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Mon Dec 3, 2012, 04:44 PM

 

That Incredibly Awkward Moment when People Discover that You are Socialist

One of the most annoying things about being a socialist in the United States is that people know jack-shit about socialism and yet they constantly feel the urge to confront you with the jack-shit that they know. And I do not mean “jack-shit” as in they are incapable of entering into a debate about the (dis)merits of the ideas of Eduard Bernstein. I mean jack-shit as in they have no fucking clue and, as a substitute for actually reading anything written by a socialist, prefer to fill the gaping holes in their brain about it with whatever the fuck they want.

In America, Obama is a representative of socialism. Yes, a guy who is arguably more conservative than most conservatives in Europe is sounding the death-knell of capitalism. Taxing cigarettes is socialist. Seizing private property to build a strip mall is socialist. Telling adult novelty stores that they cannot sell dildos and porn to elementary school children is socialist. The government doing any-fucking-thing is socialist. The problem is not only with conservative and libertarian nitwits either. Liberals do the same shit. The more sympathetic ones might offer up a few kind words and associate some of our favorite government-provided services with socialism. “Hey, you like the fire department, don’t you? Well, that is totally socialism in practice right there!” Sorry dude, it isn’t...

Thing is, and I think anyone who has been a socialist for some time has realized this, no one in situations like that really want to discuss what you believe, or counter your perspective, or whatever. Unless (maybe) you are doing shots with some PhD students, they don’t know what you believe. Also, the people that will approach you about it are usually not going to be those who want to learn, either. It is going to be the libertarian frat bro, the conservative... the “practical” liberal who thinks he is so “progressive” (I hate that word now) but becomes William F. Buckley when he starts talking to you, the first-generation American who has some sob story about her grandma’s goat being nationalized by “the Communists” or the girl who thinks Ayn Rand wrote books that have any sort of value beyond a convenient replacement for toilet paper in a post-apocalyptic world. I am sure some of you recognize these characters...

And as we well know, they have some really good material. I mean, REALLY good. I mean, come on: “It works on paper, but not in practice.” Dude. Fucking blew my mind!! I totally do not know what to say to that! You are an intellectual GIANT! I certainly cannot respond to that gem, being as solid and well-thought out as it is (that’s what she said… wait… what?). They also tend to bring up the following bullshit:

1) the Soviet Union, the atrocities of Stalin/Mao/whoever...

3) the idea that you are being a hypocrite for buying things. Obviously, socialists are like religious ascetics. You don’t like money and you are not supposed to participate in the capitalist market economy that is imposed on us all, duh!

4) how it is so wrong to “steal” from the awesome, totally cool, super human rich people and give handouts to the moochers (because socialism is really about getting back at the cool kids and you are a jeal jeal hater of successful people),

5) how you suck because you don’t believe in private property, which (OF COURSE!) they take to mean you think everyone should be forced to share their shoes, and so on....

http://my.firedoglake.com/luciusjunius/2012/12/02/that-incredibly-awkward-moment-when-people-discover-that-you-are-socialist/

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Reply That Incredibly Awkward Moment when People Discover that You are Socialist (Original post)
HiPointDem Dec 2012 OP
steve2470 Dec 2012 #1
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #2
Hydra Dec 2012 #7
RKP5637 Dec 2012 #21
hootinholler Dec 2012 #3
Xipe Totec Dec 2012 #4
xchrom Dec 2012 #5
BlueJazz Dec 2012 #6
DireStrike Dec 2012 #8
msanthrope Dec 2012 #9
WillyT Dec 2012 #10
LeftInTX Dec 2012 #11
redstatebluegirl Dec 2012 #12
SkyIsGrey Dec 2012 #13
Cleita Dec 2012 #14
cherokeeprogressive Dec 2012 #41
jwirr Dec 2012 #15
TheBlackAdder Dec 2012 #16
1ProudAtheist Dec 2012 #17
jtuck004 Dec 2012 #24
silverweb Dec 2012 #18
ErikJ Dec 2012 #19
white_wolf Dec 2012 #22
ErikJ Dec 2012 #23
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #27
white_wolf Dec 2012 #28
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #29
ErikJ Dec 2012 #30
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #31
ErikJ Dec 2012 #34
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #35
ErikJ Dec 2012 #38
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #39
loudsue Dec 2012 #40
RUMMYisFROSTED Dec 2012 #20
jtuck004 Dec 2012 #25
Agnosticsherbet Dec 2012 #26
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #32
Systematic Chaos Dec 2012 #33
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #36
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #37

