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Socialism and Me!

FinnMacCool

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I am becoming very interested in socialism and I would like to learn a bit more about it so I have a few questions for some of the socialists in here:

1. Has socialism ever truely been effective as a government in the way that it was meant to be? Becase rule under Stalin isn't exactly what I would call a Socalist government. More like a dictatorship if you ask me.

2. How is socialism related to nazism? I looked up socialism in my local library and all these things about hitler came up.

3. Could anyone possibly reccomend a good book explaining Socialism and if it can really work.

Thanks in advance.
 

Kandahar

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FinnMacCool said:
I am becoming very interested in socialism and I would like to learn a bit more about it so I have a few questions for some of the socialists in here:
I'm not a socialist (quite the opposite actually), but I'm going to answer your questions anyway:

FinnMacCool said:
1. Has socialism ever truely been effective as a government in the way that it was meant to be? Becase rule under Stalin isn't exactly what I would call a Socalist government. More like a dictatorship if you ask me.
Every country that has embraced hard-core socialism has quickly devolved into a nasty dictatorship. This isn't a coincidence, nor is it a good excuse for socialism's failures. In fact, the development of ideologies like Stalinism illustrates the spectacular failure of socialism. There's simply no way to redistribute wealth without a massive government, and massive governments tend to become oppressive governments.

FinnMacCool said:
2. How is socialism related to nazism? I looked up socialism in my local library and all these things about hitler came up.
Hitler was very anti-communist, but he also didn't support a free market. The word "nazi" is an abbreviated German word for "national socialists." The economy of Nazi Germany was really one-of-a-kind, and can't easily be classified on the capitalist/socialist spectrum of economies. Hitler created a highly-centralized economy where the government said what was to be done, while still allowing private property.

FinnMacCool said:
3. Could anyone possibly reccomend a good book explaining Socialism and if it can really work.
Thanks in advance.
"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. Conclusion: No, it can't.
 

Technocratic_Utilitarian

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Hitler was very anti-communist, but he also didn't support a free market. The word "nazi" is an abbreviated German word for "national socialists." The economy of Nazi Germany was really one-of-a-kind, and can't easily be classified on the capitalist/socialist spectrum of economies. Hitler created a highly-centralized economy where the government said what was to be done, while still allowing private property.
this is an excellent point you bring up. According to the "Hitler Myth," Nazi economics was pseudo-capitalism. It's like having cardboard monkey-property.



As for the question: No. Socialism itself cannot work. It's not a viable system due to human nature. HOwever, some elements of it can be used and function. Atlass Shrugged, however, is not a good example of reality. It's a parody of reality. Its a huge strawman of altrusim in which Rand hyperexaggerates to the point of silliness.
 

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Kandahar said:
Hitler was very anti-communist, but he also didn't support a free market. The word "nazi" is an abbreviated German word for "national socialists." The economy of Nazi Germany was really one-of-a-kind, and can't easily be classified on the capitalist/socialist spectrum of economies. Hitler created a highly-centralized economy where the government said what was to be done, while still allowing private property.
Maybe there was nominally private property, but what good is it if you have to do what the government tells you? This is exactly the same under a socialist regime. The government appoints people to be in charge of property and the means of production. Those people must answer to the government.

Socialists are destroying our property rights here in the United States. I'll take examples from Connecticut. First, you have the government taking away people's land in New London to give to private developers. Now that they won the court case, they are charging the previous owners thousands of dollars in back-rent. In New Haven, the town and the unions will not allow Yale-New Haven Hospital build a world class cancer center on its own land in the hospital complex. What good is that land if you can't use it?

My main point is this: Belief in socialism is having disatrous effects on the people of my state, and throughout the nation as a whole. To say "democratic socialism" or "socialism with a human face" is just as much an oxymoron as "democratic fascism" and "fascism with a human face."
 

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I can't explain socialism, its too long and complicated.

But if you click on the site on my sig., they should give more of what socialism is. As I have noticed that site is HUGE, their dictionary so to speak has many things entirly unrealted to socialism, marxism, or even politics and any other related things.

This site:

http://www.marxists.org/
 

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Connecticutter said:
Maybe there was nominally private property, but what good is it if you have to do what the government tells you? This is exactly the same under a socialist regime. The government appoints people to be in charge of property and the means of production. Those people must answer to the government.

Socialists are destroying our property rights here in the United States. I'll take examples from Connecticut. First, you have the government taking away people's land in New London to give to private developers. Now that they won the court case, they are charging the previous owners thousands of dollars in back-rent. In New Haven, the town and the unions will not allow Yale-New Haven Hospital build a world class cancer center on its own land in the hospital complex. What good is that land if you can't use it?

