Refuting common anti-socialist arguments

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Refuting common anti-socialist arguments

Post by Egalitarian on Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:34 pm

Socialism has never worked.

Communists hijacked true socialism. (Occasionally said from Nazis.)

Competition drives innovation and progress. Without competition there would be only inferior half-assed products.

Socialism redistributes wealth to those who can't work. This goes against nature and it creates leeches in society.

The Soviet Union is a perfect example of socialism being a terrible idea. Stalin ruined the USSR when Lenin died.

With no markets, there is no economic freedom. AKA: THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLLING EVERYTHING.

Capitalism works because having a leader up top to guide the workers below works the best and most efficiently (just like dictators). Workers are lucky to have a job at all!

WHY WOULD WORKERS WORK FOR THE SURPLUS VALUE THEY PRODUCE? THIS DOESN'T WORK.

SOCIALISM WOULD MAKE EVERYONE POOR LIKE IN EAST GERMANY AND IT WOULD BECOME A POLICE STATE TO CONTROL RESOURCES.

America was built on the grounds of capitalism and it became the best nation ever conceived.



I'll see how the responses are and hope others will offer some arguments of their own.

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Re: Refuting common anti-socialist arguments

Post by GF on Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:48 pm

Egalitarian wrote:Socialism has never worked.

It depends on how you define "worked". It has been economically successful, e.g., Soviet Union's industrialization, but I would ask to define what they mean by worked.

Communists hijacked true socialism. (Occasionally said from Nazis.)

Once again, I'd ask the term "true socialism" to be defined, because people have varying ideas of what socialism entails. However, Communism was definitely a type of Socialism, no matter how much you think it's not "true" socialism.

Competition drives innovation and progress. Without competition there would be only inferior half-assed products.

Maybe so, but competition isn't the sole source of good products. What's the reason competition "drives innovation and progress"? Because it makes people want to do their best. Just because you don't want to outdo others doesn't mean you won't try and do your best, but even if we were to assume competition drives innovation and progress, economic competition, i.e., the drive to make money, isn't the only source of competition.

Socialism redistributes wealth to those who can't work. This goes against nature and it creates leeches in society.

I've got to agree with this one, frigging cripples and their disabilities, they're obviously just lazy bums.

The Soviet Union is a perfect example of socialism being a terrible idea. Stalin ruined the USSR when Lenin died.

Depends on what they mean by ruined. Technically, he strengthened the USSR, just his human rights record wasn't the best, but anyway, who says a socialist society ought to be exactly like the Soviet Union. Socialist societies can work just fine without necessitating lots of purges and killings, e.g., Paris Commune.

With no markets, there is no economic freedom. AKA: THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLLING EVERYTHING.

I daresay the government controlling everything might be better than what the market often provides us, but anyway, couldn't the people control it? There are plenty of models where the government doesn't control everything but markets are essentially nonexistant

Capitalism works because having a leader up top to guide the workers below works the best and most efficiently (just like dictators). Workers are lucky to have a job at all!

Who says it works the best? I'd argue workers can make their own decisions, same way people are supposed to be able to make their own decisions in our "free" society.

WHY WOULD WORKERS WORK FOR THE SURPLUS VALUE THEY PRODUCE? THIS DOESN'T WORK.

SOCIALISM WOULD MAKE EVERYONE POOR LIKE IN EAST GERMANY AND IT WOULD BECOME A POLICE STATE TO CONTROL RESOURCES.

America was built on the grounds of capitalism and it became the best nation ever conceived.



I'll see how the responses are and hope others will offer some arguments of their own.

I'll address the rest later.

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Re: Refuting common anti-socialist arguments

Post by Rev Scare on Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:50 am

There are sundry angles from which to assail and neutralize such unsophisticated arguments, but I shall limit myself to mostly core responses.

Socialism has never worked.

First of all, socialism encompasses a rather wide range of economic systems that ultimately share a set of, not universally but largely, consistent properties. State socialism, for example, is an altogether different expression of socialism than market socialism.

"Never worked"? How exactly is this to be interpreted? Efficiency, perhaps? For whom? To what end? The concept of "efficiency" is highly problematic due to overdetermination. If one prefers to use the narrow definitions attributed to the term by neoclassical economic theory, history has only demonstrated that state socialism, although not without a recognizable share of intrinsic flaws, managed to industrialize predominately agrarian nations in a matter of two or three decades, virtually generating the largest recorded periods of economic growth in human history. Market socialism in Yugoslavia propelled the development of its economy to the status of the most prosperous of medium-sized countries. Cuba, a tiny island nation under strict economic sanctions, manages to provide all of its citizens with a level of health care that is qualitatively on par with that of the United States but drastically less expensive per capita.

