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JJJJ
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I don't really know which section this is suited the best, so I decided to add it here.

I have been a pretty avid reader of this board, and generally like the philosophical discussions, but one thing has bothered me ever since i joined. Many posters here make astounding leaps and exaggerations when discussing politics, and especially left-wing politics in the west. I mean, maybe I dont understand sarcasm that well, but there seem to be a lot of posters that genuinly think that the US will become a dictatorship or a fullblown communist state with Obama in charge. It really reminds me of when leftists call everyone fascists, whether they are free market capitalists, god loving christian conservatives or actual fascists.

Calling Obama a socialist is borderline ok, if we use socialist to describe the large "umbrella" that includes all leftist ideologies, but actually thinking that the US is on the road to dictatorship or communism, is an insult to actual victims of dictatorships and communism.

Now dont get me wrong, im not like that one poster who for some reason loves Obama. I actually think Obama is going to be the worst president in US history, as he will lead the US towards european style welfare-statism, but that is as far as it will go. His dream is clearly that the US will be like Sweden, not that the US will be like the Soviet Union, and to make that leap is really counterproductive if you really want to oppose Obama. Even though both are vicious, there is a huge difference between communism and these mixed welfare states. There is 0% danger that Sweden, Finland or other welfare states will suddenly become dicatorships or communist states. Finland and Sweden are horrible enough on their own, that you dont need to(and shouldn't) try to equate dicatorships with welfare states. There are enough arguments to oppose the welfare states, and the arguments used should be related to reality, and not some perceived danger of the countries slipping into dictatorship.

So let's call Obama what he is, let's call Sweden what it is, and not make fools of ourselves by making idiotic exaggerations. Obama is horrible as it is, and let's just focus on what he actually does, instead of creating straw-men. Obama is an altruist, a socialist/social democrat, a populist, a pragmatist and a collectivist, so lets just focus on these flaws without making up our own.

Edited by JJJJ
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His dream is clearly that the US will be like Sweden, not that the US will be like the Soviet Union, and to make that leap is really counterproductive if you really want to oppose Obama. Even though both are vicious, there is a huge difference between communism and these mixed welfare states. There is 0% danger that Sweden, Finland or other welfare states will suddenly become dicatorships or communist states.

Finland and Sweden are tiny countries in the middle of a free trade continent. They have incredibly flexible labour laws, an extremely educated workforce and regulations designed to attract high risk/high reward European investment. The only reason why their level of taxation is sustainable is because of those specific conditions (especially the labour laws).

If the US attempts to become Sweden, we will crash and burn, and we are in a real danger of becoming a fascist state, as whoever comes after Obama expands the government to try and prevent everyone productive from leaving (to prevent the evil capitalists from "outsourcing").

So let's stop making fools of ourselves by making idiotic comparisons and assumptions on what Obama's dream is. And above all else, let's stop calling people idiots based on those idiotic assumptions.

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Finland and Sweden are tiny countries in the middle of a free trade continent. They have incredibly flexible labour laws, an extremely educated workforce and regulations designed to attract high risk/high reward European investment. The only reason why their level of taxation is sustainable is because of those specific conditions (especially the labour laws).

If the US attempts to become Sweden, we will crash and burn, and we are in a real danger of becoming a fascist state, as whoever comes after Obama expands the government to try and prevent everyone productive from leaving (to prevent the evil capitalists from "outsourcing").

So let's stop making fools of ourselves by making idiotic comparisons and assumptions on what Obama's dream is. And above all else, let's stop calling people idiots based on those idiotic assumptions.

While I can't talk about Finland, I can as a swedish citizen tell you that it is NOT true that our labor laws are "flexible". That's UTTERLY FALSE. The truth is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE. Besides, the high taxes does NOT work for us at all. We are poorer than the US. We have a much higher unemployment. It's very hard to get a job, much, much harder than in the US. We have relative low taxes on profits, savings and wealth, but very high taxes on consumption and income. Only recently the government have cut the income tax and it have helped our economy. Sweden is NOT a "socialist" country, it's a MIXED economy, just like the US or Canada or UK.

