Socialism vs Libertarianism Debate


I agree with Paul Ryan when he says that Americans do deserve a clear choice. I'd go further and say we should be forced to choose.

Do we want more capitalism or more socialism? I know that framing it that starkly puts the socialist side at a great disadvantage just in terms of the public perception of the terminology. Still, I maintain, that once the public sees, and perhaps experiences, the harsh capitalism that Ryan proposes -- they will embrace the other path, call it socialism if you want.


What you consider socialism to be? What does that mean in practical terms to us?

And then you tell me why you can't set up your own social security and medicare, and let me opt out? Same with Obamacare. You think it's such a great idea, you and like-minded people band together and pool your resources to pay for it.

That's your choice. But why deprive me of my choice to not participate?


There are several strains of socialism. I adhere to "Social Democracy" and you can read the definition at Social Democracy. By the way, I used to be a libertarian....


So looking at the Wikipedia article, it appears you believe in:

  1. Nationalization of large businesses. (How large? Would you pay market rates or confiscate them? Where would the money come from to nationalize Apple, as an example?
  2. Universal health care and other social programs. (Obama believes in this, as do many democrats).
  3. The partial redistribution of resources through progressive taxation and the welfare state. (What is the highest marginal tax rate you think ought to be in effect? And what is the lowest amount of money that you believe the least-well-off in society should have? $5K/yr? $10K? $20K?)

So if I can paraphrase the distinction between socialist and social democrat, it's that the latter recognizes capitalism is necessary to produce wealth?

Oh, and if you were once libertarian, what happened? How does one go from being libertarian, believing in less government, to social democrat, believing in more?


Tell me your definition of "capitalism" and "Libertarianism," and I'll explain why I quit believing in Libertarianism.


I think that all libertarians are capitalist, but not all capitalists are libertarian. Capitalism is an economic theory of letting the market work. Libertarianism is a political philosophy of small government.

In fact, capitalism also includes varieties of statism, if you check out wikipedia (I'm not one of them, however).

My own personal thought is that we should have no social programs of any sort at the federal level - they're a state function, if at all.

And then, only for education up to about 12th grade, which I think is the bare minimum for capitalism to sustain itself. Beyond that, let the people who want the education pay for it.

No government health care for anyone, regardless of circumstances. No social security, no welfare, no unemployment benefits, etc. And the bare minimum of regulations necessary for the market to survive or where there is a market failure (note I said "survive" - that excludes regulations intended on "improving" the market).

Examples would be anti-monopoly laws, disclosure laws (e.g. I don't care if someone charges 345% interest, as long as it's disclosed).

And environmental laws is probably the largest area I can think of where the market has no solution. Simply put, there is no economic incentive to not pollute (although there may be one to not get caught polluting).

Bottom line is for too long in this country we have had two wolves and a sheep choosing what to eat for dinner. And the Wolves (parasites) have eaten up the Wolves (job creators, entrepreneurs, etc). We are getting killed by the tyranny of the majority that wants something for nothing given to them by the government.


One word CHAOS.


You're right. But I'd rather chaos than servitude. More freedom is better than more government.


Your "tyranny of the majority" pretty much tells me everything I need to know about your philosophy. You want stuff that you like, without being willing to accept the things you don't like as part of the package.

Sorta like "having your cake and eating it too."

I walked away from Libertarianism because I recognized that at best Libertarians in general simply want to keep their money, pay no taxes, but still have all the things that makes this country great. At worse, they were just a bunch of Ron Paul clones; racist and had a complete lack of empathy for those people who aren't lucky enough in life to become wealthy.

At least you can give a coherent explanation of where you are. We need to have this conversation as a nation.


Your vision is less freedom and more government control. Why can't you have your social security, but give me the freedom to opt out?

Certain governmental functions are necessary for society to function - courts, police, military, etc. They are core functions of government. And it's potentially feasible to opt out of roads, through tolls, and taxes only on those who travel.

But what need is there for health, or social security, to cover people who don't want to be covered? If I opt out, you can still participate. And so can anyone else who wants to. Why make participation a mandatory requirement to live in America?

It's this need to control others that I don't understand. It's not about the taxes (I'm hardly in the super-rich category), but about freedom from government.

That's why I'm fascinated that an adult, whose political views were presumably already formed by life's experiences, does a 180 and goes from believing in minimal government to wanting government to run everything.


I heartily congratulate you for really coming clean with some specifics. I really love and appreciate that and it represents a refreshingly honest conservative approach. What I really despise are conservatives who simply recite mantras about "lower taxes, cut spending, smaller government" but don't even begin to say what that means in reality.

Not only that, but hypocritically the specifics they do talk about all involve increases in government spending. For instance, all the republican contenders for president (other than another Republican I like -- Ron Paul) otherwise, they all incredibly (stupidly) want to increase defense spending significantly more than Obama plans to increase it. What filthy hypocrites they are. And, how stupid do they really think Americans are? Pretty stupid and they may be right about that.

If your vision were to become reality -- it would be a very bad thing for all, but more bad for the wealthy since they have far more to lose. How stupid they were to insist that Grover Norquist not allow the pawns to compromise even a nickle on the bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

That selfish and greedy decision was the beginning of the downfall of the conservative movement. We'll all look back on that as the height of stubborness and greed. They could have kept their billions and looked magnamenous by agreeing to pay a few pennies more....

Ah well, I digress..

Anyway, back to your vision -- so college will be only for the wealthy. And, we will allow people to bleed to death on the sidewalks -- unless a wealthy person happens by who is willing and able to take care of them.

Not to mention the hit on the economy of no gov't spending on medical care. wow, talk about radical. oh yea, that would sure fix the deficit. i don't think people realize that the government now already pays for half of the medical care in this country. when you hear that medical costs in the US increased by 1 trillion last year -- well 500 bn of that was gov't spending. that's INCREASE, that's not total on medical. so, bravo to you for directly confronting this most serious problem.

And, I think the American people should decide -- no health care for half of us, or health care for all -- albeit rationed. because THAT my friends is the choice. The choice is NOT to continue as we are, for everyone to get everything --- the CHOICE is Carl's way -- no health care for half of us -- OR universal coverage for all -- but certainly a lower level of care than we have become accustomed to.


I want the REpublcian candidates to be honest about what it is you actually will have to do to make your plan work.

Otherwise, we can't have an honest debate. As it stands now, Republicans say they are for smaller government and cutting the deficit, yet they favor growing all the problems that got us here:

  • defense spending,
  • medical spending, and
  • tax outlays for the wealthy.

For the most part, republicans want all the goodies but don't want to pay for them.

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