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Old 06-03-2019, 09:11 AM
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How Democrats should talk about socialism


IMO, Democrats should emphasize that we already have a hybrid system, and have for many decades -- many of our institutions are socialized (i.e. run by the government -- whether local, state, or federal), and many non-socialized institutions and sectors are regulated by government. We should emphasize that some things (defense, fire-fighting, law enforcement, etc.) have been proven to be more effective and efficient when socialized, and other things are clearly more effective and efficient when delivered by the free market (entertainment and leisure, for example, as well as many tech industries), with many involving both government and the free market. We should reiterate that socialism shouldn't be feared, since it's been part of the American system since its founding.

IMO this should be the basis when beginning discussions of things like universal health care. If we're capitulating to the framework of black and white "socialist vs capitalist" debates, then we're going to lose those debates.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 06-03-2019 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:39 AM
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Too much of the electorate sees things in only black and white and cannot distinguish any shade of gray. To them, socialism=communism=evil and whether it's 100% socialism or 1% socialism is immaterial. Those who equate socialism with Satan worship are unreachable by logic, so why bother trying to split hairs with such folk?
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:50 AM
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Too much of the electorate sees things in only black and white and cannot distinguish any shade of gray. To them, socialism=communism=evil and whether it's 100% socialism or 1% socialism is immaterial. Those who equate socialism with Satan worship are unreachable by logic, so why bother trying to split hairs with such folk?
And too many on the other side equate social programs with being a socialist. Bernie Sanders is NOT a socialist, nor are most of the others who claim to or are accused of being socialists in the Democratic party. Mis-use of the term has done the Democrats no real favors either. Or, to put it another way, who in the Democratic party is advocating for nationalization of industry, central planning of the economy and collectivization of private property? Because by the classic definition, that is what ACTUAL socialist economics and policy say. On this board, there are endless fights about this, but that's because people want socialism to mean what THEY want, not what it's actual definition is.

Myself, I think the Democrats SHOULD distance themselves from the term...it's a failed system that just about every working economy has dumped and they shouldn't associate themselves with it. Instead, they should focus on the PROGRAMS they want and rebrand them as American programs. A single payer system called something like the American Healthcare System, maybe with a flag and an eagle holding a baby and a slice of apple pie.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:15 AM
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Whatever they do, they need to be united. When you have some Democratic candidates embracing the term "socialism" and others attacking fellow Democrats for "socialism" (*cough*Hickenlooper*cough*), that is the worst case scenario.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:37 AM
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IMO, Democrats should emphasize that we already have a hybrid system, and have for many decades ... We should reiterate that socialism shouldn't be feared, since it's been part of the American system since its founding.

IMO this should be the basis when beginning discussions of things like universal health care. If we're capitulating to the framework of black and white "socialist vs capitalist" debates, then we're going to lose those debates.
I don't think introducing a new term ("hybrid") or trying to placate fears of the word "socialism" will be effective strategies. It's too late -- the GOP has already successfully linked socialism with bad outcomes to the point where they now call any Dem initiative the first step toward the US becoming Venezuela.

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Too much of the electorate sees things in only black and white and cannot distinguish any shade of gray. To them, socialism=communism=evil and whether it's 100% socialism or 1% socialism is immaterial. Those who equate socialism with Satan worship are unreachable by logic, so why bother trying to split hairs with such folk?
Right. And while we have no hope of reaching that 35% or so, let's not risk losing those undecideds who still might not be inclined to think too deeply about these things. Hmmm ... Trump's an idiot but socialism is scary ...
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:49 AM
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I don't think introducing a new term ("hybrid") or trying to placate fears of the word "socialism" will be effective strategies. It's too late -- the GOP has already successfully linked socialism with bad outcomes to the point where they now call any Dem initiative the first step toward the US becoming Venezuela.
I think pointing out the many socialized institutions in our society is an effective antidote to that. At least in my experience having such discussions in the real world -- pointing this out to socialism-haters bugs their eyes out but (eventually) a few of them have told me that they never thought about it like that.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:57 AM
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I think pointing out the many socialized institutions in our society is an effective antidote to that. At least in my experience having such discussions in the real world -- pointing this out to socialism-haters bugs their eyes out but (eventually) a few of them have told me that they never thought about it like that.
I've actually had some small success arguing that just because a program has some relation to socialism doesn't mean that the system is socialist, and the the US and most of the western world has, in fact, used such programs to successfully soften capitalism for a long, long time. Also, that many of the programs that Americans don't give a second thought to ARE, in fact, socialistic type systems, and people want and need them.