Read more about Sweden here:

http://www.heritage.org/index/pdf/2007/ind...hapter2_eng.pdf

http://truckandbarter.com/mt/archives/2005...igh_is_tot.html

http://mises.org/story/2259

http://georgereisman.com/blog/2008/08/anti...-should-be.html

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But I believe the previous two posters might actually be in violent agreement, at least on some things.

If Sweden had the same crushing tax rates but on profits, savings and wealth instead of consumption and income, it would be even worse off. It's a miracle that Sweden isn't mired in grinding poverty. To draw an analogy, Sweden is mostly leaving the seed grain alone, and taxing the rest of the harvest.

We tend, proportionately, to tax profits, savings and wealth more than Sweden does--we are consuming more of our seed grain--and we are raising our taxes. Worse. we are making the imbalance worse in order to "spread the wealth", consuming even more of our seed corn. If we ever reach Swedish tax rates under those circumstances, we will be in much worse shape.

I cannot speak to labor laws because I don't know the specifics about Sweden, but even there I wouldn't be surprised if the regulations in Sweden were different in such a way that the regs were less harmful than ours. (Still quite objectionable on moral grounds, mind you!) For an example of what I mean by that, if some country had double the minimum wage we do, but didn't have all of the other stupid regulations, many of them actually consequences of our tax code, they might actually be better off than we are.

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While I can't talk about Finland, I can as a swedish citizen tell you that it is NOT true that our labor laws are "flexible". That's UTTERLY FALSE. The truth is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE.

Never mind then. (as far as calling Sweden's labor rules relaxed) I'm only familiar with Denmark's labour rules, and I mistakenly assumed that other Scandinavian countries have the same approach. Steve, above, is obiously far better informed on this, and he made some great points.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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I have been a pretty avid reader of this board, and generally like the philosophical discussions, but one thing has bothered me ever since i joined. Many posters here make astounding leaps and exaggerations when discussing politics, and especially left-wing politics in the west. I mean, maybe I dont understand sarcasm that well, but there seem to be a lot of posters that genuinly think that the US will become a dictatorship or a fullblown communist state with Obama in charge.

I don't think most people on this board believe that Obama will become a full blown dictator, however most of us are aware of the power of philosophy and the trends are certainly not positive. Could a dictatorship happen here? Sure it could under the right circumstances. After all, it happened in Germany, the most sophisticated and culturally advanced country in Europe at the time.

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It is not exaggeration to note the final consequences of a given trend, and with economies it tends to run along getting marginally worse for a long time then crash spectacularly and finally as the feedback loop suddenly ties into itself. (It's like a bunch of minor traffic jams suddenly achieving Gridlock.) Obama has done several things that aren't just proceeding along the trend but are hurrying that crash along very quickly, as evidenced by estimates of incredibly horrific inflation in the next 5 years if his "stimulus" gets put into effect.

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It is not exaggeration to note the final consequences of a given trend, and with economies it tends to run along getting marginally worse for a long time then crash spectacularly and finally as the feedback loop suddenly ties into itself. (It's like a bunch of minor traffic jams suddenly achieving Gridlock.) Obama has done several things that aren't just proceeding along the trend but are hurrying that crash along very quickly, as evidenced by estimates of incredibly horrific inflation in the next 5 years if his "stimulus" gets put into effect.

Yes, the inevitable consequense of socialist policies is a socialist state. But Obama, just like the welfare statists over here(Finland), are not consistantly(not even close) socialists. Mixed policies and mixed ideas, leads to a mixed economy, and Obama is not a principled socialist, and more of a "have-it-both-ways" welfare statist. I cant speak for Obama, but the "middle way" welfare statists over here are not communists.

The real danger in Obama, is not that he will take the US towards communism, but that he will push the US to become a european mess of an unprincipled "self-hating" welfare state.

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The real danger in Obama, is not that he will take the US towards communism, but that he will push the US to become a european mess of an unprincipled "self-hating" welfare state.

And there you have your answer.

Something that should be considered when judging exaggeration is the different national/cultural perceptions of the posters.

