Sunday, August 25, 2013

Individual Rights

In our political discussions, certain words are usually tossed about.

Capitalism. Communism. Socialism. Fascism.

And now more lately, Corporatism.

There’s an intriguing bunch of “isms”. The definitions, theory, and practice of these “isms” have taken on numerous forms and functions; and they often stir up a lot of confusion and anger.

According to some definitions, I am both a capitalist and a socialist.

Just to help navigate through this discussion, I include as footnotes, definitions of the four “isms” from both Miriam-Webster and the American Heritage dictionaries. Corporatism is still being defined, but as they say of porn, we know it when we see it, where corporations have more rights than people.

Socialism as theory can be rigid, but is very flexible in practice. The same is true with Capitalism and Communism.  Fascism and Communism can be very rigid in both theory and practice, yet capitalistic and socialistic aspects endure under them. Dictatorship under any “ism” results in democracy being crushed, though.

This is exemplified by the corporate/government nexus we have that is tightening its grip as we speak. Yes we have fascistic mechanisms too. What we see growing in the US is antagonism for democracy. We have corporations and government eager for war, building a surveillance state and militarizing police departments.

We need corporations and business. But we need them to mind their own business, not meddle in our public elections.

It is not anti-business or anti-capitalism to want free public elections. I have a 401k and other investments. Does that make me a capitalist?

I've always thought we need regulated commerce. Is that socialism? Does that make me a Socialist? I've agreed that government should provide for the general welfare. Is that socialism? Does that make me a Socialist?

Is the Constitution a manifesto of Socialism?

No. But these are clearly socialistic. No nation is exclusive of capitalistic or socialistic systems. They would not function as free societies without a blend, or checks and balances, of “isms”. All “isms” can be exploited and twisted for abuse.

Socialized public service is not the same as a socialized economy. We don't have a system of worker ownership of production. We have been doing quite well with that mix of democracy, socialism and capitalism.

 But we have rigid ideologues who can't see this simple reality.

Democracy, voter registration, and poll access are being restricted, not the right to private property.

There’s a Forbes article called “Is Obama a Socialist?” (To them, of course Obama is a socialist)

A comment that follows makes a good point.

Obama does not advocate for the elimination of private property so he is not a socialist.

Conservatives do not do themselves any favors labeling everyone they don’t like “socialists”. The ordinary American has largely come to think of “socialism” as “A government that helps people” and “capitalism” is “A government that does not help people”, which is fundamentally incorrect but the inevitable result the conservative attack upon any who advocates for the government helping the ordinary citizen being labeled a “socialist”.

Sound familiar?

Americans are caught in an ideological war between two extremes where only one exists in reality. We don’t have a socialist economy or a socialist government. There’s no movement to abolish private property. We do have crony, cutthroat and corrupt capitalism waging a war on democracy from within the government.

The fictitious “socialist” agenda of no private property is being attacked by a real agenda that wants to accumulate ALL property, wealth and political power. They also want their financial risks socialized but their profit privatized. Hello Wall Street.

This is the real threat and danger of unregulated capitalism. The only cure is a socialized system of balance, with regulation of commerce and promotion of the general welfare. And I don’t mean corporate socialism where we keep bailing out the failed capitalists.

Banks’ Lobbyists Help in Drafting Financial Bills

In a sign of Wall Street’s resurgent influence in Washington, Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill. Two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word. (Lawmakers changed two words to make them plural.)

Now what are we going to do about banks writing their own legislation and regulations? Let the “free market” decide? Vote for the next candidate in their pocket? Or regulate them?

Giving banks and corporations the privilege of person-hood and citizenship, allowing them to use bribery money as “free speech” is the recipe for more disaster. Citizens United v FEC has wiped out McCain-Feingold. We need a law that both limits private campaign contributions, and addresses the issue of corporate money in our public elections.

I suggest we let the Constitution guide us. We agree a corporation is an artificial (man made) group of persons, property and money, a collective bound by their shared interest in productivity and profit. All we need is a law that says, regarding elections, a corporation is not a person, and not entitled to the same rights as we the people. I include unions. A union is also not a person.

Corporations, unions, and other artificial entities may keep their right to free speech in advertising their products and services, legal representation in court, and even lobbying politicians. Those are enough rights for a collective.

So with such a law, not one living soul would have his rights restricted. Some fat cats will bitch because their privilege of having their additional collective right to political speech will be gone. Their individual rights would be the same as yours, mine and every person.

Who was it who said:

“At the root of all their conceptual switches, there lies another, more fundamental one: the switch of the concept of rights from the individual to the collective—which means: the replacement of “The Rights of Man” by “The Rights of Mob.”

Since only an individual man can possess rights, the expression “individual rights” is a redundancy (which one has to use for purposes of clarification in today’s intellectual chaos). But the expression “collective rights” is a contradiction in terms."

Yes, that was none other than Ayn Rand.

Individual rights. This is what equality means.

Rights are individual, or not at all.

This is what Americans need to learn. This is what democracy needs to survive.


From Miriam-Webster Dictionary:

Capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

Communism : 1. a: a theory advocating elimination of private property
b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed
2 a : a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
b : a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian
 party controls state-owned means of production
c : a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably
d : communist systems collectively

Fascism: A political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

2 . a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

Socialism: 1: various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

2:a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

From The American Heritage Dictionary:

Capitalism n. An economic system characterized by freedom of the market with increasing concentration of private and corporate ownership of production and distribution means, proportionate to increasing accumulation and reinvestment of profits. 2. A political or social system regarded as being based on this.

