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Socialism and also ethics discussion thread

Furball

Evil Scotsman
Yeah it's a thing but I think it's vastly 'overdiagnosed' by quizzes.. and even self-identifying members really (possibly due to the quizzes, actually..). Furball's politically closer to watson than he is to Kevin Carson, and that's not to say he's close to watson.
I don't have the quiz link to hand but the questions were quite similar to the political compass questions.

I think my result is explained by the contradiction of my stance on social policy, where I'm very liberal, and economic policy where I tend to favour a degree of state intervention as a protection against the excesses of capitalism.
 

silentstriker

The Wheel is Forever
my political beliefs are very similar to that these days.


I'm definitely a capitalist, but with significant state oversight to ensure a competitive market and protection of labor.
 

Spark

Global Moderator
That's just mainstream social democracy tbh.

Libertarian socialism/Marxism would probably be better described as market anarchism or radical-left ancap.
 
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Teja.

Global Moderator
Playing devil's advocate, I think I've resigned to the fact that in my heart of hearts I will always be a big supporter of big government social democracy for selfish reasons even though ethically i have some libertarian leanings which is reflected when i take 'objective' political compass tests.

The fact of the matter is that the only sort of work that I can tolerate and enjoy doing 50+ hours a week is as a 'priest' who interprets some sort of code/law to people who would otherwise find it inscrutable. The reason for the inscrutableness is that trying to draft a universal code of rules which is applicable to millions of people is in itself a failed endeavour to begin with, leading to massive areas of gray and thousands of types of situations which are not addressed at all. This creates an interesting power dynamic wherein lawyers (specifically advisory consultants) who would otherwise be customer-facing facilitators in a small government society are given this awesome (unfair) power to use the religion of laws (especially tax laws) in a way that the power dynamics are inverted and we can be interpretation-facing nerds and customers are relying on us even for a basic understanding of the code and not just for representation and advice in highly disputable areas.

In a libertarian society, even though there'd be internal regulations for closed societies etc. which would lead to work for lawyers, codes which are specifically written for small societies tend to be better in coverage as they would address specific eventualities that would arise within those societies and would also focus more on members of the societies being able to understand them, which is great for society. However, the majority of work would be in representation, facilitation and deal making between parties and compliance which are really meh areas to work in, personally.

Being brutally honest, I would be a hypocrite if i supported small government ideals when the only reason I have a reasonably well-paying law firm job with sharp upward mobility when i can sit around and debate with people all day about whether the words 'in order to' in a sentence should be read to include all conditions precedent or just the specific act being referred, is because of big government creating a one size fits all tax code for a billion people. A lot of the alternate jobs i would want to do as a lawyer are also solving problems created by big government. I fully understand that the above is just a personal pragmatic position and I'm not saying it is a reason that big government should exist just that it has worked out favourably for me personally.

The TLDR is that most jobs I would enjoy are variations of putting out fires created by big government. The reason for that is not because I have some moral agenda against big government but because I enjoy playing fireman to the specific types of fires that big government brings. Accordingly, flamethrower big government surviving is important for me.
 
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Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
That's kind of like a cop wanting thieves to exist so he can then in turn save people and feel good about it. :unsure:

Exploitation of others is not a good reason to hold the political views you hold. It seems like you're lying to yourself just to make yourself feel better. I think it's fine if you disagree with the system and yet work within it to the best you can anyway.
 
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Teja.

Global Moderator
That's kind of like a cop wanting thieves to exist so he can then in turn save people and feel good about it. :unsure:
No, there's an important distinction. I'm more like a cop wanting thieves to exist not because of the moral reason that I want to feel good about solving crime but for the pragmatic reason that I enjoy the intellectual stimulation from the cases themselves, regardless of whether i'm saving people from the big bad government etc.

It seems like you're lying to yourself just to make yourself feel better. I think it's fine if you disagree with the system and yet work within it to the best you can anyway.
On the contrary, I think I'm facing reality. I've just come to accept the fact that long term intellectual job satisfaction on a day-to-day basis is more important to me than my macro political beliefs that I don't even hold particularly strongly.

