Socialism is Humanism

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I am friends with a retired US navy boomer boat jockey down in Margaritaville, who appears to have republican-laissez faire capitalist inclinations. The kind that worships Ayn Rand, Adam Smith, and JS Mill. In short he adheres to the concepts of egocentric derived selfishness, the philosophy that the best form of government is the least form and that “it is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest”(Smith).

Naturally as a left winger from Canuckistan, he concludes apriori that I, as a socialist,  am brother to Marx and Stalin. My position is that man should be equally important as money, services as important as goods, and that there must be an emphasis on human welfare, instead of just wealth. Not mentioning names, but it should be noted that a Palestinian Jewish Marxist, much loved by republicans, and who died in 32AD had the same ideas. Indeed one of his best known populist stump speeches goes like this. “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy and blessed are the meek for they shall have the earth for their possession.”

Now beings as how this is Wednesday morning and in the spirit of socialism, I give of my expertise to the homeless, oppressed and downtrodden at a local Samaritan Centre. My logical position being James 2:14.. “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have good works?”

But I digress. To understand which political philosophy (right vs left) is most congruent with justice and fair play, we start with Freud and Hobbes. The latter’s views are that in a state of nature we are screwed as a thriving species-life is “nasty, brutish and short”. Now Freud made it clear that an unregulated id, by virtue of unleashed and unregulated sexual and aggressive drives, converts humanity into a Viking mentality: pillage, looting, rape, arson, and homicide become daily routine- the banality of evil. And so mankind  eventually decided to mature and as Freud said -“where id was ego shall be.”

Ironically Denmark is now, and has been for some time been among the most successful and civilized countries on earth. Why? Socialism of course. Definition from the Urban Dictionary..”A political-economic system where the means of production, distribution and exchange is determined by the state/public sector in some form.” This is an ideology that espouses the view that great personal wealth is worth sacrificing for health care, education, and a decent life for seniors. Republicans often confuse this with communism saying it didn’t work in Russia.

Getting back to Sigmund, regulating the id by the superego leads the ego towards advanced traits like mercy, fairness and regulation of destructive impulses-read civilization. But people being the unrepentant brutes that they are need external controls to help out a bit with the aid of the auxiliary superego known as government.

This brings us to JJ Rousseau… “the passage from the state of nature, to the civil state produces a very remarkable change in man, by substituting justice for instinct in his conduct, and giving his actions the morality they had formerly lacked. Then only, when the voice of duty takes the place of physical impulses and right of appetite, does man, who so far had considered only himself, find that he is forced to act on different principles, and to consult his reason before listening to his inclinations.”

So, as it turns out the top nations based on economy, education, governance, health, personal freedom, safety and security, are socialist – places like Sweden, Norway,  Canada, Holland and Singapore. The USA is way down at number 16. Belize being essentially a plutocratic oligarchy isn’t even on the list and happens to be catching up to Honduras as one of the planets’ most violent places.

The USA is flourishing economically at present because there is a socialist president at the helm. How this translates into safety, health indices and social stability remains to be seen. The independent minded freedom worshiping don’t tread on me gun toting philosophy was fine in 1776, but is presently anachronistic.

I shall close with a quote from a fellow MD…“There is no other definition of socialism valid for us than that of the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.”
― Ernesto Che Guevara

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4 Responses to “Socialism is Humanism”

  1. PapiT says:

    Humanism is Socialism rather than vice-versa absent better definitions for the latter. Your arguments that absent some set of controls or rules instituted by the State that the uncontrolled, animalistic ID will rule ignores the existence of the Ego that requires only a moral code by which to live, not a political or economic model. “…by substituting justice for instinct in his conduct, and giving his actions the morality they had formerly lacked” to use some of Rousseau’s quote…whose “justice”? Whose “morale values”? Whose “laws”? And, perhaps more importantly, why are “their” laws, moral values, justice better than my own that harms no one?

    • Allan Seltzer MD says:

      Man in a state of nature, by virtue of an unrestrained id has a nasty and violent short life. The evolution of moral notions read civilization parallels the development of the frontal lobe. As it is a more recent construct some auxiliary help is needed to keep the dog eat dog capitalist/ republican mentality in check.This is called democratic socialism designed with Bentham styled utilitarianism in mind.That is why individuals cannot be trusted as the greater good is at stake. Ideally such a society has a Platonic philosopher king at the helm much like Canada’s PE Trudeau back in the day.Or the Gov.of Singapore. America has Obama. so there is hope for its advancement to the league of civilized states.

  2. PapiT says:

    “That is why individuals cannot be trusted as the greater good is at stake. ” Requires subjugation of the masses to overcome. We’ve seen how well that works…the institution (by the Institution) of a moral code that worships the collective over the individual. Actually, individuals can be trusted, people cannot and even less, institutions.

    • Allan Seltzer MD says:

      That’s why we have this political philosophy called democratic socialism. It is hard to define because it’s on a middle ground between the poles of republican selfish individualism and the collective identity diffusion of communism. Ideally the elected leader should approximate a philosopher king. USA democrats and Canadian liberal candidates are more likely to approximate this ideal.

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