Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
tomandlu

Am I A Socialist?

37 posts in this topic

I've always been happy to label myself as a socialist, but I'm never entirely sure how accurate the label is.

In favour of the label:

  • I'm in favour of a progressive tax system
  • I'm in favour of the welfare state, the principal of the NHS and free education at all levels
  • I'm in favour of many aspects of employment law designed to protect the interests of the employees
  • I'm in favour of basic infrastructure (roads, power, water, etc.) being provided and maintained by the state*

Against:

  • I believe that it is the responsibility of government to do what it must do, not what it can do
  • I believe that welfare benefits should never be seen as an acceptable option to working
  • I believe that governments should regard reducing tax on earned income and productive businesses as a moral duty
  • I believe that governments should seek to be as unobtrusive as possible
  • I believe that if a law cannot be clearly and unambiguously justified, then it shouldn't exist

The 'For' list seems to me vaguely socialist (at least by my definition), but the 'Against' list would to some extent would get me branded as a partial libertarian. Am I just confused and trying to believe in things that essentially contradict each other, or does the rather one dimensional nature of political branding inevitably create this confusion where none need exist?

* on the basis that duplication is wasteful, but a private monopoly would end up being extortionate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always been happy to label myself as a socialist, but I'm never entirely sure how accurate the label is.

In favour of the label:

  • I'm in favour of a progressive tax system

  • I'm in favour of the welfare state, the principal of the NHS and free education at all levels

  • I'm in favour of many aspects of employment law designed to protect the interests of the employees

  • I'm in favour of basic infrastructure (roads, power, water, etc.) being provided and maintained by the state*

Against:

  • I believe that it is the responsibility of government to do what it must do, not what it can do

  • I believe that welfare benefits should never be seen as an acceptable option to working

  • I believe that governments should regard reducing tax on earned income and productive businesses as a moral duty

  • I believe that governments should seek to be as unobtrusive as possible

  • I believe that if a law cannot be clearly and unambiguously justified, then it shouldn't exist

The 'For' list seems to me vaguely socialist (at least by my definition), but the 'Against' list would to some extent would get me branded as a partial libertarian. Am I just confused and trying to believe in things that essentially contradict each other, or does the rather one dimensional nature of political branding inevitably create this confusion where none need exist?

* on the basis that duplication is wasteful, but a private monopoly would end up being extortionate

Seems socially liberal, and economically liberal too. As a contrast to many state socialists who are socially liberal but economically controlling. Or the American style libertarians who are economically liberal but socially controlling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, you're a hopeless idealist.

Nothing wrong with idealism! It's at the heart of political manifestos, except Labour who dropped Clause IV in 1994.

WE are all both socialist and capitalists at the same time. We like to earn money to buy stuff, and hope that the Government will be fair to those less fortunate, and maybe even ourselves occasionally.

I certainly hope I am less "wrong" than that Ms Harrison, who seems to have fleeced a lot of the taxpayers' (our) money, running fake job getting schemes! :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The problem with Socialism is that sooner or later it runs out of other people's money" - Margaret Thatcher

I see nothing in your supportive arguments that would lead to this, so no, you are not a socialist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The problem with Socialism is that sooner or later it runs out of other people's money" - Margaret Thatcher

I see nothing in your supportive arguments that would lead to this, so no, you are not a socialist.

It's not just a Socialist problem! I'm really glad I sold my Bradford and Bingley shares (when I found them in a drawer), and bought a Fender Telecaster guitar, cos those shares would be worthless now! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[*]I'm in favour of many aspects of employment law designed to protect the interests of the employees

[*]I believe that welfare benefits should never be seen as an acceptable option to working

Not contradictory, if the interests of employees include fair pay that is higher than non-working benefits.

I think that a lot of the problem is not that benefits are too high, but pay is too low for most unskilled workers. It's the people at the very top that rake in the real wealth.

