How To Successfully Debate A Democratic Socialist

From someone who did. Helen Raleigh gives her tips.

One nice gem:

DSA leadership’s stated goals are the same goals declared by murderous communists Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, and many other socialists in the past , which shows democratic socialism is not that much different from what we’ve seen before.

Here is more proof. I read my opponent the following quote:

    • “We demand profit sharing in big business.
    • We demand a broad extension of care for the aged.
    • We ask that the government undertake the obligation above all of providing citizens with adequate opportunity for employment and earning a living.
    • In order to make possible to every capable and industrious citizen the attainment of higher education and thus the achievement of a post of leadership, the government must provide an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education. We demand the education at government expense of gifted children of poor parents.
    • The government must undertake the improvement of public health-by protecting mother and child, by prohibiting child labor, by the greatest possible support for all clubs concerned with the physical education of youth.”

     

    I asked her if these statements sound similar to what democratic socialists stand for, and she nodded. Then I revealed that they were excerpts from the 1920 declaration of the National Socialist Workers Party of Germany, more commonly known as Nazis.

Read A Pile Of Top Nazis Talking About How They Love Leftist Marxism

Source: Read A Pile Of Top Nazis Talking About How They Love Leftist Marxism

The Nazis were leftists. This statement is blasphemy to the academic-media complex, since everyone knows the Nazis were degenerate right-wingers fueled by toxic capitalism and racism. But evidence Adolf Hitler’s gang were men of the left, while debatable, is compelling.

[snip]

“The Road to Serfdom,” by F. A. Hayek, is one such tract. Published in 1944, it remains a classic for young people on the political right discovering their intellectual roots. A sort of academic “1984,” it warns of socialism’s tendency toward planned states and totalitarianism.

One aspect of the book can shock the conscience. Hayek describes Nazism as a “genuine socialist movement” and thus left-wing by modern American standards. Indeed, the Austrian-born Hayek wrote the book from his essay, “Nazi-Socialism,” which countered prevailing opinion at the London School of Economics, where he taught. British elites regarded Nazism as a virulent capitalist reaction against enlightened socialism—a view that persists today.

[snip]

The left believes the opposite. They distrust the excesses and inequality capitalism produces. They give primacy to group rights and identity. They believe factors like race, ethnicity, and sex compose the primary political unit. They don’t believe in strong property rights.

They believe it is the government’s responsibility to solve social problems. They call for public intervention to “equalize” disparities and render our social fabric more inclusive (as they define it). They believe the free market has failed to solve issues like campaign finance, income inequality, minimum wage, access to health care, and righting past injustices. These people talk about “democracy”—the method of collective decisions.

By these definitions, the Nazis were firmly on the left. National Socialism was a collectivist authoritarian movement run by “social justice warriors.” This brand of “justice” benefited only some based on immutable characteristics, which perfectly aligns with the modern brand. The Nazi ideal embraced identity politics based on the primacy of the people, or volk, and invoked state-based solutions for every possible problem. It was nation-based socialism—the nation being especially important to those who bled in the Great War.

As Hayek stated in 1933, the year the Nazis took power: “[I]t is more than probable that the real meaning of the German revolution is that the long dreaded expansion of communism into the heart of Europe has taken place but is not recognized because the fundamental similarity of methods and ideas is hidden by the difference in phraseology and the privileged groups.”

[snip]

Yet the evidence the Nazis were leftists goes well beyond the views of this one scholar. Philosophically, Nazi doctrine fit well with the other strains of socialism ripping through Europe at the time. Hitler’s first “National Workers’ Party” meeting while he was still an Army corporal featured the speech “How and by What Means is Capitalism to be Eliminated?”

The Nazi charter published a year later and coauthored by Hitler is socialist in almost every aspect. It calls for “equality of rights for the German people”; the subjugation of the individual to the state; breaking of “rent slavery”; “confiscation of war profits”; the nationalization of industry; profit-sharing in heavy industry; large-scale social security; the “communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low costs to small firms”; the “free expropriation of land for the purpose of public utility”; the abolition of “materialistic” Roman Law; nationalizing education; nationalizing the army; state regulation of the press; and strong central power in the Reich. It was also racist and anti-immigrant.

