Aren't Socialism and Communism more Conservative than Liberal?

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  1. My Esoteric profile image86
    My Esotericposted 5 years ago

    Commonly, those people who call themselves conservative hold socialism and communism as being the end-state of liberalism.  I would argue that there is nothing "liberal" about socialism and communism.  Think about it, the fundamental  engine behind both is the need for the control of the means of production and distribution to be consolidated into one governing body, normally the State. 

    That is exactly opposite of what liberalism, the kind that our founding fathers brought to America, is about.  Classical liberalism would find that idea abhorrent; and so does modern liberalism.
    On the other hand, there is nothing in true conservative philosophy th
    at prohibits it.

    Keep in mind, social welfare is present in ALL political systems to one degree or another; even in the extremely conservative National Socialist (Nazi) philosophy.  I say this to point out that social welfare is not a deciding criteria in what is socialist or communist.

    1. wilderness profile image93
      wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      You are absolutely right; it is an anathema to our founding fathers.  It is about Big Government, it is about the nanny state, it is about governmental control over nearly everything.

      Which pretty well describes liberalism today.

      1. My Esoteric profile image86
        My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Only in your opinion, Wilderness.  Take Big Government for example - please define that beyond just being a sound bite.  Big government relative to what?

        What is a nanny state beyond a hot button phrase?  A nanny state relative to what?  Is America more of a welfare state then say ... all of Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Russian, China, Japan, Korea, so on and so far.  Or is being a non-nanny state in your mind one where there are zero public assistance programs?  Hell, even conservatives of the 1800s had their own versions of public assistance.

  2. Wesman Todd Shaw profile image82
    Wesman Todd Shawposted 5 years ago

    Starving tens of millions of your own citizens into their graves is never a conservative proposition. It is most definitely a socialist/communist policy position. Especially when the murdered persons are Chinese peasants, or white Christian farmers.

    There's never a mandatory memorial museum in every city for those holocaust victims of communism and socialism though, is there?

    1. My Esoteric profile image86
      My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I never suggested that something like that is a conservative "proposition".  What I said was there is nothing in conservative philosophy that rails against it.  There is a difference.

    2. Readmikenow profile image93
      Readmikenowposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Actually, if you read up on Holodomor, the genocide by Stalin against the Ukrainian people, there is a memorial museum in the Ukraine as well as in Washington DC. It's estimated over 7 million Ukrainians were systematically starved to death in the 1930s by Stalin's communist government.  It was hidden, by of all publications, the New York Times and other American publications. When it was revealed in the 1940s...the United States needed Stalin to defeat Germany, so, the genocide against the Ukrainian people went unacknowledged until the 1990s.

      Here is a link to it.

      1. My Esoteric profile image86
        My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        And Stalin, very much like Hitler, was not a liberal, but was a psychopath.  The terms liberal and conservative have no meaning when talking about murdurous dictators - Putin is another example.

        1. Readmikenow profile image93
          Readmikenowposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          My Esoteric, I did get off topic a bit...but Holodomor is a deep family wound.  I would say that liberalism caters to a command and control economy.  Conservatives like the free market and know the benefits of market forces.  A person I know who claims to be liberal said we need more government control of the economy.  My response was to look at Venezuela. Can we agree that true liberalism and true conservatism is not something we see anywhere right now?

  3. Live to Learn profile image60
    Live to Learnposted 5 years ago

    The logical end result to liberal policies would be the State controlling everything. Once the state controls everything, then those in control would lean toward more conservative policies. It's easy to promise a chicken in every pot, in order to attain power. But putting one in every pot is much more costly than starving those who pointed out they knew you couldn't do it in the first place.

    1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
      Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Which has always confounded me since liberal values are based on individual liberties and the absence of a dominion of one form over another.

      1. Live to Learn profile image60
        Live to Learnposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I wish I believed that. And, to be honest, modern liberalism as it is playing out in America doesn't support that statement.

        1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
          Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I'm loathe to use the word "liberal" when talking about the current establishment of the left. As My Esoteric points out, what's happening now would appall the original liberalists. I would consider the current left a shell of a former democratic party that has been filled with neo-communists.

          1. profile image0
            promisemposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Coincidentally, I would consider the current right a shell of the former Republican party that has been filled by neo-fascists.

            Consider their obsession with guns, nationalism and racial and religious purity.

            It seems obvious our political parties are dominated by extremists.

            1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
              Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              Fair enough. What's important, in my opinion, is making these distinctions appropriately. While Trump is a strange character and a populist that appeals to a certain...backwoods demographic, I can't honestly draw a line between him and Hitler. Even someone as narcissistic and deranged as our current POTUS, it would still dilute these extreme terms to conflate him and his policies with Fascism.