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 04:54 PM

1. k&r nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 04:54 PM

2. I get weird looks when people find out I belong to the ACLU. Always a WTF moment for me. Like

I'm in some commie outfit going to overthrow god fearing America, 'cause I believe in equality ... see my sig. line.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:16 PM

7. Side effect of us slipping into the dark ages

I have to almost laugh about all of the people who used to tell me as a child that they were afraid of the Commies because they would make you "show your papers" or could be arrested without charge or could be jailed for speaking out.

Welcome to the New America!

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Response to Hydra (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:16 PM

21. Yep, I often think back about the same, and here they are, making it just just like "them" they

were afraid of ...

It's become a very strange place in my lifetime.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 05:01 PM

3. Kick to find it later n/t

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 05:06 PM

4. Believe it or not, in this day and age,

Section 313(a)(2) of the (Immigration and Naturalization) Act specifically bars the naturalization of a person who has been or is a member of the Communist Party. See also section 316(a)(3) of the Act and 8 CFR 316.11 which require that the applicant, during the statutory period, “has been and still is a person … attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.” An applicant cannot be naturalized if he or she has been or is a member of the Communist Party, unless he or she falls under sections 313(d) or 313(e) of the Act. For further information regarding Communism and attachment to the Constitution or favorable disposition towards good order and happiness refer to Interpretations 313.1 and 313.2 .

http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/AFM/HTML/AFM/0-0-0-1/0-0-0-23223/0-0-0-23319/0-0-0-24712.html


McCarthyism lives.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 05:08 PM

5. Du rec. Nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 05:14 PM

6. Unfortunately, many Americans think with their emotions and those emotions are 70 percent erroneous.

They learn something that's totally wrong and they can't/will not turn it loose.

"I feel like (add your own stuff) is the right thing."

Yeah, it's the "right" thing but not the right that's the opposite of wrong.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:18 PM

8. 100% spot on.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:19 PM

9. Oh, this rings a bell. nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:22 PM

10. K & R !!!


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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:38 PM

11. I went through my grandfather's drawers and found out he was a member of the Socialist Party -LOL

My dad, his son, is a neocon.

When I asked my dad about it, he said that he was into sports and the men discussed politics nightly at the coffee house. (My grandparents were immigrants and had been through the Armenian Genocide in Turkey, so they always had something to talk about)

My dad was totally disinterested.
My dad was also turned off by the fact that the men would leave the women at home and spend every night at that coffee house.
My grandfather also would not allow my grandmother to become a US citizen.

Red scares are a bunch of malarky!!!

(My dad became a neocon because he was in the military for 20 years. He still thinks we should be fighting Vietnam)

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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:48 PM

12. They Really Believe they are the Majority..

that messes with their ability to see things clearly.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 06:52 PM

13. You think that is bad.

Try to explain that Soviet Russia was not Communist.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:05 PM

14. Five years ago I was having a discussion at Thanksgiving with my family on how I thought

the country should run. They said, *horrors* "That's socialism!"

I answered, "Yes, I am a democratic socialist and so are a lot of people who want to save this country from what Bushler has done." *shocked silence*

I went further to explain that what they were against were the totalitarian dictatorships of Soviet Russia and Communist China and so was I. However, the conversation got dropped.

