Another day, another argument about socialism, and as long as we’re bogged down on socialism v. capitalism, left v. right, and other such paradigms, our arguments will remain bogged down in the swamp of alternate definitions and never rise to the level of intelligent discussion, arbitration, mediation, negotiation that we need to be at if we are to find solutions to the world’s problems before we render our planet incapable of sustaining human life, and go extinct.
In the interest of simplifying that debate, and in hopes that we can some day go beyond it, I present today’s blog.
The way I see it, we are divided into two camps, two philosophies of life. There are the “we’re all in the same boat” people, and the “every man for himself” people, or, if you want to be PC, “every woman or man for her or himself.”
I’m much more an “all in the same boat” kind of guy, but there is something to be said for both sides. There’s a poetic and philosophical validity to the individualist point of view. We are individuals, separate from all other individuals from the time we are born and, when we die, we’ll die alone. Also, even in a utopian world where everyone leads a life of luxury and nobody has to work terribly hard (which is the world I want) we will all still be responsible for our own happiness, our own health to a certain extent (what we eat, whether or not we get enough exercise), choosing our own friends, and finding some meaning in our own lives. No getting around that.
However, we live on a planet of nearly 8 billion people, and unless we sort out the food distribution a bit better, some people are going to go hungry, unless we provide homes for everybody, we’re going to have people sleeping on the sidewalks of our cities and that makes life a little bit less pleasant for everybody, at least everybody with a conscience and any level of empathy at all, unless we can develop a world wide clean energy grid and mobilize to plant trillions of new trees, we are eventually going to be unable to breathe.
We live within a society, a civilization, and thus we require a certain level of socialism just to survive. It’s right there in the name. Society, social, socialism.
We can argue about the exact levels all you want.