Re: How Much Profit is Enough?
Posted: Jul 7, 2003 10:07 AM
>> How come that social ~democracy~ is highly totalitarian?
>> If democracy is totalitarian and absolutism (e.g.
>> monarchy, dictatorship) is, by definition,
>> totalitarian, what isn't?
> A state whose powers are limited or circumscribed.
> What makes a state totalitarian is how much it interferes
> in society. It has nothing to do with who did or didn't
> vote for it. A majority with unlimited powers is just as
> tyrannical as a monarchy with unlimited powers. Social
> democracy is totalitarian because it involves high levels
> of government interference.
I was trying to assess why the following discussion occurred:
>>> Mr Holden's implicit alternative is a totalitarian
>>>state. The ~state~ will seize excessive profits, the
>>>~state~ will ban advestising .... the ~state~ will
>>>control every aspect of your life.
>> ... he states he's a socialist, but that doesn't mean
>>he's a totalitarian.
>Yes it does. Socialism can only work by coercion, and only
>the state has the power to coerce (use or threaten
>aggressive violence). Socialism is inherently a highly
>statist (totalitarian) doctrine. Social democracy is also
From your assertions, if we have a state which can interfere in the society but it's powers can be withdrawn or limited by vote isn't totalitarian, or am I wrong? Also I think our primary cause of disagreement is this: you believe that a socialist state (or government or anything) can only exist through coercion, while I believe that it can exist through agreement and vote. I don't think we can convince each other in this medium, so do we agree to disagree on this issue?
> > ten individuals form
> > a state in an imaginary island. They agree to decide
> > much they'll give for common good each year, based on a
> > unanimous voting. If any given ~individual~ doesn't
> > agree with a given tax formula it's rejected. How comes
> > it's totalitarianism? If everyone agrees with the
> > how comes it's interference?
> If there is unanimous voting it isn't interference.
> The key issue here is unanimity. Real states do not
> operate from unanimity. At very best they use majority
> voting, and use force to interfere with dissenters to make
> them comply.
> In your example above, because the ten individuals operate
> entirely through agreement there is no ~state~ as such -
> it is an anarchy.
So, if a president of a democracy is elected with 100% voting, his country automatically becomes an anarchy? ;)
I don't think all states use force to make dissenters comply, AFAICT most americans aren't threatened by the police or something similar because they didn't vote for Bush. Some people do believe in democracy, as my ex-boss once said: "I didn't vote for him, but he is elected, so now I'll do my best to help him govern our country.". Unanimity is a good thing, but it doesn't always mean that everyone believes in the same thing. In my company we use unanimous voting for every major decision, even if I believe there are better alternatives. Sometimes I agree with someone else's idea, but I say: "I think this is crap, but if you think this will work them give it a shot".
As my primary concern was with this discussion:
>> 1. Note that I don't like totalitarian states
>> 2. If the governmet taxed according to your income, be
>> you a citizen or a corporation, with higher taxes
>> for higher incomes,
>Statement (2) contradicts statement (1). High taxes mean
>high state interference, ie totalitarianism.
I think that we agree that "High taxes" doesn't imply in "high state interference", because they can be achieved through unanimous voting. That leaves us with the "if they operate through agreement there is no state as such- it is an anarchy" statement. While I agree that some forms of anarchism work through agreements, I think that there can be goverment (or state) operating through agreement (with cooperative dissenters as I explained above), just because, IMO, a government is a single entity responsible for collective decisions (i.e. a delegate). I think this is fundamentally distinct from anarchism, because of this centralized approach, but as anarchism is quite ellusive, there's always a different interpretation to it. So I won't try to dispute that assertion and I won't comment on it anymore.
I think that it leaves us with two things: 1 - mr. Holden being a totalitarist depends on the statement "socialism implies totalitarism forall possible form of socialism" which we don't seem to agree; 2 - higher taxes doesn't imply in totalitarism, because they can be reached through collective agreement, or even in non-state contexts (e.g. anarchist communities).