that s-word, i don’t think it means what you think it means.

This wired.uk snippet claims that 20% of Americans believe socialism is superior to capitalism.  That’s just a jaw-dropping figure, and one that has me shaking my head in stunned disbelief.

Socialism is an inherently flawed system, because–unlike capitalism–it makes no allowances for rewarding effort.  Actually, there are many more reasons why socialism isn’t even a good system “in theory”, like so many empty-headed college commies assert.  It’s a shitty system in both theory and practice, one that aims to achieve the impossible goal of economic equality by actively discouraging productivity.

Equality is a good thing when it comes to access and opportunity.  It’s a horrible thing when it comes to economic status, because it needs to create a baseline for productivity and personal achievement, and then use the guns of the state to make everyone conform to it–by chopping down the smart and industrious, and then using the trimmings to prop up the underachievers and the ones unwilling to pull the cart.

Take it from someone who has seen socialism–true socialism–first-hand, in all its gray and drab, hopeless, soul-sapping misery: In the history of socialism, no country that has ever tried it has ended up with the desired goal of equality, and the only way to put everyone on one level economically has universally been to impoverish everyone equally.  Except for the ruling class, of course, who always grow fond of their privileges and their powers.  Regardless of how long the lines at the store become, the Politburo and those loyal to them usually eat well, even when the country crumbles to dust around them.

(And if socialism is so fair, uplifting, and equitable, why is it that every single socialist country ever established had to break out the barbed wire and the machine guns sooner or later to keep its own citizens in?)

The only way you can be a fan of socialism is if you’ve never seen it operate in practice, or if you think you’ll be one of the intelligentsia calling the shots in the Better World(tm) you want to build.

(Mind that we’re talking about real socialism here, not the center-left populist wankfest practiced by even the most pink-hued members of the Democratic party, so let’s not have a comment thread full of “OBAMA IZ TEH SOSHULISM!!!!11!, hmm-kay?)

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24 thoughts on “that s-word, i don’t think it means what you think it means.

  1. T.Stahl says:

    I have yet to see a socialist experiment larger than a family or even a couple that really worked.

  2. wolfwalker says:

    …20% of Americans believe socialism is superior to capitalism. That’s just a jaw-dropping figure, and one that has me shaking my head in stunned disbelief.

    Doesn’t surprise me none. Long experience shows that in any survey of the general population, even the most jaw-dropping stupid policy positions can still reliably garner 10-15% support. In this case, the 20% is probably made up of three groups: hardcore lefty moonbats, clueless twentysomethings, and people who don’t know what “socialism” really means and think it means something like Little House on the Prairie on a much larger scale.

    Socialism fails simply because it runs contrary to basic human nature. One of the strongest drives in the human psyche is the need for recognition, for social status. Socialism tries to eliminate all opportunity for increasing one’s status, but without eliminating the need for it.

  3. Außenseiter says:

    Actually, socialism does reward effort. In theory.
    Only communism gives to each according his or her need.

    Technically, once someone figures out a better way of allocating resources than the free market, which undoubtedly isn’t the only concievable way of doing that(why should it be, right), socialism might just work. and be more efficient.

    Eventually. So far, it’s unsuitable for anything save a war economy.

    Eliminating status? You’re jesting. Party members had it pretty good in most socialist countries, and the only way to really have power was to climb the hierarchy.

    Though, it’s true there were almost no genuinely rich people. In most European commie countries, only very few people at the top could enjoy luxuries that were common for higher classes in the west.

    • wolfwalker says:

      To be exact, the ruling class had it pretty good. But the ruling class was a closed set with a strictly limited membership, filled via the ultimate in cronyism. Ordinary joes and janes had about as much chance of getting into the ruling class as a fish has of learning to fly.

      “Actually, socialism does reward effort. In theory.”

      How?

      • Außenseiter says:

        People who did their jobs well got more money. Most of the time. There were distortions, of course. Some ideologically ‘good’ jobs such as miners earned more than scientists or engineers and so on. When it came to wages, no one earned more than three times the minimum, I believe.

