: No, NJ said that I should read some history. I agree, and would like recommendations. I may end up dismissing them as green commie propaganda after I read them but, until then, I don't know how I'll react.
More than a tad of political prejudice there on my part perhaps, I apologise, although you must understand that in my experience I find capitalists are not the most open minded of people.
: You might be interested to know, by the way, that I used to be one of you. Until 1997, I was a self-described socialist, anti-capitalist, regular reader of Z Magazine and Noam Chomsky. I proudly voted for Ralph Nader in '96.
Interesting, but what variety of socialist would you have been? There was a magazine over here called Living Marxism, a Trotskyist rag, that became a ultra militant Libertarian rag over night because one of the editors had a change of heart. What was apparent however was the dogmatic style of writting and views hadn't changed one bit. If you are a dogmatist and believe in absolutes, I find you can switch ideologies very easily.
: In 1997, I read some stuff that gradually made me change my mind. (What stuff I read is irrelevant, because I think that it would take different books or events to change the minds of different people.)
Possibly, I would like to know if it was actual capitalist material or merely anti-communist/socialist material, are you one of the capitalism is all we have the alternative is horrendous brigade?
Incidentally 'Z-Socialism' or American Socialism is the very, very best in the world if you ask me (my personal preferences for liberation theology and religious socialism aside that is), libertarian in a very smart manner.
: However, I will admit that I was never a very well-read socialist. Mainly, I got my information from Z, other periodicals, and discussions with friends.
It's odd you should say that because I was once the very well read variety, I could quote Marx like the Bible, but then I read a lot of Z style material and found that I should dump the dogma for an open minded variety of socialism inspired by humanism, although that is a very personal perspective and I dont think all socialists think alike for a second, some want cheap, high quality services and low taxation, some want a little dignity at work (even if it's undigified tasks they are carrying out), some have a real empathy with the state, others dont.
It's all a rich tapestry.
: Now, most of those friends, while still friends, think I've gone crazy or something. This is not a comfortable position to be in, so, in a way, I'm actually HOPING that someone will present me with right argument, the one that will bring me back.
How unusual. I've got a lot of respect for people who can tough out their positions, you are sincere, friend, just wrong.
: I should get the chance to respond to the rest of your post this weekend. I just wanted to pause a moment and let you know where I'm coming from. I want to read opposing views.
I enjoy reading the views of capitalist too, when they arent simply out to wind me up like Frenchy, or employ my posts as amusing office laughter material amongst their office colleagues.
: Speaking of which, can you believe that NO library in the ENTIRE Chicago Public Library system carries that Andrew Vincent book you recommended? (Looks like I'll have to rely on a private capitalist institution rather than that public one!)
Oh, no doubt, the public system has been run into the ground no end by an unsympathetic public, career politicians and ruthlessly competitive private sector initiatives. The university liberary is a wealth of ancient material but it's not much use when your trying to hunt out crucial assignment resources, there was this book on the pernicious 'third way' (there's nothing I hate more than unprincipaled career politicians who posture to the media and employ a spin doctor propaganda unit to get them elected and then electorate be damned) I needed in first year and I had to buy it, the library only has a copy now two years later (I think it was donated by a student aswell!!!).
That Andrew Vincent book is the business though, he has written a very good book on theories of the state also, which considers anarchy to be possible but only when the independence of the individual and political and moral maturity exist in a correct ratio.
I'd recommend 'Unto This Last' by Ruskin aswell, the pragmatic 'end result' socialism that he advocates in this book of public sector industry competeing honestly in a complementary fashion but setting standards in excellence and efficiency with private sector initiatives is a bit dated, when you consider the intolerance of private capitalist intiatives to competition or the intolerance of some libertarian ideologues to public enterprise, but it might demonstrate that socialists arent the mean minded naive souls that starred in Hayek's 'The Road To Serfdom'.