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What's Wrong with Socialism?


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May I see the hands of those who got flu shots last fall? That was socialized medicine.

 

No it wasn't. The term "socialized medicine" refers to a conversion of the entire healthcare system, e.g. the British National Health Service.

 

I understand your point, but what that glosses over is the fact that opponents to "socialized medicine" aren't necessarily opposed to every single measure that looks even remotely like it.

 

At any rate, flu shots don't count anyway, since the government actually purchases them from private enterprise.

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No it wasn't. The term "socialized medicine" refers to a conversion of the entire healthcare system, e.g. the British National Health Service.

 

I understand your point, but what that glosses over is the fact that opponents to "socialized medicine" aren't necessarily opposed to every single measure that looks even remotely like it.

 

At any rate, flu shots don't count anyway, since the government actually purchases them from private enterprise.

 

The term "socialized medicine" is a moving target. The Cato Institute, for example, seems to include SCHIP as socialized medicine even though SCHIP looks a lot more like free Blue Cross than the British National Health Serice.

 

I think we agree that some parts of "socialized medicine" are OK and some aren't. That was my point.

 

But, I would maintain that flu shots do count. The WHO and CDC (and others) determine what the vaccines should contain, advise who should get them and when, distribute the vaccines for free in many cases, and regulate the prices charged. This seems like an acceptable, effective mix of socialism and capitalism.

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But, I would maintain that flu shots do count. The WHO and CDC (and others) determine what the vaccines should contain, advise who should get them and when, distribute the vaccines for free in many cases, and regulate the prices charged. This seems like an acceptable, effective mix of socialism and capitalism.

 

So strangers I've never met decide what the vaccine contains without any regard to my preferences. These strangers also decide whether or not I can even have the shot. And, these same strangers apparently decide how much it will cost - market forces be damned. Of course, most of those consequences are my government of strangers exercising their advise.

 

I don't see anything acceptable about that. If you want parental control over your life then why not just move back in with mom and dad?

 

Seriously. Have you considered just how much of your survival you have "given up" to strangers? You entirely capitulate to them, with apparent infinite trust. I simply cannot relate to that kind of willful, fateful dependence on people I've never met.

 

Socialism promotes a dependence on external forces, which threatens self preservation skills which in turn begets more dependence...that can only ever encroach on our freedom, never relax from it. I don't believe this is good for humans at all. And I don't buy this benevolent bill of sale. You wouldn't believe Wal-Mart if they promised the best for you, so why do you believe government?

 

I would agree though that technical socialism and effective socialism are fairly transparent. While this particular example isn't technically socialism, it effectively is so.

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While Agri-business and some large scale farmers today may be considered wealthy, I don't think this has been so historically, especially in the 30's?
Just to clarify, don't forget that farmers get to keep most of the money they make because their income tax structure lets them write off practically everything they purchase as being a legitimate cost of doing business. They often house and feed their workers as part of their job package, their homes are on their place of business, and their vehicles are most often dual purpose and therefore can be amortized on their taxes. They do pay more in property taxes, but then they have a lot more property and therefore more real wealth. I'm not sure you'd find many working farmers these days who aren't millionaires (if that phrase retains any real meaning anymore).

 

I'm just saying.

Edited by Phi for All
clarification of tax type
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So strangers I've never met decide what the vaccine contains without any regard to my preferences. These strangers also decide whether or not I can even have the shot. And, these same strangers apparently decide how much it will cost - market forces be damned. Of course, most of those consequences are my government of strangers exercising their advise.

 

I don't see anything acceptable about that. If you want parental control over your life then why not just move back in with mom and dad?

 

Strangers, not market factors, decide what roads you can drive on, what safety features your car has installed on it, where your house can be built, and what beef you can eat. There is a difference between removing market determination for public safety and to avoid the Tragedy of the Commons with public assets, and removing market determination because corporations are greedy and we want everyone to get paid the same.

 

All of these things are controlled by the government only after market forces failed to address the problems they represent. That change represents pragmatism, not ideology.

Edited by Pangloss
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So strangers I've never met decide what the vaccine contains without any regard to my preferences. These strangers also decide whether or not I can even have the shot. And, these same strangers apparently decide how much it will cost - market forces be damned. Of course, most of those consequences are my government of strangers exercising their advise.

 

Since when were you qualified to comment on biochemistry and medicine? Your "preferences" are absolutely meaningless when it comes to creating a flu vaccine which works. Also, they don't decide whether or not you get to have a shot... that's between you and your doctor. They decide which segments of the population are most at risk for flu (like the elderly and diabetics) and make efforts to provide the flu shots to those people first and at lower cost whenever possible.

 

Also, market forces aren't a deciding factor in flu vaccines. If they were, the frakking companies would charge thousands of dollars per, because people would pay it. Not to mention that we'd have significant numbers of the population dying in some outbreak (my point, natural/biological forces are much more prominent than market ones in this discussion).