That was the end of that until this Thanksgiving when we all agreed that we liked our socialist schools, fire departments roads etc.. Also, my son-in-law, who used to work for the street department in a So. Calif. city realized that if it weren't for those socialized streets, he wouldn't have had a job or the retirement that he has today. Wow! How the pendulum has swung! They had been so propagandized and their friends were so in lockstep with that meme, I really had given up on them. I believe that what occurred with my family is occurring across the nation.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #14)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 11:35 AM

41. No wonder some people hate holiday gatherings. n/t

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:06 PM

15. Went through four years of college in a so called Christian school being called a socialist. I

finally accepted that they were right. I am have always been an FDR type of socialist - that is I do not believe that pure capitalism will ever work for long.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:13 PM

16. Everyone in the MILITARY, using the taxpayer subsidized PX and TRICARE are SOCIALISTS! nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:32 PM

17. America As A Whole, And

 

President Obama in particular, are far closer to being classified as being Fascits than to being Socialists. Check the proper definitions and see what I am talking about.

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Response to 1ProudAtheist (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:26 PM

24. It's worse than you say. I did look for the proper definitions in Google, and those bastards


won't even let you look it up. The computer changes it, on its own! They even control GOOGLE!!

As you said

"President Obama in particular, are far closer to being classified as being Fascits than to being Socialists. Check the proper definitions and see what I am talking about."

Now I see.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:40 PM

18. Great article.

I flatly refuse to discuss politics with my relatives. It's totally pointless to even try to respond to their emotionally entrenched, bigoted ignorance.

I am who I am and I do what I do, and I'm a democratic socialist. To them, that makes me a "fascist communist," who wants to take away all their personal property and give it to people who didn't earn it.
No cognitive dissonance there at all.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:41 PM

19. State socialism (Communism) can only work small scale of no more than 150 people

which happens to be the maximum number of people that a person can know well.

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #19)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:21 PM

22. Do you have any evidence to support that claim?

I am not arguing that the various "Communist" states have not made a lot of mistakes, but you cannot simply make a claim like you made without offering some kind of evidence for it.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #22)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 09:57 PM

23. Hutterites, Dunbar's Number =150

Dunbar is an evolutionary biologist who studies primate societies and he fouind out that the bigger the brain the bigger the social group of that species was. In most monkeys its 50 in humans its 150. That is the max. number of people our neocortex can handle on a personal basis.
The Hutterites are Christian communal religion here in the US. Their maximum size is about 150 then they split. They are extraordinarily successful farmers. They communally buy all the latest farming equipment and usually buy out their neighbors farms to keep growing.
--------------------------------
Interesting reading:

The magic Dunbar number: Why Communist societies and operating groups should be fewer than 150 people

You may not have heard about the Dunbar number, but in essence it is a “a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationship”. Developed by a fellow named Dunbar, as luck would have it, he came up with about 150 — but the number swings from 100 to 230 with 95% confidence intervals.

Regardless of the exact number, we as humans are limited by our neocortex to hold a certain number of social relationships with any significance in our head at once.

Dunbar’s surveys of village and tribe sizes also appeared to approximate this predicted value, including 150 as the estimated size of a neolithic farming village; 150 as the splitting point of Hutterite settlements; 200 as the upper bound on the number of academics in a discipline’s sub-specialization; 150 as the basic unit size of professional armies in Roman antiquity and in modern times since the 16th century; and notions of appropriate company size.
Through my semi-coherent logic, it seems to follow that a Communist group in which everyone knows everyone else and in which the contributions, points of view, and needs of everyone are understood, the group can prosper. Bureaucratic layers are not present and people are on generally equal footing, all working towards the group’s survival. This hypothetical, isolated group falls apart when it expands beyond this point.

And to the main point: would this not argue for companies or operating groups to remain under 150 or 200 people? If a company or group of people who have to work together grows beyond that point, the friction and interaction costs become too great, and people fall outside of your Monkeysphere. The amount of social “grooming” (attention and communication between group members) becomes too great. The center cannot hold. The group (whether a commune or business) has an incentive to stay together and work towards a common goal of survival — actual survival in the case of the commune; marketplace survival in the case of the business. Christopher Allen sees the number for active creative and technical groups as “somewhere between 25-80, but is best around 45-50″

http://coinnovative.com/the-magic-dunbar-number-why-communist-societies-and-operating-groups-should-be-fewer-than-150-people/

http://www.liv.ac.uk/researchintelligence/issue17/brainteaser.html

http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:07 AM

27. what do hutterites have to do with "state socialism"?

