think I'd agree with. But keep in mind that the world of 1787 was a very different world from today, a world where the government could afford to be less interferring with people's lives. Those were the days before we had steam boats that, if mismanaged, could give thousands of people (which they did, including after the first toothless government regulations were passed regarding them in the 1830s. The following decade saw passage of the first government regulations with TEETH, which played a role in finally bringing dangerous steam boat transportation under control). The days before globalization, before a single person could be capable of waging mass murder with a single weapon, before the existence of mass media, of major multinational corporations and all sorts of other things. Hell, before INDUSTRIALIZATION.  But one thing I hope people take away from this, if they even read it, is that you can't define the founding fathers as a singular entity. So please, don't.



nuckles87 said:

You can't really define the founding fathers in such a simplistic, unified fashion. There was division among their ranks just as their is now between the idea of "big government" and "small government" in the form of the federalists and the anti-federalists. The federalists wanted a strong central government that could tax, raise armies, and possessed an authority that was above that of the states. Anti-federalists were oppose to a strong central government, believing that we should instead be a lose confederation of states. They feared central government because they thought it might give rise to a monarchy.

For a time, the anti-federalists had their way. Through the Articles of Confederation, state power was MUCH stronger, to the point that we had individual currencies and armies. The problem is that it didn't work. We had an opportunity to have a weak central government, but many of the founding fathers disagreed, giving us the constitution and a strong federal government.

Really, what the founding fathers wanted WASN'T a weak central government (though there were certainly many who did), but one ruled by white landowners. The constitution was very carefully crafted to limit the powers of the "unwashed masses" and to protect the country from the tyranny of the majority, which they worried would make the wealthy ruling elite largely irrelevant in government. Hence the electoral college and the original intentions of the Senate (a governing body that was not directly elected, but rather chosen by state goverments, nothing not changed until the early 20th century): they were a means to protect the elite wealthy upper class from the masses.

Of course, this last thing is something that's been slowly chipped away at for two centuries now. But I think it's important that we stop idolizing the Founding Fathers as some uniform body that loved small government (or even a true represenative democracy for that matter). They were just as divided as we are today. They were mostly slaveholders, and even the most progressive among them, if not supporters of slavery, were at least racist by today's standards. They are not neccessarily something to behold as the gold standard these days, something I think they acknowedged given the fact that they created the Constitution to be a living, breathing document that could evolve and change with the days.

For the record, what I've written here is mostly information off the top of my head and I did very minimal research for this. I don't have time to engage in extended debate that will requre such research. I will also acknowledge that I've simplified many things that cannot be properly fleshed out in a forum post.

I'm sure an argument can be made that, despite the differences between federalists and anti-federalists, both would still be considered small government by today's standards. This is something I think I'd agree with. But keep in mind that the world of 1787 was a very different world from today, a world where the government could afford to be less interferring with people's lives. Those were the days before we had steam boats that, if mismanaged, could give thousands of people (which they did, including after the first toothless government regulations were passed regarding them in the 1830s. The following decade saw passage of the first government regulations with TEETH, which played a role in finally bringing dangerous steam boat transportation under control). The days before globalization, before a single person could be capable of waging mass murder with a single weapon, before the existence of mass media, of major multinational corporations and all sorts of other things. Hell, before INDUSTRIALIZATION.  But one thing I hope people take away from this, if they even read it, is that you can't define the founding fathers as a singular entity. So please, don't.

I very much agree that the founders were diverse.  Libertarians like to call the federalists - "nationalists." They wanted English mercantilism, but in the U.S: a strong standing army, and a centralized state that controlled commerce and formed a national identity. They were very much corporatist in their economics as well. 

We tend to associate with the anti-federalists. 

I'd just like to point a few things out: 

- Just because the federalists won the argument that a constitution and federal government were necessary, does not mean the AoC would've done any worse or better than the U.S under the constitution. 