Edited by happy_renting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a little bit of socialism is a good thing, but not too much!

They are a bit like weeds, you let a couple in and suddenly they take over.

Before you know it all the good/useful plants have been over-grown and your garden is a mess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They are a bit like weeds, you let a couple in and suddenly they take over.

Before you know it all the good/useful plants have been over-grown and your garden is a mess.

weeds are just unwanted plants, some of them, when tended and utilised properly, can make a good addition to a garden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, you're a hopeless idealist.

Well, at least the 'hopeless' implies a certain level of realism. Hopeful idealists are much worse.

"The problem with Socialism is that sooner or later it runs out of other people's money" - Margaret Thatcher

I see nothing in your supportive arguments that would lead to this, so no, you are not a socialist.

"The problem with Capitalism is that sooner or later, other people run out of money" - me

One of my arguments against pure free-market capitalism is that it is inherently dynastic, offering the least advantage to those who need it most. To put it another way, my problem with free-market capitalism is that it's not free-market capitalism. My problem with socialism in this country is that it seems to possess neither a calculator nor a sense of humility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems socially liberal, and economically liberal too. As a contrast to many state socialists who are socially liberal but economically controlling. Or the American style libertarians who are economically liberal but socially controlling.

hello ?

My link

"It is generally used to describe political philosophies which emphasize freedom, individual liberty, and voluntary association."

doesn't sound socially controlling to me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The old left/right wing labels don't really apply anymore (if they ever did).

In this country we've had a long tradition of liberal socialist conservatism (lower case) - typically the values that you enumerate.

That's what I consider myself and most other working people in this country, although perhaps more "libertarian".

I know people who are in The Labour party who I would consider more Right wing than me (e.g. tuition fees) and Tories that are more Left (socialism for failed companies etc).

The issue of paying people more to be on benefits than work doesn't seem to be Socialism to me - it's just Batsh*t craziness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"The problem with Socialism is that sooner or later it runs out of other people's money" - Margaret Thatcher

Would Thatcher have applied this to the bailing out the bankers when they too ran out of other people's money?

The biggest welfare queens in history are on Wall street and in the City, so the distinction between a 'socialist' and a 'capitalist' is increasingly hard to make these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hello ?

My link

"It is generally used to describe political philosophies which emphasize freedom, individual liberty, and voluntary association."

doesn't sound socially controlling to me

OK, wrong terminology, but you know the types I mean. I was thinking of the Political Compass or Nolan Chart idea of economic and social views being considered independently rather than bundled up into a single left/right label.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The old left/right wing labels don't really apply anymore (if they ever did).

In this country we've had a long tradition of liberal socialist conservatism (lower case) - typically the values that you enumerate.

That's what I consider myself and most other working people in this country, although perhaps more "libertarian".

I know people who are in The Labour party who I would consider more Right wing than me (e.g. tuition fees) and Tories that are more Left (socialism for failed companies etc).

The issue of paying people more to be on benefits than work doesn't seem to be Socialism to me - it's just Batsh*t craziness.

The whole idea of left and right is to stop you thinking about the alternatives. They present a false dichotomy, which then we're supposed to squabble over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, at least the 'hopeless' implies a certain level of realism. Hopeful idealists are much worse.

"The problem with Capitalism is that sooner or later, other people run out of money" - me

One of my arguments against pure free-market capitalism is that it is inherently dynastic, offering the least advantage to those who need it most. To put it another way, my problem with free-market capitalism is that it's not free-market capitalism. My problem with socialism in this country is that it seems to possess neither a calculator nor a sense of humility.

The problem is, what people think is a free market system is usually nothing of the sort. While governments exists, there cannot be a free market system.

Unless you think that theft and violence are acceptable, any sort of state will not be the answer you are looking for though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To add, there is nothing wrong with socialism, just as long as it isn't imposed on people with force.

