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Default Let's talk about socialism!

October 21st, 2008, 11:41
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
As a contrast in sweden a lot of people want to pay more taxes! To make sure the health care and retirement homes are good for everyone and help the less fortunate, so I don't really think all humans strive for capitalism!
In the long end, I believe many simply protects their own hide. We are taught that without taxes, healthcare doesn't work. When we pay taxes we believe we invest in our own safetynet. We are more free when we believe that we are free to fail.

I do not believe that anymore though. I have been at the bottom.
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October 21st, 2008, 11:49
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Until we do, we'll have to make do with less.
There are two ways for one to go, either one try to get what one want, or one try to tell oneself that one do not need it. Many cultures/religions teach antimaterialism and the sense of freedom it offers the human spirit.

When I understood the core message of buddhism, I gave up my need for a materialist lifestyle. I feel better about my current situation and I feel more free to pursue the deeper meanings of life.
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October 21st, 2008, 12:14
No I haven't read Banks, but it certainly sounds interesting. Even in our current society though, if economies were organized in such a way as to put the priority on basic human needs and desires for everyone, rather than profit and power for a few, we could improve the quality of life of a great many people. The big question is, how to get there? Chicago school free market capitalism works very well for some people. Those people obviously have a strong interest in maintaining and promoting the system. Those are also the people who own virtually all the newspapers and TV stations. If they can convince Joe Sixpack who works for minimum wage and has no health insurance that the current economic system is also the best system for him, and in fact the only viable system, then they've got it made (at least until they screw up the economy so badly that Joe Sixpack gets angry and gets out his pitchfork).

This in my opinion is one of the biggest obstacles to progress. Our culture, our attitude, our whole way of thinking is deliberately shaped and influenced by those wielding power and/or wealth in any given political system - whether it be religious leaders, Soviet propagandists, or free market capitalists. Democracy isn't immune from this, nor is democracy immune from electing leaders who commit atrocities. Therefore, I don't accept Jemy's view that democracy is the ultimate ideal to strive for. I think it was Prime Junta (or possible Brother None) who in an earlier thread pointed out the need to make a distinction between democracy and culture. For me, the culture of a society (the values it espouses) is just as important and perhaps moreso than democracy itself.
So, as far as I'm concerned, the foundations of any system should be built first and foremost on human rights and needs - freedom of expression, justice, racial tolerance, the right to food, shelter medical care etc. Whether that system is a democracy, a benign dictatorship, or some form of anarchist communalism, the litmus test should always be basic human rights and quality of life for the population as a whole.
Last edited by Geist; October 21st, 2008 at 12:20.
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October 21st, 2008, 15:27
"Freedom is merely privilege extended," eh?
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October 21st, 2008, 17:53
Originally Posted by Geist View Post
For me, the culture of a society (the values it espouses) is just as important and perhaps moreso than democracy itself.
So, as far as I'm concerned, the foundations of any system should be built first and foremost on human rights and needs - freedom of expression, justice, racial tolerance, the right to food, shelter medical care etc. Whether that system is a democracy, a benign dictatorship, or some form of anarchist communalism, the litmus test should always be basic human rights and quality of life for the population as a whole.
Democracy is meant to protect against those who try to silence those needs.

Most teenagers have "simple solutions" to complex problems and some keep such values even after their education. Most of us discover through experience and education that society is far more complex than we imagined and simple solutions doesn't work.
And that's our situation. Democracy have proved itself to be the best available solution right now, yet we are wired against it by nature. So what do we do?

By treating democracy as an absolute, it's an indicator that one needs really strong arguments before they begin to question it. By treating it as absolute, whoever questions it instantly pays a price, often with lost cultural status as result.

