Author Topic: Socialism  (Read 1364 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Socialism
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2020, 12:21:53 PM »
Socialists see a town with some millionaires and some working class people as a problem to be solved via government action. Non-socialists don't think that is a problem in the first place (again, as long there is a floor or minimum to prevent starvation or death via exposure) or, to the degree it is a problem, it is not a problem for the government to solve. Equalizing wealth is like equalizing height or equalizing.


That isn't how I see it. I see a town with some millionaires and some working class people and people in need. For the good of society, we seek to have those who have help those who have not. I don't see it being much different from when our son was out of work we helped pay his expenses. When he was homeless, we provided housing and food. We also received some financial help from our other son who has always made more money than I have since graduating from college. There was no attempt to try and equalize our income; but we felt an obligation to help one another in times of need.


Often, as a pastor, I had a discretion fund. Those in the congregation who had funds contributed so that I could distribute to those who were in need. Congregations contributed to a traveler's aid fund to help stranded people. These are some ways that those who have seek to help the larger society rather than just keeping the wealth for themselves.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Socialism
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2020, 12:30:50 PM »

In the context you mentioned it would also include at least in IMO, things that fall under the heading of common good or common purpose.  Public Education, the freeway system and other similar infrastructure etc.  Social security, and medicare etc


The concept of "socialism" has become so diluted over the last half-century that it now leaks through much of the political spectrum.  If the "common good or common purpose" theme is included in the definition of "socialism," then even folks who push back against modern political culture, like Patrick Deneen (Conserving America?, Why Liberalism Failed) and Rusty Reno (of First Things), Rob Dreher and Anthony Esolen, might be considered "socialists."

It seems to me that one way of parsing this ideological congestion is to distinguish those who lean toward favoring personal liberty from those who lean toward favoring civil order.  In today's American political climate, those who err on the side of leaning toward a priority for civil order probably all qualify as "socialists."


This is a basic dichotomy in family social systems: taking care of self vs. taking care of the family/community/society. Those two can be put on a continuum. Both extreme ends are considered unhealthy: narcism/selfishness, greed vs. enmeshment/loss of self/dependency/co-dependency.


Often the opponents of capitalism and socialism only look at the extreme ends of both rather than combinations of working for self and working for society that can be mutually beneficial.
"The church had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

DCharlton

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Re: Socialism
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2020, 12:59:23 PM »
I would say that in the North American context (and also in Western Europe to a lesser degree) what has been called Socialism is actually a form of Liberalism.  I would say the same thing about Conservatism.  All are committed to political liberty, economic freedom, and the rule of law, i.e. Liberalism.  However, many recognize that Liberalism tends to erode community.  It erodes the traditional institutions such as the family, the church, the city, and the nation that tie people together.  It also erodes community by encouraging people to act against the common good for the sake of individual profit.  Conservatism attempts to preserve social solidarity by protecting and strengthening  traditional institutions and practices.  Socialism attempts to preserve economic solidarity through state control of aspects of the economy, and through social welfare programs.  At least in my lifetime, both sought to preserve the best aspects of Liberalism while mitigating the damage that it does.  In effect, we have Conservative Liberalism and Social Liberalism.  Pure Socialism would be something new for us.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2020, 01:03:51 PM by DCharlton »
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James S. Rustad

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Re: Socialism
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2020, 04:18:10 PM »
For all practical purposes in an American context, I would say socialism refers to the idea that wealth equalization is a purpose of government.

I'll go along with this as it does fit with the positions of most Americans who call themselves socialists.  It is a redefinition of the word, just as the word "liberal" means something different from what it did a hundred years ago.  Maybe we need to use the terms "socialist" and "classical socialist" just as we see the terms "liberal" and "classical liberal" used.

And of course, there are those who use the word "socialist" to describe just about anything they see as good.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Socialism
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2020, 04:31:22 PM »
For all practical purposes in an American context, I would say socialism refers to the idea that wealth equalization is a purpose of government.

I'll go along with this as it does fit with the positions of most Americans who call themselves socialists.  It is a redefinition of the word, just as the word "liberal" means something different from what it did a hundred years ago.  Maybe we need to use the terms "socialist" and "classical socialist" just as we see the terms "liberal" and "classical liberal" used.

And of course, there are those who use the word "socialist" to describe just about anything they see as good.
Not to mention those who use the word "socialist" to describe just about anything they see as bad.


As a word to describe a position, "socialist" has become essentially useless. People have come to use the word to describe a wide variety of positions. The common trope of talking about Scandinavian countries as examples of successful socialism is one example. If you consult the Scandinavians, they will deny that they are socialist. They are capitalist countries with an extensive (and expensive) social welfare system. For many, it seems, socialist seems to have become what they call an expansive social welfare system. Oddly, that comes from both those who support such a system and those who oppose it.
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