Yes, I agree that this is not a reason or a serious argument at all for big government to exist. I just happen to have a huge personal investment in the issue influencing my politics.
 

harsh.ag

Hall of Fame Member
No, there's an important distinction. I'm more like a cop wanting thieves to exist not because of the moral reason that I want to feel good about solving crime but for the pragmatic reason that I enjoy the intellectual stimulation from the cases themselves, regardless of whether i'm saving people from the big bad government etc.
Teja when made to work in a small government state - "What is the use of having brains in our profession? I know well that I have it in me to make my name famous. No man lives or has ever lived who has brought the same amount of study and of natural talent to the legal profession which I have done. And what is the result? There are no cases to crack, or, at most, some bungling tax fraud with a shelter so transparent that even a public defender can see through it.
 

Ausage

Cricketer Of The Year
No, there's an important distinction. I'm more like a cop wanting thieves to exist not because of the moral reason that I want to feel good about solving crime but for the pragmatic reason that I enjoy the intellectual stimulation from the cases themselves, regardless of whether i'm saving people from the big bad government etc.
While I appreciate your honesty, I don't think there's really a meaningful distinction here. That it makes you feel good intellectually over the cop (or Munchhausen practitioner) who feels good when his/her ego is stroked is pretty irrelevant. Either way it's an entirely self serving position that I'd be entirely ashamed to hold.

Props to you for coming out and saying it though.
 

Teja.

Global Moderator
It's an entirely self-serving position
I agree. Is it materially different in any way though from people voting for someone who promises they will get their manufacturing jobs back for that reason alone, or people voting for someone who promises tax cuts not for higher moral imperative but because they want to be taxed less? Isn't that the basis of all democracy, people with free will making self-serving political decisions in an election? (I'm aware of tyranny of the majority libertarian arguments against it but I'm assuming that you're a believer in democracy)

that I'd be entirely ashamed to hold
I get where you're coming from. I'd be too if my macro political beliefs formed a strong part of my identity. They used to for me but they don't anymore. There's this great Budhha quote about how the fool worries about the origin of the universe, the nature of reality, the metaphysics of existence etc. but the wise man just knows his responsibilities and adheres to them well - I don't mean to use those phrases to describe people who have strong political beliefs but the Buddhist outlook has really helped me out in being happy in life. I essentially believe in not being too invested in issues that I have very little control over, such as politics for the reason that my number one priority in life is my happiness and I want to consciously choose to only emotionally invest in issues I have control over.

Trump being a jackass or government tyranny or the performance of my sports team are things that I have very little control over so I try to slowly detach my emotional investment from those things and focus it on things like my professional responsibilities and my health and well being which are things that I can control. I basically want my happiness to be decided by quantifiable things that I have direct control over, which can lead to a very self-serving POV of the world This is because, IMO, the minute a big part of your identity is in relation to your moral/political outlook, extraneous events can affect you personally which is very sub-optimal for me.

Obviously, I can't have complete control over things which affect my happiness - I can't control the health of people I care about, for example, but I try to restrict the things I am invested in to the maximum extent possible to the things i that have control over.

I fully understand that the above is an extremely self-serving perspective of the world, I just happen to value my personal happiness and peace of mind as the highest priority in life. I also respect and completely understand people who view the happiness of the majority or their moral principles above their personal, self serving interests - I just don't share their outlook of the world.
 
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Redbacks

International Captain
I believe socialism would be a better system to run a society on than capitalism if it could work. But the 100+ year old challenge still remains:

Can anyone solve the socialist calculation problem? Unfortunately for the disgruntled intellectual, market anarchy feeds people whilst a planned system can't. This of course is no impediment to a mixed model.

And no the old quip, 'we will leave one nation in the world capitalist so we know what to charge for everything' isn't a suitable solution either.
 