A culture that doesn't recognize freedom an unquestionable right but instead see it as a privilegium (that may be withdrawn) has taken it's first step towards tyranny.
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October 21st, 2008, 19:10
I do not believe that anymore though. I have been at the bottom.
hmm, you have been? but the swedish bottom might still be a lot better than many other bottoms?
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October 21st, 2008, 20:08
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
hmm, you have been? but the swedish bottom might still be a lot better than many other bottoms?
I am still alive, but im not sure.
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October 21st, 2008, 20:15
I haven't been there myself, but I've seen the bottom in places like Nepal, Lebanon, Ukraine, and Montana, and believe me, the one in Sweden *is* a lot better. Drop that self-pity, it doesn't become you.
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October 21st, 2008, 20:38
Nepal, Lenanon, Ukraine and….. Montana?!
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October 21st, 2008, 20:38
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
I haven't been there myself, but I've seen the bottom in places like Nepal, Lebanon, Ukraine, and Montana, and believe me, the one in Sweden *is* a lot better. Drop that self-pity, it doesn't become you.
You lack the data required to make that statement.
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October 21st, 2008, 20:44
Originally Posted by vanedor View Post
Nepal, Lenanon, Ukraine and….. Montana?!
Not a typo. Obviously people in general are better off in Montana, but the bottom is deep.
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October 21st, 2008, 20:45
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
You lack the data required to make that statement.
You're alive, reasonably sane, and on the Internet. That's enough data to make that statement.
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October 21st, 2008, 20:56
Speaking of Sweden, Montana and socialism, here's a verse from one of those Wobbly folk songs I mentioned earlier:

"…Oscar he's from Sweden, he's as stout as a mule.
He can sing and dance and peddle the bull.
He's an Independent Worker of the World as well;
Says he loves the Independence but the Work is Hell…"

~The Big Combine,( to the tune of Casey Jones) circa 1938?

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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October 21st, 2008, 21:12
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
You're alive, reasonably sane and on the Internet. That's enough data to make that statement.
I wouldn't use life itself is an indicator that life has quality. The fact that someone is still alive simply means they aren't dead yet. Mental conditions that can be a disabling handicap in our culture can be a "personality trait" in another. Internet doesn't neccessary mean that someone is better of. We take it for granted because we are used to it. You can have a quality life without it.
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October 21st, 2008, 21:16
Yeah, whatever. You're worse off than the lepers begging for scraps from pilgrims at Pashupathinath as their fingers fall off. Come to think of it, why don't you change places with them? I'm sure they'll have you — there was one washed-out hippie there with them.

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October 21st, 2008, 21:34
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Yeah, whatever. You're worse off than the lepers begging for scraps from pilgrims at Pashupathinath as their fingers fall off. Come to think of it, why don't you change places with them? I'm sure they'll have you — there was one washed-out hippie there with them.
You rate them based on your own cultural standards.
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October 21st, 2008, 21:54
Doesn't matter. By their cultural standards, you're almost unimaginably better off as well.
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October 21st, 2008, 22:17
By the way, JemyM: here's something for you to consider as you explore the jungles of philosophy, psychology, and what not.

Occasionally, you'll find that whatever philosophy (semantic, ethical, epistemological, whatever) you're experimenting with will lead you to an absurd conclusion.

That's when you should take a very close, hard look at the philosophy.

Occasionally the philosophy will get it right, and the conclusion that seemed absurd will turn out not to be absurd after all.

But it's by far more common that you've hit a limitation in the philosophy. Perhaps it was half-assed to start with. More likely, you're applying it in an area where it was never intended to be applied.

Philosophies are human constructs, and like all human constructs, they're flawed. And if your philosophy du jour is leading to conclude that you're no better off than a starving leper in Nepal, the odds are that you've hit a flaw in the philosophy.
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October 21st, 2008, 22:33
For once, I get to grab some popcorn…

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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October 21st, 2008, 22:58
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Occasionally, you'll find that whatever philosophy (semantic, ethical, epistemological, whatever) you're experimenting with will lead you to an absurd conclusion.
You sound like my philosophy teacher.

By the way, Descartes is sitting in a bar. The bartender asks him, "would you like another drink?". Descartes replied "I think not" and vanished.

Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
And if your philosophy du jour is leading to conclude that you're no better off than a starving leper in Nepal, the odds are that you've hit a flaw in the philosophy.
I do not believe the conclusion is invalid in this case though, but some things need to be clarified.

I find an important difference between being supposed to be unlucky and still strive to survive compared to being supposed to be happy and still decide to commit suicide. That tells me that there are more important things to what makes a life worth living than what meets the eye. Simply stating to a suicidal person that they are better of than a starving leper in Nepal doesn't really help. In fact, it have been suggested that it's the idea that someone is supposed to be happy that is the trigger that have lead suicide statistics to go up recently. People are told to be happy, they arent, they see themselves as a failure and they kill themselves.

-edit-: No, I am not stating that I am currently suicidal. I do however state that the condition of a swede who comitted suicide is worse than being a leper in Nepal. At least from a health perspective.
Last edited by JemyM; October 21st, 2008 at 23:29.
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