- While many of the founders owned slaves, they were also against slavery. Thomas Jefferson, for example, who owned slaves, pushed for anti-slavery legislation throughout his whole life. In 1784, he pushed to have slavery pre-empitevely outlawed in all western territories. It would've prohibited slavery in all of the states by 1800. In 1787, an ordinance did pass that prohibited slavery in the Northwest territory. Jefferson did, though, want to resettle slaves in Africa after they were freed and educated. He believed that these freed African-Americans could colonize and bring Africa closer to the western world. The consequence of this thought,of course, was the country of Liberia, which was established in 1820 by freed American slaves. 

- While the constitution was constructed to protect people from mob rule, I doubt it was because they felt it threatened the founders' affluency. If that were the case the founders would've been better off created a powerful government that could centralize resources and money to themselves, another aristocracy. It had much more to do with the history of democracy founded in Greece and Rome, and how mob rule was usually the end result, one in which the government could do anything it wanted to individual people, just on the whim that the mob agreed to it. This is ingrained in liberal thought - there are some things the government or mob should not be allowed to do.



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prayformojo said:
Marks said:
prayformojo said:
No, but the "patriots" er...elite capitalistic pigs who believe in hoarding 90% of the resources for themselves while bleeding,starving and enslaving the poor will tell you otherwise.

 

You sound like the type of guy that supports high business taxes, and union rights...then wonders why all the factories are moving to China. 

I don't give two shits about business moving to China. You think you'd have concluded as much considering my views on our current system.

Our country is one built on the old idea that it's "every man for himself." I do not believe that way. I believe we are all in this together as a human race. We should all take care of one another and those who feel otherwise, should be made to treat others with such respect. If our goal is to better the human experience, then we can not keep going on with this insane notion of "every man for himself." We are going to have to make laws to protect the unfit from the fit if the fit continue to abuse the unfit. We are going to have to ensure that hoarders of resources can not hoard them anymore, and provide for those who can not provide for themselves.

Anything less is inhumane imo. We, as people, should all take care of one another. It's the only humane choice.


Well you sound like a good, genuine guy. But come on it's always been every man for himself and always will be. From back in caveman times all the way to today. 

Hell I bet the first caveman that discovered fire fucking sold burning embers to his cavemen buddies for their fish and raw meat or whatever the hell cavemen could possibly barter with. It's engrained in our DNA. 

As great as us all joining hands on communal farms and living together in harmony sounds, I don't think that could ever happen. 



Marks said:
prayformojo said:
Marks said:
prayformojo said:
No, but the "patriots" er...elite capitalistic pigs who believe in hoarding 90% of the resources for themselves while bleeding,starving and enslaving the poor will tell you otherwise.

 

You sound like the type of guy that supports high business taxes, and union rights...then wonders why all the factories are moving to China. 

I don't give two shits about business moving to China. You think you'd have concluded as much considering my views on our current system.

Our country is one built on the old idea that it's "every man for himself." I do not believe that way. I believe we are all in this together as a human race. We should all take care of one another and those who feel otherwise, should be made to treat others with such respect. If our goal is to better the human experience, then we can not keep going on with this insane notion of "every man for himself." We are going to have to make laws to protect the unfit from the fit if the fit continue to abuse the unfit. We are going to have to ensure that hoarders of resources can not hoard them anymore, and provide for those who can not provide for themselves.

Anything less is inhumane imo. We, as people, should all take care of one another. It's the only humane choice.


Well you sound like a good, genuine guy. But come on it's always been every man for himself and always will be. From back in caveman times all the way to today. 

Hell I bet the first caveman that discovered fire fucking sold burning embers to his cavemen buddies for their fish and raw meat or whatever the hell cavemen could possibly barter with. It's engrained in our DNA. 

As great as us all joining hands on communal farms and living together in harmony sounds, I don't think that could ever happen. 

