The following is a good one! A good “Snark War,” that is.
I’ve been going back and forth with a guy named Richard Jones (not his real name, though “Richard” is — you’ll see why that’s important in a bit.
He’s been fixated on a silly concept throughout — that the dictionary definition of Socialism is the thing that should govern everyone’s understanding of what Socialism actually is. Not history, not reality, not the words, speeches, thoughts, books and other writings of actual Socialists themselves… no. The dictionary.
I have been heaping scorn on that notion for some time, having studied all those other things I listed, for decades. Here’s a little back-and-forth that Richard and I had in Facebook. I think it’s some of the best snark I’ve penned, and I figured I’d present it here for your consideration: 🙂
It should make you laugh! Now, please keep in mind that I do not use bad language, or dirty words, so remember that when you find out why Richard Jones’ first name is important. Enjoy!
Stop projecting. [Editor’s Note: Previously, I suggested that Richard Jones is a “narcissist,” and hinted that he should return to his pool and resume admiring his reflection. An allusion to the etymology of the word: “narcissism.”] “You have no answers to my points”. Seriously?? Here’s your argument, translated into English.
“xPraetorius-socialism is bad. In it’s various forms whether its a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole; or relating to a system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state; or a theory or system of social organization in which all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs; or a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy; xPraetorius-socialism is evil because it’s all of these things.”
Never once did you try to come up with a unifying definition of xPraetorius-socialism. You didn’t try to explain how xPraetorius-socialism could simultaneously give each person according to their needs, yet simultaneously require subservience to the state, but also being controlled by the community as a whole.
Why didn’t you try to do that? Because you can’t. xPraetorius-socialism is a core belief inside your head that you “know” to be evil, but you can’t actually explain what it is, beyond it being “all the things xPraetorius doesn’t like”.
I’d call you a sophist, but I don’t think anything about your reasoning is clever. Strawman arguments are so old school.
Richard Jones: None of your attempted description of my view of Socialism is correct.
Why? Again, your KEY phrase: “the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole” is meaningless.
Again, I aimed the original post at a level that was, apparently, over your head. I assumed that most people understood — as most people do — that my observations were being made about genuinely Socialist countries, and genuine Socialist history.
YOU’RE the one claiming that history’s most ardent Socialists — Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Ho, Castro, et al — were NOT in fact Socialists — because YOU, Richard Jones, say so. Lolololololololllll!
Then, YOU tell ME I wasn’t talking about Socialism at all… And why? Because YOU found it in the… wait for it… the DICTIONARY!
Toss out Marx, throw away Engels, dump Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and the rest of the GREATEST Socialist theorists of all! Why? Well, Richard Jones says THEY’RE all wrong, while HE’s got it right. How’s that you say? He went to the greatest Socialist theorist of all: Funk and Wagnalls!!!
Well, THAT ought to be definitive!
Your problem is that YOUR little starry-eyed vision of Socialism is self-disproving. Every time some charismatic Socialist “revolutionary” group seizes power, they claim to be establishing what YOU describe — the nonsensical “community as a whole” charade. They always END UP establishing a totalitarian, fascistic (same as “Socialist”) abattoir.
YOU, Richard Jones never admit to what any rational observer would have no choice but to admit: the problem is in THE THEORY ITSELF!
You fail to recognize the 900-pound gorilla in the room: That NOBODY could establish your little “community as a whole, democracy, good governance” utopia, because the theory doesn’t allow it! The theory’s WRONG! It’s reasoning is WRONG! It’s a bunch of HOOEY! Worse, what Socialist theory REALLY describes is the SAME OLD CRAP that’s been in place throughout history, all wrapped up in a bunch of moronic weasel words that either mean nothing (“owned or regulated by the community as a whole,” for example), or are so vague as to mean anything any Tom, Dick or Hitler WANTS them to mean.
You’re just the Dick who interpreted them to mean something that’s never existed, and never COULD exist, in human history. Right there in Fairy Tale Land with unicorns, fairies, leprechauns and good governance.
Someone on “The Simpson’s” once said, “In theory Communism works.” No, it doesn’t. Not even in theory. Since Communism is merely Socialism — only purer, as Marx said — then the corollary is true: “Socialism doesn’t even work in theory!” (See? at least MY view of Socialism conforms to what REAL Socialists say!)
Even your naive little “…community as a whole, with democracy and good governance” fails abjectly as soon as there’s what? Why, bad governance! At that point you’ve placed a whole bunch of power in the hands of those doing the bad governance. THAT’s a real smart move there, Einstein!
Again, you can’t disprove my statement of a simple truth: If you NEVER allow the government to have certain powers, then the government can NEVER abuse those powers. It can’t abuse power it doesn’t have.
You won’t even TRY to refute that! (Hint: I wouldn’t either. If I were a Socialist, it’d convert me to a non-Socialist right quick, though!)