And you know, Unseen... I've only read part of the Communist Manifesto, but it's not really that horrible as an idea, either. Now, I do not think it should be implemented, but the intention is not evil by any means. The real problem is people corrupting all great "isms" and subverting them to their own ends, and giving them bad reputations.
There is nothing wrong with Socialism, nor is there anything really wrong with Communism.
Now, I may be biased because I grew up in a Communist country, and life was pretty damn good, until Tito died and the rest of the politicians tore the country to shreds in a frenzy of religious and ethnic bigotry. Under Tito, we had no lower class, everyone had free health care ( I had 2 surgeries as a child and it cost my parents nothing), and so on. It goes back to the old saying. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is sadly the case most of the time.
Cara is spot on by saying that people corrupt the "isms." The thing is that people like the GOP link every ideal of Socialism and Communism to Stalin and Mao, who were the great evils of the Cold War, and the States did all in their power to distance themselves from any common values or ideals of Stalin's Communism.
Well, one hears it said that socialism saps the incentive to be entrepreneurial and inventive. First, by providing the basics so that one doesn't have to concentrate on how to provide a basic living for oneself and secondly by taxing profits, which is a disincentive to being entrepreneurial.
Yeah, but I don't think there's a true example of that. Is there? When I know my basic needs are met (health, food, safety, a roof over my head), I feel empowered to go out and add to my quality of life. Sure, I think there will always be lazy people, but I have a hard time believing your average person just wants to sit around "enjoying" only his/her basic needs without desiring the extras. I don't think government should provide the extras; just ensure we're all healthy and educated, because I believe that makes society and cultures better for everyone.
I think ones such basic things are provided, where everyone is schooled and has equal access to resources, people will work to make this continue to happen. We will no doubt have lazy people, they exist even in a capitalist state where every man for himself is the rule rather than exception, but will have a just society I guess.
Playing devil's advocate, at least in the past, most masterpieces of art were not made by the wealthy and empowered. In fact, most artists suffered. Bach was one artist whose life was fairly comfortable, but he is one of the few. And even he went through periods of need.
You could be right about artists and their needs. In the very distant past, the great art/ architecture commissions were from churches, but artist have always had their issues, Picasso, Van Gough and others had their needs and they were not so rich I guess. This however doesn't address the question of socialism or I did miss the point of your comment?
I'm arguing (as devil's advocate) that if you look at the very best of art (art being one kind of enterprise), not much of it is produced by rich people. Perhaps evening out income and eliminating most of the economic obstacles of life results in mediocritizing creative endeavors(?).
Some say that art is created in cultures with less conflict. How much art is coming out of the Middle East and Africa right now? Those people are just trying to survive until tomorrow. Also, I think there's a consistent level of mental instability in many artists to begin with... also, homeless people. I'd have to look further into this idea that poverty begets creativity; I think there's some correlation here, that does not equal causation.
How much relevant, inspired art...art that will be regarded as classic masterpieces are coming out of comfort? Sure, comfort begets crafty art. Macrame, refrigerator magnets, fluffy romances and mysteries. The best modern novels are coming out of areas where there is conflict and poverty and oppression.
Would Kafka have written anything like The Trial or The Castle had he lived in modern day Sweden instead of Austria-Hungary and Czechoslovakia?
Think also about Poe and his struggles. Would his oeuvre have been written had he not been a poor and struggling writer, but instead had been writing without a worry in the world?
Think about today's most highly-regarded writers in America and Western Europe. How many of them have written anything that 200 or 500 years from now will be considered both masterful and relevant?
Do you really believe there's a chance of ridding the world of strife, to the point there will be no great art?
Honestly, even as an artist, I don't think art justifies suffering if we can get rid of it.
Oh and... there's a lot of pretty epic art being created here in the states in a range of poverty stricken kids, to trust-fund babies attending mega expensive art schools. It's actually been a little discouraging to be up against such an explosion of creativity, and I'd bet that a lot of it comes from people who are not suffering in a way that remotely compares to the "masters". I think there have been mind-bending movies, literature, art, music... and a lot of it has been swallowed up simply because it's coming out at such a rapid pace. Geniuses are probably a dime a dozen currently, and you'll never hear about them... or not for more than 15 minutes.