: I like this forum, its a competion of ideas, a market place of thought (hehe)
: Free speech is the vital ingredient in a worthwhile society, yet i remember some 'reds' i used to know wanting to ban works by people like von mises, rand, friedman and others - so as not to 'poison' the purity of socialist teachings.
: If free speech stays in a hypothetical socialist society isnt there a risk of people re-discovering the 'great works' of pro capitalists and starting a movement much like yours, until the collective class gain individual consciousness and turn over the socialist ways?
Long gone the days when people could argue that communists ideas could save the world. Free speech (as you mention) and experience proved that such thing could never exist.
Yet, the question still remains: Is there a political alternative to capitalism as it exists today? Despite your irony this debate could create good ideas.
The person in its individuality is proved to be the proper source and indeed the only effective core of decision making in the society. The complexity of human nature and the freedom of the man as this was awarded by God may not be limited by any collective choice.
Thus the center of socialism should (and really is) the person in its unity. The main issue which socialism attempts to introduce is the definition of wealth and the way to achieve it.
Unlike capitalism which mainly defines wealth in monetary terms (like the per capita income) socialism adds on the monetary terms some other issues which can boil down to the notion of quality of life of the individual and of the nation in general.
Environment, care for the elderly-poor-handicapped, education, health, culture, arts etc are given the appropriate emphasis through an institutionalised framework. This emphasis originates from the belief that they create wealth. This wealth is measurable. (A simplified example: If you travel to a park every 15 days and this travel costs you $15 and if 100 thousand families do the same then this park's value is at least $36 millions per year -24x15x100K- because this is how much you value the pleasure (wealth) of your picnic.)
The framework in which a socialist government may operate is a matter of debate and it is in itself a variable (ie it changes through time). For this we have the different party conventions, the parliament, free speech and above all the peoples vote.
The priorities are decided through the political agenda which brings a government into power.
Socialism as an alternative proposition to capitalism tries to detect and then support issues which create wealth but they could not have been flourish if they are left alone to private initiative.
The cornerstone of such a system is always the individual. Do not forget this and try to be constructive in this exchange of ideas.