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:13 AM

28. I think he is making the mistake that for "state socialism" to work it would be based on altruism.

It is flawed for several reasons. First of all, we can be altruistic to people we don't personally know. Secondly, socialism is not necessary based on altruism.

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Response to white_wolf (Reply #28)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:14 AM

29. true. but my point was 'what is the "state" part of hutterites'?

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #27)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:17 AM

30. They are small "communist" group and their max size is 150

Didnt you read the article? Dunbar used them as one of the examples of his maximum number for groups and it splits into a new colony when they go over 150. They are VERY successful communal society but Dunbar's number says that this close communal cooperation is impossible in groups greater than 150.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutterite

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #30)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:29 AM

31. what is the 'state' in their 'state socialism'?

 

State socialism is a variant of socialism which advocates public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_socialism

'state socialism' has 'worked' in innumerable instances, and with populations much larger than 150, sorry to break it to everyone.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #31)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:46 AM

34. I was referring to pure definition

"State socialism" may also be used to classify any variety of socialist philosophies that advocates the ownership of the means of production by the state apparatus.", which is also the definiton of communism, where the state owns all property and the means of production.
And no large scale example of communism has ever worked. I strongly believe in European style democratic socialism where they often own some major industries like oil, health system and utilities etc but Soviet or Chinese style pure communism where the state owns everything is impossible. I do NOT waant the government making my shoes or car. This kind of socialism is only possible in small communal groups like the Hutterites.

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #34)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:38 AM

35. by the "state apparatus". what is the state apparatus of the hutterites? for that matter,

 

what is the "means of production" of the hutterites?

as i understood, their "means of production" are/were personal handtools & other tools that one might find, say, in a artisanal sawmill.

actually, i understood it, the hutterites stand against states of all kinds.

the "state socialism" which you say can't work has actually 'worked' on a large scale all through history, including in the us. state-run industries in modern times have included:

Electric/gas/water utilities both local and national (e.g. TVA)
Railroads, subways, buses, airlines, highways
Auto industryPpostal services
Banks
Telephone, telegraph, radio, TV
Oil
Ports
Mining (Coal & other minerals)
Suez Canal
Steel & other heavy industries
Pubs and breweries
Shipbuilding
Sugar production

In fact, important industries are regularly nationalized or quasi-nationalized after the capitalists have either looted them or run them into the ground -- thus the nationalization option is a *necessity* under capitalism -- to make it 'work'.

And in the case of some sectors, utilities being one, the evidence is pretty solid that state socialism produces better & more efficient service, more comprehensive service, less corruption & equal innovation.

and as for the soviet union/china, i'm not sure what your definition of 'work' is. any power which manages to feed all its people (as both did after famines early in their history, unprecedented in their respective histories), bring peasant societies into the industrial age, and give the great powers a run for their money for 74 years 'worked' in my book.

Haiti is capitalist. Does it 'work'? Congo is capitalist. Does it 'work'? Most of the world is capitalist, and most of the world's population is poor and insecure. Does capitalism 'work'? And for who?

and ps: the US government currently owns the majority share of GM, so in that sense, the government *is* making your car. And governments *have* made people's cars in capitalist europe, and -- amazing -- those cars worked -- just as well, say, as those government-made rockets that went into space did.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #35)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:52 AM

38. The author claims that isnt socialism

"Liberals do the same shit. The more sympathetic ones might offer up a few kind words and associate some of our favorite government-provided services with socialism. “Hey, you like the fire department, don’t you? Well, that is totally socialism in practice right there!” Sorry dude, it isn’t... "

I'm talking about the govt/state producing everything as in "the means of production". The communists' govt owned everything. They owned the farms and the workers. No private property was allowed. That was a dismal failure. It does seem to work in very small groups like Hutterite communities though. Of no more than 150 people when they naturally split.
Maybe we can agree that the ancient Greeks were right. "Moderation in everything". Which means limited and/or regulated capitalism and socialism are the best. Unregualted capitalism doesnt work and either does pure socialism where the state owns everything.