The political scale used in each country is slightly different. Now I can't speak to broader European politics so much but as a resident in Germany for 4 years I can say that it seemed that their politics balanced out so that what a German called a centrist party would have comfortably sat in the middle left in Canada, and that middle left would be considered far left to a great deal of Americans.

Today our "big tent" centrist Liberal party would gladly sing Kumbaya with Obama someone who is considered the farthest left President since Roosevelt (perhaps ever) and our leftmost party? Well don't even get me started on where they fit in,.

But from this picture you can take a wild guess where I think they do.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_14RBYS4REKs/R0Bi...00-h/Slide1.JPG

All this to say that I believe to the average American on this board the "european mess of an unprincipled "self-hating" welfare state" is, for all intents and purposes socialism, not communism mind you, but it's little self deprecating, sacrificing, altruistic retard of a half brother.

And I for one am glad they do. Every mineshaft needs a canary.

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Obama is middle of the road in rhetoric only, or more precisely, he is all over the road rhetorically. If you look into his past education, actions and associations, prior to his emergence on the political scene, you see a man who actively sought out and became steeped in Marxist ideology and Black Liberation Theology.

I don't know how one can minimize the socialist streak of a man who continually asserts that this nation was founded on the principle that "I am my brother's keeper." That claim, taken down to its concrete implications, leads one to nothing short of oppressive socialism. The best you can say about Obama is that his rhetoric is mere abstraction, disconnected from reality, and that he doesn't understand what the concept "keeper" entails. The worst is that he does. In neither case can one make the claim that he is an ideological moderate (unless, in the former case, by "moderate," you mean "void").

"It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes this country work."

-Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention, July 27, 2004

"We've been called in churches and mosques, synagogues and Sunday schools ... to be our brother's keeper; to be our sister's keeper."

-Remarks on Taking Back America, June 14, 2006

"We believe that we each have a stake in one another - that I am my brother's keeper; that I am my sister's keeper."

-Take Back America 2007, June 19, 2007

"I'm taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother's keeper; we are our sister's keeper..."

-The Great Need of the Hour, January 20, 2008

"Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper."

-A More Perfect Union, March 18, 2008

"I consider to be a core value of Christianity, but also a core value of all great religions, ... that I am my brother's keeper and I am my sister's keeper..."

-Democratic Candidate Debate, April 13, 2008

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Yes, the inevitable consequense of socialist policies is a socialist state. But Obama, just like the welfare statists over here(Finland), are not consistantly(not even close) socialists. Mixed policies and mixed ideas, leads to a mixed economy, and Obama is not a principled socialist, and more of a "have-it-both-ways" welfare statist. I cant speak for Obama, but the "middle way" welfare statists over here are not communists.

The real danger in Obama, is not that he will take the US towards communism, but that he will push the US to become a european mess of an unprincipled "self-hating" welfare state.

In truth, Obama is following fascist policies. He's taking over companies. I mean, that's what is happening. America used to be a sweet country with a great deal of freedom, where you could easily start up a business. That is all being lost and lost in a big way. Today red tape and taxes dominate. The essence of America is being lost. And today we don't have any check against this direction, as we did in the past. In the 1960s politicians like Reagan stood in the way of state take over. Today there are no such politicians on the republican side. Most of them are me too republicans.

I think it's also true that Europe always had America there to provide goods and services and military. They had that crutch. America has no America, so to speak. If America goes down, things will be much worse for the world.

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Europe does pretty well with its own military, we're more the default military supply depot for the U.N., which ought to be abolished. Oh, and during the Cold War we sort of helped keep the Soviets semi at-bay with the Mutually Assured Destruction thing. But since they were a threat largely because we were propping them up with supplies, I'm not sure if that really qualifies as "help".

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I think that on this current path, we are heading something for very bad. However, I think the path will be inevitably averted.

I do think some posters are being alarmist, but their alarms aren't totally unwarranted given the nature of Obama and the powers that be now, and the powers that were for 8 years prior.

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Europe does pretty well with its own military, we're more the default military supply depot for the U.N., which ought to be abolished.

They didn't do well in WWII and they weren't the equal of the Soviets. The American military was the bulwark against them.