My main point is this: Belief in socialism is having disatrous effects on the people of my state, and throughout the nation as a whole. To say "democratic socialism" or "socialism with a human face" is just as much an oxymoron as "democratic fascism" and "fascism with a human face."
First of all, that's dumb. Socialism is an economic system. Democracy and fascism are political systems. You can very easily have a democratic socialist country. It's called Western Europe. The people choose to give up some economic freedom in return for more security and equality. That is a democracy. The government doesn't force it on them.

Second, pure socialism is unrealistically ideoligical. I don't see it happening anytime in the near future. Maybe at some point all people will be content in working for the good of the society, but right now people (myself included) need the allure of private property to convince them. I'm a euro-socialist.
 

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Its Social capitalism, btw. Euro-socialism is a myth.


It doesn't make all criteria to be considered so.


Never the less thats the name it takes.
 

Kelzie

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128shot said:
Its Social capitalism, btw. Euro-socialism is a myth.


It doesn't make all criteria to be considered so.


Never the less thats the name it takes.
:rofl I don't believe you. Social Capitalism is an oxymoron. Kinda like a fascist democracy.

Euro-socialism is a subset of socialism, in my opinion. An alternate type if you will. One that allows private property, among other things.
 

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Dosn't socialism go hand in hand with communism? Like China. (Which I hear is really a socialist republic) It seems that socialism works very well in places with very small populations. But as the population grows so does the govornment, and (as I think was stated in an earlier post) this leads to massive corruption.
 

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In common usage capitalism refers to an economic system in which all or most of the means of production are privately owned and operated, and where investment and the production, distribution and prices of commodities (goods and services) are determined privately in a free market, rather than by the state. Those in control of capital (capitalists) purchase or invest in the means of production to run them for profit.

From wikipedia.

The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of social capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector (through large-scale state enterprises). The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on its petroleum production and international oil prices; in 2004, oil and gas accounted for 50% of exports. Only Saudi Arabia and Russia export more oil than Norway, which is not a member of OPEC. The last 25 years, the Norwegian economy has shown various signs of the economic phenomenon called Dutch disease.

Norway opted to stay out of the European Union during a referendum in 1972, and again in November 1994. However, Norway, together with Iceland and Liechtenstein, participate in the EU's single market via the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement.

Economic growth picked up in 2000 to 2.7%, compared with the meagre 0.8% of 1999, but fell back to 1.3% in 2001. After meagre growth in 2002 and 2003, the economy expanded more rapidly in 2004. The government moved ahead with privatisation in 2000, selling one-third of the then 100% state-owned oil company Statoil.

With arguably the highest quality of life worldwide, Norwegians still worry about that time in the next two decades when the oil and gas begin to run out. Accordingly, Norway has been saving its oil-boosted budget surpluses in a Government Petroleum Fund, which is invested abroad and at the end of the second quarter of 2005 was valued at 181.5 billion US dollars . Economical overheating is avoided by the partial saving - rather than spending - of the oil revenues which are of very big importance for a relatively small country

also from Wikipedia explaining Norways economy.



Nope, doesn't seem like an oxymoron to me.
 

Kelzie

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128shot said:
From wikipedia.

also from Wikipedia explaining Norways economy.

Nope, doesn't seem like an oxymoron to me.
Huh. Learn something new every day. I still say it's an oxymoron.
 

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Kelzie said:
The people choose to give up some economic freedom in return for more security and equality. That is a democracy. The government doesn't force it on them.
No one has the right to vote themselves access to someone else's wallet in the name of "security and equality." Let's not forget that democracy protects minority rights...and the smallest minority of all is the individual.

Kelzie said:
Second, pure socialism is unrealistically ideoligical. I don't see it happening anytime in the near future. Maybe at some point all people will be content in working for the good of the society, but right now people (myself included) need the allure of private property to convince them. I'm a euro-socialist.
The European model is already showing its flaws. The unemployment rate is ridiculously high in Western Europe. The economy is growing very slowly, stagnating completely, or (in a few countries) shrinking. The Euro-zone's percentage of the world's total economy becomes smaller and smaller with every passing year.

There is nothing at all admirable about "Euro-socialism" as you call it.
 

Kelzie

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Kandahar said:
No one has the right to vote themselves access to someone else's wallet in the name of "security and equality." Let's not forget that democracy protects minority rights...and the smallest minority of all is the individual.
Considering that national health care is so accepted in Western Europe that it isn't even questioned, I'd say you're wrong. And we do it all the time. It's called taxes.

