Tainari88 wrote:So I disagree with your statement of no one wants to be a socialist.
Well, the Mujahidin of Afghanistan certainly didn't want to be socialist. Socialism usually appeals to poor people, and the Pashto are certainly poor. There are plenty of Cubans in America who didn't like life under Castro.
Tainari88 wrote:I simply believe society and people need to come first. Not profit or private property.
"Simply" is a very good way of putting it. Now try taking someone's private property from them and let me know how that goes.
Tainari88 wrote:I find the need for greed in capitalism has the opposite effect.
Again, capitalism isn't "greed" as an ideology. It's about capital formation, resource pooling, offsetting risk, specialization of labor, efficient allocation of resources, fractional ownership, etc. It has amazing properties. However, capitalism by itself--in an anarchic way--doesn't have any sort of moral code embedded into it. So you need laws and regulations to prevent anti-social people from using capitalism in detrimental ways.
Tainari88 wrote:And the terrible people you are combating are part of it.
Terrible people generally have a poor moral foundation. Someone here uses TR's quote: "To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society." This is a serious problem in the West these days.
Tainari88 wrote:Humanist. Fromm. Socialism. It has nothing to do with lack of freedom and oppressing the people in order to use fear to gain coercive control. Read Fromm. If you do? You would know this.
I read him in high school as part of a Utopian Literature class. So keep in mind, I was reading him alongside BF Skinner, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, etc.
You know who you should read? Thomas Sowell. He was a dedicated Marxist and ended up becoming a capitalist libertarian. Why? Empiricism. He actually went to work as an intern for the federal government's labor department. He saw the evidence of mandated minimum wage increases in the sugar industry of Puerto Rico and a rise in unemployment in that industry there. He had the empirical evidence, and came to realize that the people working at the labor department were more concerned about their own jobs than the plight of poor people in Puerto Rico.
He's a brilliant guy. He's written countless well-researched books. He is very critical of the welfare state too. State-owned businesses. State-owned public housing, etc. There is a lot of empirical evidence that the type of policies you prefer lead to serious economic and social problems, which is counter-intuitive to people like you. You don't need to look far beyond Venezuela to see how rapidly a rich country can become poor when it adopts socialist policies.
See someone like you approaches this as a moral question. If goods are too expensive for poor people, you want to impose price controls so that poor people can afford things. This happened in Venezuela. Do you know what happens when marginal cost exceeds marginal price? Firms go bankrupt. They shut down. You need a really strong foundation in microeconomics and macroeconomics to understand why so much of "good intentions" produce very bad results. This is why you shouldn't approach economics emotionally. It's why economics teaches a clear distinction between positive analysis and normative analysis.
Potemkin wrote:MAD usually doesn't work - in the 1900s, many commentators thought that a general European war was now impossible, because it would drag both sides down into mutual ruin. Guess what? They did it anyway.
Commentators get it wrong quite often, don't they? They thought that they could abolish war after WWI. We more or less committed to that notion after WWII. It certainly hasn't stopped war. We just don't formally declare them anymore. We changed the name of the Department of War to the Department of Defense. It sounds so nice, doesn't it? Similarly, genocide becomes "ethnic cleansing" so we don't have to do anything about it.
Nuclear weapons change rational people's perceptions a bit. Regardless of party, America is pretty liberal in the use of military force, but has not used nuclear weapons since 1945. Ruin, as in the enemy MIGHT be able to bomb your cities, as a concept changes with nuclear weapons too, because of the speed. In 15 minutes, your urban centers and military bases can be totally nixed.
Even America operates that way. For example, it would be pretty straight forward to beat the Taliban, provided you are willing to fight on both side of the Hindu Kush. Yet, the US doesn't risk it because Pakistan has nuclear weapons--making fighting in Afghanistan profoundly stupid. The Soviets made that same mistake.
MAD doesn't preclude arrogance though. Defeating Al Qaeda devolved into nation building and an additional 15 years of almost pointless warfare.
Potemkin wrote:Context is everything. When a surgeon cuts into a patient to remove a cancer tumour, they are performing the same actions as a mugger knifing a victim in an alleyway. But the surgeon is trying to save a life, while the mugger is trying to destroy a life.
Yes. That is why crimes are typically considered a union of act and intent. Anything that operates outside of a penal code like that has to be licensed. Boxing, for example, is just assault and battery when you get right down to it.
Potemkin wrote:You mean just as the Federal government took up arms against the Confederacy when it resisted the abolition of slavery? Indeed so.
Ah, but the Federal government took up arms against the Confederacy before the abolition of slavery. The war started because of secession. The abolition of slavery is always told in a moral context, because in actual fact the Federal government violated the fourth and fifth amendments of slave owners and even divided Virginia and admitted West Virginia into the union without Virginia's prior consent. To do something like that generally requires extreme violence.
