Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I make it a point to try to learn about liberals, not pummel them in some counterproductive caveman “me win you lose” Internet dust-up, when I engage them. I try. It’s not easy, because you have to have buy-in from both sides if you’re going to keep the ego investment out of it and have a truly enlightening exchange of ideas.
But, interestingly, it seems I have come up with a way to effectively service the me-win-you-lose thing entirely by accident, when I was actually trying to service the find-out-what-makes-them-tick thing. Furthermore, I notice 1) I did it twice in a fairly brief range of space, a mere 8 comments total in the thread; 2) both times my argument was unanswered, presumably unanswerable, when one inspects the context and how easy it should have been to provide an answer if there was one; and 3) the two examples in which this took place are quite good, in that they are representative of occasions within our experience as a whole, in which the liberal viewpoint wanders into this (unintentional) trap. Other sides of the discussion can offer specifics. Theirs can’t.
It simply looks like this:
Liberal: [talking point]
Conservative: [request for specifics]
Liberal: derp derp derp.
The two examples in which it occurred were “Do some research on [affirmative action and] privilege,” and “do you even know what communism actually is [as applied to the Obama administration]?” I politely inquire where it is I’ve made any kind of meaningful mistake, specifically, and it’s time for a topic-change. Or cheesecake, or something.
The affirmative action thing is obviously just so much nonsense…”do some research on privilege,” pffft, please stop insulting my intelligence. I suppose I should say a few words about communism, since the answer to the question is yes I do know what communism is, and I’m frankly quite fed up with liberals swaggering around with their condescending and meaningless rhetorical “do you know what it is” questions fully intending to confuse the argument and divert the topic, not in the least bit intending to learn (or teach) what anything is. October is supposed to be anti-bullying month, or something, is it not? Isn’t that as good an example of bullying as any other, trying to intimidate people from talking about communism with pointed questions that aren’t intended to shed any light on anything?
Communism is, simply, living in a commune. But as an objective of political refinement and readjustment within an established society, it refers to an economic model in which private properly has been entirely eliminated and the society is classless. It has not actually been practiced since it isn’t possible. It is a dream. Were it to be a reality, then its proving ground would have been Communist Russia, Communist China or Communist Cuba, or the like, but these countries were not & are not “classless.” Private ownership of property, insofar as it matters, has not been stripped away or eliminated. Communism is, therefore, a Utopian dream; “Utopian” in the sense that the name “Utopia” is thought to be translated from the Greek, “no place.”
And so a Communist would be someone who entertains such a dream.
1. theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
2. a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.
3. the principles and practices of the Communist party.
The Communist Manifesto citation, brings us to socialism, and we may as well drill down into that one as well:
1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.
A Socialist, therefore, would be someone who labors toward this ideal of communism, along an avenue of incremental displacement of private ownership in favor of community ownership, starting with the means of production. And, as a consequence of this simple recognition, we find the terms “communist” and “socialist” are indeed interchangeable. With the single exception of, I suppose, a person could be called a socialist and not a communist if he wants to adopt a little bit of socialism and then stop at some point…but I dunno. I’m in a state of “I’ll believe it when I see it” about that. I’ve seen of, and heard from, quite a few socialists in my time — never have I made the acquaintance of anybody who, by their actions, championed some limited measure of progress down the socialist path and then actively resisted anything further. That seems to me as likely as your pet dog wolfing down half a beef steak and then saving the rest for later.
Now regarding socialism: We have an interesting quandary here because Definition #1, like so many other dictionary definitions, calls out “the means of production.” This part is lifted from Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto; “distribution,” from what I’ve been able to make out about it, is a softening of Marxist terminology to help it make the transformation from an agricultural age into a post-industrial, web-based one. This would help to answer that nagging question someone was raising, “If the government wanted to nationalize Facebook to leverage this ‘socialist’ progress, exactly what assets would it seize?” In the twenty-first century we find ourselves dealing with a lot of assets that only become assets after the distribution has been achieved, and aren’t actually produced anywhere. So the asset, rather than being a shock of grain or the farm tools used to harvest it, is simply thought. And here is the real danger of the communism/socialism dream: Ultimately, to achieve its progress, it has to declare ownership over human thought. It has to nationalize human brain activity itself. At least in this day and age that is the case, and it arguably has been that way for generations.
It could be that the lefties who so bumptiously and bullyingly inquire “do you know what communism is?” harbor their suspicions that I am broadening the definition beyond what is printed in the dictionaries, but are not quite able to define how. Well they’re right, so I will fill the gaps in for them.
Communism, and socialism, in practice are distinguished from other socioeconomic models of function and ambition in the sense that they see all forms of human material success as problems that have to be solved. The only exception to this is human material success that is universal and uniform throughout a defined community. That is okay with them, if it ever happens, but all other forms of prosperity are evil. Communism and socialism see unshared material success as an evil; in fact, they envision the resolution and vanquishing of this evil, as a noble ambition, perhaps in some cases as the absolute pinnacle of human achievement. If the material prosperity does not happen then neither does the evil, and there is no problem that has to be solved. And so they are a perfect negative-filtering of right-thinking and productive people, in that they see achievement as the opposite of achievement, and the reversal or abrogation of that achievement, as the achievement itself. They set themselves up for that grandest and most harmful of human delusions, the mistaking of creative endeavors for destructive ones and vice-versa.
That is a workable “definition” in that it suitably and realistically distinguishes these ideologies from their rival ideologies.
That is the definition I use. I just got specific with it. They can’t.
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