The Clear Choice: Socialism v. Social Darwinism

When Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan to be his running mate, conservatives were overjoyed, proclaiming America now had a clear choice in November.  Republicans feel America is going down the drain and voters should choose between Socialism and Capitalism.  As a liberal, I feel the choice is between Socialism and Social Darwinism, but I don’t think it’s a clear choice.  Romney and Ryan are already claiming the Republicans will save Medicare, because even though they’d like to delete it from the budget, they know millions of voters want it.  Conservatives are far more socialistic than they are willing to admit.

Obama-Romney

I’m more than willing to accept the Socialistic label, but I believe conservatives need to accept the Social Darwinism label.   The United States has been socialistic since the 1930s.  Republicans obviously want to reverse that trend, although I doubt many of them want to return to absolute free market capitalism.  I don’t believe there really is a clear choice, but I do believe the overall directions of both parties are clear.  Liberals want to spend the money on social support systems to give everyone a minimum level standard of living, and conservatives want to dismantle the safety net and introduce a kind of Social Darwinism so nobody gets a free lunch and everyone competes.

Over population and the removal of real survival of the fittest cruelty, has produced an excess of humans that can’t compete.  The world is fat with people, and there’s not enough natural jobs to let them all survive.  Republicans want to go on a diet and let the excess fat die off.

Either we’ve got to create a safety net, or let nature take it’s natural course.  Free market capitalism is based on survival of the fittest competition.  As a liberal, I don’t want to see the kind of suffering that real Social Darwinism will create and wish to fall back on Socialism.  Nor, do I think Republicans really have the stomach for tooth and claw competition.  What the leaders of the Republicans really want is unrestrained competition to pursue wealth and they see the safety net, environmental protection, and other social engineering as getting in the way.

Most conservatives aren’t rich, and just as vulnerable as liberals to fall victim of Social Darwinism.  In their struggle to stay afloat they have developed a tremendous resentment against others who don’t struggle because they are protected by Socialism.  You can’t blame them, but do they really want to see millions suffer without government handouts?  Would the Republicans really have let the banks and car companies go bankrupted a few years ago?

If we could reach some kind of consensus most people wouldn’t mind giving food stamps and welfare to the truly needy, if we also had an effective system that could distinguish the Meek of the Earth, from the free lunch opportunists.  Americans give billions to charity every year to help the helpless, but Americans also hate ineffective charities that waste money.

There is no clear choice in how be efficient with tax money.  Republicans scream they want to reduce spending, but all they ever do is reduce taxes, and going into national debt is no solution to the problem.  Neither Obama or Romney offer an effective solutions to problems we face.  All they do is play on people’s emotions.  I really believe many Republicans feel the United States will suffer an economic collapse if we don’t elect Romney.  They really are in an emotional panic over this, but us liberals just as strongly believe Romney has no magic bullet to save the country. 

Predicting the future is impossible, but I’m to describe the liberal’s fear of the future.  Republicans will win in November because the party in power seldom maintains power in a bad economy.  Wall Street will be overjoyed at this Republican victory and the economy will heat up, and the unemployment rate will go down.  Republicans will then start dismantling Socialism in America to a small degree reducing the middle class and increase the poor.  Unless there is some kind of new economic bubble, growth will be slow, and hidden unemployment will be high.  The Republicans will cut taxes but not pay off the debt.  If there is a bubble that heats up the economy, it will eventually pop like the housing bubble and we’d go into an even worse recession than we’ve just had.  The Republicans will not do anything about the Environment and will work to dismantle the EPA.  In the next twenty-five years global warming will become obvious to all, but it will be much too late to do anything about it.

See, us liberals fear for our country too, just as much as conservatives.  There are real solutions to our problems, but the clear choice Republicans talk about from both parties in 2012 won’t help us all find them, and we can’t find them without working together, which appears to be unlikely in this ever growing politically polarized society. 

I think both current choices will lead to doom.  We need a third option, but not a third party.

JWH – 8/16/12

How Would Life on Earth Be Different if Everyone Was an Atheist?

Belief in God and an afterlife affects how people see reality.  What if one day we all woke up without any superstitious beliefs in the metaphysical?  What if science caught on and everyone began thinking in the same way about how reality works – would that change the social fabric of Earth?  Does religion help or hurt when it comes to doing good?

Think about what John Lennon suggested in his song “Imagine”

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

If religion and metaphysical ideas disappeared would we come together as one?  I doubt it, but I think we could start working on the real problems we face.  I can’t help but believe that if people didn’t think a better life awaits them after death they would take this world more seriously.

I think religious divides us, but I think something else divides us more:  politics.  But politics are just the outward manifestation of our inner beliefs which are tangled up in religious beliefs.  The litmus test for that division is how we treat the poor.

Some people hate giving to the poor.  They feel the poor should work.  They feel the poor are undeserving of charity.  Welfare makes their heads explode with anger.  Paying taxes for public schools galls them no end.  Foreign aid and food stamps just annoy the hell out them.  Their resentment knows no bounds when it comes to paying taxes.

Other people want to divvy up the wealth and make life on Earth decent for all.

What’s strange the first group tend to be Christians and the second tend to be secular or spiritual rather than religious.  To the first group, socialism is a dirty word, even though their God was known for dividing the fishes and loaves so everyone could eat.

So, I’m not sure if religion disappeared life on Earth would be any different.

We are going through transformative times.  Communism failed.  But capitalism cannot provide enough jobs for all.  There will always be a certain percentage of the population that are idle.  We have incorporated many socialistic solutions into our economy, and many people hate that.  If we revert to a complete free market, where it’s dog eat dog capitalism, we will have a world where the rich lived in armed enclaves and the rest struggle to survive in a cruel uncontrolled Darwinian conflict.  The early Christians saw Jesus’ teachings as a solution to this problem, but modern Christians have moved away from those socialistic beliefs.

I tend to wonder if modern Christians haven’t jettison all the Christian philosophy and just hung onto the belief of heaven.  They want to be rich on Earth, and rich in Heaven.  If these people turned atheists one night I doubt anything about the world would change.

Religion is a distraction like watching TV.  Believing in vampires or angels, it doesn’t matter, it’s all fiction.  To get the world that John Lennon imagined doesn’t come from giving up religion.  What we need is for everyone to stop thinking about themselves and resenting others. 

The real solution is to think global but act locally.  We have to solve the problem of creating a healthy Earth, and how to create an economy that provides the basics of a decent life for all seven billion people that live on Earth.  Our problem is the 10% want everything for themselves and expect the 90% to go fuck themselves.  As far as I can see religion is irrelevant to this problem.

Like I said, we’re going through a transformative age that people in the future will name and analyze.  Will the Earth survive?  The rich want to ignore that issue.  They want to get as much as they can for  themselves.  They do not care what happens to the Earth.  They do not care what happens to future generations.  They do not care about the rest of the people living on the Earth now.

Humans are a cancer consuming this world.  Unless we get our greed under control we will consume everything, including ourselves.

To answer my title question:  Unless becoming atheist means becoming liberal and socialist, the disappearance of religion would mean nothing to life on Earth.  The real issues to how we live on Earth lies elsewhere.  I don’t think greed is a belief.  It’s genetic, conditioned and animalistic.  Religion neither helps nor hurts in solving greed.

I think people who want to help the world do so because they just want to help the world.  But those people aren’t enough.  Unless the greedy are brought under control, and we’re all greedy, we can’t save ourselves.  Christians want to be saved, but the plight of the Earth is another kind of salvation.  Unless we’re all saved, then we’re all lost.   Whether a God is watching us or not, it does not matter, because we can only save ourselves.

JWH – 5/16/12