Monday, March 22, 2010

What Socialism REALLY Means, from an actual Socialist.

Ok, so I'll be the first to admit I can be a total bitch. I totally love seeing stubborn, ignorant people, especially arrogant trolls (people who say inflammatory things just to annoy people, start a fight, or disrupt the conversation), get a taste of their own medicine. If you can't be civil, I can really only take so much before I want to see you squirm from the dissonance caused by real logic and reasoning as you try to "defend" a position based on flawed, hypocritical judgment and "facts" disproved by overwhelming evidence. I disagree with people all the time on forums, but trolling is just disgusting. Grow up. I can only take so much before I have to openly mock you. Sorry, I guess I'm just an elitist snob. Oh well, I tell my parents that's their fault for sending me to school, and pretty good private ones at that. So many of them lately, trolls... In my forums, ultraconservative trolls pop up all the time and start ranting about the evils of socialism and "Obamacare," when they clearly don't know what either actually entails other than the lies spread by right-wing media. Again, read the damn bills for yourself. (I'm a little pissed off, as one lady had the nerve to tell me that no liberal ever read the bills and therefore no liberal has a clue about what's going on. Uh-huh, what's this shit about kool-aid?) Good thing I'm basically a socialist (which in recent-speak apparently translates to "liberal libertarian." How, I dunno, but whatever.) I'm trying so very hard to be civil, especially when talking with friends (and especially when I see flawed logic... damn that's hard) but I'm competitive by nature. I want to debate, I want to argue. I'm a pretentious know-it-all, I get it-- though this certainly is no act, and I'm not doing it to prove I'm better than anyone else, because I certainly do not believe that. I just do what many others choose not to, because I enjoy doing it. I think and analyze too much. Indecisive yet opinionated. Loves learning, logic and puzzles. (What is this now, an ad? Hire me!) And maybe it's just because I know, at least in this case, that I know what I'm talking about for the most part. I know that many people don't, and don't bother trying to learn (but try to argue anyway -- that is so freaking annoying, btw, if you haven't gotten that message yet). So I'll do some work and share what I've learned. I like making people think. You don't have to think like me (trust me, you don't want to), but always question what you "know" or learn, and you may very well learn something new. This is something I'm too passionate about. (Forgive the weak language to follow. I can't promise it's coherent. I'm quite tired, among other things...)

I've been doing some thinking as to where I stand, in terms of explaining to others a general overview of my beliefs. Sometimes I say socialist, sometimes anarchist, progressive, liberal... All of the above. Apparently the title I've been looking for is left-libertarian/social democrat/democratic socialist. I am socialist insofar as I believe in equality, at least in the very basics of human life- healthcare, food, water, having a house, gender, race, etc etc all those things. If you can get more/better, fine, as long as everyone at least has what they need first. I would prefer a world where we didn't need a centralized government. We do not and should not need a military. (If you're a constitutionalist, you should agree here. Second amendment is about a citizen militia, not your right to own an assault rifle and certainly not the right to a full blown army. Though I certainly do NOT support the "militia movement" in any way, shape or form. Militias should only exist after the absolution of the US military, and on a national scale, not started a bunch of violent backwoods gun owners who think they have to protect the world from gay marriage and affordable health insurance. I want weapons regulation, if only to keep guns at an absolute minimum both in civilian population and armed forces. Use an unlimited ammo cheat, whatever, just reduce gun access. People with guns kill people. People with less guns have to get creative, and apparently in America the necessity to think is a deterrent... How's that for gun humor, NRA?) However, because I don't think true socialism can work (due to our individualistic nature, selfishness, etc.), I think a government may be necessary to enforce some level of equality-- Title VII, women's suffrage, labor laws, civil rights. Without these things, we've seen that people are treated horribly, subjugated, killed. Should this government own things? Eh. Regulate, but not necessarily own. Society as a whole should own (which technically should be the same thing, ya know...). Governments don't actually make rules, they take them from society, and enforce them. We want roads, we want mail services and cars and all sorts of things. And there's nothing wrong with that. For one, it's how we stay connected as a nation. But someone has to pay for these things... which is why our society pays taxes. As much as taxes suck, I don't believe in getting something for nothing (everything requires some sort of action on your part, even if it's just being in a certain place at a certain time. Even when I'm downloading, I give something back to the people who made it possible, and often the original creator at some point. We call it the Share Ratio. Leeching bad, seeding good!). It's not always obvious or even tangible, but we pay for everything. Even Linux. People argue that illegal immigrants are getting everything for nothing, including healthcare in emergency rooms. Aren't they often working? That's not nothing. They still have to eat and find somewhere to live, just like the rest of us. They're paying taxes on those things, whether they file or not, and spend money. Many take jobs that no one else wants to do. Most are contributing in some way, shape or form. They don't really have a choice. Even the guy begging on the street corner is earning his bread. It may not be in the same way as the shop owner or the CEO, but he's doing something. Those in poverty are good at spending, not so much at saving. They generally don't have much of a choice, to survive. The single mother on welfare trying to raise her children on a minimum wage job and a few extra hundred dollars a month. She'll get a few foodstamps, and maybe basic healthcare, but she still has to pay for housing (even subsidized low-income housing has a cost) and clothes and all of the other necessities. It's not possible to live on welfare income alone, and usually it's only for 2-5 years max, ever. She still has to do something, and she will still be contributing to society. No one will get something for nothing. That's why we pay taxes. And yea, they suck, but it's like paying someone to do the things you can't do for yourself. I don't know about you, but I sure as hell can't build a road. Technically, nothing in the world is free anyway, even when you take money out of the equation. I'm technically anti-capitalism (beliefs-wise. But until I figure out this soap making thing, where to find cotton plants, how to build computer parts out of sand, and how to "grow pizza," I'm kinda screwed... & I now I want to watch Wall-e...), but overall I don't have a problem with free enterprise, except when it takes unfair advantage of people. (My general life motto. Anything goes, as long as it doesn't negatively affect anyone else or infringe upon their rights. To each his or her or its own, it being mostly animals or anything with 4 legs or less, unless that creature should have a disorder that provides more legs than that, and with the exception of anything in a certain category of outer-shelled beings with more than 7 legs, if you know what i mean... ^^") I believe we CAN have fair and free trade. I'm not totally anti-business. I believe you should be fairly compensated for what you do. And maybe this is part of why I don't mind government as much anymore. It's the big businesses, the corporations, that I don't like. People complain that the government controls you -- corporations have a MUCH bigger effect. This is why the federal government even got this involved with the economy in the first place. (Well, post industrial economy. There was some involvement in colonial times. The reasons were a little different, and of course there were tariffs and embargoes and things beforehand, but I'm referring to post-industrial era which lead to a steep rise in government involvement, including but not limited to anti-trust laws, federal regulation of goods, labor laws, minimum wage, etc.) What you wear, what you eat, where you live, what you drive, where you work, what you learn. Societal pressure to conform to corporate standards. And you're taught that what you have is never enough. The bottom line is always money and has little to do with actually making your life any better. That's just a nice little side effect, if even that. Everything we do, at least, everything we're expected to do, is in the interest of making as much money as possible. Here's my biggest problem with that -- corporations bring pollution, outsourcing, and complete disregard for life in favor of profit. Because it costs less and means more profit, and profits equal power.
(Ending here, Part 2 to follow)

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