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Liberalism versus Socialism

A wonderful debate has been bouncing back and forth between The Well of Mimir and Carrotlife… In most ways, the debate boils down to the role of government, and there are some good excepts from Theo’s latest post. Here’s my favorite:

But socialism isn’t an elitist creed. Socialists don’t think of themselves as the upperclass trying to control the masses. But the idea of having elite administrators (as opposed to whatever the hell we have right now) does sound appealing, doesn’t it? People who know what they are doing?

You just contradicted yourself. Socialists don’t think of themselves as economically upperclass because they don’t believe in a free market. They think of themselves as politically upperclass. They don’t want to have more possessions than everyone, just tell them what to do and how to do it. Personally, I find the idea of elite administrators offensive – I am a grown man, and I can take care of my own life, thank you. Well, that is not entirely true, but for the most part that reflects my views.

And my reply to Dan: NO “elite administrators” does NOT sound appealing.

But the reason I like this so much is because it reminds me of this time in a recent Philosophy of Science class I took. Basically, the instructor liked to hear himself talk about current social issues. His favorite was the evolution-vs-creationism fray, but he also touched on many other topics dear heart as well. One day, he was pontificating about the glory of some government-administered social program; I forget which one exactly, because he seemed to love them all, but I digress. He gave a specific example of how the program coudl help somebody out. As his soliloquey ended, I responded (highly paraphrased):

You see, that’s the difference between people like you and people like me. You see a problem, and you say “we need a government program to fix this.” I see a problem and I say, “I can do something about this.”

The reality is that my response was magnitudes better than whatever it is I wrote above, and fit the context perfectly. The discussion on that particular topic basically ended right there – as class was also ending. It felt very good at the time.

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