Ghosts of Stalin

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AuthorTopic: Ghosts of Stalin
Shock Trooper
Member # 6908
Profile #25
Well, if you read works of Lenin or Marks, you shall see, that true Communism in its final state is rather unachievable. I can't imagine a country not using money system at all. :) A great number of people mix two political statings: communism and socialism. Soviet Union since its foundation was aimed to gain true communizm through socialism state, but actually already after the end of period of New Economical Politics 1924-1933 the way to communizm appeared to be much harder. So political state in Soviet Union was socialism. Please, do not call people, who believed in communism stupid or even worse - evil. If you read about communism not from NY Times, but from "Capital" by Marx, you can understand, why a lot of people believed in bright future working hard to achieve communism. The main problem is that it cannot be achieved through tyrany. Actually, nothing can be. So there is the failure of vanguard leaders, but not the theory.
As for me, I can accept communism if some genius can show the real way to it. But nowadays all the former leaders again talk about socialism. That sux.
Also I accept democracy. BUT from the definition of this word, or better to say, from its translation, it is citizens, who decide. Any country with one key figure: president, monarch, emperor, shah, etc. is not a democratic one. By definition. Make a social poll questioning: do you trust the election system in your country? Any guess what do you get? I know the results for our counrty and for some other.

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9 masks sing in a choir:
Gnome Dwarf Slith
Giant Troll Troglo
Human Nephil Vahnatai
"If the mask under mask to SE of mask to the left of mask and to the right of me is the mask below the mask to the right of mask to the right of mask below me is the same, then who am I?"

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Posts: 203 | Registered: Tuesday, March 14 2006 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #26
A rosy ultimate goal might get Karl Marx credit for being a nice guy at heart, but Marxism has to stand or fall on its theories about how to get there.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 59
Profile #27
The Soviet bloc was an example of a mafia dictatorship's failure and its transformation into a nominally capitalist mafia society. Socialism + democracy is something that has not been tested in any developed country. The closest thing might be 1980s Scandinavia.
Posts: 950 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 1249
Profile Homepage #28
quote:
A rosy ultimate goal might get Karl Marx credit for being a nice guy at heart, but Marxism has to stand or fall on its theories about how to get there.
(I assume you meant "to communism".)

No. It doesn't stand or fall based on that alone. For one thing, there are many Marxisms. And then Marx's theories can't be reduced to just achieving communism. He is a critic of capitalism. His theories have had a considerable effect on social sciences, like Sociology for instance.

Marx actually _didn't_ say much about how to achieve communism. The vanguard theory was pretty much Lenin's idea. Many theorists since Marx's time have disagreed with Lenin in that and have been marxists at the same time.
Posts: 259 | Registered: Saturday, June 1 2002 07:00
Lifecrafter
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Profile #29
quote:
Originally written by Milu:

quote:
A rosy ultimate goal might get Karl Marx credit for being a nice guy at heart, but Marxism has to stand or fall on its theories about how to get there.
(I assume you meant "to communism".)

I fail to see where you get that, as it wasn't mentioned in the quote. It seems to me that the "rosy ultimate goal" was the destination.

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Posts: 883 | Registered: Wednesday, October 19 2005 07:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 6908
Profile #30
quote:
Originally written by Milu:

And then Marx's theories can't be reduced to just achieving communism. He is a critic of capitalism. His theories have had a considerable effect on social sciences, like Sociology for instance. Marx actually _didn't_ say much about how to achieve communism.
That's exactly what I forgot to add. Marx only mentioned communism as a possible way to perfect society. And he also stated the necessary conditions, like tilth to farmers, factories to workers, and establishing labor unions. But as in maths, a functional needs not only necessary conditions, but also starting values. And here is what Lenin proposed: socialism. And at that time the only way for him to start with it was with a slogan: "We shall build a new world on the ruins of an old one, and an old one we shall bring to ruins first". It took 70 years to see a mistake, because every new leader saw the new world in his own way.