Oh, and during the Cold War we sort of helped keep the Soviets semi at-bay with the Mutually Assured Destruction thing.

It was much more than war heads. It was air craft carriers, fighter jets, tanks, etc. that we had.

But since they were a threat largely because we were propping them up with supplies, I'm not sure if that really qualifies as "help".

True, but you're talking about Europe, who gave food as well.

But, my point was much more than just about the military support. The biggest exporter of pharmaceuticals is America. Most drug innovations are done here, because we've been freer to do such innovating (despite the fact we aren't all that free in the medical field). This benefits semi-socialist countries enormously, because they can rely on us for new drugs. By the same token, they could purchase numerous other goods America produces, thus benefiting from them.

If America goes, we'll have no such sources. There will not be a behemoth free country churning out awesome goods and services. This is the point.

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America has no America, so to speak. If America goes down, things will be much worse for the world.

This is true, and something i've often said to my anti-american* friends. They will(should) miss it when its gone. Even though they will probably blame capitalism for it as well.....

* anti-american in the ignorant "doesn't everyone in america eat burgers for lunch, live in trailers and beat up minorities" sense, not in the ideological "individualism is wrong, let's all sacrifice" sense

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Now dont get me wrong, im not like that one poster who for some reason loves Obama. I actually think Obama is going to be the worst president in US history, as he will lead the US towards european style welfare-statism, but that is as far as it will go.

Maybe that's as far as he will go, maybe not.

Consider such things as the fairness doctrine. That's not one of Obama's pet projects, but it has a huge chance of passing on his watch. Controlling speech like that is a dictatorial move, even if done on behalf of one party rather than one man.

Further, the more power government has, the more power it can get. Right now maybe Obama and his party wold be content with a European-style welfare state and mixed economy. But the seeds for a dictatorial government would be there anyway. And consider the level of meddling in the economy is increasing, even to the point where the Democrats, and Obama, think they should determine salaries paid by private companies, not to mention making personnel decisions.

Not that the GOP is any better. There was that law Congress passsed applying to exactly one person in the Terry Schiavo case, but mostly insufficient opposition to Obama's moves on the economy today. The Republicans ought to have fillibustered the president's budget, instead they let it pass.

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They didn't do well in WWII and they weren't the equal of the Soviets. The American military was the bulwark against them.

Um, I seem to remember the Germans kicking some ass (even in Russia), and England holding out long before America got involved. Keep in mind that parts of Europe were on BOTH sides in that war.

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England was being supplied by the US before our involvement in the war. The Russian winter, combined with the tenacity of the Soviets, ground the Eastern offensive to a halt. The war would not have been won without our involvement.

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Um, I seem to remember the Germans kicking some ass (even in Russia), and England holding out long before America got involved. Keep in mind that parts of Europe were on BOTH sides in that war.

As Maximus said, the US supplied GB and the USSR through lend/lease since shortly after the outbreak of the war.

Pretty much the countries in Western Europe really dind't want another war. after the devastation of WWI I can't really blame them. But faced with the option of fighting a small war (to prevent Germany from re-arming), or hoping Germany really dind't want to fight another war, they went for the latter. This included apeasing Hitler by ceding other nations' territories to Germany (I suppose it's easy to sacrifice Czecoslovakia when you're Frnace or the UK). But they didn't even arm themselves or update their defenses.

The USSR was better off, because Stalin had expansionist dreams of his own. That's why he pacted with Hitler to split Poland, and why he attacked Finland later. Even so, he was caught flat-footed when Germany invaded.

France folded in short order and was evenly split, more or less, between resistance and collaboration. central Europe was more collaborationist still. The remainder of Europe either folded or stayed neutral (notably Portugal stayed neutral, which was good in the long run).

Only Great Britain resisted in the West. She did 3 things that kept the Nazis from achieving strategic victory:

1) Great Britain effectively resisted invasion. In this she leaned heavily on the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. While the famed Spitfire may ahve been the best fighter of the time (until the P-51 Mustang and the Meteor), the bulk of the fighting was carried out by the wood and fabric Hurricane. By winning the Battle of Britain, the UK stayed in the fight and hurt Germany badly

2) The UK also managed to keep the sea lanes open. This included the fighting in North Africa, which may have been the shining hour of the Brittish Army, in order to keep the Suez Canal open. But also heavy action in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean. it helped that Germany never had a really good blue water navy aside rfom submarines.

