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December 28, 2012
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The meaning of words is too important to ignore in politics, and there is one word that has been mutilated into something grotesque by the worst elements of our political discourse. Conservative. Its an idea that advocates trying to preserve things as they are by emphasizing stability and continuity. It is an ideology that does not fear change, but simply wishes for it to be managed well. Too many politicians identifying as conservative today are in fact reactionaries. Reactionaries oppose modernism and seek a return to "the way things were," a goal historically being both futile and self destructive; something the current Republican party is demonstrating with startling persistance. True conservatives are not concerned with trivial changes in our culture, but rather the long term continuity of the national spirit. The Reactionaries have been given their moment, and it is time to send them back to irrelevance where they belong.
Just my perspective on politics, a minority opinion as always.
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joeisbadass 9 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with your definition are of 'conservative' but what conservatives, or 'reactionaries' as you called them, are you talking about exactly that are in power?
YNot1989 46 minutes ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The Tea Party.
kyuzoaoi Jan 16, 2013  Student Artist
Well, I think Reactionary meant the so-called social conservatives. Correct?
YNot1989 Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cloudwilk Jan 9, 2013  Student Filmographer
The only reason I am really really really really starting to lean away from being near this party is because the morals I've seen behind it.
For instance, there's too much anti-feminism, inequality, tax breaks on the rich, anti-homosexuality, .... etc. I've seen too many people like this, and having beliefs that believe in living more of a patriarchal, religious life is part of what makes up the modern party.
One other thing I've seen too much in that party is way to many naive and kinda arrogant arguments. Of course, this is only based on all the people I've seen, and every part has those people. I've just seen so much more and have it go farther on that side.
That's why I'm more not conservative than I am liberal. It's just from what I've seen while I was still neutral. But it doesn't mean I couldn't get through a conversation politely with someone on that side, as long as they could.
WrathFan99 Feb 19, 2013  Student General Artist
Well , Liberal has multiple definitions . There are three main ones in the United States :

1 . Non-partisan ( I.e. When Faux News says " The liberal media " even though there are a multitude of famous Conservatives ) .

2 . Progressives ( A form of Social Democracy in favor of gradual changes aimed at the advancement of human progress , sadly over the years progressivism has been demonized due to closet Fascists , Statist opportunists and corporate sell-outs like Obama giving us a bad name ) . Come on , leave our unions alone , people .

3 . Anti-conservative snobs ( Another particular type of Democrat that gives the freethinking community a bad name ) .

I prefer the term Freethinker to Liberal myself . As a Socialist I`m not a big believer in partisan politics .
Cloudwilk Feb 19, 2013  Student Filmographer
My problem is I'm not a clear cut of anything, so what I'm mostly trying to do is just match what I'm closest to and rule out what I'm not. I do have some conservtive beliefs and liberal beliefs (I guess this makes me non-partisan.) I suppose because of that, I'm more non-conservative than I am liberal. (Anti would be too strong of a word I suppose.)
WrathFan99 Feb 19, 2013  Student General Artist
Sounds to me like you`re a Moderate Libertarian which is a mix of Progressivism and Free Market Capitalism in its purest form .Members of the American Libertarian Party have perverted the term with paranoid Anarcho-Capitalist closet Fascist rhetoric . Pure Libertarianism is far more tolerant of Socialists like myself and understand that State Socialism does not = Communism but Fascism .
Cloudwilk Feb 19, 2013  Student Filmographer
Well, I certainly do believe the system will always need to be reformed and I promote change (though not radically, and I do believe certain things sometimes shouldn't change if they've been perfected, that's just a such a rare occurance though to constantly consider.) and I'm not quite sure about trade regulations... I never really gave Libertarian a thought... Probably because if you're anything but Democratic or Republican you don't really have a say :<
What exactly is a socialist? I've heard the term used constantly, but in a negative conotation. (Probably because, as I've said multiple times in the past, I'm surrounded by hard-core conservatives.)