[snip]

It wasn’t only theoretical. Hitler repeatedly praised Marx privately, stating he had “learned a great deal from Marxism.” The trouble with the Weimar Republic, he said, was that its politicians “had never even read Marx.” He also stated his differences with communists were that they were intellectual types passing out pamphlets, whereas “I have put into practice what these peddlers and pen pushers have timidly begun.”

It wasn’t just privately that Hitler’s fealty for Marx surfaced. In “Mein Kampf,” he states that without his racial insights National Socialism “would really do nothing more than compete with Marxism on its own ground.” Nor did Hitler eschew this sentiment once reaching power. As late as 1941, with the war in bloom, he stated “basically National Socialism and Marxism are the same” in a speech published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Nazi propaganda minister and resident intellectual Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary that the Nazis would install “real socialism” after Russia’s defeat in the East. And Hitler favorite Albert Speer, the Nazi armaments minister whose memoir became an international bestseller, wrote that Hitler viewed Joseph Stalin as a kindred spirit, ensuring his prisoner of war son received good treatment, and even talked of keeping Stalin in power in a puppet government after Germany’s eventual triumph. His views on Great Britain’s Winston Churchill and the United States’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt were decidedly less kind.

Lots more at the link.

Should doctors profit from medicine?

I recall a conversation on the Rush Limbaugh show many years ago. A medical school student called in to explain why he was in favor of socialized medicine. He wanted to make sure that everyone who needed medical care could get it.

Rush had an answer for that. He suggested that once he completed his training, he should give his services away for free.

“What?”

The tone of the kid’s voice spoke volumes.

It seems people become doctors expect some form of reward for all the work involved.

Stephen Green offers this:

Regarding my earlier post about socialized medicine, Longtime Sharp VodkaPundit Reader™ RBJ commented:

People are self-nterested, not virtuous. I want really smart people to go into medicine because they want to make money to provide for a good life for themselves and their families.

Take away that financial incentive, and the best and brightest will find other things to do. Meaning the quality of doctors and nurses, et al., will go down.

And before that, BobB59 said, “Will they acknowledge the inevitable doctor shortage with that plan? I’m not holding my breath.”

Indeed.

This all goes back to my oft-stated belief that modern progressivism is a form of high-tech feudalism.

Under the old feudalism, there were serfs who worked the land, lords who lorded over them, ladies who tended to the lords, etc. Everyone knew their place and remained in their place, forever.

Progressivism “works,” such as it does, under the conceit that there are doctor-units who perform medicine, business-units who provide goods and services, teacher-units who teach, student-units who learn, etc. And — this is the vital bit — all those units perform their assigned tasks, and will continue to do so, regardless of incentives.

When all those person-units don’t conform to progressive wishes, that’s when progressives turn nasty. Which is in most instances pretty much right away.

But don’t worry, comrade. You will be made to conform. In the end, you will love Big Brother.

 

The Questions Stephen Colbert Should Have Asked Democratic Socialist “Rock Star” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – Foundation for Economic Education

Source: The Questions Stephen Colbert Should Have Asked Democratic Socialist “Rock Star” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Here are other questions Colbert did not ask, and those who support socialism aren’t asking either:

Do you believe only socialists are “moral”?

Do you think other people are opposed to proper housing, jobs, and healthcare and block simple solutions because they are not as caring as you?

In his book The Law the 19th Century French economist Frédéric Bastiat exposed the false premise behind those who think government is the only way to achieve social and economic ends:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

Generative Questions

A generative question is something that points us to the unknown and stimulates further inquiry. Here are a few generative questions that Colbert could have asked:
What are the conditions under which human beings flourish?
Why does power corrupt?
Why until recently in human history did each generation live in poverty, much the same as the generation before?

….

Ocasio-Cortez, Stephen Colbert, and millions of Americans leaning toward socialism have no knowledge of the economic problem. Invincibly ignorant, they assume the problem away by embracing the idea of redistributing other people’s money.

If you don’t know what the economic problem is, there is no possibility of discovering solutions to the problems you see. With a willingness to explore questions, more knowledge will be discovered. Freedom, not simplistic answers based on coercion, promotes voluntary human cooperation and creates economic progress, raising the well-being of all.

You Can’t Deny that Venezuela is a Socialist Calamity – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

Source: You Can’t Deny that Venezuela is a Socialist Calamity – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

 

….

Economists have long understood the dynamic at work here. Marx and other socialists thought that those in charge of the planning process, and for Marx that was the whole community, could rationally determine what to produce and how best to produce it in the absence of markets, exchange, and prices. Since Mises’s famous essay in 1920, however, we have known that doing so is not possible.