              1. profile image0
                promisemposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                I agree that we can't draw a direct line between Trump and Hitler. I suspect any comments about a Hitler comparison really has more to do with authoritarian personalities.

                One definition of fascism is "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization".

                I would be surprised if anyone thought Trump didn't have some authoritarian tendencies. He certainly seems nationalistic in his comments and policies.

                1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
                  Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                  Is nationalism the same thing as identifying as an American? Or the belief in the American dream, or the founding fathers? It seems like when anyone hears these things, people jump to extreme nationalism

                  I'm a vet, who loves my country, who bears the American flag in my home,  who votes Republican, and I also happen to be white. The general left-wing, social justice consensus would be that I'm a white nationalist, therefore, a Nazi. That I am also riding the wave of white privilege to have accrued the whopping 21 cents in my bank account and that America would be better if I just wasn't around.  It's heartbreaking. This type of discrimination and slur is precisely what these people claim to fight against.
                  This is the gulag, excuse me, Google definition for nationalism...

                  Nationalism noun
                  patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts.
                  synonyms:    patriotism, patriotic sentiment, flag-waving, xenophobia, chauvinism, jingois

                  "their extreme nationalism was frightening"
                  an extreme form of this, especially marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries.
                  How does one go from patriotic sentiments to XENOPHOBIA in the same description? Ridiculous.  Does this also mean that people cannot be patriotic without also wanting to impose an ethnostate or hate women?

                  The English language in the US has been butchered and used for evil. Perpetrated by the resurgence of neo-communists who seek to divide the world up into power dynamics between groups. Not much room left for individual freedom.

                  1. My Esoteric profile image86
                    My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                    I am a vet as well and have served America in one fashion or another from 1971 to 2008. I also love my country but find no need to decorate my home with the American Flag, I use to vote Republican until they went off the deep end, now I vote independent, if there is one around, Democrat if they are not (there are no moderate or liberal Republicans in my neck of the southern woods, and I am white.

                    I also think Social Justice is a very good thing and not a bad thing.

                    -  Identifying as an America is certainly being nationalistic, no problem there.  But it is not Nativism, which is a horse of another color in fact it is "the policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants. "a deep vein of xenophobia and nativism" "

                    How does one go from a sense of patriotism to Xenophobia? It is as easy as going from a moderate to an extreme right or left-winger.

                    While all three can be nationalist (patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts), only the extremes become xenophobic, chauvinistic, and jingoistic (what ever that is).

                    Isn't a neo-communist just another form of socialism or conservatism?  It means - followers of Marx who want a different kind of communism than the kind that actually ruled nations, one that would be, in their view, truly a paradise for workers.  But the "paradise for workers" is still a state-controlled society, maybe benign, but a state-controlled, illiberal society nevertheless.  And that is no different from a conservative society that puts the aristocracy and state ahead of the individual.

                  2. profile image0
                    promisemposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                    A dictionary definition of nationalism:

                    - Spirit or aspirations common to the whole of a nation.
                    - Devotion and loyalty to one's own country; patriotism.
                    - Excessive patriotism; chauvinism.

                    So the fascism quote I posted refers to the third definition of nationalism. It's so extreme that it causes harm and sometimes leads to war.

                    Coincidentally, our new nationalism is triggering a series of trade wars. Let's hope it doesn't get out of control.

              2. My Esoteric profile image86
                My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                I also don't draw a political line between Trump and Hitler either. But where I do make the comparison is in personality-type.  Beyond one being a mass murderer (psychopathy) and the other not; they are both clearly had/have narcissistic personality disorder of the worst kind (NPD doesn't involve violence).

          2. Live to Learn profile image60
            Live to Learnposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            I'm not certain I would classify the founding fathers liberal. Liberal for their day, perhaps. But, the term has evolved quite a bit. As all things do. Today, looking at the system of government they espoused, they wouldn't be liberals.

            1. My Esoteric profile image86
              My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              But keep in mind what liberalism is all about - the individual.  The Constitution was a pact between the Federal government (constituted by the People) and the People of what became the United States.  It was not like the Articles of Confederation which was effectively a treaty between the various States.

              That philosophy is the opposite of what the Tory's (conservatives) stood for then, and later what socialists stood for a century later.

              What is different between liberals then (they call themselves, wrongly, conservatives today) and liberals today is how much gov't is needed to protect the individual from harm by others.  The terms used today by academics are minimal state liberals (classical liberals) and active state liberals (modern liberals).  Thomas Jefferson, most of the time, was a minimal state liberal while, by most accounts, Benjamin Franklin was an active state liberal.  Both are dedicated to preventing harm to individual citizens but they differed on how much help the gov't should provide.

        2. My Esoteric profile image86
          My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Give me some examples of that Live to Learn where  "modern liberalism as it is playing out in America doesn't support that statement"  Frankly, I can't think of any that aren't safety related.  On the other hand, I can think of many on the conservative side.