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #38)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:57 AM

39. That is state ownership and management of the means of production. The author

 

is making his own definitions.

State socialism doesn't mean the state owns *everything*. Nor does it mean that the state doles out everything & the population owns no personal property. It means minimally that the state owns/runs key industries.

Nor is state socialism the only kind of socialism.

Nor do hutterites have a 'state,' in fact they are anti-state christian anarchists.

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Response to ErikJ (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:55 AM

40. On the third link there is an interesting rightwing/liberal comparison:

The author is evidently someone who watched Tim Russert. Then he goes on to say how we can only think of so many people as human. My theory is that the author tends to be more rightwing than liberal, due to looking at his logic:

The Monkeysphere is the group of people who each of us, using our monkeyish brains, are able to conceptualize as people. If the monkey scientists are monkey right, it's physically impossible for this to be a number much larger than 150.

Most of us do not have room in our Monkeysphere for our friendly neighborhood sanitation worker. So, we don't think of him as a person. We think of him as The Thing That Makes The Trash Go Away.

And even if you happen to know and like your particular garbage man, at one point or another we all have limits to our sphere of monkey concern. It's the way our brains are built. We each have a certain circle of people who we think of as people, usually our own friends and family and neighbors, and then maybe some classmates or coworkers or church or suicide cult.

Those who exist outside that core group of a few dozen people are not people to us. They're sort of one-dimensional bit characters."


There is a REASON liberals are called "tree huggers" by the evil rightwing. We ARE able to comprehend the value of all living things, and DO NOT tend to dehumanize the garbage man or anyone else (except wingnuts, of course). And we're smarter... we tend to look beyond our noses when we're looking at the repercussions of legislation we're proposing.

It's interesting that, once again, humanity has two different species on earth at the same time...the Neanderthal rightwingers, and the more evolved liberals. And, truly, if we don't learn to live together in an over-crowded earth, then we risk being the one that is "dehumanized". Rightwingers try to legislate dehumanizing people.


Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_14990_what-monkeysphere.html#ixzz2E69NGmWp

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 07:44 PM

20. People think my sweater is an awkward moment.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:27 PM

25. I read the article. I wish the author's friend had a blog, sounds like it would be instructive.


Thank you for posting.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:46 PM

26. If you can, catch the old movie "Son of Kong" 1933.

They have a long anti-socialist scene, where the capitalist captains of a tramp steamer are overthrown by a socialist crew. The socialist crew can not run a ship, even though the clearly spent their entire lives working on them, and must be rescued from themselves.

And 1933 was late to the game.

Here in America, Socialism has been the monster under the bed from its beginnings. Nobody is ever taught anything about it except that it is evil, and it is used to frighten small children on the night before Christmas.

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:31 AM

32. lol. the sailors didn't know how to run the ship once the captains disappeared.

 

"now you, rigger, pick up the rope. throw it over that piling and tie a knot -- no, like this let me show you, idiot!"

that must have been why it was 'capitains,' plural, they needed a wise captain for every sailor, since none of the sailors could function without the captains.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 12:34 AM

33. I just tell people I'm a Socialist, a Liberal and a Progressive, and then talk right through...

...their goofy-ass looks.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:44 AM

36. I had a kid in my class tell me socialism means you have to give your shirt away--

if you have two shirts. I don't know where they get this stuff. In the meantime, they sit all day in the socialist public school...one day I'll tell them the awful truth, lol.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 4, 2012, 02:51 AM

37. Christianity: "And from him who takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt either."

 

5) how you suck because you don’t believe in private property, which (OF COURSE!) they take to mean you think everyone should be forced to share their shoes, and so on....

jesus told us we are supposed to share our clothes. i don't know why people think it's so awful.

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