WrathFan99 Feb 20, 2013  Student General Artist
The Libertarians are gaining ground but the most outspoken ones are Republican in everything but name and in some cases are even more dangerous and bigoted . What is a Socialist ? Well , I`m glad you asked . While Socialism tends to be thought of as equivalent to Stalinism or Nazism , it should be noted " State Socialism " is actually closer to Fascism than pure Socialism which simply means " The workers control the means of production directly " . Like Capitalism , Libertarianism and pretty much any other ism , Socialism has many different strains of thought within it and not all of them are in agreement about every issue which of course creates complications when it comes to figure out how best to create a Socialistic society . TV Tropes has a rather informative " Useful Notes " section on the subject :
"Useful Notes: Socialism
Socialism is a political ideology that began to develop in the nineteenth century, with roots in philosophers from the 18th century.
There are several tenets that generally qualify as socialist. One does not necessarily have to believe in all of them to be a socialist and some are disputed among socialists as to the actual prominence of them (eg. class analysis)
1. A belief in society and some form of collectivism. This can range from a Nordic- style welfare state to anarcho-collectivism to full-fledged Communism. This belief is generally opposed to liberal individualism as it believes that people cannot be separated from the context in which they live their lives. That said, individual civil liberties are an important part of Socialist theory, and for some strains, individual freedom is the reason for supporting Anarchism in that particular strain.
As Proudhon put it so bluntly: "Property is theft."
2. The benefits of Co-Operation: Again the belief that human beings are interdependent. It also believes that social groups can be better than the sum of their parts.
3. Class Analysis of society: This is the belief that society is divided into different classes, the traditional model being the Marxist division between the proletariat (working class) and the bourgeoisie (owners of the means of production). It also includes the belief that the lower class is exploited by the upper class. Socialists believe in the equality between classes and Marx believed in the complete eradication of class. Opinions on where the middle class fits into that two-tiered model, and who fits into what class, is hotly contested
4. Internationalism: The belief that all of humanity is one race and that there should be greater equality between rich and poor nations. A belief in international socialism is a response to international capitalism.
5. Anti-Capitalism, to greater or lesser degrees: The moderate critique of capitalism believes in curbing excesses of the free market through policies such as welfare state (see Social Democracy). The Radical critique argues that capitalism should be overthrown (see every other strain).
6. Liberty as Fulfillment: This means that liberty is found through the development of the individual rather than freedom through purchasing power. Life, liberty, but not property.
7. The idea that humans are creative producers: This can be part of the critique of capitalism; the stultifying nature of working in a factory alienates people from their creative nature.
8. People are sovereign: Has been used to critique “bourgeois democracy” by Lenin, a term referring to the representative models used in most countries, or systems where who can vote is limited. A more modern critique would ask for increased direct democracy.
9. Common, collective, and/or state ownership of the means of production, or at the very least more influence for workers.
10. Wage slavery: Among the more extreme ideas, usually pushed by Utopians, Communists and Anarchists ,that any form of work for monetary pay is inherently slave-like. See Wikipedia for more about this idea is probably a better idea than looking here.
Here are the laconic versions of various types of Socialism. It's important to remember that while there is broad agreement among socialists that capitalism is bad and should be either abolished or at least moderated, there is little else universally agreed upon by them. The flame wars that erupt over the existence of money, the usefulness of reformism vs. revolution and the proper role of the state in guiding the development of a socialist society are not worth getting into here. It's enough to know that there are deep conflicts between different schools of thought and that at times it seems they can't cooperate on anything.

Types of Socialism
Utopian socialism: A 19th-century socialism developed by thinkers such as Saint-Simon. Belief in idyllic, small communities usually.
State Socialism: A strain that emphasizes government ownership of industry and central planning. The difference between this and Leninism being that State Socialism is often practiced in democratic countries. A good if debatable example would be post-war Britain, especially under Clement Atlee. There is a fine line between this and Social Democracy.
Social Democracy: Social democracy is a more moderate kind of socialism that seeks to use democratic rather than revolutionary means to achieve its goals. It advocates policies such as full employment and the right to work, the welfare state, and ensuring some equality of outcome through redistribution of wealth. Examples of this form include Postwar Consensus politics in Britain and the Nordic model in Scandinavia. The main difference with State Socialism is that, while the values of Socialism are there, modern Social Democracy actually has no interest in reforming Capitalism into Socialism but rather updating and modifying the Capitalist model to create a more equitable society, making its status as a Socialist ideology hotly debated. Worth noting that in Europe, where it is most popular, Social Democracy parties independent of the major Socialists groups still caucus with those socialists in domestic legislatures, and are usually members of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, which is itself under the blanket of the Party of European Socialists in the European Parliament.