          1. Live to Learn profile image60
            Live to Learnposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Simple examples would be what the founding fathers set forth in the constitution and what they did not. Simple examples could easily be found in what social programs the founding fathers advocated and which they did not. Easily seen examples would be what the founding fathers thought the central government had the right to tax for, and what it did not.

            I don't think there is any reason to enumerate these since I think they are all self evident.

            But, honestly, you can't label any of them liberal or conservative. Our definitions of the terms do not apply to those times. We can look at what they did do, and what they did not.

            Was there a welfare program in place? There were definitely plenty of impoverished people. There was a vast difference between the top and the bottom of society. Did they believe in 'leveling' programs?
            Were any long term programs put into place for the least fortunate among us?   

            Was there a push for national health care? Did the federal government do anything in the way of ensuring anyone had access to even the most basic of care?

            Was there a push to have burgeoning bureaucracies in place?

            What percentage of individual income did they believe was an acceptable amount to hold one accountable for turning over toward the common good?

            We could argue whether or not they would support such today, or not. But without anything to support a belief that they would I am inclined to think they would not support much of what our government has expanded into. Whether it be ineffective social programs or our bloated military industrial complex. So they wouldn't be either liberal or conservative; as we define it in modern American politics.

            1. My Esoteric profile image86
              My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              The founding fathers thought that the purpose of the new federal government was to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. 

              Those are all liberal ideas.  Two of those made their way into Section 8, Article 1 allowing Congress to tax Americans provide for the common defence and promote the general Welfare (notice only welfare is capitalized, that was not a mistake).  And what the founders did do was realize the world changes over time and gave Congress the ability to change with it to better reflect the ideals laid out in the Preamble, including changing the Constitution with it to better reflect future times.

              Our definitions do apply to those times when talking about individual vs State.

              Can you imagine running something a huge and complex as the United States with a government the size of Delaware? Impossible.

    2. profile image53
      Setank Setunkposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I could not have said it more succinctly LtL. Brilliant.

  4. Jessie L Watson profile image64
    Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years ago

    I sort of understand where you're coming from but I think where things get lost in translation is the shared values between liberals, conservatives and socialist/communists. It's like the struggle to find similarities between humans and chimps even though we share so much of the same DNA, if that makes sense. I think when you dig far enough into the ethics around each belief system, they appear quite different. The first one that comes to mind is that liberalism supports the sovereignty of the individual (as does conservatism in their own way) whereas socialists/communists value group selection and collectivism. It's a big difference at the policy level.

    1. MizBejabbers profile image88
      MizBejabbersposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Jessie, I think your definition of group v. individual hits the nail on the head, well, sort of. But in the group, the individual gives up his liberty to the state; in the individual, the individual gives up his liberty and is at the mercy of big corporations with no safety net. Either way, individual liberty is lost. At one time in this country, the individual could just take his family to the frontier and start a new farm or business, but now there is no frontier left.

    2. My Esoteric profile image86
      My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Good analogy.

      Using descriptors, liberals believe in:

      Egalitarianism:  relating to or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities. (conservatives do not, socialists do)

      Meliorism:  the belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment. (conservatives specifically deny this and pure socialism doesn't totally accept it either.

      Rule of Law:  Or Secular Law. Authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior (most conservatives hold God's law above Secular Law.)

      Equality: All humans are created equal and have a right to equal opportunity and protection. (Conservatives believe in equality at judgement time)

      Those are just a few of the differences.

      1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
        Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I appreciate that.

        I'll always maintain that both sides of the fence make valid points about the world in which we live, but a conversation between the two must be our primary mode of problem-solving, not doubling down on our own biases.

        When we discuss extremes in any case, that's where socialism/communism enter the arena. I don't believe its wise to flirt with anything that has to do with either of those. (which we've seen tried and miserably failed at the beginning of the 20th century by both left and right)

        1. My Esoteric profile image86
          My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I didn't think there was but one truly socialist country left (and that was Sweden). Boy was I wrong.  According to Wikipedia:

          China (I more or less disagree)
          India (really?)
          North Korea
          Portugal (??)
          Sri Lanka
          Venezuela (my addition)

          I see Sweden wasn't listed, oh well.

          1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
            Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            I believe I saw a foreign news report about the government in South Africa stealing away farms and property from white people.

            Also, Venezuela is a disaster. To be told otherwise is propaganda.

            Lastly, I would not want to be a citizen of any of the aforementioned socialist countries. Ever.

            1. My Esoteric profile image86
              My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              Do you mean the farms the whites stole from the natives in the first place?

              Nor would I, I was just point out my error in thinking there was only one socialt country left in the world.

      2. wilderness profile image93
        wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        As a liberal, describing the liberal concept of conservatives, you don't get it quite right.