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9 masks sing in a choir:
Gnome Dwarf Slith
Giant Troll Troglo
Human Nephil Vahnatai
"If the mask under mask to SE of mask to the left of mask and to the right of me is the mask below the mask to the right of mask to the right of mask below me is the same, then who am I?"

radix: +2 nicothodes: +1 salmon:+1
Posts: 203 | Registered: Tuesday, March 14 2006 08:00
Off With Their Heads
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I thought it was self-evident at this point that the Leninist-Stalinist model — because we can't really blame all of it on Lenin — was a failure. The question is where that leaves Marxism, which was a little less specific in practical means of achieving the goal.

I think that Marx's critique of capitalism still stands: capitalism was horribly corrupt in his day. The problem is that the answer is a blend of socialism and capitalism within democracy, not a communist anarchy (and not the Leninist communist dictatorship). A strike, not a revolution (and then civil war), gets workers better conditions.

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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My two cents on the topic of communism: the only place it has worked to create the fantasized utopia is on kibbutzim (which I checked with a quick Google search); where those who want the communist structure can go to live and those who detest it can leave. Communism has not and can not thrive in a society where people don't want it.

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Posts: 883 | Registered: Wednesday, October 19 2005 07:00
Warrior
Member # 7171
Profile #33
The Soviet bloc was an example of a mafia dictatorship's failure and its transformation into a nominally capitalist mafia society.
There is no relation between the Soviet government and the mafia.
Socialism + democracy is something that has not been tested in any developed country. The closest thing might be 1980s Scandinavia.
Socialism and democracy are not historically mutually exclusive.
Posts: 66 | Registered: Sunday, May 28 2006 07:00
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quote:
So wouldn't the failure of vanguard theory itself (as opposed to a few historical failures to implement it) be tantamount to the failure of Leninism?
Yes. I wasn't aware that I was defending leninism here. :P

quote:
Well, if you read works of Lenin or Marks, you shall see, that true Communism in its final state is rather unachievable. I can't imagine a country not using money system at all.
Human nature is ghostly. If you cannot see a system that does not use money, who's to say that your descendants will see things the same way?

quote:
The main problem is that it cannot be achieved through tyrany. Actually, nothing can be. So there is the failure of vanguard leaders, but not the theory.
But if the vanguard theory espouses that communism can be gained through a tyrranical minority leading the way when in actuality such a thing is impossible, doesn't that show a failure of the theory?

quote:
Also I accept democracy. BUT from the definition of this word, or better to say, from its translation, it is citizens, who decide. Any country with one key figure: president, monarch, emperor, shah, etc. is not a democratic one.
I know it might be difficult to imagine this in a time when we're actually watching a vanguard (ie. neoconservatism) die, but leaders only exist with the people's permission.

quote:
A rosy ultimate goal might get Karl Marx credit for being a nice guy at heart, but Marxism has to stand or fall on its theories about how to get there.
Actually, Marx was quite an irate ass-hole in person.
PS- He also goes on to call romantics "social slime," so calling his communism a "rosy, ultimate goal" is a bit self-defeating.

quote:
I think that Marx's critique of capitalism still stands: capitalism was horribly corrupt in his day.
Right. Nowadays, however, our methods of human resource extraction from the third world are as humane as they are profitable?

quote:
The problem is that the answer is a blend of socialism and capitalism within democracy, not a communist anarchy (and not the Leninist communist dictatorship).
Pleasant answer. Not much, but pleasant. I, too, think a blend of crap with ambrosia would possess a more appealing boquet of fragrances.

But then, I suppose the onus lies on me to prove why it's imperative for me to prove why this proposed "solution" is bad. But that's difficult, considering that you leave the crap-to-good ratio undefined, but for any of capitalism to be preserved, the only moral assertion you could possibly make is that competition in a society should be awarded accordingly, "socialism" being factored in to guarantee fair competition.

Which, of course, is still a tricky assertion-- what about inheritance? Wasn't the father (or ideally mother/father in your postmodern utopia) fighting for his son's well-being when he did that much better than his competitors? Ah, but wait, his son still gets to go to the same schools as everyone else. But what if there's a private school that wants to compete with the socialized school? Is that contrary to competition?

