Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Socialism - The Big Liberal Idea - A History

How about a history lesson on Socialism, the ideal the dems are so on fire about. The info you are about to read is from Wikipedia. Please make note of the mention of Karl Marx....

Socialism refers to a broad array of ideologies and political movements with
the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of
wealth are subject to control by the community.[1] This control may be either
direct—exercised through popular collectives such as workers' councils—or
indirect—exercised on behalf of the people by the state. As an economic system,
socialism is often characterized by state, worker, or community ownership of the
means of production, goals which have been attributed to, and claimed by, a
number of political parties and governments throughout history.

The modern socialist movement largely originated in the late-19th century
working class movement. In this period, the term 'socialism' was first used in
connection with European social critics who criticized capitalism and private
property. For Karl Marx, who helped establish and define the modern socialist
movement, socialism would be the socioeconomic system that arises after the
proletarian revolution, in which the means of production are owned collectively.
This society would then progress into communism.

Since the 19th century, socialists have not agreed on a common doctrine or
program. Various adherents of socialist movements are split into differing and
sometimes opposing branches, particularly between reformists and
revolutionaries. Some socialists have championed the complete nationalization of
the means of production, while social democrats have proposed selective
nationalization of key industries within the framework of mixed economies. Some
Marxists, including those inspired by the Soviet model of economic development,
have advocated the creation of centrally planned economies directed by a state
that owns all the means of production. Others, including Communists in
Yugoslavia and Hungary in the 1970s and 1980s, Chinese Communists since the
reform era, and some Western economists, have proposed various forms of market
socialism, attempting to reconcile the presumed advantages of cooperative or
state ownership of the means of production with letting market forces, rather
than central planners, guide production and exchange.[2] Anarcho-syndicalists,
Luxemburgists (such as those in the Socialist Party USA) and some elements of
the United States New Left favor decentralized collective ownership in the form
of cooperatives or workers' councils.

Now, thats a lot of info to digest. One could even think the idea is a good one, until you read about the idea's founder:

Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century
philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. Often called the father of
communism, Marx was both a scholar and a political activist. He addressed a wide
range of political as well as social issues, and is known for, amongst other
things, his analysis of history. His approach is indicated by the opening line
of the Communist Manifesto (1848): “The history of all hitherto existing society
is the history of class struggles”. Marx believed that capitalism, like previous
socioeconomic systems, will produce internal tensions which will lead to its
destruction. Just as capitalism replaced feudalism, capitalism itself will be
displaced by communism, a classless society which emerges after a transitional
period in which the state would be nothing else but the revolutionary
dictatorship of the proletariat.

On the one hand, Marx argued for a systemic understanding of socioeconomic
change. On this model, it is the structural contradictions within capitalism
which necessitate its end, giving way to communism: “The development of Modern
Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the
bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore
produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the
proletariat are equally inevitable.” — (The Communist Manifesto)

On the other hand, Marx argued that socioeconomic change occurred through
organized revolutionary action. On this model, capitalism will end through the
organized actions of an international working class: "Communism is for us not a
state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will]
have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the
present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the
premises now in existence." (from The German Ideology)

While Marx was a relatively obscure figure in his own lifetime, his ideas
began to exert a major influence on workers' movements shortly after his death.
This influence was given added impetus by the victory of the Marxist Bolsheviks
in the Russian October Revolution, and there are few parts of the world which
were not significantly touched by Marxian ideas in the course of the twentieth
century. The relation of Marx to "Marxism" is a point of controversy. Marxism
remains influential and controversial in academic and political circles.

Considering Marx had a hand in both the development of Communism, which he was obviously enthusiastic about, and Socialism, which was later developed and history shows us often progresses to Communism, wouldn't this be an idea thats blatantly unconstitutional?

Socialism manifests itself through large government programs, higher taxes for said programs, and redistribution of wealth - ideas all held by both democratic candidates. They are also big on dis arming the citizens. Something the writers of the constitution seemed to think was a sign of a government trying to seize absolute control rather than allow the people to govern themselves.


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