As an aside, the term "social democracy" in the early twentieth century used to refer to Marxists; it should not be confused with the modern usage of the term.
Libertarian Socialism: Imagine Anarcho-Syndicalism but less extreme, with the barest minimum of a State as supported by the Libertarian ideal. Government maintains trade relations and protects its people, but it does not interfere with their lives, which are meant to assume a cooperative instead of competitive way of living.
An alternative concept of "libertarian socialism" includes the existence of the welfare state in that barest minimum to provide an equal playing field for all, therefore making force and fraud (at least directed against another individual) less attractive or pointless (this concept would be a Berserk Button for the more right-wing libertarians, who do not want a welfare state to exist). In this concept, personal freedom and privacy are paramount - the apparatus of the state that seeks to control individual behavior would be dismantled. For example, all drug laws would be repealed and replaced with truth-in-labeling on drugs laws - because it is not the business of the state to protect people from themselves but only from others who might seek to deceive or harm them.
Marxism and Communism
Marxism: A more scientific socialism that took the analysis of capitalism and the development of history as key points. Marx analysed the nature of capitalism, how it began, how it divides the world into the two classes of proletariat and bourgeoisie, and how it spreads across nations. Capitalism was seen as one stage of the progression of history, which would eventually collapse due to the contradictions inherent in it and would be replaced by socialism and then communism.
Communism: This is the general term for what is basically the Anarcho-Syndicalist period after the full revolution, dictatorship included (or skipped). Funnily enough, the importance of this part of it has really died away as many "Communists" now focus on the State Socialist period (Leninists, Stalinists, Trotskyist, etc.) and the Anarcho-Communists have frankly even less influence than the other strains.
Leninism: The socialist transitional period between capitalism and communism is a period of State Socialism (see below) referred to as the "dictatorship of the proletariat." Leninism is the specific study of this left-wing totalitarian period, and people claiming to be Leninist often have no interest in the final transition to Communism, which is inherently Anarchistic in nature.
Stalinism: To be extremely basic, Leninism is internationalist in outlook while Stalinism is isolationist ("Socialism in One Country" being a popular slogan). Stalinism also heavily emphasizes the "dictatorship" aspect of the term "dictatorship of the proletariat." Previously Leninist states often become Stalinist over time, and never reached anything close to the ideal of stateless communism.
Trotskyism: Imagine Leninism as Democratic and you basically have this, so it's easy to see it as a particularly hardline version of State Socialism. As Trotskyites were internationalists, they became bitter opponents of Stalinism.
Anarcho-Communism: These are Communists that believe that the transitionary State Socialist period is completely unnecessary, that society can jump straight from capitalism with a state to the inherently anarchic communism.
Anti-Capitalist Anarchism Anarchism originally emerged as an anti-Capitalist theory. Anarchists and Socialists are often known to cooperate at rallies, even if they disagree greatly on many issues.
Anarcho-Syndicalism: The idea that if people are left to their own devices, they will essentially co-operate. Anarcho-Syndicalists often emphasize individual liberties being incompatible with the state as the reason for anarchism, as well as the idea that for there to be Socialism the state must not exist because the state naturally allies itself with big business.
Green Anarchism: Overlays with green politics, which are generally regarded as left-wing. The basic idea here is that the state is central in destroying the environment.
Kemalism: Based around the ideas supported by the Turkish Republic's father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It is basically somewhere between State Socialist and Social Democracy, with a healthy emphasis on state ownership. It doesn't have any real popularity outside of Turkey (though Arab Spring revolutionaries are saying they look towards Turkey's model of government), but over there it is the dominant force in left-wing politics.
Not Socialist
National Socialism: Wikipedia really says it best here.
"Nazism was founded out of elements of the far-right racist völkisch German nationalist movement and the violent anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary culture that fought against the uprisings of communist revolutionaries in post-World War I Germany. The ideology was developed first by Anton Drexler and then Adolf Hitler as a means to draw workers away from communism and into völkisch nationalism. Initially Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric, though such aspects were later downplayed in the 1930s to gain the support from industrial owners for the Nazis; focus was shifted to anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes."