But let's set practical difficulties aside, since I have no idea what shape your postmodern utopia will take precisely. What of the means of production? If competition is still a value, then every factory worker will still be working for her/himself. But if everyone is still fighting for the self (and has the possibility of reaping the rich rewards for doing so!), and is prompted to do so by the society's ideology and the gov't's methodology, then what is the imperative to maintain competition? The people on top, after having struggled oh-so-valiantly to do so (well, hypothetically, anyway), will be the first ones to try and preserve their positions. Competition in this sense ceases being a functional agent of meritocracy (if ever it was one-- hence the "postmodern utopia") and becomes an ideological burden, which shifts the blame of exploitation to the exploited. In other words, when a society is based on the notion of people fighting for themselves, don't be surprised when they do so.

But even apart from that it will cause solvency challenges, your postmodern utopia has no reason to exist in comparison to, say, a communism (your "blend" minus all the capitalist stuff). If your assertion is that human nature will be a sabot in the gears of a communist society, then consider how humans thought in the dark ages. Hell, consider how they thought in the 80's. Clearly, any changes in the way people think are artificed, but artificial is not the same as erroneous. In the context of human thought, human ideas are as real as one can possibly get. If the problem is the way people actually think-- ie, the current nature of most humans-- then the solution to make communism feasible is to determine the causes for damaging thoughts and work with the person to change those thought processes. If human thought patterns were immutable, history would never have changed in the first place since people would always be reproducing the same circumstances. If human thought patterns were somehow sacred and not to be touched, then who is to object to genocide or imperialism?
If human nature is an impedement for the greatest good for all individuals, we must get rid of it.

(And if I sound like Mill, this is absolutely right. I would agree with Mill as well, if he didn't spend all of his time contradicting himself. If you read A System of Logic, for instance, you come out thinking that the author of On Liberty is either mistaken or an ass.)

EDIT:

quote:
There is no relation between the Soviet government and the mafia.
Not true. The mafia and soviet elites began waxing guanxi as time passed.

quote:
Socialism and democracy are not historically mutually exclusive.
For a socialist society to exist without democracy is something of an absurdity. Certainly, it could, but democracy at this point appears to be the most effective method to reach communism. Plus, for socialism to not have a democratic process by necessity rather than mere coincidence shows that it's going to be toppled for trying to exist in a more backwards society anyway.

[ Sunday, May 28, 2006 11:17: Message edited by: Keto-san ]

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #35
Have you seen the ghost of Stalin?
Long white bones with the flesh all gone
Oooooooooooooooh
Wouldn't it be chilly with no clothes on?

[ Sunday, May 28, 2006 11:23: Message edited by: Vlishnu ]

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Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #36
TM certainly doesn't have to defend Leninism, but maybe it would help if he said what he is defending. The elimination of private property? It's hard to make a good discussion out of kicking capitalism, because capitalism is generally defended the way Churchill defended democracy, as being the very worst possible system, except for all the others. So kicking it without an explicit alternative is sort of moot.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Warrior
Member # 7171
Profile #37
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

TM certainly doesn't have to defend Leninism, but maybe it would help if he said what he is defending. The elimination of private property? It's hard to make a good discussion out of kicking capitalism, because capitalism is generally defended the way Churchill defended democracy, as being the very worst possible system, except for all the others. So kicking it without an explicit alternative is sort of moot.
The formation of a reasonable critique does not explicitly demand an alternative.
Posts: 66 | Registered: Sunday, May 28 2006 07:00
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I just made a post that essentially knocks down the issue of solvency as an impedement to communism, and yet the issue of my stance is somehow shrouded in mystery?

There are many problems with your post, least of which is a lack of literary subtelty (and I wasn't even trying to be subtle either). Let's just say that unless you disagree with many of the things that I stated, you won't be able to assert much of ANYTHING against ANY system I propose, so even if your plan is to pin me down as being against "property" and then whining about how I'm going to take away everyone's blankie, you'll STILL have to confront the notions I've outlined in this post ANYWAY.

