Saturday, July 17, 2010

Capitalism vs. Socialism

There's been a lot of throwing around of the "S" word over the past year.  I thought it might be time for a refresher about what that word actually means.  I'm not going to go into the other "ism"s being thrown around (Fascism, Communism, etc etc.).  The truth is that the ones hurling the –isms around don't really know what any of them mean.  Perhaps I'll delve into them in a future post.  I think that a detailed analysis of the word "Fascism" combined with an in-depth look at the security policies of the Bush II administration would be very entertaining. 

It works like this.  Imagine you're at a party.  There are ten people, including you.  A pie is served and cut into ten pieces.  One This is what your share looks like. man comes up and takes nine pieces.  The other nine guests begin to divvy up the last remaining piece.  This is what we call "Capitalism".  Note that I said this is what we call "Capitalism".   Perhaps your sliver of the last piece is slightly larger than some of the others.  You want to protect what you've Yum, pie!got.  Somebody comes along and suggests that perhaps we could re-divide the pie so that that sorry fellow on the left who got the smallest sliver (it's so thin that it's translucent) might get a slightly larger piece.  You immediately become afraid that that person's portion is going to come out of your own, and you didn't have all that much to start with.  You become angry.  You begin arguing about how you've worked hard for your slice, and it's not fair for that lazy sod to startPlease sir, I'm a poor lazy bastard who just wants to live off your "hard earned" money taking your pie.  Lost in all of this name-calling and anger is the fact that what was really being suggested was that the guy with nine pieces perhaps only take eight.  With two whole pieces of pie to divvy up between the other nine guests, they just might all get a little more.  This is what we call "Socialism".  Again, emphasis on the "call" part. 

This is the state of modern politics.  We've convinced the guy who  has a slightly larger sliver of that last piece of pie to defend the right of the guy who took nine pieces to take nine pieces because he believes it's in his own best interest. 

Now, let's paint a slightly different picture.  The pie comes out, and Fear the evil black man! Fear! Fear! Fear!each guest takes one piece of pie.  Everybody's satisfied, because one piece of pie is really all you need.  That is what Socialism really is, and for nine people out of ten, it works out pretty well.  It sucks for the first dude, because he's forced to get by on what everyone else does, but again, the part we forget is that everybody's getting a pretty good deal of pie.

Ok, if you're a Republican or (gasp!) a Teabagger you probably haven't made it this far, because you already dismissed me as a Socialist and stopped reading lest I poison your mind.  I've noticed Teabaggers aren't really interested in hearing alternative points of Why yes, I am a giant asshole continuously crapping on the nation.  Why?view.  They're more interested in being right.  Glenn Beck even put  out a "book" that, based on the title (I haven't actually read it, nor do I intend to.  The title tells me all I need to know), suggests that it will teach you how to win arguments with people who have left leaning tendencies (A.K.A. Liberal Commie Socialist Scum Bastards who Hate America and Want the Terrorists to Win).  What it does not promise, however, is to teach you how to listen.  It does not promise to teach you how to understand what your opponents want.  It only promises to teach you how to shut them up with clever catch-phrases so that you don't have to actually hear ideas that conflict with your own and perhaps judge their arguments on their merits using your own mind.  Glenn Beck is quite popular.

What if, just imagine for a moment, that the first dude only took four pieces of pie.  The remaining nine guests now have six whole pieces of pie to fight over.  One of them might even get an entire piece all to himself.  This is what Capitalism really is, and it doesn't sound all that bad either.  It's not what we have though.  We claim to love Seen outside Fox News. Capitalism, but we don't really know what it is, because none of us living have ever seen it.  We fight for our little sliver of pie and fight for the first dude because we hope someday we might be the dude getting all the pie.  Our world view, though, is distorted from reality.  We think he's only got three or four pieces of pie, and someday we might get that too.  We think we've got a much bigger piece than we really do.  The richest 1% of the nation has more money than the remaining 99% (that's you).  We all think someday we'll become part of that 1%, because we think it's really more like 30%.  But it's not, and you won't.  The vast majority of the uber-rich today were born rich, and that's how it's done.  Very few new billionaires get made, they're born.  Bill Gates is an anomaly.

So I'll conclude with a sort of anti-thesis to Glenn Beck's book, butThis is what we're up against. much shorter and a hell of a lot cheaper.  Now you understand what the Teabaggers believe and why they fight for it.  All you need to do to win an argument is to get them to understand what they believe and why they believe it.  Good luck.

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