This is a case, again IMHO, where you guys should throw out the baby and keep some of the bathwater wrt socialist type programs. Socialism, as a system frankly sucks. Kind of why most modern and well founded economies today don't use it, and most political systems don't (mainly, with a few exceptions) use the political aspects for the most part. Most modern and successful nations use a hybrid of capitalist economy and socialistic programs to soften that system, or to provide some services or needs. Democrats who want to actually say they are socialist bring in all the baggage of that, and to no real point as I'd guess the majority don't actually want or advocate for a socialist economy or political system...they merely mean they want this or that program that is associated with socialism. So, why take the hit? Toss that baby out!
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:01 AM
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I've actually had some small success arguing that just because a program has some relation to socialism doesn't mean that the system is socialist, and the the US and most of the western world has, in fact, used such programs to successfully soften capitalism for a long, long time. Also, that many of the programs that Americans don't give a second thought to ARE, in fact, socialistic type systems, and people want and need them.

This is a case, again IMHO, where you guys should throw out the baby and keep some of the bathwater wrt socialist type programs. Socialism, as a system frankly sucks. Kind of why most modern and well founded economies today don't use it, and most political systems don't (mainly, with a few exceptions) use the political aspects for the most part. Most modern and successful nations use a hybrid of capitalist economy and socialistic programs to soften that system, or to provide some services or needs. Democrats who want to actually say they are socialist bring in all the baggage of that, and to no real point as I'd guess the majority don't actually want or advocate for a socialist economy or political system...they merely mean they want this or that program that is associated with socialism. So, why take the hit? Toss that baby out!
I'm fine with "tossing out" the personal label of socialist, but I'd advocate pairing that with explaining all the ways we already utilize socialism in our system -- people generally think highly of the military and firefighters... when they realize that defense and firefighting are some of the most socialized parts of our society, then "socialism" might seem a lot less scary.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:04 AM
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There are people who will view any expansion of governmental involvement as "socialist" and they're not going to be won over by rebranding long-existing government functions as socialist. Referring to the Pentagon and police and fire departments as examples of socialism will get a horselaugh and nothing more.

I'd agree with XT - sell a program's benefits convincingly and it won't matter so much what scare terms opponents use to characterize it.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:07 AM
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I'm fine with "tossing out" the personal label of socialist, but I'd advocate pairing that with explaining all the ways we already utilize socialism in our system -- people generally think highly of the military and firefighters... when they realize that defense and firefighting are some of the most socialized parts of our society, then "socialism" might seem a lot less scary.
I wouldn't bother trying to make that case, but you do you...if you want to try and explain to folks that this or that is like socialism, or has it's roots in socialism, well, there is nothing wrong with that. I think you'll mainly be talking to a lot of folks looking at you blankly or not seeing the point, and I doubt any of it will make socialism seem 'less scary' as, well, actual socialism is a bit scary and pretty worthless as an actual system. Me, I'd focus on the stuff you actually want to do, and not worry about labels or where it's roots came from, but that's just me.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:11 AM
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Democrats who want to actually say they are socialist bring in all the baggage of that, and to no real point as I'd guess the majority don't actually want or advocate for a socialist economy or political system...they merely mean they want this or that program that is associated with socialism. So, why take the hit? Toss that baby out!
Agreed. While it's possible (and helpful) to point out the many examples of how collective, government-organized activities work well -- and are, in fact, essential to society as we know it -- we lose when we label any of it "socialism." Every time AOC or Bernie talks about "socialism" they risk driving undecided voters into the arms of the GOP.

