: It amazes me that intellectuals think I should read a book to tell me how or what I think.
Reading books is not exclusively the task of intellectuals! Only a capitalist society where education has a price tag placed upon would produce such an elitist view. As far as thinking is concerning, I'm not telling you how to think, Stuart, I'm merely telling you how I think.
:...whether or not a tyrant who threatens our way of life should be stopped with force?
Yes, exactly. The tyrant of the working class is the bourgeoisie who needs to be stopped---with force (since sweet talk hasn't worked too well). In your specific case, you are a petty bourgeois who historically has been known to side with labor once the monopolies have squeezed you dry...
: I'm self employed with 8 employees and I've never worker harder or smarter than I do right now. Remove the prospect of economic disparity and see how fast I bail out of this enterprise.
When your eight employees have had enough of giving up their surplus value to you and get the chance to work for themselves, then you may find out just how hard they are willing to work---without the threat of starvation hanging over them, that is. One of the things that may induce them to rid themselves of you is the fact that once capitalists like yourself cease to profit (perhaps due to monopoly practices of other capitalists) you do 'bail out'---leaving your workers (and their corresponding needs as represented by the commodities they produce under your command) high and dry. Production for people, not profits (as the slogan goes)...
: If a man were to make $6.00 per hour for his entire career and the socialism that exists to the extent that it does today in the U.S. was removed...
Number games bore me, Stuart. Besides, what's really important isn't what people 'make,' but rather what they do. As long as their labor is a product up for sale to guys like you who own all the means of production, they will not really be doing what they want, now will they? Or making what they really want!---as far as production goes, most commodities that people produce are Dept. 1 commodities that primarily benefit only other capitalists (such as military equipment, plant, etc.).
: Your [sic] not actually blaming capitalism for the current woes in Russia are you, Barry?
Well, we can't exactly pin that one on Joseph Stalin, now can we?
When progressives maintain that the Soviet Union, etc., didn't 'get socialism right' the capitalist defenders love to gloat: 'Qualifications, qualifications!' Right? Now it's their turn to qualify!
Here's my take: There's nothing aberrant going on in Russia. The lawless land grab, the violent separation of the people and the means of production, that's precisely what is required to produce capitalism; later, once a landless proletariat is fully established, then---and only then---will 'civil' law become established (protecting the new property owners). What's fascinating about Russia is that we can see---in all its hideous clarity---the rapacious development of capitalism as it has always been in all other lands.
Now, Stuart, how about a little reading to round out your anecdotal observations? After all, observations from the minority perspective do have their limits.(1)
Famous Stoller footnote:
1. No more than 10% of the American population have access to the means of production (i.e. work for themselves). Source: Business Week, 28 November 1994, p. 34.