Orwell would be proud

Orwell coined so many newspeak words that it’s difficult to pick one that stands above the rest in terms of sheer greatness.  However, after my latest experience with the people at digg.com, I have to say that Orwell was borderline prophetic when he coined the word “bellyfeel”

“The word ‘bellyfeel’ means a blind, enthusiastic acceptance of an idea. The word likely comes from the idea that any good Oceanian should be able to internalize Party doctrine to the extent that it becomes a gut instinct – a feeling in the belly.”

Now, anybody familiar with my post “To those who say socialism doesn’t work”, knows that this post generated a fairly intense reaction from capitalists.  While I was surprised by the reaction I got from this post – because after all it’s an uncontestable fact that scientitic socialism has never been tried – I wouldn’t say that the responses I received from Michael, Paul Vincent and Big Guy from TB were Orwellian “bellyfeel” at all (in fact, with a few exceptions, the tone of the debate was more or less civil). 

However, nothing in my initial experience with that post could prepare me for the almost entirely emotional response I received when I recently posted this same article on digg.com.

Chronologically, these were all the comments posted on Digg.com (available here if you want to comment over there and/or vote for this post).  You tell me whether these people generally had substantive disagreements with my contention that socialism has never been tried or whether they merely “unbellyfelt” what I was saying:

by MF03 on 2/02/07 Block/Report this User

Capitalism is the only way. Read the news. Read History.

Free trade, free markets, and international investment are the intellectually anointed paths to propsperity. Communism and socialism are definitely out!

Right, the consensus is fragile, and much of humanity still lies in the grip of extreme poverty. But some societies have no tried it, and elsewhere other have achieved scant success only because people like YOU exist.

~

by MF03 on 2/02/07 Block/Report this User

Oh and if you OWN a website, you’re going against Marx’s principlies against PRIVATE PROPERTY.

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by darkbird on 2/02/07 Block/Report this User

history tells me that capitalism hasn’t been around for very long

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by pauliticscanada on 2/02/07

MF03 – you clearly have never read Marx otherwise you’d have realized that you’ve just made a complete fool out of yourself. I do lots of things that support capitalism – for instance whenever I buy groceries or food in order to live, I support capitalism. Whenever I pay rent for my apartment, I support capitalism. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be a Marxist. The fact that none of us can extradite ourselves individually from this system was one of the foundational principles of Marx’s writings. Ergo, Marx never said that to be a Marxist you couldn’t have any possessions.

Seriously, you really need to pick up a book and read something before you plan to criticize it. You are so uninformed you’re embarrassing yourself.

PS. A blog doesn’t qualify as capital you idiot.

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by dopplerdog on 2/02/07 Block/Report this User

Capitalism is the only way for now, but need not be the only way for ever. Capitalism as we know it is a result of the industrial revolution sweeping away peasant agriculture – for most of its history, humanity has lived without capitalism. It’s the height of arrogance to assume that our current system is the only way possible for all time.

Oh, and this guy owning a website does not go against Marx’s principles any more than being a taxpayer goes against the principle of pacifism (a pacifist’s taxes partially go into funding weapons). It’s simply a result of having to function in a capitalist society (it says nothing about individual ideals).

And before you jump to conclusions, think about this: I’m not necessarily an anti-capitalist, but I tend to want to correct faulty reasoning.

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by dshPls 23 hours ago Block/Report this User

Start being a real communist and give me a check for 60% of you income, thanks!

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by pauliticscanada 13 hours ago

Show me the section in any of Marx’s works that says that it’s the duty of every Communist to give 60% of their income to people who flaunt ignorance as if it’s something to be proud of – and then I’ll consider it.

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by autodrv 13 hours ago Block/Report this User

The writer actually has a valid point. Communism in it’s purest form is an attractive ideal, it has just never been implemented correctly. According to Marx, capitalism needs to go through an extended period where enough wealth is generated to lead to socialism, and eventually communism. However, I’m certainly not a Marxist or Communist.

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by avaynberg 12 hours ago Block/Report this User

Capitalism has existed for as long as property existed. Capitalism is the natural outgrowth of the concept of property. “I will give you X of this, if you give me Y of that” is already capitalist. There are very few societies in the past that did not use capitalism: slave societies where property belonged to their owners, and various small tribes that had no concept of ownership. What did not exist before is economic theory of capitalism, or the monetary policy. But we are still debating what the proper way of handling pieces of paper that are worth more than their own worth.

As for true socialism or true communism – they never worked, nor could they possibly work NOW on a large scale for everything. The freeloafer problem is too great of a burden. This is why socialist/communist societies still have a concept of money and trade, and even merit-based pay. Socialism can work once basic human needs can be provided for a tiny cost to the society. And even then I am not sure. The temptation to freeload is too great.

So what you have right now is a mix. There are no true large socialist societies, and there are no true large capitalist societies. No one has to pay to breathe air, and most people have things that they own and not what the society owns.