Choosing to be part of a socialist community is a perfectly fine thing to do. If you want to pool resources and share things, that's just great. Just don't force people who disagree to do the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting post tomandlu, I've been thinking about this myself lately.

I agree with all of your 'for and against' points.

I feel completely unrepresented by the current political system.

I have previously voted Liebour (not in the last election), but frankly I'm disgusted with myself and feel (dirty!) as though I was completely conned by New Labour. :angry:

I'm mid 30's so can't remember the Labour party pre-new labour when it was actually socialist and represented WORKING people. But from what I have gathered Old Labour wasn't exactly a roaring success.

I'm not poor enough to benefit from Labour's benefit giveaway bonanza, nor rich enough to benefit from the tax loop holes and scams they encouraged. Uncontrolled immigration, selling gold when they should have been buying it, stupid and obvious accounting fraud via PFI / off balance sheet 'creative accounting', not addressing massive social and infra structure problems in the good times, knowing they would stitch up the incoming Government as there is 'no money left'....etc etc etc etc etc etc..... I really can't imagine voting Labour ever again frankly.

Despite being interested in politics and current affairs I honestly have no idea what the Liberals stand for (apart from their own sense of power and their expenses claims). Are they supposed to be some sort of Tory 'lite' ? Whatever, Clegg appears to be ineffective idiot, who says whatever he thinks his current audience want to hear. I hear people say that they temper the worst excesses of the evil Tory party, but from where I'm watching NOTHING is being done and maybe the liberals are part of the problem rather than the solution?

I find my personal politics drifting slightly to the right (of centre) as I get older, more frustrated and disenfranchised, yet I find very little appealing about the current conservative party. Camoron seems out of his depth, Osborne is a joke, they we're completely ineffective in opposition and appear unable or unwilling to grasp the nettle and get anything done. They have royally stitched up the young and don't seem to care one jot. They back tracked on an EU referendum. They seem unable or unwilling to stop British businesses being sold aboard (Cadburys gone, bombardier contracts to Germany, Jaguar and Landrover next to go?). They stand idle whilst the public are fleeced by energy and fuel companies. They appear completely unable to control our Borders, FFS! they had years to get a policy in place in opposition but failed to because it was 'controversial' and not the soft image they wanted to portray in the media, yet now there are in office it's a total shambles - even worse than before! Who exactly DO they represent? the 1% I suppose, it doesn't feel as if it’s me anyway.

UKIP, well whilst I agree we should have got out of the Euro superstate ages ago, are they really a serious party of government? I've no idea what their other policies are, and I suspect neither have they.

Everyone else, pretty much nutters (BNP, greens etc).

The whole right wing / left wing bullsh*t seems out of date and pointless. Capitalism is totally corrupted, and communism failed.

Politics and democracy is completely broken in the UK and it would seem most of the world. I've no idea how we fix it. Most people really can't be arsed, I'm tempted to join them as it would be much easier, but then THEY would WIN. :ph34r::(

(sigh).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Politics and democracy is completely broken in the UK and it would seem most of the world. I've no idea how we fix it. Most people really can't be arsed, I'm tempted to join them as it would be much easier, but then THEY would WIN. :ph34r::(

(sigh).

Politics has failed and it's not worth trying to fix it. It has been an interesting experiment over the last few centuries, but it is time to try something else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Politics has failed and it's not worth trying to fix it. It has been an interesting experiment over the last few centuries, but it is time to try something else.

Yeah, I agree, but what? is there any system of democracy that works anywhere, there must be some that are more successful and fairer than others. That would be somewhere to start, but I don't think it's a lack of ideas more a lack of will to change the status quo which is the problem, everything is just fine as it is for those who have the 'power' to decide to change these things. Maybe it's about time the MP's are reminded WHO THE F*CK THEY WORK FOR!!

Interesting times ahead as we find out I suppose, but will it be a slow motion evolution so we hardly notice or a revolution / anarchy shit storm?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0