 

What you cast aside handily as nefarious is actually quite a positive activity which has helped millions and millions of people (and me personally) for a lot of years, and which also has intangible down-stream positive impact that is enormous. These people know what they're doing. They are maximizing the effectiveness and coverage of a limited resource, and they are reaching the greatest number of people. You can go to hell with your personal preferences and desire for free market on this one, my man. What they do works, and has for years.

 

Either way, though, I think Pangloss already established that flu shots are not socialism.

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Strangers, not market factors, decide what roads you can drive on, what safety features your car has installed on it, where your house can be built, and what beef you can eat. There is a difference between removing market determination for public safety and to avoid the Tragedy of the Commons with public assets, and removing market determination because corporations are greedy and we want everyone to get paid the same.

 

All of these things are controlled by the government only after market forces failed to address the problems they represent. That change represents pragmatism, not ideology.

 

This is true and I'm losing faith in it. I used to believe there was a moral and ethical imperative to force what's good for people in the face of their presumed ignorance of that good. Now I'm not so sure.

 

Strangers shouldn't dictate what safety features are on my car - they should advise. Roads and where my house can be built seems a fair regulation for the strangers in government, as it protects us from each other and is an allocated responsibility for government, in my opinion, not a mandate from Daddy USA supposedly for my own good.

 

Your point is taken though, and I meant for mine to question this insane benevolent presumption about government. It's the most corrupt body in the country. And we act like it's the natural check on corruption. It's a business with the weapon of law and order in its pocket. They are obsessed over revenue (effectively profit) and they have squandered the people's money - fed reserve - so much that it makes Enron look like a traffic violation.

 

But we trust these strangers? And we want to invest in this thing? Even more? What the....

 

How much abuse do we have to suffer before we realize that the leash on government is far less effective than the choker in a freer market. I would like to see the trend fall away from socialism - a healthy distrust of government. I would like to see a generation of Jeffersonians cut our government's footprint in half. If not more. It's not good for us to depend so much on other people, blindly, so profoundly ignorantly.

 

When I think how much of my survival I have given up to strangers it scares the hell out of me.

 

Since when were you qualified to comment on biochemistry and medicine? Your "preferences" are absolutely meaningless when it comes to creating a flu vaccine which works.

 

But "creating a flu vaccine which works" may not be my goal. Since when are you qualified to comment on my goal? It's my preference, no matter how stupid you think it is. But I really meant more in terms of a choice available in the market - that is undermined by government. For instance, Iran comes up with a great vaccine that includes some features unavailable in the US version - but we ignore it since they are on the list of terror countries, or, we're too proud to use it.

 

However, that's still a bad analogy, like you pointed out my doctor and I can do whatever we want. I concede your point.

 

Like I mentioned above replying to Pangloss, I'm really more concerned with our general acquiescence to external authority. It's becoming easier and easier to give up survival functions to strangers - strangers that have proven to be corrupt and self serving. There's nothing altruistic about government. I would trust business before government. Why? Because the business is motivated by profit - the government is motivated by power. Business lies to get my money. Government lies to control me and my money. And the government does it with that car salesman smile using appeals to protect me and my family in exchange for liberties.

 

I never trust someone who says "trust me".

 

Also, market forces aren't a deciding factor in flu vaccines. If they were, the frakking companies would charge thousands of dollars per, because people would pay it. Not to mention that we'd have significant numbers of the population dying in some outbreak (my point, natural/biological forces are much more prominent than market ones in this discussion).

 

Nah, that's not true. Exploitation is naturally checked when there is no government structure, or otherwise, to impede new players into the market. Exploitation by monopoly is not a free market phenomenon - it's a government regulated market phenomenon. Not saying regulation isn't needed, just pointing out that when you regulate, there is a consequence and we must realize it as we accept it. Regulation begets regulation. When a big business is artificially propped up with law - not market supply and demand forces - then it restricts competition therefore allowing that company to behave badly without penalty - so you must "watch" them, which usually takes the form of even more law.

 

That in mind, yes, I do believe the government does a great thing by providing these shots to those without access otherwise. But that's not socialism either. And I'm all for it.

Edited by ParanoiA
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Like I mentioned above replying to Pangloss, I'm really more concerned with our general acquiescence to external authority. It's becoming easier and easier to give up survival functions to strangers - strangers that have proven to be corrupt and self serving. There's nothing altruistic about government. I would trust business before government. Why? Because the business is motivated by profit - the government is motivated by power. Business lies to get my money. Government lies to control me and my money. And the government does it with that car salesman smile using appeals to protect me and my family in exchange for liberties.

 

I never trust someone who says "trust me".

 

That's understandable, especially given how often the government (or at least specific people in it) have abused the public trust. Skepticism is a good thing and we can certainly agree to disagree on specific instances of public efforts taking precedence over private ones.

 

That's how it should be -- the government should always be under scrutiny.

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I would like to see a generation of Jeffersonians cut our government's footprint in half.