Ausage

Cricketer Of The Year
I agree. Is it materially different in any way though from people voting for someone who promises they will get their manufacturing jobs back for that reason alone, or people voting for someone who promises tax cuts not for higher moral imperative but because they want to be taxed less? Isn't that the basis of all democracy, people with free will making self-serving political decisions in an election? (I'm aware of tyranny of the majority libertarian arguments against it but I'm assuming that you're a believer in democracy)
It's hugely different to the worker who's voting for his manufacturing job. That worker (rightly or wrongly) views the prospect of job stability as a necessity for the survival for him an his family. While I wouldn't agree with his political views I would certainly have sympathy for the pressures driving them. The self interested tax cut is of a similar vein, albeit with less immediacy. There's also the fact that most of the people you're referencing aren't really aware of the possibility of a world without big government and those that are probably don't support it. Your argument is different (or at least I'm interpreting it differently). You're an intelligent, presumably hard working individual. If a person like you can't succeed/thrive in a world without government then the damn thing's a failure which you don't seem to think it will be. Your motivation is solely your own pleasure here.

I don't even think the argument that a world without government would hold nothing interesting for you to pursue remotely holds up to scrutiny anyway. Even if it did, is there anything wrong with just sitting back using computer games or posting on forums as your intellectual masturbation like the rest of us?

I get where you're coming from. I'd be too if my macro political beliefs formed a strong part of my identity. They used to for me but they don't anymore. There's this great Budhha quote about how the fool worries about the origin of the universe, the nature of reality, the metaphysics of existence etc. but the wise man just knows his responsibilities and adheres to them well - I don't mean to use those phrases to describe people who have strong political beliefs but the Buddhist outlook has really helped me out in being happy in life. I essentially believe in not being too invested in issues that I have very little control over, such as politics for the reason that my number one priority in life is my happiness and I want to consciously choose to only emotionally invest in issues I have control over.

Trump being a jackass or government tyranny or the performance of my sports team are things that I have very little control over so I try to slowly detach my emotional investment from those things and focus it on things like my professional responsibilities and my health and well being which are things that I can control. I basically want my happiness to be decided by quantifiable things that I have direct control over, which can lead to a very self-serving POV of the world This is because, IMO, the minute a big part of your identity is in relation to your moral/political outlook, extraneous events can affect you personally which is very sub-optimal for me.

Obviously, I can't have complete control over things which affect my happiness - I can't control the health of people I care about, for example, but I try to restrict the things I am invested in to the maximum extent possible to the things i that have control over.

I fully understand that the above is an extremely self-serving perspective of the world, I just happen to value my personal happiness and peace of mind as the highest priority in life. I also respect and completely understand people who view the happiness of the majority or their moral principles above their personal, self serving interests - I just don't share their outlook of the world.
I completely understand having (or at least attempting to have) an outlook such as you describe and I certainly don't have an expectation that anyone who's even vaguely politically aware should become some sort of insufferable activist. I think the pursuit of individual happiness is about as noble a goal as can be achieved. A happy populace is a pre requisite for what any of us would deem to be a good world. I don't think being a Libertarian disqualifies you from that outlook in the slightest though.
 

Uppercut

Request Your Custom Title Now!
I took Teja’s post to mean something closer to ‘My preference for small government is so marginal and uncertain that it carries almost no weight’ than ‘Small government is definitely far better but I only care about myself’.
 

Teja.

Global Moderator
I took Teja’s post to mean something closer to ‘My preference for small government is so marginal and uncertain that it carries almost no weight’ than ‘Small government is definitely far better but I only care about myself’.
Yeah, my actual political position is close to the former with 'especially because I have wanted to work in an industry fueled by big government problems since i was 14 and work in it now.' added to it. I obviously care about politics to some extent, I'm not saying I'd welcome a fascist state if they paid me $5m a year to smoke weed and debate eastern philosophy. It's just that the libertarian agenda replacing current social democracy is ideologically a marginal issue for me and doesn't even register compared to the personal adjustment costs I'd have with the status quo being replaced.