"Medicare-for-all" might sound reasonable to the same people who dismiss "universal healthcare coverage" as being tainted by socialism.

I wish people weren't so easily swayed by word association, but you can't pretend they aren't.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:19 AM
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I'm sure the word "socialism" is ingrained as evil in the minds of plenty of Americans, but these kinds of associations can and do change, and political messaging is part of that change (for an example, see how perceptions about the word "liberal" has changed over time). I'm in favor of making arguments on the merits of policies like universal health care, but I also think political messaging meant to rehabilitate certain words and concepts might also be effective in some circumstances. Just another tool in the toolbelt, IMO. Not the only tool, but not one to toss out either, IMO.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:30 AM
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I think the key distinction here is that maybe we should describe them as something other than socialist/socialized. Collective is probably the right one, but I think that may have even more Marxist/communist overtones than socialist does.

The main thing overall will be to point out that collective programs/agencies don't necessarily have to remove personal choice or agency, and that their level of service won't necessarily and inevitably decline.

I know that's a huge concern for many with universal health care- that in a nutshell they're going to pay more, get less, and not be able to have many choices in what little they do get. So rather than emphasize the collective nature of it, they need to emphasize how it preserves your freedom of choice and level of service, and in some ways potentially enhances your level of service (i.e. catastrophic costs, long-term illnesses, etc...). Making a point of helping the poor/underinsured isn't going to be a very effective platform when you're talking to a bunch of people (80% of people have health insurance) who by and large, have adequate health care. They need to talk about how this is better for them and doesn't take away the parts of the current system they cherish.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:34 AM
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The "S" word is the kiss of death for the Dems. They need to run away from the word, and anything that could be related to that word in terms of policy. Openly endorsing socialism is only slightly less toxic than openly endorsing child molesting or puppy torture.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:41 AM
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True, the GOP has poisoned the word, just like they poisoned health care, to the point where most people agree with the agenda point by point but oppose the package. So, talk about progress on popular (and third-rail) programs instead - strengthening Social Security and expanding Medicare eligibility - and let the Trumpists try to oppose those. Talk about economic issues in terms of fairness.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:48 AM
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True, the GOP has poisoned the word,


Pretty sure that countries like Venezuela, Cuba, the Soviet Union, even France, poisoned the word with Americans, well before the GOP got involved.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:56 AM
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Pretty sure that countries like Venezuela, Cuba, the Soviet Union, even France, poisoned the word with Americans, well before the GOP got involved.
Well, you have a point. But the GOP has made sure people think socialism means "failed autocratic societies with Communist origins like Venezuela" instead of "a system where some components are controlled by the state."

As for France ... just how did "France" become a one-word punchline? Probably a subject for another thread.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:10 PM
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I don't fathom why the Left opted for the extremely fraught term "socialism" when "social democracy" expresses the ideology more accurately and without any of the historical burden.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:11 PM
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And too many on the other side equate social programs with being a socialist. Bernie Sanders is NOT a socialist, nor are most of the others who claim to or are accused of being socialists in the Democratic party.
Mis-use of the term has done the Democrats no real favors either. Or, to put it another way, who in the Democratic party is advocating for nationalization of industry, central planning of the economy and collectivization of private property? Because by the classic definition, that is what ACTUAL socialist economics and policy say. On this board, there are endless fights about this, but that's because people want socialism to mean what THEY want, not what it's actual definition is.
The problem with all of these gyrations, is that they are phony. These programs are socialist, and when you're trying to claim that they aren't, you appear to be hiding something. And when you're obviously hiding something, people what to know why. These efforts are socialist.

You know, Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist. He's done it publicly several times. Are you really going to try and walk away from that?
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:25 PM
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Sounds like someone trying to sell one of those Volkswagens kit cars that looks like a Porsche.

Hey, look at my Porsche. It's for sale.

What's that? Well yeah it's not a real Porsche, it's really a Volkswagen, but doesn't it look like a Porsche?

Huh? Well yeah, it doesn't have a Porsche engine, it's a Volkswagen.

