Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Poli-Sci 101 Moment

NATIONALISM VS. SOCIALISM
Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times

(HT: RCP)

This is an objective op-ed that examines the two major parties' ideologies. It's not very long or deep, but it is to the point. And, it is a good read. It illustrates the contrasts between the Dems and the GOP, very well, in Poli-Sci 101 terms.

When reading this though, remember these points:

1. Not all nationalism is fascist.

2. Not all fascism is nazism.

3. Not all socialism is communism.

I do not have time to run a more complete critique of the article and there are a couple of things that I am not sure I completely buy. But, overall it seems to a credible analysis.

19 comments:

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Very good article. I think he draws the distinctions very well. Of course why do I think that liberals/Democrats will hate it? They simply hate being labeled, characterized in black and white terms, and anyone claiming to understand them.

Mark said...

If Republicans would stop moralizing, I'd almost fit in. If Democrats changed their list of "basic human rights" to "things that are obtainable but not obliged" I'd like 'em more. Too bad they dropped the decriminalization of marijuana point. Much more to it than smoking some grass.

LASunsett said...

AICS,

They simply hate being labeled...

This is so true. When referred to as "the left", especially.

There has to be a term for the left and the left is "it". Obviously not all on the left believe exactly alike, certainly no more than those on the right. But you have to have a name for them, so the left seems to do. It is short and politically descriptive.

LASunsett said...

Mark,

Welcome sir. Thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment. Feel free to do so anytime.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Mark said,

If Republicans would stop moralizing

My full response to that would be a full post. Maybe I will add one to my blog in the near future.

In short I think this whole concept is way too simplified when some accuse conservatives of legislating morality. I stated somewhere recently that morality has been a part of the law since Hammurabi's Code. Perhaps there were times in the US where the law was too much in the business of what people do in private. I think that has shifted to a point where most can do just about what they want in private.

Where I would draw the line is when it affects others. One of our laws prevents people being obscene in public. I don't want to look out my window and see one of my neighbors mowing his lawn in the nude. I don't want to see my neighbors having sex in their yard on a blanket either. Anti-obscenity laws are based in morality.

When areas of morality affect others not involved it is perfectly legitimate to pass laws to prevent. We will never again have neighborhoods like in Mayberry or "Leave it to Beaver" but some of us don't want the New Orleans Mardi Gras in their neighborhood 24/7.

In short I think all this talk of conservatives and morality is way overblown. It is fed by the media focusing on a very few fringe members of the right.

Mark said...

AICS - we've been at this discussion before, i'd look forward to a post about it.

I should have included democrats in their moralizing as well: Recycling to prevent global warming is a "moral" obligation, welfare as a "moral" program, drug prohibition "morally" correct.

Both sides like to use morality to give what they say more oomph and affect with the people. What they should be doing is simply thinking about what's best for the people and leaving morality for people to throw around inside their homes, churches, wherever.

Anti-Obscenity laws are a nice way for our police and politicians to get involved when there is no need. Not based in morality, AiCS. What's wrong, morally, with a couple getting it on in their yard? Nothing. It's probably not smart. Most likely it will make their neighbors upset, especially if the couple's not the most attractive sort, or if there are kids around. But the couple would soon learn upon hearing that the whole neighborhood is pissed that their neighborly standing is in jeopardy and most likely move to the back yard behind the fence. Problem solved, and no police!

lasunsett - thanks for having me. i enjoy it.

superfrenchie said...

I can see why there should be a prohibition against making out in my front lawn (don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you...)

But why shouldn't I be able to smoke pot in my own home (inside, OK!), or for that matter sell my body for sex? (not that I would get too many buyers, but you never know...)

How about the ability to buy (or sell) a bottle of wine anywhere and anytime I care, as long as I'm an adult?

The freest country in the world? Hum, let me be a bit skeptical!

LASunsett said...

SF,

But why shouldn't I be able to smoke pot in my own home (inside, OK!)

I know in Holland you can do so, but can you in France?

Here's what I say, if what you do doesn't infringe on my rights, I really do not care what you do. Anything that doesn't affect others, should be okay.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett-

actually, in a poly sci class you would be called out for calling anything other than the 3rd reich nazism, anything other than mussolini's regime facism, or for implying that socialism can be the same thing as communism.

i know that these terms get bandied about for the purposes of denigrating the "other," but they are all very specific terms.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

actually, in a poly sci class you would be called out for calling anything other than the 3rd reich nazism, anything other than mussolini's regime facism, or for implying that socialism can be the same thing as communism.

I am not sure what you are getting at, but I will explain further.

