: The Weimar Republic (heavy social programs) lead to Hitler. Marxism led to Stalin. Marxism led to Mao. Aren't these examples of wrong-headedness?
I think that's too simple a way to brand things 'wrong-headed'. For instance: "THEN, is it not true US foreign policies lead to all those horrendous coups and massacres?" or maybe "didn't LBJ lead to the war in Vietnam?" or "didn't Adam Smith lead to the Big Depression?". I assume you get the general picture.
Weimar had potentially nothing to do with the Nazional Sozialisten (who, by the way, had nothing to do with the Sozial Demokrats either..), Lenin's interpretation and years of brain-busting Bolshevik/Menshevik debate, isolation of the Soviet Union and whole other chunks of good and heavy reasons lead to Stalin, and Maoism, has almost nothing to do with Marxism(though it's popularity during the "Revival of the Left" of '68). Basically that sort of 'branding' is why Mr. Nikhil cried out "facts please", I think.
As I LOVE to say, capitalists sure had THEIR SHARE of idiocy, and I'm sorry to say Mr.Horowitz's claim on 'Lefty atrocities' is pretty much same-same compared to some of the things 'Righties' did during 1945~1989. After all, (I know this is childish, but) traitors do tend to justify their betrayal by putting down harshly what they once believed right,
: I understand that there are other forms of Socialism that lefties love to point to as 'sucessful', like Sweden.
Well yes, Sweden is certainly a case, but as Mr.Lark would say, since the 'Left' is not necessarily one whole big left, to some not. Many policies of the Swedish Social Democrats have been a topic of hot debate amongst the 'Left'. Sweden is, after all, a very intersting country. Let's put it this way, comparing 'wrong-headedness' is probably gonna last a long wasteful length of time, since the capitalist right aren't that clean either. Why, if I were to discuss the 'wrong-headedness' of the US against my country, it'll probably take days.
: Here in the States social engineering programs have had devastating effects, particularly by those segments of the population that have bought into them; blacks.
: Generations of black families have become totally dependant on Welfare, thanks to a 'benevolent' government and it's social programs.
: Isn't that wrong-headed?
And the problem of Social Welfare, well, that's a delicate matter, too. Which requires subtle studies on the rise and fall of Keynesianism in America, and the re-incarnation of Adam Smith as Neo-Liberalist/Friedman style reforms.
The thing is..
These things aren't much like slicing tofu into to pieces. Here's a slice of reason for that, here's a slice of reason for another.
Rather it's more like a bowl of rice. Each mingling piece of rice has something to do with the condition of the 'bowl of rice' as a whole.
I think maybe you could try a little harder on the debate.
Try to give some more thougt maybe, I think you are acting a little too simple... Just an opinion.
ps) Would it change your views on Solzhenytzin if you had known he was a hard-line nationalist with near-racist ideals?