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Some solid counter-arguments,

Posted by Human on Sunday, June 07 2020 at 1:44:26PM
In reply to a few points posted by Baldur on Sunday, June 07 2020 at 01:32:30AM

I appreciate your effort. I will give my thoughts on some of your points in the same order.

'First, you can understand economics or you can be a socialist. You can't do both.'

As we engage in further discussion, you will see I indeed have a very agreeable grasp of economics, having studied many of the biggest economic thinkers in history, economics is one of the places where my interest lies as a scholar, and this point was a somewhat dogmatic rejection of my economics, and thus ad hominem. You likely define socialism as state-ownership of the means of production, well, as I said, this is not what I support. I said I view society through a socialist lens, meaning I adhere to the Marxist analysis of society. There is something to be learned from all thinkers, and if one is unable to recognize the behemoth of intellectual prowess that is Das Kapital (the touchstone of all sociology) then they have no right to consider themselves reasonable. It wasn't a call for revolution, it was a factual, scientific analysis of society and how humans interact within the framework of the market. The same can be said of someone who can't see the value of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations (the touchstone of all economics). Economics and sociology are intertwined. before Marx no one had previously thought to consider human nature so precisely when analyzing the economy or the history of humankind. Comte and Spenser played a part, but they were not as fixated on the economy as Marx was. In any case, these were the founding fathers of sociology.

'Second, particularly in the United States there are no real conservatives and never have been since they were run out of the country at the end of the American Revolution. Few even came to America, as going to a new land is not a particularly conservative thing to do. What we have today in America is basically different branches of political thought that are derived from classical liberalism.

Therefore American "conservatives" today are essentially of two types: (1) those who want to conserve the liberal principles of America's founding (in the original sense of the word "liberal"), and (2) those who want to move forward a little more slowly and carefully.

I would generally agree here, I know what you mean, even though we might have different definitions for certain words. America doesn't have a particularly robust conservative force, and neither does it have a force that holds socialist values, it's really a choice between liberal or less liberal. America is the heart of globalist neo-liberalism, and no parties want that to change (even though Trump likes to pretend otherwise). 'Proportional representation' should fix this.

Americans are socially inclined, of course, but tend to reject socialism because it is in the nature of Americans to let people make decisions for themselves, and to resist forcing people to do things they do not want to do.

This is true, but bear in mind I'm not from America. In most of Europe free healthcare, progressive taxation and properly-funded welfare and public services are generally a given. America is laughed at a lot in my country for this reason (something I don't partake in). The traditional definition of socialism is 'PUBLIC ownership of the means of production', but this can seem very redundant without further explanation and is easy to misunderstand. But I will get to this in a bit because you made a very pertinent point which will help me explain what I mean. As for female pedophiles, it seems we are in perfect agreement, and so I needn't elaborate further.

That's not socialism. That's called capitalism, in which people succeed insomuch as they meet the needs of others - but not crony capitalism, in which they use the power of the state to force taxpayers to foot the bill. It is best when applied within the feudal context which was the original American tradition before the Yankees did their best to destroy it with the help of socialist immigrants from Europe.

In the feudal concept society is organized within a web of mutual obligations. The best example of modernized feudalism that has survived to the current day is in Japan.

This is my favorite of all of your points, and it is precisely the kind of argument I was hoping for (apart from the 'socialist immigrants from Europe' part, which I am confused by). I often say that free-market economists and left-wing economists are on the same page, and have far more in common than they realize. The reason I try to open up these debates is because I want to help people to see the similarities. My ideal wish is to see capitalism undone, and see a return to the feudal values of old. This, however, presents a major problem. A lot of the progress we have seen in the modern age is only possible because of mega-corporations and free-reign capitalism.

Modernized feudalism is something I don't hear people ever talk about, and that's why I'm glad you've mentioned it. There is a massive difference between what we call the 'financial' economy and the 'real' economy. Finance is the sphere of the banks and the corporations, and it's an economy of debt and avarice which, in my humble opinion, currently does nothing of any real merit for mankind except swamp us with technology we don't particularly need, while enforcing materialism and consumerism on the masses. The 'real' economy is the sphere of local independent businesses and public services, in other words, the heart and spirit of any culture or society, run by regular folks for regular folks. But, because of the way society operates, it wouldn't actually be feasible to undo capitalism, it is here to stay whether we like it or not. In fact capital (meaning surplus value created with the intent of making more surplus value) has to exist in ANY society, there are more kinds of capital other than financial capital. We take risks and invest in things with the hope of seeing a return, whether it be emotional, intellectual, financial or otherwise. The best we can currently do is 'democratize' capitalism, this, I think, would inhibit the prevalence of crony capitalism, and allow workers the right to have a say in how the corporations they work for are governed. This includes workers on boards and workers voting on company decisions.

This version of capitalism would have to exist for major industries that can only exist as corporations, such as global technology corporations. As for the issue of public services, I think we can see a way forward, and it already exists with great success in many parts of the world. It's the idea of public services essentially being 'open-source', so that the people that use the services are those that run it. NOT the state and NOT private companies. All this is what social-ism means to me, as you say I might not be a typical 'socialist' by your definition, I have seen the terms 'free-market socialism' or 'social capitalism' used as a way of describing views similar to my own. But let me recall what I have detailed:

Independent local businesses thriving.

Corporations democratically governed by the workers and consumers.

Essential services open-source (open to public participation).

Limited state intervention except when at the behest of the majority of the public. The state should serve the public, not the other way round.

These ideas are not that radical, and they actually denote public ownership in their own unique way when you think about it. The public would fully have the power to intervene if something was inadequate, or if the managers and bosses needed to be held accountable, they could be criticized and replaced with another (just like a democracy). But you are right on many points, and I am very happy that you see the similarities in my views to feudalism.

'cultural Marxism is certainly a real thing'

This is not a debate I would like to get into too much, because we can't debate something that doesn't exist (as far as my understanding goes), it is a debunked conspiracy theory (a scapegoat of the far-right) which claimed that the Frankfurt School (and Jewish community to an extent) wanted to undo western culture. The Frankfurt School was a group of diverse academics and intellectuals who were formed with the shared belief that prevailing social theories were inadequate, and wanted to apply traditional methods of analysis to modern society to see what resolutions they could come to. They used the Hegelian dialectic quite a bit, this is where you take the thesis and the antithesis (two opposing extremes), and you try to find a middle ground between the two (synthesis). The synthesis would be the solution that appeases both arguments. It also had nothing to do with postmodernism. It was purely a think-tank of very clever individuals who have contributed profoundly to all manner of disciplines from science to psychology to philosophy. Jordan Peterson has his merits, but he could not be more wrong here, it is laughable and I implore anyone who believes this hogwash to think for themselves and do their own research. If, however, what you refer to is 'SJWs who get whiny about free speech', then by all means criticize them, but leave this ridiculous Frankfurt School 'cultural Marxism' nonsense out of it, all you're doing is spreading pseudo-intellectual claptrap. Please stop it, though I'm not sure if you will, so we might have to agree to disagree.

Anyway, I feel that economic liberation is profoundly linked to youth liberation. My own ideas have not yet formed a full enough picture, but I have found much inspiration on these forums, so thanks for being courteous and challenging my arguments with intellectual strength. In any case, if there's one thing to be learned, it's that 'left' and 'right' are unhelpful constructs, the only way to gauge each other's true thoughts is via open-minded discussions such as this.


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