urbanitas23 (urbanitas23) wrote,

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As promised yesterday, here is my take on DailyKos: I’m not a terribly big fan of the DailyKos blog. Kos himself is fairly coherent, even though I disagree with him politically. The beef I'll discuss today is in his first post. http://www.dailykos.net/archives/000001.html There he lays out that he is not a Socialist, which he takes to mean that he doesn’t believe in enforced equality. I don’t think that is a fitting description of Socialism, but even if it were, I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with the result.

The way I see it, I don’t think he follows his first claim to its logical conclusion. Having conceded that “the private sector, left to its own devices, will never achieve this goal” of creating an even playing field for all of this country's citizens and immigrants alike, he fails to realize that this is something which requires enforcement. Equality is a manifold notion, which could just as easily mean “equal access to shared facilities”, as it could “equal distribution of wealth”. Whatever the specific type of “equality”, it still must be enforced in the same ways that our Civil Liberties must be, because the very nature of a competitive society creates a market for people who would like to use advantage to rob others of their access to “equality”. I also believe that in order to see to it that every individual has access to an even playing field, there requires some redistribution of wealth.

His refusal to admit to being a Socialist is merely a form of engaging in the wishful thinking that is utopianism. That no one may have any more than anyone else – this is not Socialism, that’s Communism. In a Socialist system, there is merely an imposed obligation to financially contribute when others have nothing. There is no ceiling for how much a person can make. There is only the stipulation that with wealth that is acquired socially, there also comes the obligation to insure the well-being of other members of society whose existence has allowed for the possibility of wealth.

Consider this: socially acquired wealth is the only way wealth can be acquired. We do not mint our own value, even if we were to mint the money itself. Money exists because we have as a society agreed to its worth, so to acquire money via labor, inheritance, theft, etc., all fall under the category of “socially acquired wealth”.

In light of the current political situation, this very major philosophical disagreement between Kos and I becomes very minor. Still, I think it is important to make distinctions, and to argue them to some sort of resolution. The immediately relevant reason is that one is more likely to persuade someone who is closer to your own thinking than it is to persuade someone who radically opposes. A more long term one is that as true progressive thought becomes more of a minority in this country, when the distinctions become fuzzed between people who hold minor differences, the opposition can conveniently use the weakest argument against the group, even if it is only held by a fringe minority. This is already a convenient political tactic on both sides, as not every Republican is an abortion doctor assassin, nor is every liberal calling for a violent revolution. When we are not aware of the multiplicity of distinctions, we begin to view the world like Bush would have us do: either you are with us or against us. If society is to improve, it will have to be because of a marketplace of ideas, not despite it.

Enough soapboxing for one day. I’m going to try and make future posts less tedious political observation for a little while, but I make no promises.

I'm going to close on this comment, (admittedly taken out of context, but nonetheless relevant) by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, who wrote these words on November 8, 1954:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
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