Not all nationalism is fascism. But all fascism is nationalism. Not all fascism is nazism, but all nazism is fascism. The same thing is true between socialism and communism.

Hitler was the only modern day nazism and I do not even think there was another empire that was more so. He as the extreme of extremes. Stalin held that title under his reign under communism. He was to communism, what Hitler was to fascism.

The interesting thing to note here is, Stalinism does not have a scientific term for it, like Hitler does for nazism. You do not hear it called Hitlerism.

Stalinism was practiced by Saddam, Stalin was his idol. His libraries were said to have contained books on his hero. You rarely heard Saddam called a Stalinist. On occasion maybe, but not a lot.

Both nazism and Stalinism is the worst form of tyranny, you could ever see. At least up to this point, it would be. But who knows? Islamofascism could be worse, if we allow it to metastisize.

superfrenchie said...

la: /I know in Holland you can do so, but can you in France? //

* Buying alcohol you can.

* Prostitution is legal but you cannot ask for sex in public. (so theoretically, no street prostitution - the reality of course is very different...)

* Pot: not allowed - in practice, more or less tolerated. To my knowledge, nobody has ever been or is currently in prison for consumption. Sometimes (rarely) you might get a suspended sentence, or a fine.

Regardless, you're absolutely right: if we want to talk about personal freedoms, then Holland is the place, not France.

superfrenchie said...

la: //Stalinism was practiced by Saddam, Stalin was his idol. His libraries were said to have contained books on his hero. You rarely heard Saddam called a Stalinist. On occasion maybe, but not a lot.//

I beleive you are correct that Saddam studied books about Stalin, but I think the way you say it is misleading. My understanding is that he studied his military tactics, which he admired. Nothing else!

LASunsett said...

SF,

. My understanding is that he studied his military tactics, which he admired. Nothing else!

SF, take a look at the way Saddam governed and then look at how Stalin governed. Then you tell me that he didn't study other things about him. Their management styles made Attila the Hun look moderate.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett-

let me put it this way.

technically, nazism ONLY refers to the national socialist party in germany (or their conquered territories).

technically, fascism ONLY refers to mussolini's regime in italy.

technically, the ussr NEVER achieved communism, which they openly admitted. they did partially achieve socialism, but always prefaced that they were 'on the journey' to true socialism, then communism.

in fact, no true communist state has ever technically existed.

islamofascism is a recently created term which, technically, means nothing.

of course, the lines have been blurred for all of these terms (originally for propagandistic purposes) and an expanded usage has been accepted in everyday life.

however, what i've written above constitutes the only accepted definitions within the field of political science.

btw, i've studied the field here:

http://www.as.uky.edu/polisci/

and here :

http://www.iep-aix.fr/

Mark said...

la sunset said - "Here's what I say, if what you do doesn't infringe on my rights, I really do not care what you do. Anything that doesn't affect others, should be okay."

Three cheers for that.

Totalitarian is the word I use for Nazi Germany, Stalinism, fascism, communism. Each attempting to make the people subservient to the state, and not the other way around, as it should be.

superfrenchie said...

ms. miami: Whoa, Aix-en-Provence!

Most beautiful city in France, if you ask me.

Is that your opinion too?

(Some pictures here, here and here)

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

technically, nazism ONLY refers to the national socialist party in germany (or their conquered territories).

Agreed, but the practice of fascism with genocide is what people usually mean.

technically, fascism ONLY refers to mussolini's regime in italy.

Spain under Franco was fascist as well as other military states throughout history.

technically, the ussr NEVER achieved communism, which they openly admitted. they did partially achieve socialism, but always prefaced that they were 'on the journey' to true socialism, then communism.

in fact, no true communist state has ever technically existed.


Utopianism doesn't exist and that is what they hoped to achieve over time.

islamofascism is a recently created term which, technically, means nothing.

of course, the lines have been blurred for all of these terms (originally for propagandistic purposes) and an expanded usage has been accepted in everyday life.


I do not believe that text book definitions have much functional meaning in real life, outside the classroom. That goes for a lot of disciplines, not just poli-sci. There are no absolutes and that goes for poli-sci. Has anything ever been known to reach absloute zero on the Kelvin scale?

In theory, I understand the points you are making. But I do not always agree with the traditional academic view in many areas of study, including my own. They just are not always practical.

Anyway, you have given me an idea for a post and I will explain some things further.

LASunsett said...

Mark,

Three cheers for that.


Hip, hip, hip, hooray.

RCS said...

ms. miami,

As to the difference between communisme and socialisme, an expert in the field, Vladimir Ulyanov, once stated:

Communism is socialism plus electricity.