You don't like Volkswagen? Well it looks like a Porsche.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:57 PM
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The problem with all of these gyrations, is that they are phony. These programs are socialist, and when you're trying to claim that they aren't, you appear to be hiding something. And when you're obviously hiding something, people what to know why. These efforts are socialist.

You know, Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist. He's done it publicly several times. Are you really going to try and walk away from that?
The thing is, they aren't socialist programs...they are socialistic. Real, actual socialism means specific things (i.e. command economy, nationalization of industry, limitation or ablution of private property, etc etc). Having one aspect of something doesn't make it that thing unless it has all or at least a bunch more aspects.

As to Bernie, he could call himself an Oompa Loompa for all I care...doesn't actually make him one. Just because he is clueless about what the term actually means doesn't mean I or anyone else has to play along.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:00 PM
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The thing is, they aren't socialist programs...they are socialistic. Real, actual socialism means specific things (i.e. command economy, nationalization of industry, limitation or ablution of private property, etc etc). Having one aspect of something doesn't make it that thing unless it has all or at least a bunch more aspects.

As to Bernie, he could call himself an Oompa Loompa for all I care...doesn't actually make him one. Just because he is clueless about what the term actually means doesn't mean I or anyone else has to play along.
Ahh, semantics! Based on usage (and usage = definition), "socialism" and "socialist" can mean multiple things. So you're right and I'm right and Bernie's right, I believe. The words can encompass each of these usages and definitions. Since it seems unlikely that the term will be discarded entirely, I think the Democrats ought to do their best to highlight the "friendly" definitions of these words.

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Old 06-03-2019, 01:02 PM
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Well, you have a point. But the GOP has made sure people think socialism means "failed autocratic societies with Communist origins like Venezuela" instead of "a system where some components are controlled by the state."

As for France ... just how did "France" become a one-word punchline? Probably a subject for another thread.
Some components controlled by the state? That describes every government in history to some degree. Most people arenít against a role for government. Quite a few are against a government that panders to the unproductive to such a degree that incentives for productivity are destroyed.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:02 PM
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Ahh, semantics! Based on usage (and usage = definition), "socialism" and "socialist" can mean multiple things. So you're right and I'm right and Bernie's right, I believe. The words can encompass each of these usages and definitions. Since it seems unlikely that the term will be discarded entirely, I think the Democrats ought to do their best to highlight the "friendly" definitions of these words.
Only if you are using a totally different definition, which apparently you (and Bernie) are. So...words don't mean anything, or mean what you want! Ok, fine. Hard to have a debate though if we can't agree on the terms being used.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:02 PM
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The thing is, they aren't socialist programs...they are socialistic. Real, actual socialism means specific things (i.e. command economy, nationalization of industry, limitation or ablution of private property, etc etc). Having one aspect of something doesn't make it that thing unless it has all or at least a bunch more aspects.
Oh, you want more of a French socialism?
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:04 PM
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Only if you are using a totally different definition, which apparently you (and Bernie) are. So...words don't mean anything, or mean what you want! Ok, fine. Hard to have a debate though if we can't agree on the terms being used.
Thatís called Humpty-Dumptyism.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:04 PM
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Only if you are using a totally different definition, which apparently you (and Bernie) are. So...words don't mean anything, or mean what you want! Ok, fine. Hard to have a debate though if we can't agree on the terms being used.
Words do indeed mean what "we" want -- we being users of these words. If millions of people are using "socialism" and "socialist" the way I do, or the way Bernie does, then that's a real and accurate definition of the word, on top of the definitions you use (that millions of others also use). This is just how language works!
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:05 PM
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Oh, you want more of a French socialism?
So, in your definition, what does 'you' and 'want' mean here? I wasn't aware that the definition of socialism changes with the country, or that there is a special 'French socialism' that is different than any other 'socialism'. Oh, and what does 'Oh' mean in this context? I mean, obviously words don't mean anything, there aren't any agreed upon definitions of terms, so I'm trying to parse this out. I THINK I know what 'you' and 'more of a' means, so I won't ask those...
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:05 PM
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The problem with all of these gyrations, is that they are phony. These programs are socialist, and when you're trying to claim that they aren't, you appear to be hiding something. And when you're obviously hiding something, people what to know why. These efforts are socialist.