Genuine market prices are necessary for people be able to make determinations of value in anything larger than a household. Without prices, there is no way to know, not just what people value but (more importantly) how to make what they value using the least valuable resources possible.

In other words, rational production decisions are impossible without market prices, and market prices can’t exist without exchange and therefore there has to be private ownership, especially of the means of production.

But what happens when those given the power to make such decisions realize they cannot achieve their perhaps well-intentioned goals? The power does not go away. More often than not, the first reaction is precisely what we’ve seen in Venezuela: crack down harder on producers for not living up to impossible demands and ration goods to punish consumers for “hoarding.” And when that doesn’t work, go to more draconian authoritarianism, and do whatever it takes to hold on to power.

After a while, these exercises of brute power have consequences. They attract those with a comparative advantage in exercising such power (and perhaps those who have a high consumption value for doing so) into positions of power. Marxism is not Stalinism, but the inability of Marxian socialism to live up to its promises creates the conditions that make Stalinism possible and likely. In other words, Stalinism is an unintended consequence of Marxian socialism.

In addition, as state control becomes more clearly ineffective, people start to work around it by establishing distorted forms of market exchange. Bribery of politicians and bureaucrats, threats to producers, cronyism, and nepotism all become the ways of getting things done. Scarce resources have to be allocated somehow, and markets are like weeds in that they will grow in the cracks left by the failures of planning.

Intellectual Negligence

To the outside world, corruption and poor implementation caused socialism to fail. But that gets matters completely backward: corruption and ineffective political actors are not the cause of socialism’s failure, but a result of that failure. When you make real markets illegal and when your attempts at planning inevitably fail, what you get is the bribery and corruption of black markets. Once again, these are not what Marxism intends, but they are an inevitable unintended consequence.

My Childhood as a Renegade Entrepreneur – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

Source: My Childhood as a Renegade Entrepreneur – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

It’s Only Fair If Everyone Profits

One day, the administration decided to host a club fundraising festival where each club was allowed to sell one item purchased from a grocery store at lunch in order to raise funds for its club—the only time they ever broke the cafeteria monopoly.

I left campus to purchase 150 burgers from Wendy’s for $1 each. I then sold them for $5 per burger on campus, and gave away a free Arizona Iced tea with the burger, which undercut the two other vendors selling Arizona Iced tea.

We eclipsed the rest of the fundraising group that day by over 200 percent and the school accused us of cheating and being greedy.

They confiscated most of the funds and distributed it among the other students to make it more “fair.”

At last the truth had come out in full. It had taken almost eighteen years but I had the answer they had never given me before: my teachers hated the free market.

The administrators regarded commerce as dirty. They didn’t see the value I created for students who wanted something better than cafeteria food for lunch. They saw value that had been acquired at the expense of others.

Socialism Requires a Dictator – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

Source: Socialism Requires a Dictator – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

We begin with what Thomas Sowell calls the battle between the “constrained” and the “unconstrained” vision of humanity.

This highlights a fundamental difference in the conception of man in the classical liberal versus socialist worldviews. Does man have a basic and invariant human nature that may be multi-sided and complex, but no less fixed in certain qualities and characteristics? Or is human nature a malleable substance that can be remolded like clay in the sculptor’s hands by placing human beings into radically different social arrangements and settings?

Classical liberals have argued for the former, that human beings are basically what they are: fairly reasonable, self-interested beings, guided by goals of personal improvement and betterment as the individual comes to define those for himself. The social dilemma for a humane, just, and widely prosperous society is how to foster a political and economic institutional order to harness that invariant quality in human nature so that it advances human betterment in general rather than becoming a tool of plunder. The classical liberal answer is basically Adam Smith’s system of natural liberty with its open, competitive, free market order.

Members of what was emerging as the socialist movement in the late eighteenth century and into the nineteenth century argued the opposite. They insisted that if men were selfish, greedy, uncaring and insensitive to the circumstances of their fellow men it was due to the institution of private property and its related market-based system of human association. Change the institutional order in which human beings live and work and you will create a “new man.”

Indeed, they raised to the ultimate human societal ideal, a world in which the individual would live and work for the collective, the society as a whole, rather than only for his own bettered circumstances, presumably at the expense of others in society. Socialism heralded the ethics of altruism.

