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#314562 09/01/19 01:29 PM
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A great many arguments can be traced back to the meanings of words. When there is no shared understanding of the meaning of key words, there can be no discussion.

"Socialism" is a popular subject for argument these days, and it is one of those words around which there is a poorly shared meaning. I wonder what other word might be used for "socialism" (groups of people working together for mutual benefit), as different from "Socialism" (government controlling the means of production), in order to set the stage for rational discussion?


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Community is a good word but then it gets turned into communism.
Literally anything done to benefit society is labeled socialism.

E Pluribus Unum used to be popular, then someone noticed the symbol for that was the fasces. A bundle of rods tied together holding an ax head. That didn't play well in anybody's deck.

But yeah...working together to accomplish social goals has become an act of treason. Unless those goals involve harming brown people or getting more money into the hands of the wealthiest people in history.

Those are goals worth killing democrats and dragging them through the streets. The gall of those traitors who want to help the poor and save the environment!


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Originally Posted By: Greger
...working together to accomplish social goals has become an act of treason.

Conservatives had better never, ever use 911, police or fire, or our Federal highways - least they be labeled hypocrites. coffee


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Strange how quickly serious discussions can be hijacked - it reminds me of a great many blogs that can be found where no discussion ever takes place and that are little more than insult exchanges.


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I have a quirk (I consider it a good habit) of trying to be very precise in my use of words. That sometimes means I use a word in its academic sense rather than as a colloquial expression. Socialism is a good example. In the world of political science and economics it has a precise meaning, but in an informal discussion it is bandied about as a label, an insult, and a distraction, depending on one's political persuasion. In my lexicon "democratic socialism" and "social democracy" are distinct ideologies with vastly different meanings. Not so in most arenas.

So, I am extremely sympathetic to your concern. In academia entire pages are devoted to setting out terms before a discussion, but not so on the internets. It is a primary failing, but completely understandable (if mutually incomprehensible). Sarcasm is indistinguishable from sincere nuttiness online. As a result people talk past each other, and argue over nuance versus literalism.

I don't know the answer, but I agree it is a problem that needs resolution.

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Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
As a result people talk past each other, and argue over nuance versus literalism.

I would add a third condition - people often don't know what the words they use mean, but are using them out of some dim sense of context. "Capitalism" is one that is, in my observation, thought of broadly as "money", so anything involving money is "capitalism".

"Liberal" and "conservative" also are generally very vague, and indicate only some tribal affinity. The actual atoms comprising both are wildly varied and you would need a thousand permutations to begin to capture the ranges of their reality.

In one of Ayn Rand's B-grade heroic novels (I found most of them pretty entertaining, in spite of the annoying inclusions of awkward philosophy) her character declares that you "have to define your terms", which I took to be insightful. Later, though, I began reading "The Virtue of Selfishness", where on the first page she warped the definition of selfish to such a degree that it took on a meaning contrary to its normal one, which allowed her to use it in ways that justify selfishness... that's not what I previously thought she meant by "define your terms". I think she meant "redefine your terms to support your positions". I never got past page one because I didn't have the interest or energy to relearn English just to read her lame philosophical meanderings.

Unfortunately, such redefinition is tantamount to lying.


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Words change meaning over time - not even Conservatives can agree on what a Conservative is today. Hmm

Originally Posted By: pdx rick
I couldn't care less whether today's "Conservatism" is a bastardized form of neo-classical post paleo Conservatism or whatever it was back in the day of Birchers. I just know what "Conservatism" means today and that means heavy doses of racism and bigotry, while paying as little of their fair share of taxes, and being a Trump supporter. Even the changing definition of what Conservative means has Conservatives in a dither.


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Heck, even the word gay has changed. In the 1950s it meant "happy." In the late 1960s it meant "out and proud."

smile

To be rigid to word purity is simply not realistic. Go with the flow...mang. It's all good. laugh


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It's the Despair Quotient!
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What the Left is hoping to accomplish doesn't seem like "socialism" as much as it seems like "New Dealism" polished up nice and shiny for the 21st century.

But cons know that if they keep pounding the pulpit with visions of Cuba or Venezuela, the pulpit pounding eventually pays off. All it takes is a sufficient number of pulpits and enough pounding loud enough to attract attention, and a short, simple and very emotional message:

SOCIALISM VEDDY BAD!!
VENEZUELA - CUBA!!!
DEMOCRATS ARE MARXISTS/SOCIALISTS!!


Our problem is we DON'T HAVE a new word, and we should have come out with that new word a decade ago, and we should have bought or rented tons of pulpits and bought thousands of shoes to pound them with.


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I was under the impression that "progressive" was the term that was intended to convey social-interest policy ("support for or advocacy of social reform"), as distinguished from "social-ism" which was larded with meanings and implications in political and economic spheres that altered perceptions. I thought it was a good word, and was consonant with the historical antecedents of progressivism from the late 19th and early 20th Century. Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive.

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