- Capitalism and Alternatives -

A positioning statement

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on October 12, 1999 at 16:35:14:

Lets put some cards on tables, or something. Lets short circuit any upcoming exchanges of ad hominems (they're dull) by doing a positioning piece.

It seems some posters feel I must exist in order to defend what is currently the status quo of the west, or that hinting that private property is not the cause of a given evil is as dreadful as throwing grenades into a maternity wing. I can see these comfortable pigeon holes into which the 'USA is best' posters might fit, but its rather lazy if applied here.

This year of discussions has been interesting. What i've learned is that were I to appear in a socialist society as described by our much missed fellow poster Red Deathy I could quickly adapt to enjoy life there. I've also learned that for such a society to come about and remain stable it requires, most definitely, the vast (and I mean vast) majority of people to be absolutely in favor of living in stateless socialism and dedicated to making it possible every day- its very fragile, populist powermongers (whether religious, warlike or whatever) and freeloaders could destroy it quite quickly. It also requires, I would add, a broad tolerance among this 'many' to inequalities borne of peoples tendency to prefer one person over another. Equality would not be absolute either materially or personally, but if everyone was so inclined I personally could see no problem in living there. The variety of goods, hobbies, activities and opportunities in life would be most reasonable! However, what is real is that very few people are so inclined. Hence the problem with it all.

However, apart from RD's 'once its all happened' image of an agreeable society committed to general benevolence and pleasantness, all I see in other suggestions is endless opportunity for another batch of Lenin/Stalin's - another set of oppressive regimes whether they be national, international or town council sized and a society plan which includes the opportunity for the many to oppress the few on a whim, or more likely - to do so via the equivalent of brownshirts. Where the able are enslaved to provide for things they don't value, where life is determined by some 'administrative' body. These alternatives leave me cold. Any society where your every action has to be checked with the whim and the opinion of others, however foolish, sounds awful. Any society where the greater your ability the greater your obliged debt to everyone else, regardless of your preference, sounds awful. Any society which has as its premise the denial of a person as one who discriminates between alternative choices, including how they value people, has quicksand for its foundation and tyranny at the helm.

History is not on the 'classless' society's side. Apart from a few exceptions every civilisation has been characterised by hierarchy whether is be royalty, race, caste or tribal position there have always seemed to be leaders and those they are most dependant upon - the great many who prefer to be lead than to lead their own destinies.

Its these threats and consequences that need to be so heavily scrutinized whenever someone offers 'the socialist alternative' or engages in criticism of private property and indivualism.

And doing so is fun, aswell.

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