2008-10-03

a political post...

I normally hate writing political posts, mainly because people get so angry and belligerent about them. However, the topic of socialism seems to be coming up in my thoughts and discussions lately, and I've been mulling over some things. Keep in mind that I'm not well versed in political philosophy or economics, these are just my own thoughts and musings.

It seems that a lot of Americans are afraid of the idea of socialism. I kind of understand this, as many Americans were alive during the cold war, and probably associate socialism with Stalinism or whatever. However, I think simply assuming Stalinism whenever you hear the word socialism is about the equivalent of assuming American economy whenever you hear the word capitalism. I mean, China is practicing capitalism, but not like America.

Ok, so we can agree then that socialism does not equal Stalin era communism. Good, I'm glad you're following me on that.

Socially, I think some Americans are frightened of socialism because it would cause them to give up certain rights they have claimed for themselves, and the distances they put between themselves and other people, so that they never have to depend on others or be depended upon. For instance, we hate the idea of paying for part of someone else's health care, or education - or the idea that we would be dependent on someone else to help pay for our education or health care. We hate being dependent.

Economically, I think we tend to shy away from socialism because it tempers economic growth. Our economy has been set up such that we have favored economic growth seemingly at the expense of all else. This probably has something to do with the state we are in at the moment.

Don't get me wrong, I have no warmth in my heart for socialism on the level of Russian or Chinese communism. I think that is an excess of socialism, and completely halts economic and social growth, at the expense of control (which, by the way, is why I don't understand how people think communism is a liberal concept - it's extremely conservative in the literal sense of the word, it fights to maintain the status quo at all costs).

I think the important thing is to realize that both an excess of control and an excess of freedom are dangerous, and that it can be good both economically and socially to temper growth and individualism with some regulation and sharing.

Just saying...

3 comments:

  1. Hey Dave, how funny, I've been thinking about socialism as well. The other day we were out to pizza for a big Sept/Oct birthdays bash with my family, and the kids all got tickets from playing games & my dad took all of the tickets and divided them evenly among the kids (even though the 9 year old clearly earned more than the 4 year old, etc.). I teased my dad that he was a socialist. :) Truly, I think the ideal, Christ-centered world would be socialist. Scary to say that, people will put all kinds of labels on me, right? :) I read a bunch of utopian society books in college, and I remember walking away from them saying "But this is the way things SHOULD be..." There is NO reason any of us deserve more than any one else down the street. Every single physical ability I have is God-given. Every single talent is God-given. Everything I ever earn in my lifetime is all because of Him. Sure, I have some choices--laziness, or productiveness....But really, no matter what my choice is, I'm no better than anyone else and I don't deserve any more than them.

    The biggest problem with socialism is corruption and sin-nature...But then again, isn't that a problem in any economic system? Anyways, thanks for thinking on this too and for posting about it. I was thinking about posting something about this the other day. I wonder how Jesus would handle economics?

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  2. Yeah, I think the biggest problem with any kind of system anywhere in the world is that we have a tendency to take it to extremes and use it to serve our own needs.

    I think there is a lot to be said for a society that gives up some of its own individual gain and profit to make sure that the people within the society who are struggling have enough to live on.

    I also think we have a tendency to create "rights" for ourselves that really don't exist, and to hold on to them at the expense of distancing ourselves from other people - and we also hate the idea of dependence, either that people would depend on us, or that we would be dependent on anyone else - because that causes difficulties since we can't just think of our own needs anymore.

    I think we could stand to see ourselves in that position more often.

    Thanks for writing, I really appreciate it.

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  3. hi. like your thoughts...they are thought provoking. thanks for your thoughts on my blog about riding the train. I have often had those same thoughts. as always, enjoying reading about what you two are up to! Tell trina hello for me!

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