Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ownership Society v. Social Darwinism

"In Washington, they call this [personal accounts] the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it - Social Darwinism

Barack Obama

Apparently Barack Obama made a big splash by equating personal accounts with Social Darwinism. I have seen this references to this quote of late. The hint is that libertarians are such evil people that they not only want to see you starving on the street. They want to see you go EXTINCT!

Equating your opponents policies with widespread death and poverty is a very effective jab.

Personally, I've filed this stab equating Social Darwinism and Ownership Society as garbage discourse.

The people who are promoting the Ownership Society start with an entirely different question. They start by asking what is the best way to achieve social progress: It is better to tax the middle class into submission to hand people checks, or it is more effective to help the poor develop meaningful assets?

The proponents of the Ownership Society hold that the best route to social progress is to organize society so that people have ownership of meaningful assets. Those promoting the ownership society are essentially promoting an end to the status quo where there is a very small, very rich class that owns everything in favor of a broader distribution of ownership.

The opposite of an ownership society is one where the majority becomes wards of the state, and we become dependent on our politicians for our sustenance.

Nowhere in the ideals of the ownership society do you see people arguing that our society should be organized so that the majority of people die and go extinct. The ownership society is driven by ideas on the best path to progress.

The Ownership Society fits well within the thoughts of Adams, Locke, Jefferson (who's ideal society seemed to have everyone owning a farm) and other classical thinkers.

Classical thinkers tend put economic collapse, famines and widespread economic depravity as things to avoid.

Social Darwinism is a different beast. The term "Social Darwinism" orginated in the field of sociolgy, and became popular among economists who had more of a Marxist view of economics. Marx's material dialectics pretty much makes people helpless cogs in the meat grinder of history.

It is within the scope of material dialectics that you see the idea of Social Darwinism take its full bloom. It is within the tradition of Hegel and Marx that you see people arguing that mass starvation of one's enemies and the extinction of entire races as a good thing.

Not surprisingly, it is in left leaning societies that you see political leaders actually creating economic situations to starve out their enemies.

In the classical line of thinking, the question of personal accounts verses pay-as-you go is about whether or not we should try and acheive social progress by making people wards of the state or by helping them develop meaningful assets.

Claiming that Ownership Society = Social Darwinism is simply an example of a projecting Marx's views onto people who reject the Marxist model.

BTW, people who've studied evolution would know that evolution continues regardless of who is in power. We are not going to magically stop the fundamental structure of life by putting socialists into power.


Anonymous said...

It is like social darwinism, sadly your recourse adds no proof and makes you more of a bumbler who looks at life by the ear of a wanderer and lives with no facts.

Just was much as liberals seem to look like socialists. Conservatives look like social darwinists.
Not that they have the totally same Ideals, but are similar.

A Just society must maintain balance between these. Therefore, the ownership society is not fully right.

y-intercept said...

Nice little insult. My guess is that you are a Democrat.

The opinion piece included two links which showed the argument Obama made and the way that the Cato Institute says about the Ownership Society.

The opinion piece has two referenced facts. The first fact was that Obama equated the Ownership Society with social Darwinism. The second fact is that a primary advocate of the Ownership Society says something completely different about their ideals.

This appears to be s case of a politician projecting something onto his opponents.

As for the observation that Conservatives hear "liberal" and think "socialism" ... this is a the result of a thing called "capture."

This happened because there was a concerted effort among socialist to position socialism as a form of liberalism. There is a great deal of evidence that a group wishing to position socialism as liberalism infiltrated the classrooms and have hegemony in the press and universities. David Horowitz has documented this. His documentation coincides with a great deal of my personal experience.

One fact that supports this claim is the large number of liberals who took to calling themselves Libertarians in the last 40 years. There's a ton of documentation on this.

Another odd fact to support this claim is that a large number of conservatives, and people in the press for that matter, refer to the enactment of conservative ideals as "economic liberalization."

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