3) By intervening with Hitler's rescue of Mussolini's troops in Greece, Great Britain delayed Hitler from invading the USSR until early summer. This meant the Wermacht dind't reach the Soviet heartland until late fall. The consequences of that are known as the Siege of Leningrad, or the biggest disaster ever to befall a modern army. It helped the Hitler was a stubborn ignoramus when it came to military tactics.

The Soviets deserve the credit for fighting the Germans not wisely but well. They had decent equipment, superb winter gear (none better) and the best tank of its time (the T-34). But they lacked good tactical sense. Pretty much they won on tenacity, weather and superior numbers (a common Russian tactic is to try to drown any atatcker with dead Russian soldiers; this tradition survived the advent of the USSR).

But if Germany had invaded the USSR on shcedule it might have won in spite of everuthing the Soviets did or could do. either way, bith benefited a great deal from US supplies.

Once America entered the war in 1942 it still took a long time to dislodge the Nazis from Europe. Of course the US had to fight in Asia as well (so did Great Britain, but to a lesser extent; still they kept Japan from moving Westward towards India). But the fact is America was as unprepared to meet the onslaught as her European allies had been. While the B-17 Flying Fortress was a good enough high altitude heavy bomber, it lacked an effective fighter escort until the Mustang came along. By then, I think, the B-17 was making way for the B-29 Super Fortress. And the US lagged behind on tanks, too, right to the end of the war. The Sherman tank was nicknamed the Ronson, after a cigarrete lighter that claimed to light-up on the first try.

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Why exaggerate? It may be "over-the-top" to paint Obama specifically as a Hitler or Stalin, but then, that didn't stop the left from doing so with George W. and his cronies. (Ever see the video for Incubus's "Megalomaniac?" which paints him as Hitler? Or Rage Against the Machine with their EVIL EMPIRE?).

But if Obama is not the one, their is still a danger there that is NOT an exaggeration. If you look at the situation in Germany before Hitler, you had socialists, Communists, progressive Democrat types, etc. I see America as in the same position; the "progressives" promised "peaceful change" like the "Social Democrats" we have now, who claim to disavow violence. But when their methods failed, or didn't go far enough, the people wanted something more. Hence, the fear is that Obama is going to fail SO bad, that the people HERE will start to clamor for more "drastic" measures.

Exaggeration, you say? What's that, "It Can't Happen Here?"

The parallels are ominous.

I don't really know which section this is suited the best, so I decided to add it here.

I have been a pretty avid reader of this board, and generally like the philosophical discussions, but one thing has bothered me ever since i joined. Many posters here make astounding leaps and exaggerations when discussing politics, and especially left-wing politics in the west. I mean, maybe I dont understand sarcasm that well, but there seem to be a lot of posters that genuinly think that the US will become a dictatorship or a fullblown communist state with Obama in charge. It really reminds me of when leftists call everyone fascists, whether they are free market capitalists, god loving christian conservatives or actual fascists.

Calling Obama a socialist is borderline ok, if we use socialist to describe the large "umbrella" that includes all leftist ideologies, but actually thinking that the US is on the road to dictatorship or communism, is an insult to actual victims of dictatorships and communism.

Now dont get me wrong, im not like that one poster who for some reason loves Obama. I actually think Obama is going to be the worst president in US history, as he will lead the US towards european style welfare-statism, but that is as far as it will go. His dream is clearly that the US will be like Sweden, not that the US will be like the Soviet Union, and to make that leap is really counterproductive if you really want to oppose Obama. Even though both are vicious, there is a huge difference between communism and these mixed welfare states. There is 0% danger that Sweden, Finland or other welfare states will suddenly become dicatorships or communist states. Finland and Sweden are horrible enough on their own, that you dont need to(and shouldn't) try to equate dicatorships with welfare states. There are enough arguments to oppose the welfare states, and the arguments used should be related to reality, and not some perceived danger of the countries slipping into dictatorship.

