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View Diary: "Socialism is dead"/"Socialism is against human nature." (162 comments)

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  •  Without real knowledge of this event, I would ask: (0+ / 0-)

    What happened to that collective? On it's surface, this would seem to be a relatively short lived circumstance happening within a homogenous population.  Show me an example where this sort of ideal has persisted on a broad basis in a heterogeneous society?  A can show you a bundle of examples where it has not...  Socialism is the proper ideal for a relatively conflict free society in my mind, but counter to the arguments of the main post here and as I've pointed out in my responses, socialism cannot exist within the context of humanity as we are currently composed.  Greed will indeed derail it on multiple fronts... Elites and criminals will become the plutocrats broadly decried here, and free loaders will place a drag on productivity.  Until we become something in our core that we are not today, a broad based highly socialist society will always eat itself.  Our best hope given our primitive imperfections is to ensure as much transparency in business as we can through government to prevent monopolies and work against assymetrical information in business transactions.  

    •  The one and only true answer to this question: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Free Jazz at High Noon
      What happened to that collective?
      Someone came along and told it that their activities were against human nature, and they got together and said, "you're right!  We're a failure, and so we've decided to go back to being a rigidly-stratified class society."  And so it was.

      "There's nothing heroic about earning profit." -Odo, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

      by Cassiodorus on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 12:30:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Francoist fascists won the war (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Free Jazz at High Noon, offgrid

      and they imprisoned, tortured, and executed thousands of anti-fascist collectivists.

      It's a rather complex history. But the long and short of it is the collectives ended at the point of a gun.

      The collectives existed for almost three years before the fascists won the war.

      But there are historically many other examples of collectives that were successful.

      In fact, one of the reasons the Spanish were so acculturated to collectivization is due to the history, going back to medieval times, in which peasant villages operated as essentially collectivized communities.

      Graeber, an anthropologist, has noted that early human societies have modeled themselves according to various forms of social organization, but that the non-hierarchical social structure, based on mutual aid, was often seen, even if not the only form adopted.

      This notion of individual selfishness being the only reliable human trait is unsubstantiated. Your dire predictions didn't hold true in these examples. You're simply making assumptions based on capitalist free market doctrines going back to Adam Smith's "invisible hand", which isn't at all a proven theory. If anything, the destructive path which this doctrine of selfishness has taken is about to bring down the entire planet.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:31:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Altruism is subjegated by the elites.... (0+ / 0-)

        In my view, our primal instincts are aimed toward a stratification  of social structure based on hierarchical collective effort characterized by elites dictating the aims of production and followers dutifully operationalizing those aims.  Indeed we have a certain inborn element of socialist instinct. In that context, we exist as a stratified collective that prospers by way of collective effort. Within the bubble of singular society, collective effort flows relatively easily, but when those strategies are so successful that they lead us to a highly populated modern world characterized by broad interaction, conflict among the ambitious elites among us have become the bane of human existence. A world dominated by elites functions best when we foster a social system that allows ambition to make its way in as transparent a setting as we can manage.  

        •  Libertarian? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, lazybum, ZhenRen

          I'm not snarking nor trying to bust your chops.

          This response is a mishmash that veers towards contradicting itself.

          For example, you lose me when you veer from

          stratified collective that prospers by way of collective effort
          (sounds like a basic anthropological model of society and not inherently ideological)

          to

          " [in the] bubble of singular society, collective effort flows relatively easily"
          (oh? really?)

          to

          when those strategies are so successful that they lead us to a highly populated modern world characterized by broad interaction, conflict among the ambitious elites among us have become the bane of human existence.
          (define your terms?)

          to

          A world dominated by elites functions best when we foster a social system that allows ambition to make its way in as transparent a setting as we can manage.  
          Randian, it is.

          Correct me if I misunderstand. Perhaps I have.

          •  clarification (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Free Jazz at High Noon

            I mean to say that I expect we evolved our instincts in a primitive tribal existence over the first 190k years of the 200k years we have walk this earth, and those instincts don’t play well in the complex society we’ve create over the past ~8k years.  I am defining singular society as the predominately tribal existence we evolved in versus the modern highly interactive society that has only existed the past several dozen millennia.