Furthermore, state socialism in the USSR and China (and elsewhere) did not fail. It was elements of the coordinator class (the nomenklatura) in both countries that ultimately sought the pro-Western reforms which led to the dissolution of the economic system. They were most certainly not catering to the public, illustrated by recent survey data indicating widespread discontent with capitalism and liberal democracy in former Easter Bloc nations and a strong preference for the Soviet Union.

Lastly, to pronounce socialism as unsuccessful (however erroneous such a statement is) does not in any way absolve capitalism, which is positively bankrupt.

Communists hijacked true socialism. (Occasionally said from Nazis.)

Absolute nonsense. There was never one homogeneous theory of "socialism" to begin with, nor did the notion of communism emerge in its wake. Most socialists were and are communists, in that they advocate(d) on behalf of a communistic society (communalism for early utopians and anarchists and communism for scientific socialists). If anything, the utopian socialists were less representative of a coherent movement than the scientific socialists after Marx.

Nazism does not constitute a proper socialist doctrine in the first place, neither in theory nor in practice. It objectively meets the criteria of fascism. History renders the claim that Nazism could have imparted any discernible influence upon socialism (or "communists") utterly preposterous.

Competition drives innovation and progress. Without competition there would be only inferior half-assed products.

Is there any empirical basis for this asinine assertion? None whatsoever. There is ample evidence to support the position that competition is an irrational economic incentive structure which regularly germinates social turmoil, however. Even with consistent state intervention, market competition engenders innumerable negative externalities and leads to crises, not to mention the inherent injustice of markets and the anti-social behaviors they encourage. Also, most significant inventions and scientific discoveries rely heavily upon the research and development of public institutions, and the construction and preservation of critical infrastructure is overseen and funded by the state.

Socialism redistributes wealth to those who can't work. This goes against nature and it creates leeches in society.

Socialism reorganizes the mode of production in a manner consistent with social justice. It does not rely upon the "redistribution" of wealth to function; instead, common ownership of means of production and collective appropriation of surplus product eliminate exploitation by private owners. Under socialism, able-bodied individuals are expected to work in order to partake of the social product (the standard rubric by which remuneration is to be measured varies according to system), but civility demands that those prevented from working by factors beyond their control be compensated according to need.

The Soviet Union is a perfect example of socialism being a terrible idea. Stalin ruined the USSR when Lenin died.

Stalin's authoritarian regime left much to be desired, but he did not "ruin" the USSR. On the contrary, the USSR was transformed from an agrarian society to an industrial superpower after the implementation of the five-year plans.

With no markets, there is no economic freedom. AKA: THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLLING EVERYTHING.
Mere hyperbole. The government is already compelled to interfere with the regular operations of the market in order to mitigate and stabilize the effects of capitalism's internal contradictions. You see, capitalism suffers from a debilitating calculation problem.

Capitalism works because having a leader up top to guide the workers below works the best and most efficiently (just like dictators).

That is a baseless assertion. Worker self-management is a proven success. The capitalist qua capitalist occupies an entirely unnecessary role in production. Capitalists are parasites and nothing more.

Workers are lucky to have a job at all!

Capitalism is structurally incapable of maintaining full employment.

WHY WOULD WORKERS WORK FOR THE SURPLUS VALUE THEY PRODUCE? THIS DOESN'T WORK.
Ridiculous. Why should workers work for the wages they receive from a capitalist? Why would workers prefer exploitation over self-management? They should not, would not, and need not.

SOCIALISM WOULD MAKE EVERYONE POOR LIKE IN EAST GERMANY AND IT WOULD BECOME A POLICE STATE TO CONTROL RESOURCES.
This is another example of the "soshulism suks" vulgarity addressed above.

America was built on the grounds of capitalism and it became the best nation ever conceived.

The United States is indeed the world's premier experiment with liberal democracy (or bourgeois dictatorship). However, this requires deeper analysis than conservative talking points.

In the 19th century, the United States faced substantial labor shortages and was rich in natural resources. It also enjoyed independence from Europe, an influx of immigrants, and practiced strict protectionism, and toward the end, imperialist ventures expanded its commercial influence. This allowed the guarded economy to burgeon. In the 20th century, the First and Second World Wars left an economically crippled Western Europe at the behest of an industrially powerful United States, transmogrifying the once weak federation into an imperial superpower. For the global south, capitalism was and continues to be a blight, exploiting and destroying in order to feed a rapacious consumer culture in the global north, especially the United States.

