And the downfall of America continues...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Smuel, Jun 26, 2013.

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  1. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Found it!

    Personally, I find a bit silly to compare the death tolls of various genocides in order to figure out who's worst. China has a much larger population so naturally when famine strikes (Great Leap Forward) the cost in human life will be staggering. As No.9 says, one could argue that the famine that ended in the death of millions wasn't genocide, but rather the result of incompetence, misinformation and later stubbornness. There is a great different between starving to death and being starved to death.

    However, one shouldn't be so quick to discard any accusations of genocide, as the abuse and suffering (not to mention deaths) caused the Cultural Revolution were very much intended. A mistake (perhaps intended) often made when Mao's actions are discussed is the merging of these incidents into one, claiming the deaths from the famine to be a result of the Revolution which offers a highly deceptive account of the affair.

    Also, when talking of genocide one should definitely bring up western imperialism. If you call the famine in China genocide, there is no way that you cannot call the overthrowing of various governments that somehow don't fully cooperate with western interests, and replacing them with puppet dictatorships with no concern as to the effect it has on the populace. The overthrowing of Allende (democratically elected president of Chile) and replacement with Pinochet is just one of many offences and resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, torture of hundreds of thousands, and persecution of political activist and unionisers.

    Anyway, I didn't intend to rant...
     
  2. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    What I never understand about communism is how someone who wants to create a better society can be quite comfortable with the first step in the process being "Kill all the smart people".
     
  3. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    To be fair, the execution of "smart people" is not an essential part of communism, just a bi-product in a few (certainly not all) regimes.

    Also the goal is not "killing smart people", but rather the removal of so called intellectuals tainted by bourgeois propaganda and therefore likely to try to restore capitalism. Let's call them overzealous?
     
  4. werozzi

    werozzi Member

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    Intellectualism is prone, if not a a way, for elitism, and, once all members of a society own no more than the other, all of those who know more than the rest begin forming their own sort of bourgeoisie, endangering equality as Ruda said.

    Yet, I can't quite agree with the point of intellectuals trying to restore capitalism, for many an enemy of the aforementioned are nothing than intellectuals.

    But now, take their books, shave their beards, and you have a relvolution!
     
  5. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    Communism as an ideology is not necessarily totalitarian, whereas fascism is.

    It's the nature of the beast that anyone with influence is a threat to absolute authority.

    Personally, I consider the Cold War to have been democracy vs dictatorship, and not communism vs capitalism.

    According to Marx, a society must first be replete with capitalism before it naturally proceeds towards socialism, rather than the enforced policies upon agrarian societies that we saw in Russia and China.

    Therefore, we're ripe for a proper utopia now, and baby-boomer prejudice be damned. Nowadays, capitalism is a bigger threat to democracy, and it will no doubt add up to more deaths by starvation than Stalin and Mao combined.
     
  6. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Re:

    Surely communism requires the state to control everything, so it is by definition totalitarian. Any time a communist political party decides not to go that route and abide by democratic principles, it ends up abandoning the ideals of communism and proposing moderate socialism instead.

    Okay, but it's widely accepted that it was the failure of the communists' planned economy that led to the reforms that precipitated the end of the Soviet Union. In other words, communism failed first, and the dictatorship collapsed as a result.

    I have no idea where you get this. Capitalism and democracy have been successful partners for hundreds of years. Meanwhile the central planning attempts of the Chinese communists are what lead to famine in that country, and it's only by abandoning them to capitalism that China is in such a strong position today. I suspect that your woeful predictions for capitalism are based on wishful thinking rather than hard evidence.
     
  7. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Re:

    I suppose this is nitpicking, but a communist society is supposed to be stateless. The transitional phase between capitalism and communism, wherein the economy is nationalised, is called socialism. This, of course, is purely theoretical and in practice communist states have always fallen into the totalitarian despair you describe.

    The problem is corporativism (itself a mainstay of fascist ideology) where what we see now is an unholy merger between public officials and private business interests. We need to get money out of politics.
     