The European model is already showing its flaws. The unemployment rate is ridiculously high in Western Europe. The economy is growing very slowly, stagnating completely, or (in a few countries) shrinking. The Euro-zone's percentage of the world's total economy becomes smaller and smaller with every passing year.

There is nothing at all admirable about "Euro-socialism" as you call it.
And I'm sure that you know so much more about their status than the team of economists they have. Do you really think they'd lead Europe down the road of collapse? No is the answer,
 

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Kelzie said:
Considering that national health care is so accepted in Western Europe that it isn't even questioned, I'd say you're wrong. And we do it all the time. It's called taxes.



And I'm sure that you know so much more about their status than the team of economists they have. Do you really think they'd lead Europe down the road of collapse? No is the answer,


why do you think they want to re-capitalize their block of states?


growth, jobs, and stability.
 

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Kelzie said:
Socialism is an economic system. Democracy and fascism are political systems. You can very easily have a democratic socialist country. It's called Western Europe. The people choose to give up some economic freedom in return for more security and equality. That is a democracy. The government doesn't force it on them.
I understand that socialism is an economic system, but fascism is also an economic system of sorts. It's economic totalitarianism. The difference between a communist government and a fascist government is merely a difference in how they justify their actions.

I think most of us support democracy, but it must be coupled with individual rights. Sure, the people can choose their representatives and must consent to the laws, but there are certain boundaries that a majority cannot be allowed to cross. I think our Bill Of Rights enshrines this idea quite well.

So, even fascism can be implemented in a democracy, it would just require breaking our constitution and the separation of powers. Our political system therefore is a hindrace to fascism, but I don't think that fascism is by definition more a political system over an economic.

Do you see what I'm saying?


Arch Enemy said:
Kelzie, Check Private Messages.
:shock: I'm sorry, but I'm just really curious now. It's like there's a secret going around and I'm not in the "in." Oh well, I guess I'll just have to get over it.

Rhadamanthus said:
Like China. (Which I hear is really a socialist republic)
:lol: In my opinion, it's niether socialist nor a republic. I know that comment was off-the-cuff, so we don't have to debate this any more unless you care to respond and get into it.
 

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Kelzie said:
Considering that national health care is so accepted in Western Europe that it isn't even questioned, I'd say you're wrong. And we do it all the time. It's called taxes.
Voting for taxes to support necessary infrastructure (roads, military, courts) that the private sector cannot provide is one thing. Voting for taxes for the sole purpose of stealing someone else's money is a different story.

Kelzie said:
And I'm sure that you know so much more about their status than the team of economists they have.
Umm...

1. The vast majority of economists worldwide agree that the American model works better than the European model, and nearly all the economic indicators point to this conclusion.

2. Are you saying that no one is allowed to have any opinion on any topic, as long as there is at least one person in the world who knows more?

Kelzie said:
Do you really think they'd lead Europe down the road of collapse? No is the answer,
Who said anything about leading them down the road to collapse? Europeans are an educated bunch; I'm sure they will wise up long before that happens. The point is that Western Europe (at least the socialist countries) are making little if any economic progress, and are actually falling behind relative to the economic growth of the rest of the world.
 

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Connecticutter said:
:lol: In my opinion, it's niether socialist nor a republic. I know that comment was off-the-cuff, so we don't have to debate this any more unless you care to respond and get into it.
I don't see any need to get into it, Though I was wondering if you could tell me why you don't consider it socialist.

If we assume that it is socialist, just for now, then I think that this overview of chinas economy gives a pretty clear picture of the pros and cons of a succesfull socialist economy.


China's economy

Oct 14th 2005
From Economist.com



China introduced market reforms in the early 1980s; only a third of the economy is now directly state-controlled. Since joining the World Trade Organisation in 2001, China has rapidly become a global economic force, running a trade surplus with the United States (prompting China-bashing from American politicians), creating a commodity-market boom and turning into the world's third-largest car market. Over a dozen Chinese companies are on the Fortune 500 list; some, such as Lenovo and the state-controlled China National Offshore Oil Corporation, have begun looking for foreign acquisitions.

But growth is putting pressure on China's infrastructure, especially in the booming Pearl River Delta—while other regions see high levels of unemployment. At the same time, a lack of skills has led to labour shortages. Pollution is rife, health care strains rural resources, and the stockmarkets sag. Wen Jiabao, the prime minister, hopes to address workers' concerns by cutting farmers' taxes and giving them better medical care and education. (Some 800m Chinese, or 60% of the population, live in the countryside, averaging less than $1 a day in income.)

