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Debates Forum

  1. 02 May '12 00:11 / 5 edits
    Looking back at the granfather of the left, lets look at his goals and acomplishments. To do this, lets look at the communist manifesto.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive income tax.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state by means of a national bank with capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of teh soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Staight off the bat, we see #2 and $10 realized. We have a progressive tax and a "free" public education system with child labour made illegal.

    Moving on, we can observe some that have partially been fulfilled.
    #1 says that private property should be abolished. Land can be owned today but ONLY when it is taxed. In a way, it is kinda like paying rent to have land, but after paying off a big down payment to be able to rent it. Add to this fact that the state can take any land via eminent domain if they want it bad enough.

    #3 says that there should be an abolition of inheritance. Sure we can have an inheritance, but only when taxed. Again, it is a compromise of sorts. To have elitists give up their right to give their wealth to their children is a pipe dream. The only way for it to work would be to make exclusions for themeselves, which not go over too well.

    #5 asks for a centralisation of credit and calls for a national bank with an exclusive monopoly. Can anyone say the Fed? Sure, it is a "private" institution overseen by the government, but it is essentially in kindred spirit with the Marx vision.

    #6 calls for the centralisation of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state. Communication and transportation has become more centralised as we can see. In fact, government clamors for continued transportation initiatives and is largely responsible for infrustructure. Communication has increasingly less private as government now has the capacity to monitor and take note of every phone call and internet exchange that is made.

    Now lets examine where Marx just missed the boat entirely.

    #4 calls for the confiscation of property of all imigrants and rebels. Pfft. Now illegals are given the keys to the city. Progressives view illegals as part of their hope to change America.

    #7 calls for the extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil. The state would not rather own things directly, but when they do they become somewhat red faced like when taking over GM. Instead, the state much prefers to regulate and control those industries. The benefits are obvious. Not only has the private sector been shown to be superior to state owned businesses historically, the responsibility for their demise is noticeably absent for the state. Hello Freddi and Fannie Mae!! Don't forget the Fed. As Hitler once said, why nationalize industry when you can nationalize the people?

    #8 calls for the equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. What was Marx thinking? Equal liability of labour? Although this is a pipe dream, it is an effective drum to beat come election time as politicians clamor for "equal pay", whatever that means, and jobs for the masses. All that is known is that your fate rests squarely in the hands of the state.

    And lastly, #9 seems to have fallen short as it called for the combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries and the gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population, over the country. Today, what we see is land conservation efforts, as those on the left clamor for protecting species of animals and preservation of natural resources. Now the move is the centralization of the masses into cities. Centralized populations also helps reduce the need for traveling large distances to get to work, thus reducing our carbon footprints, so to speak. In short, it is the polar opposite of what Marx had invisioned from a leftist position.

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    All in all, the collectivist ideology has been modified over the years, but as we see it is still alive and thriving.
  2. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    02 May '12 02:17
    Originally posted by whodey
    Looking back at the granfather of the left, lets look at his goals and acomplishments. To do this, lets look at the communist manifesto.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive income tax.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants ...[text shortened]... ideology has been modified over the years, but as we see it is still alive and thriving.
    So you're in favor of children working in factories? Or are you a Communist?
  3. 02 May '12 02:36
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    So you're in favor of children working in factories? Or are you a Communist?
    At times I wonder if it would be better for them to work and learn a trade than it would graduate from high school and not be able to read.
  4. Subscriber Rajk999
    Enjoying
    02 May '12 12:31
    Originally posted by whodey
    Looking back at the granfather of the left, lets look at his goals and acomplishments. To do this, lets look at the communist manifesto.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive income tax.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants ...[text shortened]... ideology has been modified over the years, but as we see it is still alive and thriving.
    Karl Marx was a complete dunce.

    Every single country that tried to follow the basic concepts of communism failed miserably. China and Cuba the last two moronic governments that think they are fooling the world, are heavily capitalist in nature.
  5. 02 May '12 13:21 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    Looking back at the granfather of the left, lets look at his goals and acomplishments. To do this, lets look at the communist manifesto.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive income tax.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants ideology has been modified over the years, but as we see it is still alive and thriving.
    I can't help feeling that the appropriate way to organise a society is probably going to be somewhere between the extreme collectivism of Marx and the opposite extreme of the market red in tooth and claw. So I don't think that the slightest overlap between this list and how modern governments conduct themselves is equivalent to a lurch onto the slippery slope toward Communism! However, your comments on the list are often bizarre in the extreme.

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    Surely it has always been the case that land ownership is not absolute; one can trace it back to the fact that in Britain all land was held "of the crown", a concept that long predates Marx and relates to the feudal system. This, not Marx, is the root of current eminent domain laws.

    2. A heavy progressive income tax.

    We have a progressive income tax, but not a heavy one by historical standards.

    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

    Inheritance tax does not exactly equate to "abolition of all right to inherit".