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Lifecrafter
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Profile #39
quote:
Originally written by radix malorum est cupiditas:

My two cents on the topic of communism: the only place it has worked to create the fantasized utopia is on kibbutzim (which I checked with a quick Google search); where those who want the communist structure can go to live and those who detest it can leave. Communism has not and can not thrive in a society where people don't want it.
The same could have readily been said of democracy before the 18th century; its application in any meaningful sense was limited to small groups and city-states, both capable of expelling the truculent at will.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
E Equals MC What!!!!
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Profile Homepage #40
quote:
Originally written by Keto-san:

If human nature is an impedement for the greatest good for all individuals, we must get rid of it.
Isn't it only possible to eliminate human nature by eliminating humans? :confused:

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Posts: 1861 | Registered: Friday, February 11 2005 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4445
Profile #41
quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

quote:
Originally written by Keto-san:

If human nature is an impedement for the greatest good for all individuals, we must get rid of it.
Isn't it only possible to eliminate human nature by eliminating humans? :confused:

I think his whole argument was that human nature is inherently separable from the existence of humanity as a species.

However, the assertion that human nature must be changed implicitly supports the vanguard theory (changed by whom?). After all, marxism is the darling of the overprivileged elite nowadays, not "the people." It would seem that the masses prefer their opiates, religion and a miniscule chance of becoming fantabulously rich, to an optimal distribution of resources or the promise thereof. If the lower classes prefer those things to a Marxist society, I see no pressing need to change the status quo in that regard.

(Genocide has very little to do with the concept of Marxism, and I do see an obvious pressing need to revise human nature, by hook, vanguard, or crook, to erase that tendency)

[ Sunday, May 28, 2006 13:21: Message edited by: PoD person ]
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #42
TM, will you ever get the self-confidence to discuss anything without trying to frighten people into leaving you alone? I'm not trying to pin anything on you, and I'd be very surprised if your ideas fell apart without their props of jargon and abuse. They might not be unchallengable, but nobody's are.

I do not in fact gather what your viewpoint is, except that it is extremely anti-capitalist. That leaves a wide range of possibilities. I do not, for example, know what you mean by "the issue of solvency". I will readily confess to horrible ignorance; would you mind explaining yourself more simply?

You see, I've spent a good ten to fifteen years, depending on how you count it, at the very top of the world's academic pyramid. It is clear that my own long-term niche is a notch or two down from there. But if you're not making yourself clear to me, I'm afraid you're not making yourself clear.

I say this with quite the opposite intent than to intimidate or condescend. Quite a few people on these boards can say as much, or will be able to in time, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if you were among them. What I am saying is that the intellectual big leagues are much friendlier places than the schoolyard scrum you seem to fear, and you can well afford to unbend, let your guard down, and lighten up.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
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quote:
However, the assertion that human nature must be changed implicitly supports the vanguard theory (changed by whom?).
It should be changed by the people at large. A great deal of the problem with lenin was that he failed quite dramatically at changing the mindset of the people (and stalin/kruschev didn't help any either), and what resulted was a government that was supported intellectually exclusively by the upper-class, whereas the lower-class was as mystified as a destitute petit-bourgeois in any first-world country could ever hope to be.

quote:
After all, marxism is the darling of the overprivileged elite nowadays, not "the people."
Make no mistake- I was born rich enough to get a decent education. Not that I am ashamed for that, because I consider an education something that all human beings should be afforded.

