Lately, I've been realizing I'm a rare specimen among the atheist community...

 

I'm against socialism. There, I said it. And no, I will not meet you at the swing set after school. I've spoken with a good number of atheist friends and acquaintances, and it seems nearly all of them take offense at that fact. It's like I'm telling them their baby looks like a damn monkey! They try to convince me that I'm heartless, and that I should change my opinion because they're broke. It's very nearly the same arguments I hear when theists find out my religious beliefs...

 

I don't believe in socialism because of this:

I am a business owner. I've spent a good amount of my adult life living in a shitty little apartment, eating ramen noodles (and the slower rats), staying home while my friends go out, working WELL over 100 hrs a week for months (if not years) at a time, and trained myself to live on 4 or less hours of sleep per night. Shit, if I wasn't a dude, I wouldn't even have had anything to entertain myself with... That's because every spare cent I earned was re-invested into my business. And no, I'm not a drug dealer or a prostitute, it's legitimate.

 

Now, I'm the asshole, because I make more money than my friends. Every time we go out, they want me to pay for drinks, or come to me looking to borrow money, etc. I earned my money, dammit! Get drunk enough to cornhole fat bitches on your own dime! They tell me that it's all well and good that I should get taxed more, because I make more. I didn't eat shit for years so that Mr. NoHighSchoolDiploma with 8 kids and no job can take my money and use it for the food he can't afford to put in his kids mouths, or for more rusty-carpart lawn decoration...

 

I look at socialism as treating those who work smarter/harder, and don't give up on their dreams, as if they were a piggy bank for the lazy. Oh, and fuck Robin Hood, too. Fuckin commie socialist douche... But I'm getting off topic... I don't want to hear about 'privilege' either, the only privilege I can claim is that I was born in a free country. I've got felonies on my record, done jail time, have no credit whatsoever, and was recently declined for a JC Penny's Rewards card. I didn't even know that shit was possible. I can't even get a job in fast food without lying on my application. I was born into a lower-class family in Detroit, Michigan (Go Red Wings!), and went to a school where I'd pass if I just attended class, regardless of how much schoolwork I did. And the classrooms all smelled like smashed asshole, too. Imagine having to deal with that all day.

 

Does anyone else feel the same way? If so, then why? If not, I'd love to hear your reasons/story, too. There may be angles to this that I haven't thought of yet, if you have any insight you think would be helpful or change my opinion, for FSM's sake, let me know! :)

 

~Maggie

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I think we could use more of it.

When, because of an accident of birth, someone is born into a poor (invariably religious) or just generally undereducated and in whatever way handicapped family, it's quite vital to have an outreach and a hand up to bring everyone to the same approximate starting point as far as privilege. I would say especially so in the case of the very gifted. How many average geniuses or black swan Cavendishes have been lost to history because of lack of opportunity? We can already guess at the opportunities lost due to feudalism and the dark ages.

And as far as the 'wide open potential' to climb the ladder in capitalism is concerned; well, there are lazy people with no high minded ambition, but there are also people who simply lack the consuming greed and purely personal ambition that are so rewarded in capitalist culture. I really don’t see the virtue in _having_ to strive to make it. I despise blue collar life and culture, and I’m necessarily one of them. I wonder how much western culture (especially American, but it’s become increasingly relevant now that the US has begun to lead the global trend) would be different if a kinder, more community and ecology-minded outlook were fostered. Would there be fewer useless products? Would there be decreased GDP? I’m no economist, but I can only see a cultural improvement if capitalism were ‘softened up’ a bit.

However. I don’t pretend that the social equalization can be done perfectly. People have varying potentials and talents. In order for the system to work, birthrates must be more reasonable, as they are already unsustainable in the rich, high welfare spending US. The problem here at least is that a continual cycle of simply feeding poor, uneducated people will allow them to keep producing the same number of children, even giving them incentives for doing so.

Education is the key point I always see myself coming back to whenever discussing social problems. If the people are not educated, they will not improve. When people are given the opportunity to improve their own worlds, their birthrates go down (check TED for Hans Rosling talks to get an idea of a timeline.) It would be great if we could just snap our fingers and have a workable number of people, but because of the lack of foresight and mismanagement of government up to this point, it seems this will have to be a rather gradual change. That is, in lieu of catastrophic depopulation. Curbing cashing in on reproducing would be great, but I'm not sure how that might be implemented other than having a one-child limit for those on welfare, with a cutoff or compulsory abortion after that. 

From my personal experience, a good step to take would be to start regulating private religious schools much more strictly, with the effect of shutting down the worst. Currently, they can teach creationism unrestricted without even mentioning evolution, not to mention a bastardized history and literature curriculum. I hesitate to say outlawing homeschooling for all but special needs children, but I really can’t see anything but positive effects. My only experience in public high schools was my senior year, so if anyone wants to chime in on the other side feel free, though I’ve been keeping an eye on the ID/Evolution battle across the US and have gathered that biology teaching is rather difficult and abysmal due to religious fundamentalism.

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