From Captain Splendid, I was made aware that pudge made a response to my most recent journal entry, funny thing, even though the journal entry was posted yesterday, it already seems to be archived, meaning no one can post any new comments to it. Funny how someone with admin rights of a blog can fuck with the rules for his own purposes...
Anyways, in this newest JE, he presents an alternative definition to socialism from the one that I had presented, which was then used to craft the valid statement (under that definition): "Obama is a socialist."
First of all, get this straight, I don't think "socialist" is an epithet, so playing semantic games just to throw a label on someone, is kind of retarded. This is similar to Marxist Hacker 42 in his most recent journal labeling "tax cuts" as a "liberal" idea, and then using this to throw the label of "liberal" onto Reagan. I responded in his particular JE about how retarded this is, as every single politician in the US currently could thusly be cast as "liberal", thus negating any use of the term.
So, let's take a look at the definition of "socialism" that pudge provides from Bastait:
Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole -- with their common aim of legal plunder -- constitute socialism.
So, let's look here. Every single politician of the United States since its inception has vouched for one or another of these ideas. So thus, under the definition afforded by pudge, George Washington was a socialist. George W. Bush is a socialist. EVERYONE is a god-damned socialist.
So, thus, this raises the question... what use does this term hold? I mean, at least "human being" doesn't describe every animal on the planet. "Animal" excludes plants from life forms, and even "life forms" excludes inanimate objects from the universe of discourse. But when your universe of discourse is "politics", and your term applies to EVERY SINGLE ENTITY within that set... why not just label it the universal term: "politics"?
But no... we'd rather find a term that applies to every single entity in the universe of discourse, thus we can apply it to anyone we dislike... like say... an personally unpopular president. Bonus points, when the term is widely regarded as a epithet, because of a fear-mongering witch-hunt driving crackpot.
So, congratulations pudge! You've managed to construct a definition of "socialism" broadly enough that you can include Obama as a socialist... too bad you've made the hole so big that Bush II is now a socialist. (Remember all that work he did trying to fix public schools?)
Rather, let's actually take a look at what Bastait was likely trying to drive at here: Programs and ideas are socialist, sure, of course. But being for just a single socialist idea doesn't make you a socialist, otherwise the term loses all meaning. Nothing good comes of using a term that can be so broadly applied that it applies to anything and everything relevant to the discussion. So, we need a better definition of "socialist" rather than just "Is for at least one idea that is a part of socialism".
So, let's go back to the list, and look at them in detail:
* tariffs: nearly every politician supports this. In particular, the Constitution puts exclusive rights to tariffs with the Federal Government. The Founding Fathers were socialists?
* protection: broad category... does military defense apply? I presume protectionism: I'm against it. But conservatives are for
* benefits: broad category, what doesn't apply? I presume work benefits: I may be in a minority here, who thinks it's a good thing that jobs provide healthcare, vacation time, and sick leave. I know, I've got those CRAZY socialist ideas...
* subsidies: sometimes good, sometimes bad. Even conservatives have subsidies that they're behind
* encouragements: again, another super broad term. What doesn't apply? Aren't there encouragements for marriage? Focus on the Family and National Organization for Marriage are socialist organizations!?
* progressive taxation: yes, I hold the super crazy idea that people with more money should be paying more taxes. There is a minimum amount of money required to live, and for anyone living around or near that amount of money, every dollar matters more. You think Bill Gates would notice a $1,000 extra tax burden? Do you think Jane Doe working as single mom at a minimum wage job would notice?
* public schools: Show me a politician in the US who thinks we should ditch public schools entirely (and all public funds to education), and I will show you an unelectable politician.
* guaranteed jobs: maybe I'm crazy to think that if someone wants to work, that they should be able to have a job. I also don't think that the employer should hold as much power over employees as they do. Leaving a job means being without support until one finds a new job. So, you can't just quit a job that is harmful to you. And being forced to stay in a current job that is harmful, while looking for a new job, and until said new job has been found, is intolerably cruel. If one could be guaranteed a position at another company, or ANYWHERE that would support them after they leave a harmful job... well, then I think the world would be a better place, because employees would actually jump ship from a harmful job, and put the company out of business... the invisible hand of self interest cannot work for employees as long as there is not a surplus of jobs in their field.
* guaranteed profits: entirely against them. One needs a way to weed out bad companies.
* minimum wages: I may be crazy, but I think that people deserve a living wage. See above comments about guaranteed jobs. If I'm working for only 50 cents an hour, then my employer is abusing me. "So just leave!" says the free marketeer... yet, then I'm making 0 cents an hour. Awesome, you just killed my entire income.
* right to relief: Burton's Legal Thesaurus seems to point me to "cause of action". So... anyone in favor of being able to go to courts to receive fair compensation for injury and harm should be labeled a socialist? "Your Honor, the defendant asked me to borrow $1,000. I loaned him the money under the understanding that he would return that value, with interest of $100, in two years time. Here is the signed and notarized contract." The judge: "Excuse me plaintiff, but it seems you're a SOCIALIST... case dismissed."
* a right to the tools of labor: I'm sure the author had something specific in mind here, but I seriously have no clue what he's going on about...
* free credit: Perhaps he means credit without interest? Or credit granted to people who don't deserve it? I find the idea a poor one. I would not expect anyone to grant me a credit line (except the federal government for a student loan, because they cannot be discharged in bankruptcy without some serious hardship.) Anyone who does would have to realize that they're throwing away money... so, I suppose if they want to be idiots enough to hand me free money, I won't complain...
* and so on, and so on: finishing up the broad categories of socialism with the indeterminate phrase of "there's a ton more here, than I care to list, but since the above list covers everyone already, why the hell do I think it necessary to make the list seem longer?" *shrug*
So, this entire list is bogus in the first place. The author is just throwing every conceivable thing that he disagrees with and labeling it "socialism". What a wonderful word... taxes are now "legal plunder" so they are socialism. Even taxing people to pay for the common defense of the states is now socialism... YAY! Sure there are things that are not socialism: criminal offenses of the law, punishing criminals, the common defense of the states ITSELF... but how are you going to pay for any of this? That's right... through LEGAL PLUNDER. A government cannot do anything at all without LEGAL PLUNDER... that is, unless it's using ILLEGAL plunder, but then who would hold them accountable? You with your AR-15 rifle and about 5 magazines of ammo, against tanks and smart bombs, and worse? HAHAHAHhahahahaha... "second amendment resolutions" for the lose.
I'm going to make up a list of things that I'm against, and I'm going to label it... "bullshit". Everything that I disagree with is now "bullshit", and anyone who is for even one of those ideas is now an "asshole". Congratulations pudge, you're ab asshole... oh, and Captain Splendid, I love you man, and I think you're great, but you disagree with me on at least one topic, so you're an asshole as well. HOLY CRAP, my own mom is an asshole!!! This world is going to hell in a handbasket, because everyone disagrees with me about at least one thing, I mean, because everyone but me is an asshole. I must be the ONLY sane person left in the world, wtf?!?!?!!?
Sarcasm aside... defining things so broadly it refers effectively to everyone and then using it to apply it to a single person you're against belies the point that you're referring to EVERYONE anymore. Hey, pudge! You're a real human being... And you breathe oxygen. And I really can't believe that you eat food. It's just disgraceful.