Although it's not as if the exploited (in this country alone, nevermind the ever-present third world!) have actually been exposed to many positive ideas. If the poor honestly don't want to change the world, it's going to be because they're so intensely jaded from being perpetually prostrate (and prostate as well), or because meritocracy's main lesson tells them to hate themselves for not succeeding, and if they hate themselves, then they certainly won't fight for their rights, now will they?

quote:
It would seem that the masses prefer their opiates, religion and a miniscule chance of becoming fantabulously rich, to an optimal distribution of resources or the promise thereof. If the lower classes prefer those things to a Marxist society, I see no pressing need to change the status quo in that regard.
Right. The slaves prefered living under their masters-- I say we get the national guard back home and have them work on a final solution to the negroe problem.

quote:
I do not in fact gather what your viewpoint is, except that it is extremely anti-capitalist. That leaves a wide range of possibilities.
I know. And my response in my post was that, despite the fact that I did not outline an exact system in my posts, I'd still use the same justification to support at least the solvency (if not merit) any system. (I also hinted at the fact that I very much support the dissolution of property, but little more than "hinted".)

(Although honestly, "anti-capitalist" isn't quite as broad as people usually think. The anarchists such as Bakunin were at one point called communists (and that point was the Hague Conference), and their primary disagreement was over, yeah, solvency.)

quote:
You see, I've spent a good ten to fifteen years, depending on how you count it, at the very top of the world's academic pyramid.
Not that I doubt you, but whereat and at what role?

EDIT: And as for what I mean by "the issue of solvency," I mean "questions as to whether or not communism will have solvency."

[ Sunday, May 28, 2006 16:00: Message edited by: Keto-san ]

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
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Profile #44
quote:
quote:
So there is the failure of vanguard leaders, but not the theory.
But if the vanguard theory espouses that communism can be gained through a tyrranical minority leading the way when in actuality such a thing is impossible, doesn't that show a failure of the theory?
I'm sorry for making myself unclear. By the vanguard theory I meant communizm, how Marx first represented it, but not the theory of achieving communism by Lenin.
quote:
quote:
Also I accept democracy. BUT from the definition of this word, or better to say, from its translation, it is citizens, who decide. Any country with one key figure: president, monarch, emperor, shah, etc. is not a democratic one.
I know it might be difficult to imagine this in a time when we're actually watching a vanguard (ie. neoconservatism) die, but leaders only exist with the people's permission.
I may seem too cynic, but I think citizens have no idea, who are those people who decide. As Douglas Adams said, President is a formal appointment, whose aim is to distract everyone's attention off the real government. :)
quote:
I, too, think a blend of crap with ambrosia would possess a more appealing boquet of fragrances.
Is it what Huckleberry Finn always said about his "sandwiches"? :)
quote:
I was born rich enough to get a decent education
That's definitely not communism :) . I captured some time in my life living - and studying - in USSR. The only thought there of paying for education was horrible :( . Nowadays the educational system is made to pay for it :(
I agree that all around the world people will place on the first place struggle for their place under the Sun, and only on the second they will work hard for society. Breaking this way of thinking exactly means getting rid of human nature. It didn't work for leninists. I doubt it can work for anyone else.
Though kibbutzim idea is nice, it is too small society.
Hey, may be that's the way out? Despite breaking human thought patterns split the society into small groups before. :) That wasn't serious.

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9 masks sing in a choir:
Gnome Dwarf Slith
Giant Troll Troglo
Human Nephil Vahnatai
"If the mask under mask to SE of mask to the left of mask and to the right of me is the mask below the mask to the right of mask to the right of mask below me is the same, then who am I?"

radix: +2 nicothodes: +1 salmon:+1
Posts: 203 | Registered: Tuesday, March 14 2006 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 4445
Profile #45
quote:
Originally written by Keto-san:

[b]
quote:
However, the assertion that human nature must be changed implicitly supports the vanguard theory (changed by whom?).
It should be changed by the people at large. A great deal of the problem with lenin was that he failed quite dramatically at changing the mindset of the people (and stalin/kruschev didn't help any either), and what resulted was a government that was supported intellectually exclusively by the upper-class, whereas the lower-class was as mystified as a destitute petit-bourgeois in any first-world country could ever hope to be.

quote:
After all, marxism is the darling of the overprivileged elite nowadays, not "the people."
Make no mistake- I was born rich enough to get a decent education. Not that I am ashamed for that, because I consider an education something that all human beings should be afforded.