 

Careful about Mr. Jefferson. Pay attention to what he did, not what he wrote. As a County Court Magistrate he took part in a system where he and the other Magistrates could, and did, decide who might follow which trade, what an inn-keeper could charge for a meal, what a night in a livery stable cost, whether people could even live in the county, who could be required to bear arms and who could be barred, whether residents could be forced to perform county public works, whether a single mother (or widow) could keep her children, and much more. Only the very few well-connected, wealthy gentlemen of Albemarle escaped this close regulation.

 

But, in regards to Pangloss and Inow, I agree that such things as flu shots are not pure socialism by any means. But, opponents of socialism are quick to point out any small parts as proof that a program is "the camel's nose under the tent" on the slippery slope to complete socialism (Think George Will.). I should be able to defend socialism on the same terms.

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Careful about Mr. Jefferson. Pay attention to what he did, not what he wrote. As a County Court Magistrate he took part in a system where he and the other Magistrates could, and did, decide who might follow which trade, what an inn-keeper could charge for a meal, what a night in a livery stable cost, whether people could even live in the county, who could be required to bear arms and who could be barred, whether residents could be forced to perform county public works, whether a single mother (or widow) could keep her children, and much more. Only the very few well-connected, wealthy gentlemen of Albemarle escaped this close regulation.

 

I can't find any detail to support your somewhat ambiguous claim that Jefferson did decide to regulate on the terms you spelled out. "Did" and "Could" have profoundly philosophically different conclusions.

 

But it matters little, since Jefferson and most of our forefathers and framers were hypocrites. They failed to live up to the ideals they catalyzed, which is why their written words are what matter. Hypocrites are a dime a dozen and we're all guilty - but hypocrisy has no real functional consequence. It's an emotional appeal that discredits one's character, but is entirely not related to the message - it is generally always advised to ignore the messenger, since even the most righteous can never fully live up to their own rhetoric.

 

Jefferson wrote beautifully. Sometimes his words make me cry. Because I hear the parable and I think I understand what he wanted to be, as if even he knew he wasn't the man he should be. And then other times he just seems to be an opportunistic asshole. Sounds like a spiritual, philosophical struggle that most of us should be able to relate with, if we're honest with ourselves.

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I can't find any detail to support your somewhat ambiguous claim that Jefferson did decide to regulate on the terms you spelled out.

Ambiguous? Not at all. Only the first Order Book survived the unexpected visit by Tarleton in 1781, but that one and those after 1781 are available at the Library of Virginia (you may be able to arrange for an interlibrary loan) and through the LDS (available for a few dollars at any LDS Family History Center). Of course, you can always visit the County Clerk's Office in Charlottesville. In general, order books show only the consensus of whichever magistrates bothered to sit that day. There was no such thing as a minority report. Thus, you will not find an action that can be specifically attributed solely to Mr. Jefferson. Nonetheless, the County Court system of government in Virginia was quite well documented. You might also consult Hennings Statutes at Large.

 

I agree we are all hypocrites and certainly Mr. Jefferson was as well. He was also quite verbose and people read into his writings perhaps more than he meant. I recommend Mr. Madison as an alternative.

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Fair enough, but Jefferson serves as the recognized badge of that ideology. We got Jeffersonians in the anti-federalist corner and Hamiltonians in the other. Maybe I should update my previous post that started all of this to say "I would like to see a generation of anti-federalists cut our government's footprint in half".

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Fair enough, but Jefferson serves as the recognized badge of that ideology. We got Jeffersonians in the anti-federalist corner and Hamiltonians in the other. Maybe I should update my previous post that started all of this to say "I would like to see a generation of anti-federalists cut our government's footprint in half".

 

That seems OK. I am, as you might guess, mostly a pragmatic federalist and I never thought of myself as a Hamiltonian (I keep thinking energy) but I could accept the label I think. I've never read much Hamilton, so I'm not completely sure.

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Rather than getting involved, just a couple thoughts...

 

When a person joins the US Military today (any branch) they are given a battery of test. From these test your profession in that branch is often determined, little to no choice. The end results can be beneficial to the person or maybe not...

 

Vaccines in general given or required are determined or agreed to by School Districts, usually from recommendations of some State Health Agency or from the Federal mandates given, to receive Grants. Under Socialism, choice is removed from the equation or the parents/child has no alternative. In the US today, aside from Home Schooling, Private or Religious Schools, you can pack your bags and move elsewhere. Registration for the Draft, is US Law, every male whether a citizen or not is required to register, but many States have little or no enforcement of that law.

 

In the US today, there are thousands of communities (many towns) with laws/rule/regulation on everything from the size of home you build, what color you can paint your house, where you cannot park you personal car and closing the garage door, ages of occupants, what can be on your roof your trash can and hundreds of things to comply with. For all practical purpose this would be considered socialism, much more likely communism. Incremental imposition of these rule/laws etc., and the incremental of acceptance of them is what I fear for upcoming generations and see everyday in various movements, especially environmental issue or groups pushing the moral norms to their personal desires.

 

These examples are local and there are many more examples where very little to no government (any) requirement are enforced. Socialism offers no choice...Even our Federal Tax system is a choice; if you earn enough money (choice), have not obligated to some expense (kid's, paying interest, other deductible expenses) you are required to pay more, your choice.

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