        Cronyism? Not really. Politics.. or whatever causes some people in hierarchical organisations rise to the top.

        Really, the communist parties were organized a lot like the Catholic Church..

        • wolfwalker says:

          People who did their jobs well got more money. Most of the time.

          But the system still failed. Apparently paper rubles weren’t enough of a reward. The people needed more.

        • Außenseiter says:

          …they wanted something to buy for their money. Consumer goods were relatively scarce and mostly of inferior quality.

          That’s why socialism didn’t last. Not because people wanted freedom or liberty. Most people don’ t care about that, but they want their cars, tvs and so on..

  4. MarkHB says:

    I always end up giving the Migraine salute when people call Obama a socialist. Then I remember that US politics has nothing to do with actually attempting to resolve issues, and is just about “My Team is Better than Your Team” and “Ha Ha Your Side Did A Stupid, Now I can Mock You”.

    I have plenty that I have beef with Obama about, from Gitmo still being open to outsourcing USGov jobs overseas and paying for training for the people taking those jobs. Problems a-plenty. Sadly, it’s very hard to be a rationally moderate person when on the one side you’ve got gun-grabbing socio-whingers, and on the other side you’ve got morons bringing ARs to presidential appearances. Presumably to … no… no, I got nothin’. I can think of no sane reason to do that.

    Gnuh.

    *headdesk*

    • wolfwalker says:

      I always end up giving the Migraine salute when people call Obama a socialist.

      May I ask why?

      Full disclosure: I do call Barry Lackwit a socialist. Actually, I’m rather more specific about it: on domestic, fiscal, and economic policy, I call him a Fascist. Note that I didn’t say nazi, I said Fascist, by which I mean the system created by Benito Mussolini in Italy in the 1920s and 1930s. Fascism featured a democracy-in-name-only, a large and complex welfare system, private-sector businesses that were prohibited from making large profits and seen largely as sources of jobs rather than products, and a hugely powerful State which dominated all facets of life and ran the economy from behind the scenes by means of broad-reaching, extremely detailed regulations.

      Now, in what way does Lackwit’s agenda differ from that?

      • MarkHB says:

        And I ask you, how does universal wiretapping, the stripping of many of the Amendments of the Constitution, and the initial bailout of Big Industry by buying stock without ever contemplating a return to the investor (the Taxpayer) exonerate the previous regime from socialist, overcontrolling unconstitutionalism?

        But to argue your point, I don’t see large business being constricted from making a profit. Jim Cameron’s lot are making a killing off Avatar. Apple are chalking up record profits, despite shipping provably faulty hardware, with no Gubment step-in to make them play nice. Microsoft might have lost top slot, but are still making all of Continental Africa’s GDP twice a day (that number pulled from my ass, but it’s demonstrative).

        My business is hurting, due to the economic downturn caused by spending trillions on a stupid war in Iraq, but that’s not this administration’s fault. To be honest, I know where the blame lies for that, but I don’t see any of the Big Companies being gutted for the Little People. We’re still buying iPhones and Androids, competing in a free market rather than Reardan Phone disappearing to be replaced with MircaleFoneTM.

        Still not seeing your point – competition is raging, business is blazing where it can. Where it’s not, we trim sails and survive the economic SHITSTORM BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION, FOR THE LOVE OF STEVE THE FRUITBAT. This is one thing that drives me NUTS.

        You say that Republicans are all “Biz Biz Biz!” I say – as someone who’s run a small business for 15 years – that you don’t know what the frak you’re talking about son. Tax breaks for when you’ve made it are getting the prom queen to step aside from a 5,000 dollar hooker. You haven’t earned shit from that blowjob, you were just there.

        Getting a blowjob from the prom queen ought to be the reward for fighting your way up.

        Breaks at the bottom mean that people can rise on their own merits. Breaks at the bottom give scope for new innovation, give scope for radical ideas to take root. Breaks at the top just reward the existing successes, without encouraging people to try to build up.

        Your system is not meritocratic.