Fascism in general, despite its support for government control of big business and the finance industry, is extremely hostile to socialism and egalitarianism. Socialists generally consider it to be an extremely statist form of capitalism, whereas historians consider it to be either an ideology that combines influences from both, or something different entirely.
Liberalism, including the Democratic Party, and especially the administration of Barack Obama. Modern liberals are frequently Keynesians (ie. they support some degree of government intervention in the economy, especially during times of recession) but liberalism is still a fundamentally individualist ideology, and American liberals are broadly supportive of capitalism and favour its continuation; it cannot possibly be emphasized enough that the Keyesian economic thinking is not by its nature necessarily socialist. At most there may be some overlap with Social Democracy, but whether that deserves to be considered socialist itself (or something in between) is not widely agreed on either. It should be noted that outside of the US, "liberalism" has different connotations and usually means "moderate libertarianism".
Socialism in practice
There's of course the Communist block (which later had internal splits, but we digress): The Soviet Union, and later Red China and their various satellites in Eastern Europe and the Third World. It took off in 1917 with the October Revolution and mostly ended in 1989, after Gorbachev started reforms of the sclerotic system that had become necessary after the armament race drove the Soviet Union into bankruptcy. (Mainland China still is nominally Communist, but we digress.)
Quite a few people who like the theory of Socialism state that the USSR wasn't real Socialism—or at least, not their flavor of it. But we digress.
The planned economy, part 1: production
Since 1928, the Soviet Union had organized its economy centrally, which was run by a state planning committee (in the Soviet Union, it was called Gosplan) which was part of the state bureaucracy. They made the Five-Year Plans and decided which part of the economy should produce which amount of products.
While the numbers of mined coal, produced steel etc. looked good (at least on paper), in practice certain problems cropped up again and again. Since the people in production had no real incentive to work harder (as long as they could avoid punishment), they would instead look for ways to "fulfill the plan" in a way that saved work. (As explained below: Even when they received more money for more work, this didn't automatically mean they could buy more stuff with it. OTOH, the fact that laziness is its own reward remained true even in Socialism.) For example, if workers in a window pane factory had the order to produce X tons of panes, they would make ridicilously thick panes (less of them necessary to make a ton). If the order was like "produce X square meters of panes", they'd make panes too thin, which would be too brittle. And maybe steal some of the glass for themselves and trade it on the Black Market.
Since there also was no market research that deserved this name, sometimes the clothes factories would take perfectly fine cotton from Central Asia and turn it into clothes so ugly even the not really spoiled Russian ladies wouldn't want to buy them.
And while the Soviet Union managed to build up an impressive heavy industry (especially interesting for the war hawks among the Soviet leadership, since heavy industry also means weapons), this achievement became less meaningful after new inventions like computers were made, which they had trouble to reverse engineer.
The planned economy, part 2: sale
If a car salesman in a capitalist society has ten customers who demand a certain model, but only nine such cars, he can demand higher prices. Not everyone considers this fair, but this is the way it works in capitalism. Now in planned economies prices are fixed by the state, so this way doesn't exist for those selling products. So how would they solve this dilemma? This joke explains it:A woman applies for a job in a state-run shop. The responsible manager asks her:
"Are you married?"
"How many children do you have?"
"Three ones."
"Are your parents and parents-in-law still alive?"
"Do you and your husband have siblings?"
"I have four of them, he has five ones."
"Sorry, then we can't give you the job."
Woman: "But why?"
Manager: "See, we actually have to sell some wares over the counter!"
In short: Since (regular) money doesn't matter, the wares will go to those who have the best connections to those selling it. This was quite often the case, and people would have to waste hours of their life standing in a queue. Which was even worse in places where bread was sold in one store, milk in a second one and meat in a third one, for practicality. Of course, if you were so lucky to own hard currency like dollars or west marks, this didn't apply. Which lead to another joke that Communism and Capitalism are really Not so Different, because in both systems you can get everything if you only have enough dollars. For more information on Socialism, please consult Wikipedia. They can say it much better than here. Please note that this article barely scratches the surface. "
There ya go , of course I would recommend Socialist websites rather than Wikipedia but of course as TV Tropes is owned by the Wiki company , they are pretty much obligated to recommend them anyways and to their credit TV Tropes does tend to call out Wikipedia on the multitude of preposterous claims and misconceptions that are posted on there .
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