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Why Isn't Socialism Dead
TCS Daily ^ | 5 May 2006 | Lee Harris

Posted on 05/05/2006 5:59:43 AM PDT by RKV

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Excellent article. Socialism is more than a mental disease, more than a mistaken idea, more than the convenient vehicle for tyrants. It is a huge and compelling Myth.

As such, it taps into the deepest recesses of humanity.

101 posted on 05/08/2006 2:17:11 PM PDT by ThePythonicCow (We are but Seekers of Truth, not the Source.)
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To: RBroadfoot
Envy is hardcoded into the psychology of humans and some other primates. See this article for a summary. That's why game theorists keep arguing that people should accept deals that are not fair but which still benefit them but in practice, people not only don't accept unfair deals but are willing to lose even more to get revenge.
102 posted on 05/08/2006 2:29:27 PM PDT by Question_Assumptions
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To: JimRed
According to the American left, the right people haven't tried it yet. That would be them, I guess.

And if the Hildebeast institutes socialized health care, don't bother looking for her standing in line at the local proletariat health clinic in Chapaqua.

103 posted on 05/08/2006 2:33:04 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Democrats soil institutions)
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To: Jacquerie

How about this answer to socialism. In America, private property is semi-sacred. To try to socialize America without doing it through a Constitutional Amendment is arguably treason.

Given that the socialist "nations" with gas and oil are both backward and rabidly hostile to America, I suggest that Americans seriously consider the Carthaginian solution.

"Islam delenda est" and "Socialism delenda est".

104 posted on 05/08/2006 5:16:57 PM PDT by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principles, - -)
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I can answer that question: Because IGNORANT people keep voting for those who support socialism.

105 posted on 05/08/2006 6:06:59 PM PDT by CyberAnt (Drive-by Media: Fake news, fake documents, fake polls)
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To: Tolik

Good article, thanks. Bookmarking.

106 posted on 05/08/2006 6:46:31 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
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To: CyberAnt

You are so right. It's about envy and ignorance - socialism is. Stong, moral, sensible folks don't need the crutch.

107 posted on 05/08/2006 7:19:59 PM PDT by RKV ( He who has the guns, makes the rules.)
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To: Tolik
Many thanks for the ping - I missed this excellent thread last week.

There are really two questions here - (1) Why didn't the 20th century's agonies drive a stake in the heart of the failed fantasy that is socialism, and (2) Why does it persist in South America like a broccoli fart?

As to the first, I think that Goldberg had the significant point in that mythos is truly mythos, a shared body of stories more typified by comfort than by fact. Ulysses comes to mind here.

But as to point (2) I'd like to make a gentle suggestion. We're not really dealing with socialism as an economic system there, we're dealing with its finely-honed appeal to those who would overturn an existing system with an idea to personal gain. That is, after all, the ground motivation for socialism in general, often masked by the pretense that the thievery is on behalf of somebody else. There are three psychological pieces of this puzzle: envy, relief from feelings of inferiority, and romance.

As to the politics of envy we've had a bellyful and it never seems to end. Not for nothing was it called one of the Seven Deadly Sins - it is seductive, alluring, and eternal. It feeds point (2) - when one sees that one possesses fewer material goods than one's neighbor (what was that pesky 10th Commandment again?) it is of great comfort to be assured that such inequalities are the result of simple theft and not inferiority of virtue or performance. And better still, that theft justifies rectification by theft in return - this is the basis of the socialist kleptocracy, a rationalization that all economics is theft. It is false and, yes, alluring.

That brings us to point (3) - romance. There is something ineluctably romantic in the posture of an individual engaging a social system with intent to bring it down, after which a utopia will rise from the ashes. This pattern is as old as humanity - it is the basis for Frazer's sacrificial King. It is also a cheap rationalization for the fact that it is much easier to destroy a system than to create a better. The former is the aspiration of a youth that has never created anything but does know how to destroy. Its apotheosis is that infantile, murderous icon that is Che Guevara.

It seems a pity after all this deep stuff to admit that the whole thing turns out to be empty and superficial public relations posing as populism, but there it is. Look at Chavez and Morales, the men, not the mythos, and realize how shabby and ridiculous are the individuals behind the hot air. To compare them to Mussolini, even, is to flatter them. The snake-oil salesman in the traveling tent show is a much more accurate model. And for exactly the same behavior.

108 posted on 05/08/2006 9:07:48 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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109 posted on 05/08/2006 10:15:44 PM PDT by CyberAnt (Drive-by Media: Fake news, fake documents, fake polls)
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To: Billthedrill

Good observations. Thanks.

There is another interesting aspect in play. Capitalism brings uncertainty of free markets, and forces people to work harder to stay on the top. Uncertainty and working hard is not something many people want. Socialism boasts equality and stability. It is no surprise that so many in the Former Soviet Union are nostalgic for the old times when one was poor but the vast majority of people were as poor, so no problem; and your life was set and you knew well that unless you do something very stupid, or barring any cataclysms, your future is quite predictable. On a higher material level the same can be said about the Europe as well.

On economical side, its natural for people to believe in the Zero Sum game. They are rich because I am poor. Propaganda reinforces this notion, and Latin American populism makes a good run with it.

There is a natural yearning for a good future, but what road takes there? Uncertainty and hard work, or grievances, stability and predictability? The ultimate dynamism versus statism.

110 posted on 05/09/2006 5:11:23 AM PDT by Tolik
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