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by pauliticscanada 12 hours ago

avaynberg – Are you serious? Did you actually write “Capitalism has existed for as long as property existed”? Capitalism is relatively recent and private property has existed for not hundreds but THOUSANDS of years before the advent of capitalism.

As for your statement that “As for true socialism or true communism – they never worked, nor could they possibly work NOW on a large scale for everything.” I’d urge you to actually read my post. true socialism and true communism have never been tried thus it is factually incorrect to state that they’ve never worked.

Lastly, as for your statement that “The freeloafer problem is too great of a burden.” I don’t know if you’re familiar with Marxism, but the freeloafer problem isn’t a problem in Marxism at all. As was noted by Marx and Engels explicitly in section 2 of the Communist Manifesto, under socialism if you’re capable of working and you don’t, you starve. So socialism actually would have less of a problem with this can capitalism currently does.

Once again, I would advise you, just like I advised MF03, to actually read the post and/or read a book or two before you plan on criticizing it as I address all of these points in the post and in the subsequent discussion.

Seriously guys, there are intelligent arguments that can be made against socialism, but you really need to read the material before you can do such.

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by dshPls 10 hours ago Block/Report this User

“you should all realize that we cannot know that socialism doesn’t work since it’s never been tried in the industrialized world. “

Ok, lets try it in America, after the blooming of capitalism JUST TO SEE HOW GOOD IT WORKS….

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by pauliticscanada 10 hours ago

dshPls – “Ok, lets try it in America, after the blooming of capitalism JUST TO SEE HOW GOOD IT WORKS….” I agree fully. Unfortunately that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

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by seejanemom 4 hours ago Block/Report this User

The author , “paul”, has a BLOGBURST BADGE proudly displayed on his blog.

I too, am a BLOGBURST BLOGGER.

BLOGBURST is a FOR PROFIT syndication service.

PROFIT. Capital “P”.

Mr. Paul evidently hopes, at some point, to reap some PROFIT FROM HIS BLOG from the fee structure of BLOGBURST.

This is evidence enough FOR ANY INTELLECTUALLY HONEST READER to verify the dis-ingenuousness of the article’s author.

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by pauliticscanada 31 minutes ago

seejanemom – Please refer to my comment to MF03 wherein I note:

“you clearly have never read Marx otherwise you’d have realized that you’ve just made a complete fool out of yourself. I do lots of things that support capitalism – for instance whenever I buy groceries or food in order to live, I support capitalism. Whenever I pay rent for my apartment, I support capitalism. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be a Marxist.”

If I couldn’t ever earn money (although I’m not making money with blogburst as they want me to have a full feed rather than a partial feed and I’m not inclined to do so), then I would never be able to afford food and shelter (both of which I’m partial to). Where on earth have you gotten the impression that Marxists aren’t allowed to have food and shelter or earn money?

~~

So what do you think?  My only experiences presenting relatively simple statements about socialism have all been met with a violent, highly emotional response by capitalists.  Has capitalism really done a good job of intellectually justifying its existence and its virtues if this is how its proponents react when confronted with contesting viewpoints?  Or, rather, has capitalism maintained its dominant position on earth more because its proponents generally seem more willing to “bellyfeel” it’s superiority?

In my eyes, you know a system has succeeded when it doesn’t even need to justify its existence to its proponents, they will emotionally unbellyfeel any crazy talk which contradicts the governing ideology.

3 Responses to “Orwell would be proud”


  1. 1 April Reign 4 February, 2007 at 7:07 am

    Your first commenter who says capitalism is the only way, is obviously not a Sam Roberts fan.

    I Went out on the street today
    The Canadian Dream was as far away as its ever been
    As its ever been

    S.O.C.I.A.L.I.S.M. is here to stay
    S.O.C.I.A.L.I.S.M. is the only way

    Frozen land, frozen minds
    Frozen hands and frozen time

    Cause everything moves real slow when its forty below
    Everything moves real slow when its forty below
    Yeah, everything moves real slow when its forty below
    When its forty below

    S.O.C.I.A.L.I.S.M. is here to stay
    S.O.C.I.A.L.I.S.M. is the only way

  2. 2 Dan 4 February, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    MF03, if you had read history in, say, 100CE, it would tell you that slave societies are the only way. In 1300CE, it would have said feudal societies were the only way.

    I read history, if anything, it teaches that any consensus on the way things are – or ought to be – is fragile. There is a line in the film Fight Club about how, on a long enough time line, everyone’s survival rate drops to zero, the same might be said for any social/political/economic system. That is what history has taught me.

  3. 3 Red Jenny 6 February, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I’m surprised you didn’t get MORE bellyfeeling comments. Of course, “Communism” as a hysteria-causing mystery fear has been mostly supplanted with “Terrorism” (the new “Communism”). “Communism” is so, like, 1950. We already won that war, didn’t you hear?

    ;)


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