Still, the economy's recent growth has been seemingly unstoppable, even in the face of government countermeasures. The government raised interest rates in October 2004, the first increase since 1995, and unpegged the yuan from the dollar in July 2005, after second-quarter growth was reported at 9.5%


Is it not socialist because only a third of the economy is state controled?
 

Kandahar

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Rhadamanthus said:
Is it not socialist because only a third of the economy is state controled?
That's part of it. China's economy becomes increasingly deregulated every year. Its current economic boom is directly the result of continuing market liberalization and economic reforms.

While China's economy is still very controlled by Western standards, it is definitely moving in the right direction. Therefore I consider it more capitalist than socialist.
 

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Connecticutter said:
I understand that socialism is an economic system, but fascism is also an economic system of sorts. It's economic totalitarianism. The difference between a communist government and a fascist government is merely a difference in how they justify their actions.

I think most of us support democracy, but it must be coupled with individual rights. Sure, the people can choose their representatives and must consent to the laws, but there are certain boundaries that a majority cannot be allowed to cross. I think our Bill Of Rights enshrines this idea quite well.

So, even fascism can be implemented in a democracy, it would just require breaking our constitution and the separation of powers. Our political system therefore is a hindrace to fascism, but I don't think that fascism is by definition more a political system over an economic.

Do you see what I'm saying?
Kinda...I just disagree with you definitions. Since fascist states control all aspects of the individuals life, it would by definition have to include the economic side of their lives. But it is not an economic structure, it is a form of government. Here's a definition from ol' Webster:

"Main Entry: fas·cism
Pronunciation: 'fa-"shi-z&m also 'fa-"si-
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control <early instances of army fascism and brutality -- J. W. Aldridge>"

In contrast, here's the definition of socialism:

"Main Entry: so·cial·ism
Pronunciation: 'sO-sh&-"li-z&m
Function: noun
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 Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done"

While fascism mentions economics, and socialism mentions government, it is not the stressed part of either definition. I still think that fascism is primarily a form of government and socialism is primarily a form of economics. Which is why you can have both a fascist socialist regime and a democratic socialist regime.


:shock: I'm sorry, but I'm just really curious now. It's like there's a secret going around and I'm not in the "in." Oh well, I guess I'll just have to get over it.
We were just talking about you. Why? Kidding. :mrgreen: He made me a sig. Pretty cool, eh?
 

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Kandahar said:
Voting for taxes to support necessary infrastructure (roads, military, courts) that the private sector cannot provide is one thing. Voting for taxes for the sole purpose of stealing someone else's money is a different story.
Are you trying to say that Europe has taxes for the only purpose of stealing money from people? That's kind of crazy.


Umm...

1. The vast majority of economists worldwide agree that the American model works better than the European model, and nearly all the economic indicators point to this conclusion.
And a huge number of economists disagree.

2. Are you saying that no one is allowed to have any opinion on any topic, as long as there is at least one person in the world who knows more?
Noo...but unless you can provide some proof, what you've got is your opinion...which doesn't mean very much to me. And if you give me one economist's point of view, I'll just find an opposing one.

Who said anything about leading them down the road to collapse? Europeans are an educated bunch; I'm sure they will wise up long before that happens. The point is that Western Europe (at least the socialist countries) are making little if any economic progress, and are actually falling behind relative to the economic growth of the rest of the world.
A couple facts. There are places in Europe where social democracy isn't run very well. Not that huge of a surprise really. A couple examples are Spain and Germany, which have not only a large percentage of unemployment, they also have a large inequality in wages ( a sure sign that it is not a good social democracy...that said I do not advocate same wages, just ones kept in a reasonable range, like a 40 times difference between CEOs and employees instead of 400 times). So to sum up: the "social democracies" that aren't doing a good job of being social democracies have bad economies and employment problems.

Now for the more equal income countries, a couple being Denmark and Norway. And surprise! They have a lower unemployment rate than the US, both of them are below 5%. Denmark's economy has been growing at a vey steady 3% since the 90s even though they give much more of their GNP as aid than the US does, almost 1%. Sweden is growing at 3.6% a year. An interesting side note is that the US has 12% of the population living below the poverty line. Sweden and Denmark? A big fat NA. I'll let you figure out why.
 

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Kelzie said:
Second, pure socialism is unrealistically ideoligical. I don't see it happening anytime in the near future. Maybe at some point all people will be content in working for the good of the society, but right now people (myself included) need the allure of private property to convince them. I'm a euro-socialist.


Cool-According to Ron Kuby (noted radical lawyer in NYC) I am (or was in law school) AN ANARCHO-CAPITALIST:mrgreen:

couldn't argue too much against that description :2razz:
 

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Kelzie said:
Are you trying to say that Europe has taxes for the only purpose of stealing money from people? That's kind of crazy.
I'm saying that both the United States and Europe have taxes for social programs that don't provide any infrastructure, but only exist to steal money from taxpayers.

