The subject title says it all. To listen to some GOP'ers talk, you'd think socialism was Communism.

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Cara i think you are correct, there are many artists today who can easily equal any of those great masters. The problem is that there are actually too many great artists today which dilutes the field as a whole. If their art had been created 500 years ago and survived till today we would be praising them as masters while still complaining that no one today can equal them. It is basic human nature that we tend to value something more if it is rare  rather than common place.

Unseen- I dont see what the point of your argument is. Even if you are correct and only suffering produces great art i dont see how you can say that justifies all the suffering. i mean just how many millions of people suffering do you think is worth it to produce one great artist?

There is the other downside that that suffering is far more likely to turn the majority of  people hyper religious rather than into a great artist .which is something i think we here are not exactly too keen on.

I also think that it can be argued that stable more socialistic societies are far more likely to produce great thinkers ,scientists and be largely atheistic

@jason sadler

Unseen- I dont see what the point of your argument is. Even if you are correct and only suffering produces great art i dont see how you can say that justifies all the suffering. i mean just how many millions of people suffering do you think is worth it to produce one great artist?

My devil's advocate isn't maintaining that "only suffering produces great art" but that suffering and adversity are a more fertile environment for great art, because much great art has to do with great issues, righting wrongs, defying oppression, etc.

Unseen- The reason i dont consider this much of an argument is because even if i completely agree with you i still dont consider the cost worth it.

@jason sadler

Unseen- The reason i dont consider this much of an argument is because even if i completely agree with you i still dont consider the cost worth it.

But it's free. I'm not charging you!

More seriously, you don't think the cost of the past that gave us so many classic masterpieces was worth the suffering. You'd prefer to live in a culturally-deprived present?

No i dont think it was worth the suffering . I dont think it can come anywhere near being worth the suffering. Now i understand how it is easy for us to dismiss their suffering as it is not us experiencing it , but if it was happening to you and those you care about then  i think you may reconsider your current position.

This would be like going to Ethiopia and telling a crowd of them not to worry as  all their suffering from starvation, war  and disease  was  completely worth it because one of them has just created a great artistic masterpiece which is mainly only going to be appreciated by people who have a life the Ethiopians would consider one small step away  from heaven. Now i dont know about you but i doubt you will have much luck in convincing them to agree with your point of view.

Well there are a couple of components to what makes something a good piece of art.  There's the technical skill you've alluded to, where someone can use a crude instrument like a sharpie and do amazing things with it.  (It's a general rule of human endeavors in general, not just art:  a good man with crappy tools will do better than a crappy man with even the best tools.)  Call this "craftsmanship."

The other part is what it is the artist chooses to portray.  Everything in a work of art, unlike (say) a spontaneous photograph, is there by choice of the artist.  That's true whether it's a painting, sculpture, musical composition or novel. Call this "choice of theme"

It would be interesting to note if this study Unseen is referring to indicates an objective basis for judging craftsmanship (which would be pretty obvious if you think about it) or choice of theme.

It would be interesting to

How easy it would be if I could just sit back and have slaves...

Are you seriously suggesting that art is not a reasonable price to pay for world peace and freedom?

Art is nice, but it's no world peace and freedon.

No Matt, he's not seriously suggesting that; he was playing devil's advocate. It's all good.

What's so f***ing terrible about socialism?

Look around you.

What you see is not in fact a capitalist (i.e., free market) society!  It is already a mixed economy with a lot of socialism in it, in the form of extremely detailed regulation, discriminatory taxation, and wealth transfers.

What you see is a society where government dispenses favors and largesse.

You see a society where people get wealthy more often via political influence than by actually producing things of value, and as often as not anyone trying to produce something of value will have arbitrary roadblocks put in his way by the government--at the behest of his competitors!

The fact that businessmen are, as often as not, the ones lining up for favors and largesse, does not make it "capitalism," it is the antithesis of capitalism.  "Corporate welfare" and "crony capitalism" are in fact socialism--socialism where you aren't the beneficiary.  (Yes, ironically, businessmen are capitalism's worst enemy, when the government starts the business of handing out favors.)