        To be honest, I don’t give a shit what Barry does, or what who comes after him does. I just want a better deal for where I am right now – not a better deal for where I might be in 30 years. 30 years from now, I might vote differently….

        …or I might stick by my principles. We’ll see.

        • wolfwalker says:

          Mark, if you want to pick a fight, you might at least do me the simple courtesy of attacking positions I’ve actually taken. This is simply a generic anti-GOP rant that entirely misses the mark because of two unwarranted assumptions on your part:

          1) that the current economic disaster is entirely the fault of the previous President.

          2) that I supported all of that President’s policies.

          competition is raging, business is blazing where it can.

          “Where it can” being the key phrase. Barry Lackwit is doing all he can to make sure that no business anywhere can make a profit, with all his new taxes, fees, and other imposts. As a small businessman yourself, you should already be intimately familiar with how much of a hit you’re going to take from LackwitCare and the finance-reform bill.

  5. mike w. says:

    I’m with Wolfwaker, Fascist is a much more apt description of Obama. That said, Fascism, Socialism and Communism are all cut from the same cloth and all are incompatible with individual liberty.

    Mark – As for the AR guy, I don’t see what the big deal is. He was not rude, antagonizing, and did not threaten anyone. He simply carried a firearm peacefully, lawfully, and without incident (and informed authorities of this beforehand)

    • MarkHB says:

      Have you so readily forgotten the “Free Speech Zone” cages in which those who wished to protest President Bush were herded into, not less than half a mile from his physical presence?

      Really?

      • Tam says:

        Have you so readily forgotten…

        1) What the hell does that have to do with the current president’s politics?

        2) For the millionth time, that practice started under the Clinton administration and continues today.

        Bush had “Free speech cages” so Obama is not a socialist/fascist/big meanie/whatever.” I think my head just exploded…

  6. staghounds says:

    It doesn’t even work in single person’s pantry, because its central premise- that even the most basic economic future is predictable- is just wrong.

  7. Al Terego says:

    Sorry, but…

    OBAMA IZ TEH SOSHULISM!!!!11!

    Okay, he doesn’t have it totally down yet, but hey, he’s trying. Give him-and-his six more years and do another head-to-head comparison with the old “masters” of the trade and we’ll see where he (and we) are on the old commie-meter then.

    AT

  8. global village idiot says:

    Paraphrasing Kenneth Russell:

    Obama’s not a socialist, he’s a golfer.

  9. Antibubba says:

    Of the 20%, how many understand what socialism is, other than that the President is labeled it daily? Not that such profound, appalling ignorance is any better.

    Of course, the results make sense if the poll included the multigenerational welfare class.

  10. og says:

    I had a woman corner me once for several HOURS. She actually at one point said “The workers must control the means of production!!” I consider myself a saint for not throttling her on the spot.

    • Marko Kloos says:

      “The workers are free to control the means of production in capitalism, and many of them choose to do so. It’s called ‘employee stock ownership’.”

      • og says:

        I made that clear. She made it clear to ME, that the ONLY way that could happen, was if the GOVERNMENT stepped in and GAVE the means of production to the workers. My self control is now the stuff of legend. (The company she worked for? Stock ownership plan for all employees. No effort on anyone’s part to buy stock) ‘Why should I buy stock? I work here! I DESERVE IT’!! She actually opened her mouth and spoke those words.

        • MarkHB says:

          GAHHHHHH

          I’m a worker. I own the means of production already. If anyone else knew how to do my job, they wouldn’t hire me. For fuck’s sake, it’s not rocket surgery!

          The Means of Production is the same four pounds of collagen and protein that is your Weapon, that is your Awareness Array, that is your Mind, that is where you actually enjoy an orgasm.

          Sorry. Pedantry, and such, but there you go.

        • MarkHB says:

          And I lease it out at the highest rates, delivering the highest quality.

          So there, too.

        • og says:

          I think the point is, what she means, is “The workers have to have the ability to hold the world hostage if they desire, and not suffer for their actions” But hey, I know whatcha mean.

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