        Egalitarianism:  Conservatives think all deserve equal much as it is possible.  They know that people are NOT equal in ability, desire, drive or much of anything else, but will work within the framework of reality to the extent reasonably possible.  liberals, on the other hand, insist everyone IS equal (in the face of absolute proof they are not) and try to make them equal when they are not.

        Meliorism:  Conservatives absolutely believe the people can make the world a better place.  Socialists and liberals, on the other hand, believe only government can do that - that people can do nothing to improve the world without government providing the resources, drive, force and direction.

        Rule of Law:  Some (a minority, not "most") put their god's law first.  Of course, we only hear from the loud voices of the fringe, which is why you have misunderstood this.

        Equality:  Covered in the first section; this is a duplicate.

        1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
          Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this


        2. Jessie L Watson profile image64
          Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Not only do conservatives see the world as a place that could be better, we also believe that it's our moral obligation to rectify as much as we can before we die. That's why we're so ardent about responsibility.

        3. Live to Learn profile image60
          Live to Learnposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          It's a little unnerving when people can look at the actions and outcomes of different philosophies toward government and one can come to the conclusion that liberals believe what conservatives espouse and fight for.

          1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
            Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            We can arbitrarily draw lines between belief systems ad nauseam or make claims that either side is secretly a tyrant in sheep's clothing - none of which is all that helpful.

            You made a strong case by pointing out that we don't live in the same universe as John Locke or Edmund Burke.

            Sidenote: The only reason the State of Washington (where I live) doesn't split into two halves is that its conservative and liberal inhabitants realize - at least subconsciously - that such a thing would be childish in the bigger scheme of things. "If you don't agree with me, I don't want to play with you".  Unfortunately, California hasn't got the memo.

        4. Jessie L Watson profile image64
          Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          One more thing on the meliorism -

          Conservatives also tend to be more humble about what is actually within the grasp of human beings in regard to "change" or "progress". It's a safer bet that there are more things that can go wrong than there are things that can go right. As it happens, human beings are inept at making future predictions.

          The first example that comes to mind is the disaster at Fukushima. The architects of the nuclear power plant only fortified the place according to historical records of the highest tsunamis rather than a much larger hypothetical event that, if accounted for, would've generated a much more resilient structure.

          These unforeseen events happen all the time, everywhere. Black Swans, as Nassim Taleb describes as "an unseen or virtually unpredictable event with a significant impact"

          1. wilderness profile image93
            wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Don't think I can go with humans are inept at predictions.  Insurance have, for a very long time, made an excellent profit by betting on their predictions.  So have professional gamblers, for that matter.

            1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
              Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              I guess it depends what level of analysis and what it is you're looking at. The insurance companies make even better predictions now with the help of AI algorithms. I guess that's why we design AI: to do things we can't.

              We're good at recognizing patterns but terrible at preparing ourselves for chaos. It's quite amazing that most things are working well at all. The electricity. The infrastructure. The human race, period. Everything is always in a perpetual state of entropy (second law of thermodynamics). It takes a lot of work to keep it all moving fluidly. Social systems are generally even more difficult to predict.

              1. wilderness profile image93
                wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                Consider: of the hundreds of Nuke plants in the world, just one has been severely damaged by a natural disaster, and it took two at once to do that.  That's a pretty good record considering that economics play a major part; we can plan for anything short of a dinosaur killer, but then nothing gets built because it's too expensive.  We hare to take some risk to accomplish anything.

                1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
                  Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                  Yes, and I consider such things as miraculous and I'm therefore grateful.

                  However, if I remember correctly, there was a threat detection malfunction in a Soviet launch site during the cold war that brought us inches away from a nuclear catastrophe. It was just a computer glitch. These unforeseeable, large-scale potentials are always a possibility. That's mostly the point I was making. 

         … m_incident

            2. Jessie L Watson profile image64
              Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              Here's a segment from a book I'm currently reading. I think you might find it interesting and semi-relevant to the OP. 

              The Appeal of a Technocracy

              The promises and pitfalls of a technocratic approach to the solution of social problems are well illustrated by the theories of Scientific Management, as developed by Frederick W. Taylor (1856–1915) and his followers during the early decades of the twentieth century. Scientific Management arose in an era marked by a profound paradox: industrial production was increasing at a rapid pace, but at the same time American society was racked by large-scale and potentially explosive conflicts between workers and management. Many cures for labor unrest had been proposed, but for Taylor, all of them missed the mark. Taylor had earned an international reputation as a metallurgical engineer, and his systematic studies on the cutting tools used for machining metal had resulted in major technological advances. If obdurate metals could be better controlled and shaped through the application of new technologies guided by scientific principles, why could the same thing not be done with workers?