You know, Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist. He's done it publicly several times. Are you really going to try and walk away from that?
Which of these "socialist" efforts are you referring to? Which would you care to discontinue because their government control makes them "socialist?"
  • The US military
  • The Interstate Highway System
  • Your local police and fire departments
  • Your state and local criminal justice systems
  • US National Parks
  • Your local forest preserves
  • Your local school districts
  • Your state universities
Dismissing initiatives and proposals because they're "socialist" only makes sense if you're an absolute libertarian -- or if the word has been appropriated by one party to taint anything proposed by the other party.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:06 PM
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Some components controlled by the state? That describes every government in history to some degree. Most people arenít against a role for government. Quite a few are against a government that panders to the unproductive to such a degree that incentives for productivity are destroyed.
No one (or virtually no one) is in favor of destroying incentives for productivity -- the debate is about the best way to manage those incentives and balance the needs of providing services to people. Government health care obviously can work and be successful (even in the US!) -- as an active duty Navy officer I received hassle-free top-notch government health care. That doesn't mean it's easy, but it means that it's not necessarily an "incentive destroying" proposition.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:07 PM
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Words do indeed mean what "we" want -- we being users of these words. If millions of people are using "socialism" and "socialist" the way I do, or the way Bernie does, then that's a real and accurate definition of the word, on top of the definitions you use (that millions of others also use). This is just how language works!
Cool, good luck with that. Hope you can get everyone to agree on what the terms mean, otherwise you are just going to be talking past each other, you (and Bernie) being puzzled why some are repelled by the term 'socialism' and they thinking you (and he) are something they aren't or advocating for things they don't actually advocate for. Should make for some funny Lewis Carroll moments...
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:10 PM
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Cool, good luck with that. Hope you can get everyone to agree on what the terms mean, otherwise you are just going to be talking past each other, you (and Bernie) being puzzled why some are repelled by the term 'socialism' and they thinking you (and he) are something they aren't or advocating for things they don't actually advocate for. Should make for some funny Lewis Carroll moments...
But this is what I'm trying to address! I recognize that tons of Americans have a problem with the notion of "socialism" in their heads, and I'm proposing a rhetorical strategy for Democrats to deal with that.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:14 PM
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But this is what I'm trying to address! I recognize that tons of Americans have a problem with the notion of "socialism" in their heads, and I'm proposing a rhetorical strategy for Democrats to deal with that.
By changing the definition of socialism. And presumably getting people to forget all of the history of socialism. Sure, it's possible to do that given enough time. I'm not seeing the point of holding onto the term, though, since it has all that baggage (rightfully so) and means specific things that you don't want or associate with. Is it just to show you can rehabilitate the term just as a fuck you to the Republicans? I am not seeing the point.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:14 PM
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No one (or virtually no one) is in favor of destroying incentives for productivity -- the debate is about the best way to manage those incentives and balance the needs of providing services to people. Government health care obviously can work and be successful (even in the US!) -- as an active duty Navy officer I received hassle-free top-notch government health care. That doesn't mean it's easy, but it means that it's not necessarily an "incentive destroying" proposition.
Right. Would you say the VA is efficient? I know for a fact that it isnít. Thatís government run healthcare yet the labor unions are far too powerful and destroy efficiency. And when the government runs a whole industry it has a monopoly and how is it going to improve with no competition?

Active duty military is a whole different scenario. When you can directly order people to get stuff done and they donít have a labor union to whine to you can get stuff done. That said, the military is definitely not a model of cost savings or efficiency.

Now, would I be in favor of national expansion of health coverage with vouchers or something? Sure. Iíd also like price and procedure transparency.