You're a smart fellow. Take a read of the Fourteenth amendment. Here are a few contradictory bits.
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The Fourteenth Amendment clearly allows for violating the fifth amendment rights of slave holders, while reaffirming the fifth amendment. I am not at all a fan of slavery, but I think histories tend to devolve into myth when told in an exclusively moral context and making hagiographies of politicians and generals.
If you understand that land and mansions were relatively worthless--that slaves were what was valuable--the slave owners were largely rendered bankrupt by the war. So there are no "reparations" to be made. The overwhelming majority of whites didn't own slaves, and the former slave owners had their fifth amendments rights violated and constitutional amendment ratifying that fact adopted at gunpoint.
Potemkin wrote:If you told the colonel who ordered that airstrike that he was a "liberal", he would probably spit in your eye. This kind of arrogance and stupidity - and the desire not to be seen as 'weak' - is endemic to the human race, no matter what their politics or race or religion.
Does neoliberal or neoconservative work better for you? They were getting a ton of pressure from Rumsfeld himself to get specific people they called HVTs or High Value Targets. In this case Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. If you read Hammerhead Six by Capt. Ronald Fry, it's more or less the same story from high command. In his case, he actually won the peace in the Pech valley, but they only gave him 50 men to do that job--the Pech valley is the size of Connecticut. They were upset that he wasn't going out and getting HVTs, with the 50 men they gave him to control the 5000 square miles of the Pech valley. The disconnect between Washington "elites" and others is pretty staggering.
Potemkin wrote:Again, this incident was not caused by "the liberal mind-set", but by ignorance, stupidity, and a fear of being seen as 'weak'. A toxic brew, but a universal one.
It's not fear of being seen as weak. It is definitely ignorance and stupidity, but also a lot of pressure from the highest levels of the Pentagon--Rumsfeld being a Princeton graduate.
One of the huge aspects is a cultural disconnect. Most of Afghanistan is literally Medieval with modern small arms. Women are considered a liability. They are very much second class. So it does not occur to a senior well-educated officer that an Afghan intel asset might furnish false information to settle a score with a rival tribe.
Read Level Zero Heroes. It describes an Afghan killing a man's wife and daughter, and trying to blame it on the Americans in order to get compensation. When forensics examines entrance and exit wounds, it matches 7.62 x 39 rounds--AK-47s, not 5.56 M4/M16 rounds.
There are a ton of interesting stories you will never get from the press. Sean Parnell's book, Outlaw Platoon, is also interesting. At one point, they are tasked to hold an old castle/fort near the Pakistan border. They come under 103mm rocket fire from Pakistan, and have to take it because they aren't allowed to return fire into Pakistan. He said it was profoundly demoralizing.
In both Lt. Sean Parnell's book and in Lt. Col Schafer's book they capture Pakistanis in the field. Parnell finds a Pakistani border guard after an airstrike in Afghanistan and Schafer captures a woman working for the Pakistani ISI.
If you read No Way Out by Mitch Weiss and Kevin Maurer, you get a story of going after HVTs in a cliff dwelling, only they are ordered to assault it from below--giving the enemy the advantage of holding the high ground. They get their asses kicked. The major who orders it ends up in tears, but he had a ton of pressure from senior command--who didn't care about the tactics at all.
Read The Outpost by Jake Tapper for a vignette of senior command wanting to win hearts and minds, while putting a combat outpost at the bottom of a ravine--again, giving the enemy the high ground advantage. That's coming from senior command, not from some Lt. or Sgt.--from people far away from the battlefield.
It's definitely a product of a mindset. Rumsfeld was a naval aviator. He SHOULD have known better, but was a profoundly arrogant guy. Schafer was critical of Rumsfeld insisting that the war was over when the overwhelming evidence suggested otherwise.
It's wrong though to simply bash the Bush administration. Obama didn't do any better. Read Zero Footprint, one of your fellow Brits, to get a very interesting vignette into why things went down the way they did in Benghazi.
Zero Dark Thirty is good too--how they finally tracked bin Laden to Pakistan (not that it should have been that hard to figure out, but high levels of the US government could not accept that Pakistan is not a US ally). It's one of the calls Obama got right. Guess who was opposed to the bin Laden raid? Biden.
I think the appeal of socialism is the same sort of thing--a massive disconnect between understanding a problem and viable solutions. We can agree Jeff Bezos is kind of a prick, particularly to his warehouse workers and drivers. However, you cannot blame an epidemic of homelessness on him. The so-called "gap between the rich and poor" doesn't reveal massive theft like you see with slavery, particularly in the information age.
That's not the issue with Cuba either. Cuba is a totalitarian government with the sort of production and distribution problems common to totalitarian governments. It cannot all be blamed on the US embargo. There are plenty of wealthy countries around the world Cuba can trade with. Cuba exports to China, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, and Cyprus. They import food mostly from Spain, Canada, China, Italy and Russia.
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