If we want to get that primeval, humans, like apes, are tribal creatures, and the man (or woman, just as likely back then) who discovered fire would have freely shared it with the members of their "in-group." Tribal socialism is probably closest to the natural order of things if we want to make that argument, where there is property and ownership, but it falls to large family-clans who live in anarchic states vis-a-vis one another, but who organize things for the good of the group within. Tribal socialism is likely what we would revert to in some kind of post-apocalyptic setup, because without an infrastructure to support organized trade, individualism cannot function on the most basic level (unless you're the mountain man type who can secure all but a few of the necessities on your own, but even then, your survival is easier if you join a group where people work for a common purpose).

Individualism, as we know it, evolved away from that very slowly, not taking a recognizable form until the 1700s.



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sc94597 said:
the2real4mafol said:

Does the American dream mean so much anymore? People are lucky to keep their jobs, yet alone become wealthy nowadays

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/economic-mobility-hasnt-changed-in-a-half-century-in-america-economists-declare/2014/01/22/e845db4a-83a2-11e3-8099-9181471f7aaf_story.html

It is dissapointing that there isn't more mobility, but still reassuring that there isn't less. The only difference is that the ladder is larger (greater inequality.) So it's less likely to go from the bottom to the top of the ladder, BUT it's just as easy as it was before to make each step. 

The American Dream is still just as big as ever. Especially with the internet. The internet can change your fortune all by itself. Take classes online, watch enrichment videos to learn new things, etc. How about the many movie stars out there or lottery winners or authors or inventors or small business owners who make it big or stock market or. or..or....or.......

I think Socialism just helps those who need an extra push to keep them going a little bit longer. There is always that chance, with a good idea, hard work, and perseverance that you can become something as well. Whether you want to just get a decent job to live a decent life and have a comfortable retirement, or maybe you want to become rich. It is all still possible and part of the American dream.



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Mr Khan said:
Marks said:
prayformojo said:
Marks said:
prayformojo said:
No, but the "patriots" er...elite capitalistic pigs who believe in hoarding 90% of the resources for themselves while bleeding,starving and enslaving the poor will tell you otherwise.

 

You sound like the type of guy that supports high business taxes, and union rights...then wonders why all the factories are moving to China. 

I don't give two shits about business moving to China. You think you'd have concluded as much considering my views on our current system.

Our country is one built on the old idea that it's "every man for himself." I do not believe that way. I believe we are all in this together as a human race. We should all take care of one another and those who feel otherwise, should be made to treat others with such respect. If our goal is to better the human experience, then we can not keep going on with this insane notion of "every man for himself." We are going to have to make laws to protect the unfit from the fit if the fit continue to abuse the unfit. We are going to have to ensure that hoarders of resources can not hoard them anymore, and provide for those who can not provide for themselves.

Anything less is inhumane imo. We, as people, should all take care of one another. It's the only humane choice.


Well you sound like a good, genuine guy. But come on it's always been every man for himself and always will be. From back in caveman times all the way to today. 

Hell I bet the first caveman that discovered fire fucking sold burning embers to his cavemen buddies for their fish and raw meat or whatever the hell cavemen could possibly barter with. It's engrained in our DNA. 

As great as us all joining hands on communal farms and living together in harmony sounds, I don't think that could ever happen. 

If we want to get that primeval, humans, like apes, are tribal creatures, and the man (or woman, just as likely back then) who discovered fire would have freely shared it with the members of their "in-group." Tribal socialism is probably closest to the natural order of things if we want to make that argument, where there is property and ownership, but it falls to large family-clans who live in anarchic states vis-a-vis one another, but who organize things for the good of the group within. Tribal socialism is likely what we would revert to in some kind of post-apocalyptic setup, because without an infrastructure to support organized trade, individualism cannot function on the most basic level (unless you're the mountain man type who can secure all but a few of the necessities on your own, but even then, your survival is easier if you join a group where people work for a common purpose).

Individualism, as we know it, evolved away from that very slowly, not taking a recognizable form until the 1700s.

Well yeah of course the caveman with the fire would share it with his family and his main homies, but I'm betting he traded it to competing tribes for whatever they had that he didn't. i.e. Early capitalism and back then there weren't ridiculous arbitrary regulations.