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July 14, 2004

How To Eradicate Advocacy of Communism/Socialism (UPDATED) « Social Issues »

Make all liberal arts professors live in 4-family compounds, and all students live in 6-person suites; each with a single, shared kitchen and recreation area.

In short, make them live it before they can advocate it.

Should have been labeled "Snark". Sorry for the confusion.

However, there are three aspects of humanity I take to be generally universal:
One: humans tend to the minimum necessary. Sometimes that's the minimum necessary to be able to feel smug, rather than the minimum required by rule, but when people aren't completing assigned tasks to everyone's expectations, resentments build.
Two: humans tend to overestimate their own contributions/efforts/difficulties, and underestimate those of others.
Three: when "the public" owns something, 99% of the time no one takes responsibility for it.

When I was in college, young students tended to be idealistic. It was always, "Wouldn't it be cool if...?". Heck, I dreamed of the idea of living in an artists' commune at one point. In my imagination, I saw it all being cool and a better use of efforts. But after nearly 2 decades of life and observation of human nature, I understand a little better how hard it is to get people to really work hard for the common good when they don't see a personal benefit of going beyond taking care of their own needs. "Good enough" is important: it's why you don't spend 18 hours cleaning your toilet every day. But it is also subjective, and "good enough" for me isn't good enough for you in some things, and vice versa. If nearly a third of arguments in marriages are based on disputes regarding division of labor, how can you expect friends/colleagues to be able to negotiate such pitfalls with less difficulty?

Few people are willing to work 100 hours a week for the comfort of an acquaintance who works only 10 hours a week. Living in a communal situation tends to make those situations more clear than the invisible nature of modern US socialism (until a newspaper article pulls back the curtain to highlight the "plight" of a woman on total support from the government being upset that she'll have to pay $5 to enroll for medical coverage because it will force her to choose between internet access and her cellphone...). I'm convinced that people who claim that "true" communism has never been tried have probably never tried to live it themselves for a long-term. I'm convinced that people who can support Castro have never been without their comforts. I'm convinced that the people who advocate higher taxes for the rich don't pay a penny more than they are required by law...and enjoy their comforts, as well. Seattle is a very liberal city, but when given the chance to add a mere $.10 to each cup of coffee to increase spending on early child care and education, 68% said no. Oregon is a liberal state, but refused to increase taxes even in the face of oh-so-typical blackmail from the Governer ("If you don't vote to raise your own taxes, I'll be forced to cut education while keeping all my perks and not doing a thing to reduce entitlement spending").

Simply put, most liberals want their compassionate platform only if they can get someone else to pay for most of it.

Posted by Nathan at 08:03 AM | Comments (3)

Because...of course...all liberal arts professors, students and advocates must be advocating socialism and/or communism, right? What a shock. Guess I've invalidated my liberal arts degree then, since I advocate neither.

For that matter, guess my sister doesn't really have a liberal arts PhD since she doesn't advocate them either. Maybe she won't have to pay back those student loans after all; she'll be thrilled to know that.

Gotta love those blanket generalizations. ;)

Posted by: Dalin at July 14, 2004 09:22 AM

You are still an 18-year-old liberal arts major, Dalin? I had no idea.

But yeah, blanket statements are ridiculous. Doesn't mean you can't keep 'em in your arsenal.

Posted by: Nathan at July 14, 2004 09:24 AM

Blanket statements remind me of a rule of thumb.

I had a professor who would always give us a "rule of thumb" to check the basic validity of our assumptions. He also gave us a "rule of thumb for rules of thumb": a rule of thumb only works about 80% of the time.

(Can I tell you that the more I type "rule of thumb" the odder it looks and sounds?)

Anyway, I originally started to comment on capitalism v. socialism/communism - one of the reasons capitalism works so well is that it is the only economic model that doesn't require people to act against their natures. Instead it recognizes that people will normal act in their self interest and rewards that behavior. I posted on this some time back in case you're interested.


I like your blog. I'm putting you in my "pending" folder. If I find you consistently entertaining and/or educational (and I think I will), I'll link you.

Posted by: LittleA at July 14, 2004 01:36 PM
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