    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

    You don't seem to know the difference between an immigrant and an emigrant.

    5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state by means of a national bank with capital and an exclusive monopoly.

    This concentration of credit is mitigated by the fact that one can change one's own holdings of the money issued by that "national bank with an exclusive monopoly" into other currencies issued by other national banks; so that it doesn't have a monopoly anymore.

    6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.

    The proliferation of private motor vehicles on our roads suggest that this is very far from coming to pass. Airlines are not state-owned. In most countries, railways have actually been privatised over the past thirty years. Government monitoring of phonecalls and Emails (whatever one thinks of it - I think, for the record, that it's bad!) is not what Marx was talking about. He wanted the government to own the phone company.

    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

    As I say, nationalisation programmes have been put defiantly into reverse in the last thirty years.

    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

    Does Marx mean by this that everyone should have a job? If so, again, full employment has practically ceased to be a goal of most Western governments since the 1980s.

    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.

    This one's just outdated and irrelevant.

    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production.

    It's kind of astonishing that anyone could disagree with state provision of education and the abolition of child labour. We certainly don't have a "combination of education with industrial production", though.
  6. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    05 May '12 23:16
    Originally posted by Rajk999
    Karl Marx was a complete dunce.

    Every single country that tried to follow the basic concepts of communism failed miserably. China and Cuba the last two moronic governments that think they are fooling the world, are heavily capitalist in nature.
    The Communist Manifesto dates to 1848 I believe. It certainly predates by many years the research captured in Das Kapital. It is worth being aware that Marx was a revolutionary in the context of an oppressive autocratic state apparatus in which democracy was still a fantasy for the future and in the context of the Industrial Revolution before social reform ameliorated the dreadful conditions prevailing. He was a revolutionary long before he was a respected theorist. Like most theorists of that century, he fashioned his theories before he did his research and wrote his conclusions to fit his beliefs.

    Communism, of course, became very distinct under Lenin and Marxist -Leninist theories diverged from Marx. I am not sure to what extent Marx would have tolerated Lenin's approach or for how long but maybe he would have in the early years - anyway that is a counterfactual proposition. It is pretty likely that Lenin would not have tolerated Marx for long. If Marx were alive today, the only likelihood is that he would not be stupid. But if he was alive then the Marxist Leninists would have killed him before Mao got near to do the same.

    In general it is very silly to try and knock up a straw man effigy and then throw coconuts at it. Of course Marx was wrong. So was Freud and so were others who strayed from the strict findings of objective research to devise castles in the air. By contrast Darwin has not been refuted because his research was thorough and his conclusions well grounded and very specific. For most social theorists of that century then, their achievement is not ever in being right but in having asked important questions and proposed useful approaches. A number of Marx's contributions have been of lasting value and remain significant today. In addition, his arguments and debates exposed major flaws in the thinking of his rivals and opponents. For example his demolition of Max Stirner's Egoist philosophy is perfectly applicable to demolish any straw of credibility for that amateur ranter Ayn Rand, so fondly discussed by certain right wing idologues. Her ignorance of his arguments and her inability to answer them is a large part of the reason why nobody in philosophy takes her seriously or ever will do.

    An intelligent Marxist does not treat Marx as scripture but asks the types of question Marx asked and looks to the evidence to find rational, well justified answers. Asked about its relevance now I would point to the incoherent rage against the 1%, expressed in the anti-globalisation movement, and the 2007/9 collapse of the global financial system. I would look at Marx's concept of "false consciousness" and apply this to America's Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

    Marx would smile with recognition. This is good material for a Marxist to work with. Marx offers a good approach for anyone to work with, without having to conform to the label Marxist. (I suspect that if Marx had invented toothpaste then Americans would not be so arrogant about the condition of their teeth.)

    For comparison, consider how many Americans appear to have stopped thinking beyond Locke and the Puritans and quote their opinions as though they had the weight of scripture. Locke met the need of his times, not least to support the 1688 Glorious Revolution in Britain and justify the deposing of a King, but his thinking is really inadequate and has been subject to a lot of critcism and improvement over the intervening period. Lost - all lost on the American fundamentalists who seem frozen in a time warp.

    An earlier comparison of course is the reverence of the late Mediaeval Church for Aristotle. Because Aristotle is so profoundly wrong and opinionated on so many topics, it is absurd to rely on him as a source of scientific knowledge. Yet his work is astonishing for its time and represented a major improvement on alternatives (especially Plato). Again, it is not being right that makes him so great and influential, it is rather his opening up of new and productive ways of thinking. It is not the (often mistaken but sometimes right) facts but the method that makes Aristotle important.

