Oh ... Really?

An Experiment in Socialism

Socialism seems to be at the forefront of discussion topics at the moment. It also seems that there is a wide variety of what people think socialism is. Most really have no clue. But the following tale sums it up fairly nicely, in terms most people can understand ... even those that are fervently in favor of a socialist government.


Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign the read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

May have to try this next time I'm out on the town. And be packing I might add.



Now just imagine, instead of a merely curious, experimental lunch diner, a waitress and a homeless guy, this scenario played out on a daily basis, but with the federal government, hard-working taxpayers and lazy do-nothings playing these roles respectively ... and with YOU being one of the hard-working tax payers. Still think socialism is such a great idea?

Posted by LissaKay on 10/21/08 at 10:53 PM in Our World
• (19) Comments Pop UpPermalink
LOL, perfect example - If it came to pass I'll put on a pair of dirty jeans, Tee and sit outside a restaurant smile

Posted by Lynne on 10/22 at 08:13 AM
 
And then John McCain and Barack Obama enter the restaurant.

John calls the waiter and the restaurant owner over and says, "Friends, you're both great Americans and doing a wonderful job. Mr. Waiter, your taxes will remain 30% to help keep our government running and pay for the war. Mr. Owner, your taxes will be cut to 17% so that you can employ more Mr. Waiter's or let your profits trickle down."

Barack calls the waiter and the restaurant owner over and says, "You have to understand, you're both great Americans and doing a wonderful job. Mr. Waiter, I know you struggle to pay bills and I'm going to reduce your taxes to make it easier for you to make ends meet when customers don't tip. Mr. Owner, the tax cuts we gave you to start your business no longer serve that purpose and instead simply get recorded as profit. I am going to remove those tax cuts."

Posted by djuggler on 10/22 at 09:19 AM
 
Except that's not what Obama is saying. He's going to raise taxes, not just allow tax cuts to expire. And he's doing it for the express purpose of "spreading the wealth."

Here are some numbers from the IRS. The wealthiest 13% of this country control just over 40% of the wealth but pay over 60% of the taxes.

That's not right, no matter how you slice it, unless you decide that what you earn isn't really yours in the first place.

I wrote a comment with the numbers and links to the IRS stats and left it over at M. Silence but he has either declined to publish it or removed it. I'll just make a post out of it.

Posted by Rich Hailey on 10/22 at 12:38 PM
 
Sometimes the moderation at No Silence is a little slow. I'm sure it'll pop up.

Posted by djuggler on 10/22 at 01:07 PM
 
You have ruined my afternoon. Now I am going to allocate funds in this manner all day. Maybe even all week!

I love how politicians concoct all these crazy ways to spend other peoples money. That is not their job. We tell them how we want it spent and they are supposed to make it so.

People do not understand collectivism.

As easily implemented as tax cuts sound they are just as easily reversed. Oops gosh that didn't work we need more of your money again for...

Posted by Jordan on 10/22 at 02:13 PM
 
Actually: I do still believe in socialism. Yes, I work hard for my money, but I still live a comfortable life whereas millions of other men and women are faced with a vast and gaping expanse of poverty for no reason other than the crippled state of the US economy. If I am 'redistributing my wealth' for the sake of lending a little more happiness to these peoples' lives, then I can learn to live more thriftily.

This isn't meant to criticize John McCain, though I do believe that he could use a good deal of criticism. What is most essential to this election, I think, is knowledge; throughout history ignorance and misinformation have been used as political tools, and to really save this country we need intelligent voters. Even if you are opposed to socialism, consider its benefits simply for the sake of understanding both candidates.

Ha. I guess this was a little random. Well thank you and goodnight.

Posted by Karl M. on 10/23 at 11:47 PM
 
Anyone who still believes in Socialism should go and live five years under its regime, and then come back and explain how much better it is. If they can.

LissaK: Friggin' brilliant. *wild applause!*

Posted by Mark Steel on 10/27 at 11:22 PM
 
If we have a president who is in favor of giving more money to the big money brokers as we currently do (dubya)... and big money still has a chokehold on our country (as it currently does) AND we go in the direction of socialism... Do you REALLY think that you and I are gonna see the redistribution of wealth? Do you REALLY think the big money is gonna allow Obama to become president (or even get this far) if he were not willing to look out for their interests?

Socialism is nothing but an excuse for the government to dictate where money goes to the minutae. And where has our government enjoyed throwing their (our) money towards? The big government contractors such as Halliburton. Come on people!! THINK!!! They are trying to sell us socialism as if it is good for us but once implemented, it would be good for the ELITISTS and not us, but it would be too late by the time we realized it.