I can get behind an expansion of government services, regardless of the label, if done right and not merely done to pander to economically ignorant voters.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:15 PM
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By changing the definition of socialism. And presumably getting people to forget all of the history of socialism. Sure, it's possible to do that given enough time. I'm not seeing the point of holding onto the term, though, since it has all that baggage (rightfully so) and means specific things that you don't want or associate with. Is it just to show you can re-rehabilitate the term just as a fuck you to the Republicans? I am not seeing the point.
The definition is already "changed". Millions of Americans are already using the words the way I do, and the way Bernie does (and probabyl in other ways too). Since I don't think there's any chance of the word being eliminated, I think demonstrating the "new" definition could be effective. Certainly better than nothing, or better than saying that those millions of Americans who use it like I do (or Bernie does) are stupid and wrong.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:17 PM
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Right. Would you say the VA is efficient? I know for a fact that it isnít. Thatís government run healthcare yet the labor unions are far too powerful and destroy efficiency. And when the government runs a whole industry it has a monopoly and how is it going to improve with no competition?

Active duty military is a whole different scenario. When you can directly order people to get stuff done and they donít have a labor union to whine to you can get stuff done. That said, the military is definitely not a model of cost savings or efficiency.

Now, would I be in favor of national expansion of health coverage with vouchers or something? Sure. Iíd also like price and procedure transparency.

I can get behind an expansion of government services, regardless of the label, if done right and not merely done to pander to economically ignorant voters.
Obviously the government can be inefficient too (as can private industry, as it currently is in delivering health care to poor folks). Military health care demonstrates that it can be very effective in some circumstances. But I didn't mean for this to be a debate about health care -- just for a discussion of rhetorical strategy for the Democrats.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:18 PM
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The definition is already "changed". Millions of Americans are already using the words the way I do, and the way Bernie does (and probabyl in other ways too). Since I don't think there's any chance of the word being eliminated, I think demonstrating the "new" definition could be effective. Certainly better than nothing, or better than saying that those millions of Americans who use it like I do (or Bernie does) are stupid and wrong.
And 10's of millions don't use or think of the term that way. And 10's of millions use the original meaning, which you can Google up, and know the history of it and how it's worked out. And 10's more millions use it equally wrongly to mean all sorts of other horseshit. So, again, what's the point of trying to shift the definition to be the one you want AND get rid of all the baggage associated with it? Seems like a long term project with little gain and lots of pain, and no guarantee it will even work.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:19 PM
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There is no one definition of socialism...it runs on a spectrum, much like most things. We're not talking about legal definitions here.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:20 PM
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And 10's of millions don't use or think of the term that way. And 10's of millions use the original meaning, which you can Google up, and know the history of it and how it's worked out. And 10's more millions use it equally wrongly to mean all sorts of other horseshit. So, again, what's the point of trying to shift the definition to be the one you want AND get rid of all the baggage associated with it? Seems like a long term project with little gain and lots of pain, and no guarantee it will even work.
I agree -- no guarantee my strategy will work. Could be a long slog, too. But in my experience more and more young people are using the word like I do (or like Bernie does), so it's already working, at least partially -- this is quite different than 10 years ago or before. Could be very effective in the long term, as it's obviously been partially effective in the short and medium term.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:21 PM
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Some components controlled by the state? That describes every government in history to some degree. Most people arenít against a role for government. Quite a few are against a government that panders to the unproductive to such a degree that incentives for productivity are destroyed.
Has the ACA not been described as "socialist," even though it leaves most components in the hands of private players?
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:24 PM
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There is no one definition of socialism...it runs on a spectrum, much like most things. We're not talking about legal definitions here.
Exactly. And, pretty obviously, each of us is using a different definition in this thread. So, the OP's plan, assuming I have it right, is to attempt to consolidate all of the definitions and historical aspects into HIS (not sure about Bernie...they may have some stuff to work out) definition of what it means. Like I said, good luck with that. And, like I said, what's the point? Why continue to use it, even if what you mean is different than how it's been used in the past, what it's actual definition is, or what some evangelical Christian type in the deep south thinks it is? You aren't going to be able to convince people that your definition is the real one, since that would confuse things even more...if we are talking about, China, say, being over 60% socialist, what does that mean in the context of the OP or Bernie et al claiming to be socialist? Or if we are talking historical examples of socialism failing in just about every country that's tried it? We'd need a new term to define what that means too, and agree upon that as well, or we'd basically have people talking past each other and trying to look under each others kilts to see if there were ANY freaking Scotsmen at all...
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:28 PM
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I agree -- no guarantee my strategy will work. Could be a long slog, too. But in my experience more and more young people are using the word like I do (or like Bernie does), so it's already working, at least partially -- this is quite different than 10 years ago or before. Could be very effective in the long term, as it's obviously been partially effective in the short and medium term.
I think itís going to backfire. Itís too easy to generate content such as memes that link socialism to failed socialist states. What happened in the USSR, pre-capitalist Chinese communism, Venezuela, etc is hard to ignore.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:30 PM
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Simply saying socialism shouldn't be feared is an incomplete argument. If your intention is to reduce the boogieman of socialism, then an explanation of what factors make more socialized activity appropriate, and what factors don't, would make a lot more sense. Like, what about the military and interstate highway system lend themselves to be more appropriately socialized? What factors make our public education system function so poorly in certain areas?