            My instincts are definitely libertarian, but in a moderate context.  I embrace a libertarian perspective as a surrender to what I see as our primitive limitations. I decry the shortcomings of us that would not exist within a more sophisticated society, but I don’t believe we can accomplish socialism with only a minority among us embracing those ideals.  A minority of altruism will never overcome ambition through forced policy.  I see us sitting in an unfortunate reality that dictates a different strategy needed to deal with the inevitable conflict that will generate from the ambitions of greedy men.   These ambitions will never be quelled by whatever social system we pursue, but a strategy that accepts (but not necessarily embraces) the reality of these shortcomings has its eye on the ball so to speak and has the best chance of defining policies that can work best within this reality….  Yes, this perspective is Randian in practice, but it’s not strictly Randian in moral perspective…

            •  Nothing other than a committed minority (0+ / 0-)

              has ever done anything to improve public morals. In some cases the committed minority swells into an effective voting majority, as in the case of men voting to give women voting rights, not only in the US but in many other countries. In some cases, the minority remains a minority, but changes the majority culture. An example is the Quaker impact on business, which you can read about in many historical accounts, or in the scene in Moby Dick where Ishmael and Queequeg sign up to be whalers, with a Quaker representing the ship owners as guarantor of the crew's contract rights, to assure them that they will by paid what they sign on for when the ship returns in two years' time. To this day a gray suit is known among salesmen as a "closing suit" because Quaker gray has so infiltrated our culture as a symbol of trustworthiness. Which Wall Street and Madison Avenue have done their utmost to undermine.

              The theory of such effects is laid out in The Evolution of Cooperation, by Robert Axelrod. It explains to some extent the circumstances in which cooperation expands, the circumstances in which it can maintain itself against virulent hostility, and the circumstances in which it fails.

              I am personally working on expanding cooperation via One Laptop Per Child, which not only provides education and Internet to millions of children around the world, but gives them collaborative software in which they can share application sessions, both active and saved. Google Docs also does this.

              You do not have Libertarian instincts, TT. Instincts such as insect mating behavior or birdsong are 100% genetic. You have what are called by some Libertarian opinions based on experiences of various kinds, somewhat influenced by various genetic factors that might predispose you in certain directions.

              I don't know what experiences or genetic predispositions those might be. I have significantly different experiences, and apparently significantly different genetic factors, too. If you would like to understand how I think, message me privately and I can tell you about some of them. Perhaps we can find something to Diary about on that, although I see some obstacles to us doing that.

              My experience of Libertarians has led me to the definition

              Libertarian

              One who holds that everybody should have the right to do anything that does not harm anybody of any importance in any way that really matters.

              Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

              by Mokurai on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:44:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What??? (0+ / 0-)
                Libertarian

                One who holds that everybody should have the right to do anything that does not harm anybody of any importance in any way that really matters.

                By the way, the last I heard, genetic scientists have established that the human genome hasn't change by more than .02 % in the last 40,000 years.

                "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                by ZhenRen on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:04:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I see humanity as dualistic (0+ / 0-)

                “ Nothing other than a committed minority has ever done anything to improve public morals.”

                I generally don’t disagree with this general premise but I view that as being more relevant to fundamental civil liberties.  Oppressing women, ethnic minorities or homosexuals clearly is contradictory to the notion of liberty as it is more or less defined in our constitution, and yes, minority groups have typically led the charge in upending these sorts of hypocrisy.  But the sort of altruistic minority I am referencing above does not exists as a matter of philosophy in my view.  