              To achieve this goal, Taylor and his colleagues developed a “scientific” regimen for studying work. The main technique used for this task was the time-and-motion study through which workers were systematically observed and their work motions precisely timed. Through an analysis of these observations and measurements Taylor came up with a supposedly optimum set of motions for a given job, all of them subject to rigid time constraints. Equally important, the development and administration of these motions were the business of management exclusively, and any attempt by workers to go about their tasks independently would necessarily result in wasted motions and general inefficiency. A basic tenet of Scientific Management was that the planning and organization of work had to be separated from its actual execution. Only specially trained managers had the time and expertise necessary for the devising of optimal methods of production. The prime obligation of the workers was to do what they were told to do.

              Although they had no power to plan and manage their own work, workers were supposed to benefit from the system. Because their work activities were now optimized, production would supposedly increase significantly. Workers would necessarily share in these higher returns, for Taylor also advocated that workers be paid according to piece rates rather than straight wages; the more they produced, the more they earned.

              Photograph of an Instruction Card for Lathe Work for The Midvale Steel Co. from 1911. On the left side of the form is a list of all the operations connected with preparing to machine work on lathes, and with removing work to floor after it has been machined, and a space for time in minutes. On the right of the form is a space for the Name of the customer, and some other identifying items. Under that section is a list of operations connected with machining work on lathes. There are spaces to mark speed, feed, cut, tool, and inches, and an area to keep track of the minutes. At the bottom of the form are lines to keep track of the total time the work has taken to be completed.

              Frederick Taylor believed that all kinds of work could be reduced to rationally derived actions, much as machining operations could be precisely timed through the use of this worksheet.

              The technocratic spirit of Scientific Management is thus evident: the tasks and prerogatives of management rested not upon the exercise of raw power but on management’s technical superiority in guiding the production process. At the same time, Scientific Management promised relief from continual squabbling over relative shares of the fruits of production; an optimal system of organization would result in more of everything for everybody. Taylor was not content with using Scientific Management as a solution for the problems of the workplace; its principles, he claimed, “can be applied with equal force to all social activities: to the management of our homes; the management of our farms; the management of the business of our tradesmen large and small; of our churches, our philanthropic organizations, our universities; and our governmental departments.”

              The appeal of Scientific Management was not confined to the United States, or even to the capitalist world. Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, expressed a deep admiration for American technology and American forms of industrial organization, and for Taylor’s ideas in particular. Although he duly noted that Scientific Management embodied “the refined cruelty of bourgeois exploitation,” Lenin made it clear that its basic principles and procedures could contribute to the realization of Soviet economic goals: “The possibility of building Socialism will be determined precisely by our success in combining Soviet government and the Soviet organization of administration with the modern achievements of capitalism. We must organize in Russia the study and teaching of the Taylor System and systematically try it out and adopt it to our ends.”

              The Technocrats Delusion

              Although some of its elements, such as the use of time-and-motion studies, can still be found in contemporary managerial practices, Scientific Management in its pure form never took hold in the United States, the Soviet Union, or anywhere else. A number of technical problems impeded its use. Considerable skill was required for the administration of time-and-motion studies, and they were especially difficult to conduct in work settings not characterized by repetitious actions. But of equal or greater importance, both management and labor realized that the implementation of Taylor’s system posed fundamental threats to their own interests. Most managers were highly reluctant to delegate their authority to the dictates of “scientific” procedures.26 Workers, on the other hand, resented the loss of what little autonomy they had, and they widely believed—with considerable justification—that higher levels of productivity would result in the downward adjustment of piece rates, leaving them no better off than before the program had been enacted.

              Scientific Management, like all technocratically inspired systems, ignored the distinction between technical and sociopolitical problems. Even if Scientific Management had generated the productive increases it promised—which is unlikely—it would still have been strongly resisted by those who had to submit to it. Scientific Management promised a conflict-free method of administration where no such thing was possible. Workers and managers had their separate interests, and each group was unwilling to entrust its fate to Taylor and his disciples.

              The basic fallacy of Scientific Management, one shared by all other variants of technocracy, is that administration can replace politics. Administration is based on the application of rules that allow the realization of given ends. It is thus a manifestation of the rational spirit of applying the best means for the achievement of a particular goal. It does not, however, determine these ends. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials who administer the tax system are not the authors of the tax code. Around April 15, we may get angry about the perceived unfairness of the tax code, but it is pointless to blame the officials at the local IRS office, who are only executing a set of policies that they did not create.

              Tax codes and other policies are formulated through choices made in the political arena. Neither technology nor administration can supply the values that form the basis of these choices. They cannot tell us what we should do with our lives, nor can they help us to resolve the fundamental issue that all societies confront: how to distribute fairly life’s necessities and luxuries. The resolution of these issues will always be marked by sizable differences of opinion and a good deal of conflict. The technocrat’s hope that society can be run on the basis of engineering principles will always remain an illusion.