So let's call Obama what he is, let's call Sweden what it is, and not make fools of ourselves by making idiotic exaggerations. Obama is horrible as it is, and let's just focus on what he actually does, instead of creating straw-men. Obama is an altruist, a socialist/social democrat, a populist, a pragmatist and a collectivist, so lets just focus on these flaws without making up our own.

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If you look at the situation in Germany before Hitler, you had socialists, Communists, progressive Democrat types, etc. I see America as in the same position; the "progressives" promised "peaceful change" like the "Social Democrats" we have now, who claim to disavow violence. But when their methods failed, or didn't go far enough, the people wanted something more. Hence, the fear is that Obama is going to fail SO bad, that the people HERE will start to clamor for more "drastic" measures.

Exaggeration, you say? What's that, "It Can't Happen Here?"

The parallels are ominous.

The thing is that the US, and the welfare states here in Europe dont have communists, fascists, nationalists nor even socialists in the traditional sense that are at the center or even at the fringes of popular opinion that are waiting to take over once the current administrations changes. It is absurd to make this connection between pre-nazi Germany and the US/Europe. The old collectivism is very different from the modern, "progressive", collectivism. Also the economic times are very different. When poverty nowadays is "having to rent an apartment and take the bus", it used to be "having to live on the streets and beg", so the poor wont get behind extremism like they used to.

But the main thing is, that the people we call collectivists and socialists nowadays, are not the people that used to take over the streets, start revolutions and advocate dictatorships back in the day. And there is no mainstream support for any sort of nazi, fascist or communist ideas, and there are no movements that are waiting in the shadows to take over.

The real threat caused by the unprincipled ideas that people hold, is not that domestic communists will take over, but that the muslim fundamentalists will. America has been pretty safe from this, but at this rate Europe will not stay "free" for many decades. The lack of principles and subjectivism that are widespread leads to people with strong principles taking over, but those people will not be the communists or the fascists(because there really arent any), but the muslim fundamentalists.

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It is absurd to make this connection between pre-nazi Germany and the US/Europe. The old collectivism is very different from the modern, "progressive", collectivism.

That statement is easy enough to back up, if true. Name the difference, philosophically, between "old" and "new" collectivism.

..so the poor wont get behind extremism like they used to.

What's wrong with extremism? I consider myself a political extremist.

The real threat caused by the unprincipled ideas that people hold, is not that domestic communists will take over, but that the muslim fundamentalists will. America has been pretty safe from this, but at this rate Europe will not stay "free" for many decades. The lack of principles and subjectivism that are widespread leads to people with strong principles taking over, but those people will not be the communists or the fascists(because there really arent any), but the muslim fundamentalists.

By what means would these muslim fundamentalists take over a Continent that is 90-99% non-muslim, depending on the country?

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That statement is easy enough to back up, if true. Name the difference, philosophically, between "old" and "new" collectivism.

old collectivism = the individual is unimportant. The nation/class/race/religion is mans highest cause. A much more consistant collectivism, where the collectivist both practice and preach their collectivism in a higher degree. Examples: nazis, communists, fascists

new collectivism = pretty much subjectivism. The individual isnt per se unimportant, and the nation/class etc. isnt mans only cause. Instead its just "something in between", murky, grey, unprincipled and most importantly contradictory. A mix between individualism in some things, and collectivism in others. Examples: enviromentalists, social democrats, multiculturalists.

What's wrong with extremism? I consider myself a political extremist.

Nothing, if you are "extreme" about something good. But its better to be a mix of good and bad(like todays collectivists), than to be extremely bad(like the collectivists of old).

By what means would these muslim fundamentalists take over a Continent that is 90-99% non-muslim, depending on the country?

By making the continent more than 90-99% muslim, and by the good people turning a blind eye to them in the name of "tolerance". There are already some areas in Paris and in Swedish cities like Malmö, that are de facto under similar rule as muslim tyrannies in the middle east. Sure, they are officially french/swedish, but considering that the police doesnt dare to venture to those areas, they are more or less like small muslim "havens" within the borders of Sweden and France.

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