  8. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    A communist state is only required to have full control of the state's means of production. It does not necessarily aim to control any aspects of private life and is therefore not totalitarian, at least not by definition. Claiming that state property is totalitarian is hopelessly libertarian.
    I'm not saying that post-revolutionary Cuba is perfect, but I wouldn't exactly call it a country fallen into totalitarian despair.
    I believe the confusion here comes from different ideas of democracy. While democracy is a useful tool for an expanding capitalism, I wouldn't exactly call it a successful partnership. In a democratic society everyone's vote is considered equal, whereas capitalism concentrates the political influence to the few. While capitalistic society is formally democratic, it does not follow that the elected officials act in the majority's interest, as it's the powerful investors, the wealthy capitalists, who are the force behind elections and political campaigns. All major political parties, those who stand any chance of winning elections, are financed by investors, and they are making sure that the parties' policies adhere to their own interests. No major party would propose policies that goes against their investors' interests as that would rob them of any chance of political victory.

    tl;dr: capitalism isn't democratic, at least not in any meaningful sense of the word.
     
  9. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Re: Re:

    I don't see how a communist society can function without someone deciding who does what. The larger the society, the more people you need dedicated to that task. And those people are to all intents and purposes the state.

    Capitalism is neither democratic nor undemocratic, because it is merely a way of organising an economy. As is communism. You can have democratic communist states (e.g. modern day Kerala), just as you can have totalitarian capitalist states (e.g. Nazi Germany). To date, the most successful pairing of an economic ideology with a politcal ideology is capitalism and democracy.

    I agree that this would improve the system, but, as Ruda notes, it will be difficult to enact reforms because the money currently in politics will resist it. I am hopeful that the spread of decentralized media will make it harder for powerful corporations to influence the public discourse. Unfortunately it seems to be leading to increased partisanship, since people can easily avoid being exposed to differing viewpoints, which is not so good.
     
  10. Ruda

    Ruda Active Member

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    Re: Re:

    What I meant earlier was that a capitalistic society is always undemocratic. Nazi Germany was openly undemocratic, whereas the so called democratic capitalist states of today, aren't truly democratic in that the unorganized voters are lacking in powers (mainly due to the influence of capitalism).
    I'm unclear as to what you mean by 'successful'. Successful for whom? Wealthy corporations get wealthier, increasing the ever-growing inequality in terms of income distribution. It is true that the standard of living tend to be high in capitalist countries (although not everywhere and certainly not for all) and that famine is quite uncommon, but this is due to exploitation of other countries, where capitalism often aids, or are even responsible for, catastrophes such as famine.
     
  11. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Re: Re:

    I suspect that a kind of pure democracy is unattainable. There will always be a ruling elite, an intellectual elite, or an economic elite, who have a disproportionate influence on elections and in some cases manage to persuade other groups into voting against their own interests. However, I would say that this is due to limitations of human beings, rather than capitalism.

    Successful for everyone by any measure. Peace, freedom, prosperity, social mobility, education - all these things are at the highest levels in countries that have been capitalist democracies for the longest time.

    Famines have occurred throughout human history. Some countries today still experience famine, but those countries are rarely capitalist democracies. It seems illogical to claim that if only other countries weren't capitalist democracies either, then those famines wouldn't have occurred.
     
  12. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    A good indicator is to look where people are migrating. Europe used to be a shithole, so people emigrated to America. Very few people die on rafts headed from Florida to Cuba.
     
  13. Transparent Painting

    Transparent Painting Well-Known Member

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  14. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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    Although now I suspect he may be Drog
     
  15. wobbler

    wobbler Well-Known Member

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  16. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, I've always thought that it's a dead giveaway that the way you're running your country might not be all that great if you have to build a wall around it to stop your own citizens from leaving.

    Although, given that successful countries also want to build walls around themselves to keep those foreign citizens out, I have to conclude that none of this is based on logic and people just like building walls.
     
  17. No.9

    No.9 New Member

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    Given what happened in Florida recently, the Cubans might do well to stay where they are.
     
  18. DarkFool

    DarkFool Nemesis of the Ancients

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    Man, this thread is so exciting I had to pick my keyboard up, balance it on my cat, and respond.

    I've now done so. That is all.

    My view, summarized:

    1) marriage is a legal status. Legal decisions shouldn't be arbitrarily ruled on by a religious sect.

    2) I don't like abortions. HOWEVER, I don't think anyone has a right to tell a woman she can't have one if she chooses. As someone who's had a girlfriend have an abortion, I know that there isn't such a thing as a 'light-hearted' abortion.

    3) I wouldn't object to giving Texas to Mexico and Alaska to Russia, then make Puetro Rico and Cuba states.
     
  19. werozzi

    werozzi Member

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    Sorry, Texans and Mexicans have a tough background in common. How about Florida.
    Some nice beaches there.
     
  20. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Beaches? We don't need no stinking beaches.
     
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