              To summarize, technological changes inevitably produce social changes. These changes, in turn, do not affect everyone equally. Although many technologies produce widespread benefits, not everyone benefits to the same degree, and there are instances where particular individuals and groups lose out completely. A choice of technology is often a determination of who wins and who loses; it is therefore proper that affected parties have the opportunity to participate in the process. This issue will be taken up in greater depth in the last three chapters. At this point, it can at least be hoped that without deflating the very real achievements of technology, some sense of its inherent limitations has been conveyed. Technology and the procedures underlying its development have been immensely powerful in their own realm; outside this realm, however, they are less likely to be effective. Equally important, the methods that have been so successful in developing and applying new technologies cannot be transferred to the governance of society. Technological development may make some aspects of our lives better, but it can never substitute for a just and effective political and social system.

          2. My Esoteric profile image86
            My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            But conservatives are satisfied with that status quo, liberals are not.  Liberals think lives can get better and humans have the ability to make them better over time.

        5. My Esoteric profile image86
          My Esotericposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Let's start with equality.  Here is the conservatives philosophical definition of "equality"  "For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law;"

          That is the 5th principal and clearly lays out why slavery is not an anathema for conservatives.  It says to me that to have a healthy society, it is required there be inequality which implies inequality must be enforced. 

          Liberals, on the other hand, understand there exists inequality, but they believe the lives of mankind can be made better.  Other conservative principles deny that.

          1. wilderness profile image93
            wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            That's what I said; conservatives live in the real world, where people are not identical robots and even have differing concepts and desires.  Liberals like to pretend that it is otherwise and will thus try to force their version of "equal" onto everyone.

            In spite of your nasty little comment on slavery, it isn't true and only a liberal, desperate to prove how terrible conservatives are, would insinuate otherwise.  After all, if conservatives are right, and people are not all identical, it means the liberal concept won't work.

            1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
              Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              We should have a discussion about how many "liberal" programs, institutions and bureaucracies have actually hurt many more minorities than have been "saved" from inequality.

              But, the conversation with the left will always be about how racist and terrible we are. My Esoteric thinks we are that way by design. Let them think that. In my heart I know I'm not what I'm accused of.

              If we're flinging poop, let me point out that liberals are the most sensitive and intolerant to hardship. They're the guy on the work crew who takes breaks every 5 minutes and complains all the time. We're the guys who accept the initial conditions of suffering and sacrifice and keep working anyway. Liberals want to blame everyone else but themselves. "Its the worlds fault. Its society. We're victims. They're victims. Anyone who doesn't think like us must be the oppressor."


              "It's the not the world, it's me, I'm the problem." At least that's what conservatives think when something goes wrong. Because if problems belong to us, they can be fixed. If they're outside of us, they cannot.

              If someone notices a problem, what are the chances someone will do something about it themselves? "look over there, a problem, who's going to fix it?"  You, that's who. If not, then change the subject.

              Humility is the bottom line.

              1. wilderness profile image93
                wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                +1  You've pretty much nailed it.

                1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
                  Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                  As have you. I love my brothers and sisters on the blue of the side of the tracks but I feel like I'm in an abusive relationship sometimes. Like living with a jealous girlfriend who always thinks I'm up to no good.

                  1. GA Anderson profile image89
                    GA Andersonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                    Ha! Did you ever give her reason to think that?


          2. GA Anderson profile image89
            GA Andersonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Hi My Esoteric, why do you think that principle implies that inequality must be forced.

            Couldn't it also be saying that a healthy civilization will always have levels of inequality - in order to have the healthy diversity required to be a healthy civilization? It even mentions a type of inequality it is speaking of; "material conditions." Like you have a big screen and I have a 9" portable. You have central air, I have open windows.

            Couldn't it be saying that reality and human nature ensue there will be levels of inequality - without any need for force?

            And what about those "orders and classes?" Must they be on a par with classes in the nature of slavery, or could they be in the nature of tradesmen or artists, managers or cashiers, over-achievers or under-achievers?  Couldn't "order" refer to common descriptors of poor, middle-class, upper-class, rich, etc.? Terms I suspect you have used as descriptors without attaching any denigrating connotations?

            Aren't you seeing the worst possible interpretation, instead of the obviously, (as dictated by the reality of human nature), most probable intended interpretation?

            Can you support your contention that Conservatives deny that the lives of mankind can be improved? Do you believe that Rockefeller would have devoted his efforts to Standard Oil if he hadn't thought kerosene would benefit the lives of "mankind?" What about Carnegie's philanthropy, wouldn't those efforts qualify as efforts to improve the lives of mankind?


  5. Nathanville profile image93
    Nathanvilleposted 5 years ago

    Well, I’ve carefully read everyone’s views; and trying to understand it all took a lot of concentration because American and British politics are so different that it is all too easy to misunderstand the meaning behind some of the comments.