Kelzie said:
And a huge number of economists disagree.

Noo...but unless you can provide some proof, what you've got is your opinion...which doesn't mean very much to me. And if you give me one economist's point of view, I'll just find an opposing one.
The same could be said about any topic. I'm sure I could find a scientist who doesn't believe in global warming, if I looked hard enough. Maybe I could find an astronomer who believes in astrology if I looked REALLY hard. That doesn't mean that all alternate beliefs are of equal merit to the overwhelming consensus, which is (in this case) that capitalism simply works better than socialism.

Kelzie said:
A couple facts. There are places in Europe where social democracy isn't run very well. Not that huge of a surprise really. A couple examples are Spain and Germany, which have not only a large percentage of unemployment, they also have a large inequality in wages ( a sure sign that it is not a good social democracy...that said I do not advocate same wages, just ones kept in a reasonable range, like a 40 times difference between CEOs and employees instead of 400 times). So to sum up: the "social democracies" that aren't doing a good job of being social democracies have bad economies and employment problems.

Now for the more equal income countries, a couple being Denmark and Norway. And surprise! They have a lower unemployment rate than the US, both of them are below 5%. Denmark's economy has been growing at a vey steady 3% since the 90s even though they give much more of their GNP as aid than the US does, almost 1%. Sweden is growing at 3.6% a year. An interesting side note is that the US has 12% of the population living below the poverty line. Sweden and Denmark? A big fat NA. I'll let you figure out why.
Just to clarify: A "big fat NA" doesn't mean that there's no poverty, it just means that the CIA World Factbook (I assume that was your source?) doesn't have a statistic for it. The Congo is also rated NA in this category.

You are correct that some of these countries are run better than others. But what makes them run better? The capitalistic elements of them. These countries might be the punching bags for right-wingers in the United States, but there's more to socialism than just the tax rate, and Sweden and Denmark are surprisingly free-market oriented. In many ways, they're even more progressive than the United States. This is how they keep their economies healthy...not through socialism.

The Heritage Foundation (a group hardly sympathetic to socialism) rates countries in its Economic Freedom Index (http://www.heritage.org/research/features/index/countries.cfm). Denmark ranks even higher than the United States (8th freest in the world), and Sweden ranks only one notch below the United States (13th freest in the world). While Sweden and Denmark are counterbalanced by other more capitalistic policies: Denmark doesn't have the red tape associated with starting a business that is common in the United States, and the tax rates were literally cut in half (they're now lower than in the United States). Sweden has higher taxes than the United States, but this is countered by being more open to foreign investment.

As for Norway, I don't have many nice things to say about its economy. The main reason its economy has survived under abysmal management is its oil sector. But this cannot continue forever, and at some point Norway will have to either reform or its economy will shrink.
 
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Kelzie said:
Kinda...I just disagree with you definitions. Since fascist states control all aspects of the individuals life, it would by definition have to include the economic side of their lives. But it is not an economic structure, it is a form of government. Here's a definition from ol' Webster:

...

While fascism mentions economics, and socialism mentions government, it is not the stressed part of either definition. I still think that fascism is primarily a form of government and socialism is primarily a form of economics. Which is why you can have both a fascist socialist regime and a democratic socialist regime.
Okay, okay - I'll have to concede a little bit. Yes, socialism is primarily an economic system, and fascism is primarily a political system.

BUT fascism as a political system isn't too well defined. The notion of a republic, a constitutional government, a monarchy, and a dictatorship are all political systems that are very well defined, but fascism doesn't carry the same sort of meaning. What are the rules under fascism? Why do we differntiate it from a dictatorship? Clearly, "fascist" is thrown around enough that it goes beyond just the government of Musollini. Also, fascist governments have economic politices attached to them, whereas the terms I used above do not.

Okay, so I'll concede that democratic socialism is possible, and in fact it exists, but I do not believe that it is stable. I think that it will ultimately lead to a breakdown of the constituional system that preserves democracy.

Also, please understand the anxiety over what is going on in my state that I mentioned on the first page of this thread. In New Haven, the corporate power is in the right and in New London, the corporate power is in the wrong, but in both cases the politicians are destroying property rights. I would call these actions fascist because their justification is to serve the state.


Kelzie said:
We were just talking about you. Why? Kidding. :mrgreen: He made me a sig. Pretty cool, eh?
Yeah, I like it. I need something eventually when I have time. Otherwise, my posts are boring.
 
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