Someone mentioned medical insurance, blaming the ills of the system on capitalism.  Well if the medical insurance market were free, anyone who wanted to could start an insurance company, that insurance company would be free to create insurance plans to suit more people, and anyone in the market for insurance would be able to pick their insurance company, and pick an insurance plan that suits them, at least better than the crap we have today, and covers what they need or want to have covered.  And that insurance plan would belong to you not your employer, so you wouldn't have to stick with a shitty job just to keep your insurance.

Instead, we have government requiring that insurance companies only sell within their own state, and requiring that plans include coverage that you might not want.  And now we are seeing more and more actual choice taken away.  But of course people will blame "capitalism"--not more and more government regulation--when they realize that what insurance companies have to offer is increasingly shitty.  They'll lay the blame on the free market simply because it is a private company selling the product.  But it never occurs to them that the health insurance market is already heavily controlled and that maybe, just maybe it's the already existing controls causing the problem.

It's true that in many cases the companies themselves push for this sort of regulation, but that does not somehow magically make it "free market."  A market is free when government interference is limited to enforcing laws against fraud, theft, rape, murder, etc., not when the government says it's illegal to sell medical insurance that doesn't cover treatment for alcoholism, whether the customer wants it or not.

But of course the private companies are also somewhat in bed with the government, and use the government to help restrain competition.  We see this all the time and bitch about it, we bitch about the lobbyists, we bitch about the big campaign contributions (but it never occurs to us that maybe that stuff would go away if the people in office couldn't use their power to benefit one party at the expense of another).

That's not capitalism, that's cronyism of the worst kind.  And such cronyism would be rampant in a fully socialist society.  Remember, some human being... a politician or a bureaucrat... would be deciding what to produce, what to offer in the "marketplace" and he will be doing so on the basis of whoever has the most political pull, not whether people actually want what he is proposing to mandate.  We see the results of political pull all the time in today's economy, but we blame it on capitalism and somehow imagine that it would disappear under socialism--when instead absolutely everything would be a political matter because politicians would control everything.

As soon as you give power to the government, that power becomes subject to whoever can peddle influence the best.  That's endemic to government and it's all over socialism.  We see it every day in our thoroughly mixed economy, and for some reason blame it on the free market, rather than the socialism.

If you don't like features of the current economy, dig a bit.  You'll find that the ultimate cause of the crap is usually, damn near always, government interference, government subsidies, or government taxation done in a way to  encourage something awful or discourage something beneficial (for example it's tax law that causes most medical insurance in the US today to belong to employers rather than the people covered by the insurance).  But that's OK because government will be happy to step in to "fix" the problems it has itself caused--by doing more of the same. 

And this will continue as long as we blame "capitalism" and "the free market" for all the things that government has done to interfere with it.

Very well said, SteveInCO.

It's what Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the other Federalists in the 1787 Constitutional Convention intended.

Hamilton said he wanted the "rich and well-born" to govern. Madison said he wanted the government to protect "the opulent minority from the majority".

Several in the Convention said monarchy or aristocracy would result. The word "fascism" came along a century later.

I wish we could do away with money altogether.  My idea is that we change the system to one of earning work credits instead of money.  The harder you work the more credits you amass and the sooner you can retire.  

Everyone statrs out equal.. which means that everyone earns their own work credits.. No getting a head start from daddy. 

More skilled jobs means more work credits per hour earned.  The incentive is built into the system. 

There wouldn't be any wellfare.  Everyone would have to do something. Community service, picking up the highways, answering telephones, advertising etc... whatever you could do.  Those that actually couldn't do anything would be taken care of.  (by those needing 'work credits') 

Education wouldn't stop at high school but would continue through college, technical and trade schools.

Healthcare would also be available to everyone.

When you reach retirement age..everything is free.. You can continue to earn work credits for extras if you want to...but it wouldn't be necessary for survival.  OR...there would be a different type of work credit that everyone does after they retire.

This is my moneyless socialism idea.

I know its a silly little idea full of flaws and limitations.. but that's what makes it fun to throw out there and play with.   



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