    Therefore I’m not going to try to talk about American politics or try to draw comparisons between America and Britain, other than at a superficial level.

    All I wish to do is to highlight some of the politics, as it relates to Britain; primarily because I get the impression that many Americans view Communism and Socialism in a similar light, when in actual fact they are polls apart.

    I understand that in America you have the Republicans (Conservatives) and Democrats (Liberals).

    In Britain we have a much wider spectrum of politics, which extends from extreme right Conservatism to extreme left Socialism; but what we don’t have in the UK is Communism.

    In the UK we have 9 major political parties, listed (more or less) in their political order from right to left in the list below (as they currently stand politically):-

    •    DUP (Democratic Unionist Party):  Extreme Right Wing Conservative, seats in Northern Ireland only.

    •    Conservatives:  Right Wing, with seats in England, Wales and Scotland.

    •    Liberal Democrats:  Politically Centurial, with seats in England, Wales and Scotland.

    •    Plaid Cymru:  Socialist, with seats in Wales only.

    •    Sinn Fein:  Socialist, with seats in Northern Ireland only.

    •    Co-operative Party: Socialist, and aligned with the Labour Party, seats mainly in England.

    •    SNP (Scottish National Party): Hard left wing Socialist, seats in Scotland only.

    •    Labour: Socialist, currently extreme left wing (as it was from 1945 to 1979), whereas from the 1980s until 2015 Labour was much closer to Liberalism, seats in England, Wales and Scotland.

    •    Green Party: Extreme left wing socialist, English seat only.

    For clarity, the big differences between Socialism and Communism in the UK is that Socialists believe very strongly in Democracy, whereas Communism doesn’t; and although both Socialism and Communism believe in State Control of essential services e.g. rail, utilities (water, electricity and sewage), health and education etc., Socialism does believe in ‘Free Enterprise’ for Private Businesses (albeit often heavily regulated); whereas Communism doesn’t believe in ‘Free Enterprise’.

    What distinguishes Liberalism and Socialism in the UK is that Liberals believe more in a mixed economy e.g. other than State Control of Education and Health, and perhaps railways etc. they are less keen on nationalising other essential services.  While the Conservatives don’t believe in State control of anything, not even health and education.

    1. Live to Learn profile image60
      Live to Learnposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I've always thought we needed more than two parties but all those parties is a little scary. I wonder how many back door deals are required to create a majority. Do you think the costs involved in that contributes to the higher tax rates there?

      1. Nathanville profile image93
        Nathanvilleposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Good question Live to Learn.  Having more than two parties can certainly make Election Night exciting; especially if the polls are close, or wrong.

        Since the 2nd world war the two main parties are Conservative and Labour; before the war it was Conservative and Liberals.  So usually (but not always) one or the other does achieve an overall majority. 

        There are 650 seats in the House of Commons, so for a Party to win an overall majority they need to win at least 326 of those seats.  If the party who wins the most seats don’t win an overall majority, then it’s called a ‘Minority Government’; and usually a Minority Government will try to make an arrangement with another political party in order to survive.  The four occasions when we’ve had Minority Governments in the UK since the 2nd world war (1945) have been 1974, 1977, 2010 and 2017:-

        •    In February 1974 Labour won the most seats but was 33 seats short of an overall majority, they didn’t form an alliance with any other party so within 8 months the Government collapsed, so another General Election was held in October of the same year.

        •    In October 1974 Labour won a slim majority of just 3 seats; but lost that majority in a by-election in 1977.  A by-election being a local election following the death of a sitting MP (Member of Parliament).

        •    In 1977, when Labour lost its overall majority following a by-election, Labour formed a working arrangement with the Liberals, called the ‘Lib-Lab Pact’ e.g. The Liberals supported Labour in exchange of Labour supporting some of the Liberal Policies.

        •    In 2010 the Conservatives won the most seats but were 19 seats short of an overall majority.  The Liberals won 57 seats, so they had enough seats to help either the Conservatives or Labour to form a Government.  So after a week of the Liberals having intensive discussions with both parties, the Liberals opted to side with the Conservatives because the Conservatives offered them equal partnership e.g. a Coalition Government whereby Liberal MPs would be given senior posts in the Government, giving the Liberal Party a lot of power.

        •    In the 2015 General Election the Conservatives won a slim majority of just 5 seats.  The voters punished the Liberals for supporting the Conservatives rather than Labour in 2010, so the Liberals lost about 85% of their seats, leaving them with just 8 MPs.  While at the same time the SNP (Scottish National Party) ousted Labour and Conservatives out of Scotland, wining 56 out of the 59 Scottish seats, making the SNP more of a formidable voice in the House of Commons.