The dynamism of capitalism cannot be denied, but this is a terrible argument in defense of capitalist social relations. Slavery and feudalism also served to construct empires, but that is hardly vindication for either.

Finally, regardless of any other proposition, capitalism is literally unsustainable for purely ecological reasons. It is likely possible to achieve sustainable industry from a technical standpoint, but this will never occur in the necessary time frame under capitalism.


Last edited by Rev Scare on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:53 am; edited 8 times in total

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Re: Refuting common anti-socialist arguments

Post by DSN on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:52 pm

Egalitarian wrote:Socialism has never worked.

And capitalism has? I usually ask for examples of (ACTUAL) socialism/communism when I hear this one. "SOVIET UNION!!! STALIN WAS EVIL!!!"

Communists hijacked true socialism. (Occasionally said from Nazis.)

... I don't really think Nazis are in much of a position to talk about socialism.

Competition drives innovation and progress. Without competition there would be only inferior half-assed products.

1. So why do inferior half-assed products exist under capitalism?

2. Competition would still exist under socialism, but between the people who DRIVE the competition: the workers.

3. How can we say that advances in things such as medicine are truly an advancement if we use money as our motivation? The reason money motivates people is because it is the system they are born into and forced to live with. Even "successful" people such as Steve Jobs have apparently admitted the best feeling they get from what they do is knowing that they built something amazing that changed people's lives in some way, not purely the money.

4. If money drives innovation and progress, how did early humans such as neanderthals survive for so long? Did they have a rich capitalist standing over them shouting "WORK!!! The others are gonna be so bummed when we show them our new spears!"? Human innovation and progress is chained to money under capitalism, as is everything else. Money did not invent innovation and progress; innovation and progress invented money. This then set us back a few thousand years by telling us that our existence must be a constant struggle for survival as opposed to an attempt to help the fellow human (<-- this probably explains, at least to some degree, why we feel for others).

Socialism redistributes wealth to those who can't work. This goes against nature and it creates leeches in society.

Just like capitalism redistributes wealth to those who can work, but choose to let others do it for them. Letting thousands of workers work their backsides off while you gain wealth from their efforts isn't leeching? How is someone like the Queen any different from a welfare queen? And you're telling me billion dollar enterprises don't go against nature? What about the computer I'm typing this on? What about eating junk food? I suppose you forgot raping our environment for profit?

The Soviet Union is a perfect example of socialism being a terrible idea. Stalin ruined the USSR when Lenin died.

*Facepalm* I honestly don't know where to start, or whether I should even start on things like this.

1. I don't advocate socialism where the workers don't control anything, so buy yourself a book and come back to me later.

2. Regardless of one's opinion on Stalin, was Stalin the creator of communism or something? Wow, one so-called "communist" leader ruined so-called "socialism"! I'm off to go buy some shares now if you'll excuse me.

With no markets, there is no economic freedom. AKA: THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLLING EVERYTHING.

No economic freedom for the rich, no. Are we supposed to be in favour of the government controlling everything or something now?

Capitalism works because having a leader up top to guide the workers below works the best and most efficiently (just like dictators). Workers are lucky to have a job at all!

Is this a troll argument? Workers are lucky to have a job at all? Alright, forget the workers, just fire them all. Leave every last one of them dirty workers to rot in unemployment. Oh wait, who's going to make you rich, Mr Moneybags? Yes, the workers! Yes, I would be lucky to have a job under capitalism, although I don't see how that's a particularly positive thing. I can't even take this one seriously enough to word how stupid it is.

WHY WOULD WORKERS WORK FOR THE SURPLUS VALUE THEY PRODUCE? THIS DOESN'T WORK.

LOL what? Why on earth would they choose to use privately owned means of production they have no control over so someone could steal their earnings?

SOCIALISM WOULD MAKE EVERYONE POOR LIKE IN EAST GERMANY AND IT WOULD BECOME A POLICE STATE TO CONTROL RESOURCES.

Oh yes, East Germany was just foaming at the mouth with a rabid case of socialism. It was so socialist it would've overdosed on socialism if it were anymore socialist.

America was built on the grounds of capitalism and it became the best nation ever conceived.

Well, America may be the best nation ev--... the best na--... hold on, I can't quite finish that line. If America is the best nation ever then bacon is a species of cloud.


I actually quite enjoy mocking such arguments. Any others would be much appreciated. Very Happy

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