Communism n. A social system characterized by the absence of classes and by common ownership of the means of production and subsistence. 2. A political, economic or social doctrine aiming at the establishment of such a classless society. 3. The Marxist-Leninist doctrine of revolutionary struggle toward this goal, the political movement representing it, or loosely, socialism as practiced in countries ruled by Communist parties.

 Fascism n. A philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism.

Socialism n. A social system in which the producers possess both political power and the means of producing and distributing goods. 2. The theory or practice of those who support such a social system. 3. Under Marxist-Leninist theory, the building, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the materiel base for communism


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free0352 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
free0352 said...

Yeah I'm sure when the doctors weren't sure I'd ever walk again - that was no big deal.

Humans have always, and will always, take care of each other; sure. And I'm sure if I treated my wife like crap, she probably wouldn't do that for me. Nor I her. She has to expect to get something out of our marriage before I can expect to get something. Authoritarian would be me barking orders, and expecting something for nothing. Me being an idiot, would be giving all I had to be treated like shit.

Whenever someone is being altruistic, someone else is being selfish. When someone is sacrificing, someone is reaping that sacrifice. I prefer mutually beneficial. That has to be the basis.

But when one's only measure of value is dollar signs, we don't expect you to reflect the best of human nature.

Why? People will go a lot farther for profit than they will charity. Its not like you can't make something or get something and not have a win-win situation. That was the whole premise of Objectivism.

Free0352 attempted to play the sympathy card as a means of deflection

You obviously missed the point. I don't need, nor want sympathy. I have pride - and pride is not a bad thing. Its maybe the greatest of things. I can take care of myself just fine... even when I can't walk or feel me left leg. I proved that, and I have every right to have pride in that. Even when bad things happen to people - as they do everyone - you are still responsible for yourself. It was never even up for discussion in my house when I was wounded, that my wife should stay home and take care of me. She needs to be independent, she needs to be self sufficient. Those two things are the very root of self esteem. Without them, you become miserable. And why be married to someone if it makes you miserable?

Dave Dubya said...

Whenever someone is being altruistic, someone else is being selfish.

Dogma time. And don't forget, selfishness is virtue. Win win.

free0352 said...

Well its true isn't it Dave? If someone gives, someone gets. Altruism is when you give without getting anything in return.

Commonly known as getting ripped off. Getting repeatedly ripped off, is not the basis for a good relationship of any kind. Generally people get sick of that, and get resentful quick. Now suppose we questioned some marriage counselors. How many do you think deal with resentment on a case by case basis? 100% Yeah probably. Just perhaps thats why most marriages suck for the people trapped in them. You learn a few things sitting in divorce court for two years like I did out of my four years as bailiff. I couldn't tell you how many divorces I saw. I didn't count. Hundreds, if not thousands. And the leading cause wasn't infidelity, or child abuse believe it or not. The overwhelming cause I saw, was one party felt disrespected by the other party. And I always wanted to ask... but it wasn't my place, but I always wanted to ask - Did you guys ever sit down and outline your responsibilities to each other? I have no idea what the answers would have been, but I'd bet the farm the answer would have been no.

Dave Dubya said...

Altruism is when you give through a concern for others without expecting or asking anything in return. One example is what you call "supporting the troops" and their families by offering donations of cash, goods, or services apart from tax dollar support. Is that a bad thing?

Other examples would the simple common decencies of helping someone struggling with a task or load, or just giving a stranded driver a lift to a gas station. It's not always about "getting something in return".

"Disrespect" may be the term reflecting the injured feelings of a married partner, but it's not that simple. What happens often are disagreements on financial issues, loss of physical attraction, lifestyle incompatibility, substance abuse, and breakdown of communication, compromise and cooperation.

Something, after all, must lead to, and contribute to, the feeling of disrespect.

Did you guys ever sit down and outline your responsibilities to each other?

That's a good question, and very few couples do that. Personally, my wife and I discussed and agreed to make communication, compromise and cooperation priorities in our marriage. Those, along with love and compatibility, are extremely important.

It's sad how most couples never even consider, let alone prioritize, those basics. Love is vital, but there can't be mutual respect without those thee "C's"

free0352 said...

Charity is fine, if that is your choice. But there are other options. I give to several military fraternal organizations - who might just be there for me if I need them. See, I give, but I get a benefit. And I did it by choice - unlike say foodstamps where I get no choice what so ever.

As for all the reasons you mentioned why marriages break up, all of them should be discussed prior to a marriage. Take the attractiveness factor. Not many people I know, what to be married to someone who doesn't take care of themselves or is so obese they need one of those scooters to get around the Wallmart. So before you tie that knot, you need to tell your future spouse that is a deal breaker. If that is a problem, you probably shouldn't get married in the first place. And if one party breaks the deal, they should take the hit when the marital estate is split.

Dave Dubya said...

Looks like we're ready to open our marriage counseling service. For fees of course.

free0352 said...

Maybe. If you have a successful marriage, you're probably doing what I'm doing. Only I don't give it the popular word "communication" I call it what it is.

Living up to your end of the bargain.

okjimm said...

gees, haven't been here in awhile.
Free is still popping BS anecdotes, huh.

//I got out of the military and got a job.// still toting his gun around the good old WalMart parking lot.

I think he should run for Congress. They are spewing a lot of BS from the House these days. Gree would fit right in.
Say, Gree, tell us how it is that Obama shut down the government....

sorry Dave...the pod bay door was open. and I am tired of the news.

free0352 said...

Wallmart doesn't have armed guards, but if I was a security guard, what's wrong with that? I'm sure it would be so much more noble of me if I opted for food stamps and a HUD house instead eh?

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