    But why do I bother? This is not an intelligent debate. just ideological claptrap as usual. Sigh... If only Averbak's Encyclopedia of Endgames was not so tedious to slog through.
  7. 06 May '12 02:00
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    So you're in favor of children working in factories? Or are you a Communist?
    How about the libertarian notion that children ought to have the right with their parent's permission to make the choice.
  8. 06 May '12 02:30 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Communism, of course, became very distinct under Lenin and Marxist -Leninist theories diverged from Marx. I am not sure to what extent Marx would have tolerated Lenin's approach or for how long but maybe he would have in the early years - anyway that is a counterfactual proposition. It is pretty likely that Lenin would not have tolerated Marx for long. If Mar ...[text shortened]... s alive then the Marxist Leninists would have killed him before Mao got near to do the same.

    b]
    My guess is that Marx would have championed Lenin and company in the revolution, only to be disillusioned upon the reality of the monster he had helped to create. In fact, it could be argued that the same happened to Lenin, in that many speculate Stalin had him murdered. You know, "hope and change" gone awry for the millionth time.

    The biggest failing of Marx was the notion that collectivism could be a liberating force for the average for Joe Blow worker. In reality, all it does is empower elites, who become fewer and fewer, to find new ways to exploit him. The sad fact is that collectivism has always bred tyranny and always will.

    You are spot on about the Leninist not tolerating Marx. In fact, the more power is centralized the less tolerance there seems to be for differing views. Unfortunately for tyrants, differing views can only be quenched at the barrel of a gun or at the hands of a propogandist it seems.
  9. 06 May '12 02:35 / 1 edit
    Oh Man I shoulda looked closer I thought this was about Groucho.
  10. 06 May '12 02:47
    Originally posted by finnegan
    For comparison, consider how many Americans appear to have stopped thinking beyond Locke and the Puritans and quote their opinions as though they had the weight of scripture. Locke met the need of his times, not least to support the 1688 Glorious Revolution in Britain and justify the deposing of a King, but his thinking is really inadequate and has been subjec ...[text shortened]... intervening period. Lost - all lost on the American fundamentalists who seem frozen in a time warp.
    I think you will find that collectivists dominate political thought and is why those who oppose it cling to rare glimpses of counterviews from men such as Locke. I think this is because collectivism is but human nature. Men seek power and then seek to secure such power and then seek more power. It is a never ending cycle of stripping liberty from the individual to an ever shrinking group of elitists. The masses seem to be content following collectivist pide pipers such as Marx, but this is only due to their innate realization that are weak and vulnerable and need a shepherds guidance of sorts. Men can turn to religion or the state for such guidence, but today statism seems to be the most fashionable. Those that rise up to challenge such statist shepherding are always then cast in the light of an ogre, who cares nothing about the weak and frail in society that need the tit of Big Brother to survive. Those that champion liberty are then somehow compared to someone who desires to pull the plug on someone dependent on life support.
  11. 06 May '12 02:48
    Originally posted by Great Big Stees
    Oh Man I shoulda looked closer I thought this was about Groucho.
    Shhh, it really is.
  12. 06 May '12 02:55
    Originally posted by finnegan
    By contrast Darwin has not been refuted because his research was thorough and his conclusions well grounded and very specific. For most social theorists of that century then, their achievement is not ever in being right but in having asked important questions and proposed useful approaches.
    Really? So black people really are inferior and eugenics should be practiced?


    This is but only one example of how Darwin has been refuted. The fact is that no one has all the answers and it is why no one should be given all the power to "fix" all of our problems.
  13. 06 May '12 02:59 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    Surely it has always been the case that land ownership is not absolute; one can trace it back to the fact that in Britain all land was held "of the crown", a concept that long predates Marx and relates to the feudal system. This, not Marx, is the root of current eminent domain laws.
    Yes, statism predates Marx, probably back before recorded history. In fact, if memory serves most were slaves in the ancient world than not. However, Marx is the new modern day grandfather for many who champion statism today all in the name of "freeing" the slaves. He is like the statist Moses of sorts only to find themselves back in Egypt.
  14. 06 May '12 03:02
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    This concentration of credit is mitigated by the fact that one can change one's own holdings of the money issued by that "national bank with an exclusive monopoly" into other currencies issued by other national banks; so that it doesn't have a monopoly anymore.
    Other currencies? I thought all the currencies were too big to fail? To think that one currency can be obliterated and not effect the other ones is pure folly.
  15. 06 May '12 03:07
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    The proliferation of private motor vehicles on our roads suggest that this is very far from coming to pass. Airlines are not state-owned. In most countries, railways have actually been privatised over the past thirty years. Government monitoring of phonecalls and Emails (whatever one thinks of it - I think, for the record, that it's bad!) is not what Marx was talking about. He wanted the government to own the phone company.
    As I said before, direct state ownership is no longer in fashion. One reason is that government is not very efficient in pretty much anything it does. Secondly, government would not rather take the blame for something going awry, so private ownership with the boot of Big Brother on their necks is preferable. In the interim, they can sit back and do their central planning and decide whether Bear Sterns should be allowed to go under and whether GM and AIG should be "saved". And yes, government monitoring of its citizens is bad. So what is anyone going to do about it? Big Brother is the ultimate authority, not private industry.