Posted by Jaynie on 10/28 at 12:39 PM
 
Mark, Obama is not taking the country to socialism. He is talking about fixing a broken healthcare system but that is not socialism. Even the Chicago Tribune and the Communist Party state that Obama is NOT socialist and as evidence point out that Warren Buffet would in no way be one of his advisers if he were planning on steering this country away from capitalism and democracy.
And this from Bruce Carruthers, a sociology professor at Northwestern University: "Obama is like a center-liberal Democrat, and he is certainly not looking to overthrow capitalism. My goodness, he wouldn't have the support of someone like The Wizard of Omaha, Warren Buffet, if he truly was going to overthrow capitalism." [Source, Chicago Tribune, Socialists: Obama no socialist]

Posted by djuggler on 10/28 at 12:49 PM
 
First, where did I say that?

Second, from an academic standpoint, there's no such thing as a socialist country, anyway.

So now I'll say it.

The best example of socialism are the so-called socialist countries around us, countries who are failing to provide proper health care or education because the systems can't stand the burden. Countries where process takes precedence over the job. Countries where being unemployed is highly rewarded at the cost of the blue-collar worker at tax rates of forty-plus percent. Countries who are institutionally racist and classist, and keep a great divide between blue and white collar workers.

I have lived under those regimes in three others countries. And yes, when I hear his policies, he is certainly emulating them.

Posted by Mark Steel on 10/28 at 01:15 PM
 
It's an indication of how far the country has tilted to the loony right when a 4% tax hike for those making over a quarter-million (and a substantial tax break for those making less) can be construed as socialism and even marxism.

By that logic, any progressive tax is socialist.

The fact is, there's been nothing truly conservative about the neo-con regime of the last eight years except the pandering. Conservatism is a legitimate and honorable political position but its precepts have been abandoned by the republican party in favor of greed and a religious social agenda. The Rovian marriage of those two base elements has gotten us where we are now but it could not go on for long. When the republican party splits in two, you'll have to decide which you'll belong to. The choice will be True Conservative or God'n'Guns.

Let's get together again after eight years of peace and prosperity and we can compare notes as to the americans' health and well-being. Ya know, I'm looking forward to seeing the republicans finally do the soul searching they should have done a long time ago.

Posted by Prym8 on 10/31 at 10:35 AM
 
LissaKay's avatar
@Prym8
I choose, for myself and my life, God 'n Guns. For my country, I choose something that neither of the 2 major political party comes close to, and not even the third, the Libertarians, but is what was envisioned by our founding fathers. Read the Constitution, and you will know where I stand.

Posted by LissaKay on 11/02 at 12:25 AM
 
I have read the Constitution. And, just as importantly, the amendments. I really don't think that the world that the founding fathers envisioned is one that I would appreciate. That world promoted slavery and allowed only white land owners to vote, among other blatant injustices. I appreciate their foresight in making sure that the document was amendable so that it could be changed to bring about more freedom when necessary.

But besides that, your suggestion that I can glean your political stance by reading the constitution is about as helpful as saying that I can know your religious beliefs by reading the bible. Both documents are somewhat open to personal interpretation, though the former is somewhat less so.

Posted by Prym8 on 11/02 at 10:06 AM
 
LissaKay's avatar
Actually, you can know what my religious beliefs are by reading the Bible ... I believe in the Bible, that is it the whole, true and inerrant word of God, and it is NOT up for personal interpretation.

Neither, by the way, is the Constitution. It can be amended to address new challenges, but those amendments must adhere to the original intent of the Constitution to even be considered. Suppressing freedom or removing rights is not what the Constitution calls for. Taking my hard earned money and giving it to someone that does not work is suppressing my freedom and abrogating MY rights to do with my money as I wish.

(The whole slavery argument is just stupid, by the way, to discount the whole of the Constitution because of that is just dumb. Slavery existed in that world and in that time, and that is the manner with which it was dealt, even though many of the founders wished to outlaw it in the original Constitution.)

Posted by LissaKay on 11/03 at 10:24 PM
 
Where did I discount the entire constitution? Just the opposite is my intent. It is the finest document ever written to establish a government. I find fault not with it, but with your clinging to the world of the founding fathers. That was a cruel world with blatant hypocrisy and inequality. The constitution survived that world and because of the wisdom of the founders, it has been changed to reflect a world much better than they ever imagined.

But while we're on the subject of slavery, let me just ask a simple question. Do you believe it is a sin to hold another in slavery? Take your time, read your bible and get back to me on this one.