        •    In 2017 the ‘Opinion Polls’ put the Conservatives 20% ahead of Labour, which in a General Election would mean a landslide victory.  On that basis the Conservatives called a snap election, but the Opinion Polls were wrong; and the Conservatives lost their slim majority, ending up with a minority Government, 10 seats short of an overall majority.   

        •    Following the Conservative’s defeat in the 2017 snap general election, the Liberals have enough seats to support the Conservatives (12 Liberal MPs) but the two political parties are currently so politically polarised that there is no way the Liberals would support them.  And apart from DUP (Democratic Unionist Party), all the other political parties are Socialist parties, and therefore couldn’t politically support the Conservatives.

        •    Therefore the Conservatives turned to the 10 DUP MPs in Northern Ireland for support.  After almost two weeks of intensive discussions DUP agreed to support the Conservatives on a ‘Confidence and Supply’ basis,; giving the Conservative a working majority of just 1 e.g. The 10 DUP MPs supports the Conservative Minority Government in exchange for the Conservatives meeting a number of specific policy demands from DUP.

        As regards your second point, elections in the UK are heavily regulated by the ‘Electoral Commission’ to prevent illegal back door deals, and the election costs which have to be covered by the political parties themselves, are heavily regulated to give more of a level playing field for the smaller parties; so the costs involved don’t affect the taxes.

        The Electoral Commission is an ‘Independent Government Department’.  In the UK, an Independent Government Department is a Government Department that is not answerable to the Government; they are only answerable to Parliament.  By making a Government Department answerable to Parliament rather than the Government prevents unscrupulous Governments from trying to influence the Department e.g. ensures the Government Department’s political neutrality.

        Before any election in the UK the Electoral Commission publishes comprehensive details on the rules for the election and the spending limits e.g. each candidate is limited to spending just £8,700 ($11,500) on their campaign, while the spending limits imposed on the political parties is a complex formula partly based on the each parties share of the votes at the previous election; for example, in the 2017 election the Conservatives were limited to spending just £18 million ($24 million).

        After the elections all candidates and all political parties have to submit their detailed spending accounts to the Electoral Commission for careful scrutiny.  Breaking the rules is a criminal offence, the Electoral Commission can and do impose hefty fines on individual candidates and political parties for breaking the rules.  And where there is clear evidence of deceit, the Electoral Commission will pass their evidence to the Police for Criminal Prosecution in the Courts e.g. a former Conservative MP was given a six months suspended sentence in January of this year for electoral fraud; and the Conservative Party was fined £70,000 ($100,000) last year for trying to hide £104,765 ($140,000) from their accounts for the 2015 General Election so as to keep within the legal spending limits.

    2. Jessie L Watson profile image64
      Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      The first time I saw the term "Sinn Fein"  was a tattoo on an Irish skinhead in a prison documentary.

      1. Nathanville profile image93
        Nathanvilleposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Jessie, you might know some of this, but just in case:-

        Sinn Fein is the political arm of the IRA; the IRA being the terrorist group in Northern Ireland fighting for the unification of Ireland e.g. for Northern Ireland to become part of the Republic of Ireland.

        DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) is the political arm of the terrorist group that fought the IRA e.g. DUP is fighting for Northern Ireland to remain within the UK.

        The Terrorist wings of both political parties bitterly fought each other from 1968 until the signing of the peace agreement between Sinn Fein and the British Government in 1998.  During those 30 years of the civil war in Northern Ireland (called The Troubles) 3,532 people were killed of which 1,841 were civilians; and over 47,000 civilians were injured.

        The fragile 20 years old peace agreement is now under threat because of Brexit; but that’s another (complex) story.   Also, the Conservative Government’s current ‘Confidence and Supply’ arrangement with DUP in order to keep the Conservative Government afloat and prevent it from collapsing (which would lead to another General Election) isn’t helping the 1998 Peace Agreement because under that agreement the British Government is meant to be a neutral partner between Sinn Fein and DUP.

        In any event, even with DUP’s support, the Conservative Government is very weak and there is a high probability that it will collapse long before the next General Election is due in 2022 e.g. it would only take a handful of Conservative MPs to rebel against their own Government to bring it down.  The two extremes within the Conservative Party are polarised, so the Prime Minister is struggling to keep both the extreme hard right wing and the soft left of her party on board; with both sides threatening to rebel (and potentially bring down the Government) if they don’t get their ‘opposing’ ways over Brexit.

        1. Jessie L Watson profile image64
          Jessie L Watsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Wow. Interesting. Thanks for the info.

          We Americans are the worst at knowing whats going on in the UK. Everyone in the UK seems to know pretty much everything that's going on with us. After the 2016 election here, I've never heard so much political feedback from people from other countries haha.

          Ask any random person under 30 years old in the US what they think about Brexit and they won't be able to even describe was Brexit was.


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