Just focusing on the label and saying, see, not so bad isn't going to be very persuasive. Establish criteria, apply the criteria to real world examples, illustrate why the criteria makes sense and should be used. You know, actual substance.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:34 PM
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I think it’s going to backfire. It’s too easy to generate content such as memes that link socialism to failed socialist states. What happened in the USSR, pre-capitalist Chinese communism, Venezuela, etc is hard to ignore.
Hard to ignore, certainly. But there are plenty of "good news" socialism stories throughout western Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere. Those stories should be emphasized to demonstrate that socialism can be done well -- only poorly managed socialism should be feared (just like poorly managed capitalism).

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Simply saying socialism shouldn't be feared is an incomplete argument. If your intention is to reduce the boogieman of socialism, then an explanation of what factors make more socialized activity appropriate, and what factors don't, would make a lot more sense. Like, what about the military and interstate highway system lend themselves to be more appropriately socialized? What factors make our public education system function so poorly in certain areas?

Just focusing on the label and saying, see, not so bad isn't going to be very persuasive. Establish criteria, apply the criteria to real world examples, illustrate why the criteria makes sense and should be used. You know, actual substance.
I agree -- great comment, and thank you.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 06-03-2019 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:40 PM
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If socialism is merely public expenditures then the US is already the most socialist country.
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:04 PM
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If socialism is merely public expenditures then the US is already the most socialist country.
This is false, unless you mean in absolute dollars. As a percent of GDP, we're not even close:

https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-go...t-spending.htm
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:09 PM
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This is false, unless you mean in absolute dollars. As a percent of GDP, we're not even close:

https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-go...t-spending.htm
Of course I mean absolute dollars.
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:13 PM
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Of course I mean absolute dollars.
Do you think this is useful measurement? If not, then why mention it? If so, please explain the usefulness.

My view is that measuring anything in absolute dollars is almost always a fools game when comparing different sized countries. The US is the most <everything>, just about. Who cares? Seems like a non-sequitur, but I'm willing to listen to your good-faith arguments against.
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:31 PM
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The Democrats should put forth their version of socialism as the alternative to the Republican version of lemon socialism.

"Lemon socialism is a pejorative term for a form of government intervention in which government subsidies go to weak or failing firms (lemons; see Lemon law), with the effective result that the government (and thus the taxpayer) absorbs part or all of the recipient's losses. The term derives from the conception that in socialism the government may nationalize a company's profits while leaving the company to pay its own losses, while in lemon socialism the company is allowed to keep its profits but its losses are shifted to the taxpayer."
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Old 06-03-2019, 02:44 PM
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The Democrats should put forth their version of socialism as the alternative to the Republican version of lemon socialism.

"Lemon socialism is a pejorative term for a form of government intervention in which government subsidies go to weak or failing firms (lemons; see Lemon law), with the effective result that the government (and thus the taxpayer) absorbs part or all of the recipient's losses. The term derives from the conception that in socialism the government may nationalize a company's profits while leaving the company to pay its own losses, while in lemon socialism the company is allowed to keep its profits but its losses are shifted to the taxpayer."
Great! I haven't heard this before and I love this idea.
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