Posted by Prym8 on 11/06 at 11:30 PM
 
LissaKay's avatar
Our founding fathers left England and the tyranny and oppression there for a chance at freedom, liberty and the opportunity to prosper by their own hand. The Constitution was written to protect our God-given rights, and to limit the powers of the federal government. That is the America I believe in. Socialism has no place in America.

And yes, I believe slavery is wrong. But before you go there, you will first want to read the Bible yourself. I know where you think you are going with this, and it is an argument you will lose.

Posted by LissaKay on 11/07 at 01:40 AM
 
Only a simpleton would think that this is a simple question. It isn't. It's a favorite trap of those with a shallow understanding of the Bible and biblical culture.

Let's start by defining our terms, shall we? The Hebrew colloquialism for what we would consider to be a slave, i.e. from birth, appears only once in the Old Testament, in Jer 2:14, and it is used by the Lord as an accusation and condemnation against Israel for falling away from their worship.

The word more often used in the Old Testament is ebed, which more accurately translates to bond servant (KJV, rather than slave(NASB).

The first mistake you make is assuming that slavery is a constant, and that modern slavery is equivalent to slavery as practiced in Biblical times. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Consider that one of the Bibles biggest heroes, Joseph, was a slave in Egypt, yet he was one of the most trusted advisers to the Pharaoh, with great wealth and power, and he ran the Pharoah's kingdom. Clearly, slavery in the Old Testament bore little resemblance to that of say, the US Constitution.

Ebed, or bondservant, described a condition much more similar to indentured servitude, rather than modern slavery. Another clear indication of this fact is found in Exodus 21:16, where any man found to have stolen a man and sold him as a slave shall be put to death. Considering that modern man used this technique almost exclusively, we see that the Bible actually condemned modern slavers to death.

In Old Testament times, people became slaves in a few different ways. Either they were captured in battle, or they incurred legal issues like debts, and they were sold into servitude to resolve those issues, or they commited a crime that was punishable by being sold as a slave to make restitution. Their bondage had a set time, and their owners could not mistreat them physically during their service.

It should also be noted that the term ebed is also used to describe our relationship with God, indicating that we are to be bond servants to Him. In the New Testament, Jesus remarked on this to his Apostles, telling them that they were not slaves, but friends, because of their faith.

And moving into the New Testament, we find the word slaves only appears once in the KJV, being translated that way from the Greek word 'soma', more commonly translated as body, but more frequently in the NASB, as it translates the greek word doulos as slave, although it also carries the meaning of bond servant just as the Hebrew ebed does. Using this translation, the NASB mentions slaves far more often than the KJV, but again, the term bond servant is a more accurate modern equivalent.

Slavery was a common practice at the time, throughout the Middle East. Prisoners of war were either slaughtered wholesale, along with the women and children of the losing side, or they were taken as slaves. The simple fact is that in the time of the Old Testament, the Law of Moses gave far more protection to slaves than any other civilization. In general, the Old Testament deals with an institution that already existed, while preparing a savage world for more civilized laws in the future.

As an example of this kind of gradual change encouraged by the law, consider what Jesus said about divorce. In the New Testament, He cited Mosaic law, which laid out the rules for divorce, and then rejected them, saying that the law given then was for a hard hearted people, and His Word was that if any man divorced his wife and slept with another, they were committing adultery.

Paul wrote that in Christ there was no difference between a free man and a slave once they were saved, and then said that if the slave could achieve freedom (again, that completely different concept of slavery) then he should.

Is holding another person in slavery a sin?

Absolutely. Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. When asked directly who was our neighbor, his answer was the parable of the good Samaritan. By choosing a Samaritan in his parable, Jesus told them that everyone was their neighbor, high or low born.

In view of this commandment, rated as second only to loving God, how can holding your neighbor in bondage be considered loving and merciful?

It can't.

Therefore slavery is sinful. The fact that people in the Old and New Testaments tolerated it, does not mean that God condoned it.

Any questions?

And to return to the original argument, the Constitution in no way promoted slavery. Your argument is silly on its face, or do you think that laws restricting abortion actually encourage abortions?

Posted by Rich H on 11/07 at 02:34 AM
 
Socialism is deadly to a society, just as a gun is deadly to a person. So, should we experiment with a gun to see if it will work, or be effective in killing us?
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Posted by Visitor on 01/10 at 04:28 AM
 
Socialism is deadly to a society, just as a gun is deadly to a person. So, should we experiment with a gun to see if it will work, or be effective in killing us?

Posted by mexico tours on 01/10 at 04:32 AM
 
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