Although it's not as if the exploited (in this country alone, nevermind the ever-present third world!) have actually been exposed to many positive ideas. If the poor honestly don't want to change the world, it's going to be because they're so intensely jaded from being perpetually prostrate (and prostate as well), or because meritocracy's main lesson tells them to hate themselves for not succeeding, and if they hate themselves, then they certainly won't fight for their rights, now will they?

[/b]
Ah hah! So you are a vanguardist! You blame the failure of communism to date on a lower class without knowledge of it. I may be starting to understand your position. The function of any sort intellectual "vanguard" should be educative and self-sacrificing, not governmental, right? Their primary responsibility should be to expose the lower classes to "positive ideas?" Just teach the people what to do and get the hell out of the way?

Of course, if I understand correctly, the command economy would have no place in your ideal communism; in the absence of dictatorial control and with a fully indoctrinated citizenry, the people would find, on their own, the most efficient ways to help one another and the correct solutions to the minute and ever-varying subsets of the big social problems. Like the free market without Darwinism, because anything else would just create a new elite and a less efficient economy.

So, do you believe in the command economy as an essential feature of communism, or just as a transition between capitalism and communism, a time to break habits?
quote:
[b]
quote:
It would seem that the masses prefer their opiates, religion and a miniscule chance of becoming fantabulously rich, to an optimal distribution of resources or the promise thereof. If the lower classes prefer those things to a Marxist society, I see no pressing need to change the status quo in that regard.
Right. The slaves prefered living under their masters-- I say we get the national guard back home and have them work on a final solution to the negroe problem.

[/b]
You know, as far as you may believe the philosophical implications of what I said reach, you're not scoring any points by acting as though I advocated repression, reactionism, or genocide. At least give some steps for that logical leap.

Anyhow, the slaves escaped when they got the chance. Their own intellectuals and those of the North were vehemently opposed to that condition. Preference obviously had no role in their condition.

quote:

EDIT: And as for what I mean by "the issue of solvency," I mean "questions as to whether or not communism will have solvency."

And by "solvency," do you mean the ability to both issue mandates and provide the economic means for their execution? I'm still unclear. If that's the case, you certainly didn't "knock it down as an impediment to communism" or do anything other than say that "Kel's postmodern utopia" will have problems with it.

[ Monday, May 29, 2006 09:20: Message edited by: PoD person ]
Posts: 293 | Registered: Saturday, May 29 2004 07:00
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There's a theory that it's impossible to completely adopt any form of political or governmental system since absolute extremes rarely exist in real life. You can't have a completely Communist system because it ends up failing due to human nature, so you have to adopt aspects of other systems in order to re-enforce the Communist part. Coincidentally, it seems you can't have a completely Capitalist system for more or less the same reason. The only reason the U.S. is doing so well (supposedly) is because it has Socialist aspects, like welfare and so on. It's a little like yin and yang, maybe: you have to adopt a little bit of your opposition to make your side work. Perfection doesn't exist, so you consciously have to be at least a little bit towards the other end of the spectrum to hold together, or something like that. But I'm probably not the best person to try and explain it.

EDIT: A whole bunch of misplaced commies. I mean, commas. Ba-dum-tsh. :P

[ Monday, May 29, 2006 09:39: Message edited by: Robinator, #034 ]

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Simpler. Define human nature accurately and completely, and then create a system of governance that complies with it. But get it right the first time, otherwise internet pundits will have a field day with those failed attempts.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
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TM has a deep-seated philosophical incentive to be utterly opaque, and as such makes an excellent sparring partner for the half-assed.

That doesn't make him wrong.
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quote:
Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:

TM has a deep-seated philosophical incentive to be utterly opaque, and as such makes an excellent sparring partner for the half-assed.

That doesn't make him wrong.

As always, Alec, you have me on the edge of my seat.

IMAGE(http://stuff.ermarian.net/salmon/rofl.gif)

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

Well, I'm at least pretty sure that Salmon is losing.


Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00

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