As I said in the original post, I'm definitely playing devil's advocate and playing it up a bit to generate discussion.
 

Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
No, there's an important distinction. I'm more like a cop wanting thieves to exist not because of the moral reason that I want to feel good about solving crime but for the pragmatic reason that I enjoy the intellectual stimulation from the cases themselves, regardless of whether i'm saving people from the big bad government etc.
Fair enough, either way I consider that pretty ****** reasoning. As if your interest in solving crimes should rise above the importance of crime being lessened.

On the contrary, I think I'm facing reality. I've just come to accept the fact that long term intellectual job satisfaction on a day-to-day basis is more important to me than my macro political beliefs that I don't even hold particularly strongly.

Yes, I agree that this is not a reason or a serious argument at all for big government to exist. I just happen to have a huge personal investment in the issue influencing my politics.
And yet you engage in plenty of macro political discussions, holding the views opposite to what you think would work, and your defence is because it gives you more intellectual stimulation when people are hurt.

I applaud you for your honesty but your reasoning is horrific. You could well argue for the solutions you think would work and still be intellectually stimulated in your private life. The two aren't incompatible.
 

Spark

Global Moderator
I don't like the reasoning tbh but I would hazard that the amount of people who share similar reasoning is really high.
 

Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
I agree. Is it materially different in any way though from people voting for someone who promises they will get their manufacturing jobs back for that reason alone, or people voting for someone who promises tax cuts not for higher moral imperative but because they want to be taxed less? Isn't that the basis of all democracy, people with free will making self-serving political decisions in an election? (I'm aware of tyranny of the majority libertarian arguments against it but I'm assuming that you're a believer in democracy)
Well, at least you're honest about your selfish goals - a lot of people won't admit that they want free college or health care for themselves because they argue from a point of view where it is better for all. That disingenuous starting point becomes the basis of all their flawed arguments.


I fully understand that the above is an extremely self-serving perspective of the world, I just happen to value my personal happiness and peace of mind as the highest priority in life. I also respect and completely understand people who view the happiness of the majority or their moral principles above their personal, self serving interests - I just don't share their outlook of the world.
With all due respect, it just sounds like you are creating an excuse for yourself. Your political activity might be minimal if non existent but your beliefs are certainly reflective of your identity.

I was actually thinking you were intellectually honest but morally corrupt but you're both TBH. This is the kind of thinking that leads to a Nazi or Communist state - and that's not an exaggeration. The ills of the world don't happen overnight but one sin at a time.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
You reap the fruits of people who have fought and died for your right to live a relatively peaceful life but you don't have due appreciation for it. Some people think evil is a myth, miles away. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote: "the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."
 
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harsh.ag

Hall of Fame Member
I was actually thinking you were intellectually honest but morally corrupt but you're both TBH. This is the kind of thinking that leads to a Nazi or Communist state - and that's not an exaggeration. The ills of the world don't happen overnight but one sin at a time.

You reap the fruits of people who have fought and died for your right to live a relatively peaceful life but you don't have due appreciation for it. Some people think evil is a myth, miles away. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote: "the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."
Jesus Christ Ikki, he clarified later that he only applies this up to a certain point:
"I'm not saying I'd welcome a fascist state if they paid me $5m a year to smoke weed and debate eastern philosophy. It's just that the libertarian agenda replacing current social democracy is ideologically a marginal issue for me and doesn't even register compared to the personal adjustment costs I'd have with the status quo being replaced."

Calm your ****, would you.
 

Ikki

Hall of Fame Member
That's like saying you'll assault someone regularly but never kill them. He doesn't want a total fascist state, just a slight one (that is incrementally getting bigger) and won't sell out for $5m a year, but doing the job he already does.

I notice he's trying to create a conversation but if he is being honest about everything then I feel he should receive honesty back.
 
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