What socialism isn’t

People seem to have a hard time defining socialism. As one person recently told me, it’s become nothing more than a four-letter word. It’s this catch-all for things people find different and therefore scary, and some are willing to define it as all-things-bad. This recent article really captures the point:

I heard on the radio a host list several components of fascism, including tyranny, government laws are more important than the individual, glorification of the nation, no dissent allowed, racism and intolerance. So I paused to listen. To my shock, not a minute later the host labeled this list of traits as “socialism.”

The author also points out the confusion over Nazis. I once personally found myself in a debate with a routinely inane and dishonest individual who actually argued that Nazi Germany was a socialistic nation because they used the word “Socialist” in their party name. To be fair, I think that person was just plainly ignorant in that case, but it was still pathetic to read. As the article says:

“Those people who insist that Hitler was a socialist show their ignorance about Nazi Germany. During the first half of the 20th Century, socialism had many meanings. When Hitler talked about Nazi socialism, he was describing the average German’s supposed social responsibilities to the State. Real socialists- social progressives- were usually sent to the concentration camps.” Author Jonathan Maxwell, Murderous Intellectuals: Nazis and the German Elite (personal correspondence April 13)

Whether socialism works or not, or whether it’s a good thing or not, is one issue, but it’s difficult to get there. When people run around conflating it with things they just don’t like, we can’t even have a decent discussion.

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15 Responses

  1. It is just so typical of the right wing nuts to accuse progressives of all the atrocious practices that they themselves engage in. It is right wing conservatism that has become a living four letter word.

    Conservatives in the US run around and proudly practice their discrimination, racism, bigotry, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia and all around hatred of most people.

  2. You remind me of the teacher in charlie brown cartoons, bob.

    Socialism simply means the “government” owns the means of production. This was not especially true in Nazi Germany.

    I don’t know what you are trying to get at with social issues, socialism being a largely economic term.

    Yes, it also implies that the state would allocate resources, money, being a finite resource, would be included.

    Than again… There are all kinds of socialism, some very different from each other.

  3. You remind me of Charlie Brown in the Charlie Brown cartoons, Nate. You never learn and keep doing the same dumb thing over and over.

    Apparently, you will continue to be the first to spew ad hominem attacks every chance you get and then I whip your ass by giving your filth back to you.

  4. The point of calling you the teacher wasn’t to undermine your points, so I’m not sure it’s really an ad hominem. It was completely irrelevant to what I had to say.

    All I meant by it is that I don’t even have to read your comments to know that you are going to call people. Every little thing is the fault of either some kind of bigotry or religion to you.

    I don’t ever recall you whipping my ass either, much of the time you just say, “stupid nate lol haha lol haha unsubscribing now, filth lol haha”.

  5. So it was irrelevant to what you had to say but you attacked me anyway and you claim it is NOT an ad hominem? Bullshit, as usual by you.

    Almost every single post here you attack me, not my ideas or thoughts, but me and you do it unprovoked. You are one fucked up asshole, Nate.

    You still have not produced one word to refute what I said in my original comment. As usual, your original comment is half incoherent and all over the place and didn’t respond to Michael’s points either.
    And yes, I kick your ass nearly every time because you are bankrupt of any actual ideas except the right wing dogma and occasional theological house of cards.

    You only state opinions and rarely back anything up. I give example after example here and you always dismiss it because your OPINIONS are the only council you take. One closed steel trap of a feeble mind is all I see from you.

  6. It’s so nice to see you acting like a child. Feel free to start contributing anytime you feel able. A man of your advanced years should have learned to make contributions to discussions by now, it appears to be easier for you to just scream and shout like a child.

    If I had to guess I would say you have some anger issues. Hope you can work that out.

  7. You have given zero examples of anything here, just thought I’d add that on so that we are clear.

  8. There you go again with a personal attack. So typical of right wing fuckwads, Nate.

    As usual, I called you out for not being able to counter what I said, so you attack instead.

    You have almost never made any contributions to any discussion other than your warped right wing opinions.

    I guess a physically sicko like you, Nate, develops mental aberrations from sitting home by yourself. Is it all due to not being able to handle being in the service?

    Libertarians, of course, are the most fucked up of the right wing nuts. Does Ron Paul give you a hard-on, Nate? He must, since he want s to dismantle the US government. How can you have been in the service and still be a traitor to the US? Tell us, Nate.

    So come on, stop hating everyone who isn’t an anglo saxon, Nate and learn what evidence means.

  9. And I want to add, that you have the anger issues, Nate. Go and look at the last 100 posts by Michael and see how you always begin the ad hominem attacks.

    Typical right wing nut behavior.

  10. Fascinating. What would be the point of ranting on like that, bob?

    Is your goal to try and ferret something out of me? Get me to explode in the manner that you do? Like you just did?

    You know nothing, nothing about me. You know nothing about my military service. You know very little about my political leanings if you think I’m a Ron Paul supporter.

    I don’t typically go with the ad hominem tactic, but your response to anything that Michael posts is that religious people, right wing nuts/wackjobs/ racists/bigots etc. are behind it. Go ahead and tell me that that isn’t ad hominem, surely your point is that since these people are all those things that they shouldn’t be listened to, making it a part of your argument, if you bother to make one.

    What point have you actually tried to make here? Aside from despicable personal attacks far out of the league of anything I’ve said, I can see nothing.

  11. I think it’s sad that Nate and Bob will have to go all the way to NH when they finally decide to get married =(

  12. I don’t wish to know more about you, Nate because what we all see is nauseating. I do know you are a shit stain and a useless troll, Nate, and I waste too much time showing how you are dogmatic an intelectually inept.

    Still waiting for you to supply one piece of evidence on any of the last 20 posts that you pontificated on instead of contributing.

  13. I’m still waiting for this point you keep referring to that you have made here.

  14. As for the original post, I really don’t like when people throw around the term “socialism” to describe leftwing policies because its an exageration – and get this – sometimes those policies work.

    I think that’s one issue. The second – the factual argument to if nazism and fascism in general was/is a form of socialism, I’m in the other camp. They were central planning and one thing I’ve learned about Hitler is he had more platitudes than policies.

    Fascism does not need to be racist. Italian fascism under Mussolini is a great example. I think a little bit of study into the life of Benito Mussolini will shed a lot of light on the fascism-socialism overlaps. Mussolini and Lenin were mutual admirers when Mussolini was a public socialist intellectual and before when he gathered his Brown shirts.

    The distinction I like is that socialism is an international arrangement, while fascism a national scale. This explains to me why Mussolini’s last words were about still being a socialist.

    Triumph of the Will, the greatest propaganda film of the 20th century, has a VERY socialist scene at about 31 minutes in – the militarized German workers even call one another comrade. if you watch any of that film on Netflix or googlevideo you will see all the calls for a classless society and equality – empty promises I’m sure, as were the calls for peace through strength.

    If you like I can fetch a list of different economic controls (IE the opposite of a free market, a centrally-planned economy) under Germany. I do not try to associate this issue with ANYTHING going on in America today – I simply find the evidence points to Germany being a religion of the state under Nazism, where nationalism swept a lot of people with good intentions into supporting real evil.

  15. Here is a true representative of the Tea Party. This must make Republicans and Libertarians proud. Sane people have a hard time watching this without vomitting.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/05/hes_not_a_racist_hes_just_a_pa.php

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