                Look at a more simple animal society like a pride of lions and lions as a whole.  You can see there the same sort of duality we humans possess wherein both coordinated group effort along with both intergroup and intragroup conflict are the norm.  I think those same primitive instincts coarse through our own veins, and philosophical efforts alone will not change that.  I also think using lions as a comparison is relevant due to the particularly aggressive nature that separates them at the top of the food chain.  We are very clearly social creatures at our core, and the sorts of social learning characteristics you point to are certainly relevant.  But we are really dualistic as described above, and I think a proper perspective of this dual nature needs to be embraced if we are to do the best job of defining good policies.  I definitely don’t see a “dog eat dog” world- rather I see a world that needs to be defined within the proper context of our dual nature- both cooperative and competitive.  Until we become something fundamentally different that somehow works against the more self-focused side (such as through brain computer enhancement as crazy as that may sound), I believe socialism will inevitably eat itself….

            •  In short, you're making up theory of human nature (0+ / 0-)

              to fit your ideology, and then suggesting all of humankind submit to enslavement in a "stratified" society based on Social Darwinism.

              This is classic:

              a stratification  of social structure based on hierarchical collective effort characterized by elites dictating the aims of production and followers dutifully operationalizing those aims.

              That's not a collective effort. That's a dictatorship. It isn't collective when all decision making is concentrated in the hands of a ruling elite, who are economically supported by a cadre of "followers" whose function is to make life comfortable for the privileged at the top, while sacrificing their own quality of life.

              By the way, this is not anything resembling "liberty" for most people. Most people don't know this, but the term libertarian (tracing back to France in the mid 19th century) was originally used by self described libertarian socialists. Libertarianism originally was used in Europe to describe the philosophy which advocates that society should have freedom from the ruling class, wherein workers would collectively self-manage their own workplaces and communities, free from authoritarian domination of hierarchical control. Libertarianism is supposed to be the opposite of authoritarianism. Thus, capitalism and the so-called "free market" (in which a minority consisting of the wealthy class have domination of property used in production, positioning themselves as the lords and masters at the economic summit of society, peering down at the rest with the power to "employ" everyone else as servants, who in practical terms have little choice but to submit to rulership) has little or nothing to do with liberty and freedom.

              Using the term libertarian to describe Randianism is about as Orwellian as it gets.

              I really don't care what your notions of human nature are, at this point. You're basically one of the Ayn Randian capitalists I oppose with every fiber of my body and mind. When I've gone out into the streets protesting the banking industry and end up getting hammered by the police enforcers, you're part of the establishment I'm railing against. There is no justification for economic slavery of the majority of people under a ruling elite.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:55:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You have it precisely backwards... (0+ / 0-)

                My view of human nature drives my philosophy of politics and economics.  

                I believe we will see stratification in ANY system.  The ambitions of greedy people will always represent the core of human conflict.  Narcissistic elites will always present themselves, but capitalism drives greater wealth creation in the process.  And we can attempt as best we can to establish transparent capitalism that aims to restrict unchecked greed by preventing monopolies and working against information imbalances that allow the system to be gamed.  It will never be perfect, but it can be good enough.  In socialism, these elites will rule with impunity.  

                I posted in another thread on this site that I was booted out of my house at 17 after a lifetime of abuse.  My loving mother died at 46 when I was 14.  I dropped out of high school and was pretty much headed for a life of crime.  But my shame drove me to go to junior college and later graduate from honors from the U of TX and go on the get an MBA.  Today I am one of the 2% you hate, but you can't make the argument I had that handed to me.  I think that when you sell the idea that the downtrodden are the prisoners of oligarchs, you kill their spirit, drive division in society, and bring us ALL down in the process....

        •  I note that... (0+ / 0-)

          you completely ignored the example I provided of a successful collectivist society, after you erroneously declared none have existed.

          Ayn Randian social Darwinism has been debunked by modern social scientists. Your entire argument is based on your personal assumptions and theories of human nature.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:52:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So why do these theories persist? (0+ / 0-)

            My answer is that it makes people (well, white men, one of which I am) feel Hard-Headed and Realistic, and people (ditto) think that the more Hard-Headed and Realistic something sounds, the truer it must be.  And so it goes.

            The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

            by Panurge on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:55:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, we now have democracy (0+ / 0-)

      which at least gives the people some control over their environment.

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