Monday, February 15, 2010

My World (and you're welcome to it)

(apologies to James Thurber for the title. graph from What Would Jack Do)
So I'm having a beer with my favorite 'tea party libertarian' and we're arguing about whether the government should fund "research" if there might be doubts about the "return on investment" (he also wants the government out of education), and I (as the 'socialist') favored more money for the research. Kinda like throwing out a net in the sea: you might catch something good. We agree on alternative energy, but disagree as to whether government should push the agenda.
And that is the philosophical difference. Just as I don't mind being called a "liberal", I don't really mind being called a "socialist", because of my view of the world. See, we are just humans. We are a social animal. We live in societies. We band together to do more than we can individually (I couldn't build an internet by myself; could you?), so we have a set of social rules. And that includes a certain amount of "sharing" resources. We always build some sort of structure (call it "government") to achieve a social norm for the good of the majority of us. Even the most tribal society is 'socialist' if you want to see it that way.
My 'libertarian' friend gave a number of 'free market' examples (proving nothing) why 'government is the problem', but kept saying "need more research" when I questioned his examples. I called this the "Unicorn Petting Manuel" view of the world. You want "more research" but "less government" at the same time. And then you pet the Unicorn.
I may be somewhat extreme in my opinions, but I usually try to be realistic; you want "better", you will have to pay for it. There are no Unicorns to pet. But I do believe that some amount of "socialism" is worth paying for a better life for all of us who live in a "society".
(added: as I'm sitting here blogging, Grizelda (my bird) is singing along with "Oh, Canada" as best she can. Yes, we're watching the Olympics)


Demeur said...

I with you on this, but I had great hopes that Obama and the Democratic majority would have got things going. Alas not much is getting done. So what to do? It may be that we (the little guys) will have to get things done by ourselves. How you might ask? Well if the banks won't do the right thing for their customers then it's up to us to move our money to banks that do. If there's no push for alternative energy they we need to start making our own. And maybe just maybe the clowns in DC will get the idea that they can't keep pandering to corporations and actually do something.
Just wonder if it's possible to set up a non profit insurance company for health care? I just may pose that question to our insurance commisioner.
Oh and tell your libertarian friend we don't have "free markets". They're paid for with Chinese slave labor and child labor in other countries.
Yep electricity, water, roads, police, and fire depts are all socialist parts of our country but I guess he forgot about those things.

Justin said...

yes, thats the interesting thing with the US libertarianism, there is very little room for collective action and voluntary associations, or democracy for that matter. I like much of what libertarians claim (freedom, liberty, self reliance/dignity etc. I usually find libertarians dont have much of an answer for accumulated power as force and fraud...i.e. Should one be free, through his or her hard work and effort to accumulate the means to power to control everyone else? Wouldnt we need government to prevent this possibility? You are right, we are social animals, it is delusional to assume we stand alone, unaffected by, or not affecting others...but thats billions in PR ideology to make real democracy into a socialist bogeyman, another story....we are kind of collectively kinda retarded as a result of the conditioning, ooppss sorry Palin, its satire.