Socialism argues for the “unconstrained” vision: human nature is infinitely malleable, and all you need to do is tweak it to get the society you want. Classical liberalism argues that human nature is constrained by traits that are “hard-wired” in to the design of the human being, and that will not be changed no matter what you do.

The dilemma, Marx explains, is that even after the overthrow of the capitalist system, residues of the previous system would permeate the new socialist society. First, there would be the human remnants of the now discarded capitalist system. Among them would be those who want to restore the system of worker exploitation for their own ill-gotten profit gains. Equally a problem would be the fact that the “working class,” although freed from the “false consciousness” that the capitalist system under which they had been exploited was just, would still bear the mark of the capitalist psychology of self-interest and personal gain.

Thus, there had to be in place and in power a “revolutionary vanguard” of dedicated and clear seeing socialists who would lead “the masses” into the bright, beautiful future of communism. The institutional means of doing this, said Marx, is the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

In other words, until the masses, the workers, are freed from the individualist and capitalist mindset that they had been born into and mentally made to act within, they needed to be “reeducated” by a self-appointed political elite that has liberated their minds, already, from the capitalist false consciousness of the past. In the name of the new socialist-era freedom-to-come, there must the reign of a dictatorship made up of those who know how humanity should think, act, and associate in preparation for the full communism awaiting mankind.

At the same time, the dictatorship is necessary to suppress not only any attempts by the former capitalist exploiters to restore their power over the, now, socialized property they used to own. These voices from the capitalist past also must be prevented from speaking their self-serving lies and deceptions about why individual, self-interested liberty is morally right, or that private property serves the betterment of all in society including workers, or that freedom means those “bourgeois” liberties of freedom of the press, or speech or religion or democratic voting. The masses must be brought to, and indoctrinated in, the “true” consciousness that freedom means the collective ownership and direction of the means of production and the selfless serving of society that the socialist revolutionary vanguard in charge knows to be true.

This also explains why the socialist phase of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” could never end in any of the Marxist-inspired revolutionary regimes over the last one hundred years. Human nature is not waiting to be remolded like wax into a new human form and content. Human beings seem generally not be hardwired to be altruistic, selfless eunuchs. Thus, self-interest always rises to the surface in people’s conduct, and if it is to be ethically denied, there must be political force to keep repressing it and trying to constantly extinguish it.

In addition, as long as there were capitalist enemies anywhere in the world, the dictatorship of the proletariat had to be preserved in the socialist countries to assure that the reeducated minds of the workers already lucky enough to live under socialism were not re-infected by capitalist ideas coming in from outside the people’s collectivist paradise. Hence, the “iron curtain” of censorship and thought control in the Marxist parts of the world, in the name of the people over whom the revolutionary vanguard ruled.

Socialist Economic Planning Equals Commanding People

Also, once private enterprise was abolished through the socialization of the means of production and brought under the control and direction of the socialist government, a central economic plan was now essential. If not the profit-motived individual entrepreneurs in directing the private enterprises under their ownership to satisfy consumer demands guided by the competitive price system, then someone must determine what gets produced, where, when and for which purpose and use.

The direction of “the people’s” collectivized means of production requires a centralized plan concerned with designing, implementing and imposing it on everyone for the good of the society as a whole. This means not only lumber and steel must be assigned a use in a particular place in the socialist society, but so must people. Hence, in the communist economies of the twentieth century the state’s central planning agencies determined who would be educated for what skills or expertise, where they would be employed and the work they would do.

Since the state educated you, assigned you work and served as your only employer in that job, the state also determined where you would live; not only in what city, town or village, but what apartment in which government-owned residential building would be made your abode. Recreational facilities, places for rest and vacations, the types of consumer goods to be produced and distributed where and for whom: these, too, were all centrally determined by the socialist planning agencies following the orders of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Not one corner of everyday life – its form, content, quality, or characteristics – was free from the control and determination of the all powerful and all-encompassing socialist state. Its design and attempted implementation was truly “totalitarian.” It may have been Benito Mussolini, the father of fascism, who coined the term, “totalitarianism” as meaning “everything in the State, nothing against the State, nothing outside the State.” But nowhere over the last century was this more insistently, pervasively, and coercively imposed than in the communist countries molded on the model of the Soviet Union as created by Vladimir Lenin and horrifyingly institutionalized by Josef Stalin and their successors.