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nonniey

Claremont Review of Books: A Kinder, Gentler Gulag

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I found this review a good read. 

 

https://claremontreviewofbooks.com/a-kinder-gentler-gulag/

 

"Is socialism “back in fashion,” as the Economist recently observed? Senator Bernie Sanders, who has called himself a socialist throughout a long political career, is a leading contender for next year’s Democratic presidential nomination after his surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a rock star, the most famous first-year member of the House of Representatives in living memory. The biggest socialist organization, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), now has 60,000 members, more than six times as many as in 2016. DSA has endorsed Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign, and Ocasio-Cortez is a member.

Jacobin magazine’s founding editor Bhaskar Sunkara is also a DSA member and, like Ocasio-Cortez, was born in 1989. Undaunted by that year’s most famous event, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Sunkara wants to supplant the “vanquished Left” whose “commitment to a better world” was “bound up with illusions about the Soviet Union.” To that end, he has written The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality. Its goal is to present “what a different social system could look like and how we can get there.”........."

Edited by nonniey

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4 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

The actual book, or just the book review?

Just the review.  The review is fairly long and comprehensive.

Edited by nonniey

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1 minute ago, nonniey said:

Just the review.  The review is fairly long and comprehensive.

 

How do you know it's comprehensive if you haven't read the book?

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5 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

How do you know it's comprehensive if you haven't read the book?

How do you know it isn't, having read neither? 😂

 

It's long, I'll give it that.  From what I've read it feels less like a book review than an opportunity for the writer slam socialism's recent PR successes. 

 

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2 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

How do you know it's comprehensive if you haven't read the book?

Good point it seems to be an in depth review given its length but I could be wrong. But the review itself was a good read imo. 

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1 minute ago, nonniey said:

Good point it seems to be an in depth review given its length but I could be wrong. But the review itself was a good read imo. 

 

Do you really expect the author of "Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State" to give you an unbiased review of a book by a self-described socialist?  To me, the review seems to be more of a retort to the book (probably cherrypicked), not really a review of what it actually says (I haven't read the book though, and I'm not going to, so who knows).  

6 minutes ago, Destino said:

How do you know it isn't, having read neither? 😂

 

I'm not the one making claims here, buster. 

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3 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

Do you really expect the author of "Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State" to give you an unbiased review of a book by a self-described socialist?  To me, the review seems to be more of a retort to the book (probably cherrypicked), not really a review of what it actually says (I haven't read the book though, and I'm not going to, so who knows).  

 

I'm not the one making claims here, buster. 

I said it was a good read imo. You can read it yourself if you like and form your own opinion.

Edited by nonniey
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6 minutes ago, nonniey said:

I said it was a good read imo. You can read it yourself if you like and form your own opinion.

 

How about this:  Can you give me a sort-of comprehensive review of that sort-of comprehensive review of the book?  Then I'll get @twa to do it one more time, then it will be triple filtered like my favorite vodka (and probably 5 words).  :ols:

Edited by PleaseBlitz
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2 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

How about this:  Can you give me a sort-of comprehensive review of that sort-of comprehensive review of the book?  Then I'll get @twa to do it one more time, then it will be triple filtered like my favorite vodka (and probably 5 words).  :ols:

I'll pass.

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6 minutes ago, PleaseBlitz said:

 

How about this:  Can you give me a sort-of comprehensive review of that sort-of comprehensive review of the book?  Then I'll get @twa to do it one more time, then it will be triple filtered like my favorite vodka (and probably 5 words).  :ols:

 

I'm gonna pretend there is only a singular definition of socialism and this young person's definition, as interpreted by me, looks amorphous enough for criticism (get off my lawn kids), so I'll just conflate that one with your favorite Democratic bogey-politicians, throw in a couple of words like gulag, soviets, and Stalin and say what they are saying now is in essence advocating for turning US into communist USSR or China.  And go pure capitalism cause it may suck but at least we don't throw you into gulags, yay!

 

....  Five words.... Damn it!  ....  Dems are wrong, go GOP!  

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5 words? Is that the over/under line on the number of words of the review that bearrock and PleaseBlitz read?

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6 minutes ago, nonniey said:

5 words? Is that the over/under line on the number of words of the review that bearrock and PleaseBlitz read?

 

Thumbs up or down for me.

 

Tbf, the review was an interesting read for me, but probably not for the same reason it was interesting for you (nothing wrong with that).  I get the sense that I would probably roll my eyes a lot at the book too (but I haven't read the book, so I may be totally wrong of course).  But it's bothersome to me when people criticize or applaud their own chosen definition of socialism rather than delve into the type of socialism being advocated by the person being criticized or applauded.  And it's especially more troublesome when such criticism goes beyond "this is why socialism as defined by this person is problematic" to "this is why socialism is doomed to fail and we need to stick with capitalism".  

 

All economic theories in their pure state has proven a failure in my view.  You can debate how much correction is appropriate from the status quo (or that no correction is needed), but let's not pretend that we don't already engage in combination of ideas from the major economic schools of thought.  You can draw a line in the sand saying social control of more than x% of means of control is socialism and everything else is capitalism (though I think it's more complex than that).  People may disagree on where that "x" is.  People may also disagree as whether a complete socialism approach may be appropriate in certain types of areas like healthcare vs others.  But our economy, society, and government has grown beyond the state of simplistic definition where we can say we implement capitalism or socialism to the exclusion of the other.  We've experienced what doesn't work.  We are still trying to achieve a superior mixture of ideas to improve on the current status quo.  To label one school of thought as the bogeyman because a particular implementation of that school of thought was terrible is not very helpful to the discussion.

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Best quote of the review

 

On this point, Sunkara goes so far as to allow that “the appeal of capitalism is in large part that there appears to be no viable alternative to it.” Yet he does not seem to realize that this is a major concession. The pro-market case has never been that capitalism is the best set of arrangements conceivable, only that it is the best available. Being the best existing option is not a small virtue, nor one diminished by idealists who implore us to let our imaginations soar as we dream of better, more fulfilling futures.

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14 minutes ago, CousinsCowgirl84 said:

Best quote of the review

 

 

 

Not having read the original book, I don't have the context to decipher the meaning of the text, there seems to be two plausible readings.  

 

One would be the author (of the book, not the review) is saying that people accept capitalism because they are under the inaccurate impression that there is no viable alternative.  But read on to find out why they are wrong and socialism totally rocks!

 

Two would be what the reviewer suggests, that the book author actually concedes that there's no viable alternative, at least not one that could be considered even apparently viable.  This begs the question as to why the book author would write the book in the first place.  Because unless it is to argue that socialism is better than capitalism, the book seems rather pointless (and should probably be renamed Capitalism Manifesto).

 

I would therefore guess that book author was saying scenario 1, not 2.

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7 minutes ago, CousinsCowgirl84 said:

I doubt Tesla would exist in a socialist society.

 

In a pure socialistic society?  Maybe not.  I don't think it would exist in a pure capitalistic society either.  

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I love @bearrock posts


hes the only one arguing well and thoughtfully in a situation where no one has read the actual book, and I’m not sure who’s actually read the entire review to be honest 

 

also this is a textbook example of why crap flows so easily on the internet. You can frame context however you want because people will see what they want to see (which is allowed by the first step of not reading the book and/or review)

Edited by tshile
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Ok, I read the book review. This is kind of a weird thread where no one has read the book, no one will probably read the book, most people probably don't know what Claremont Institute is, but it's obvious that they don't like socialists.

 

The DSA loony bin of bad ideas however is something I'm familiar with. Well intentioned people, with some of the worst ideas out there. Stripping private ownership and turning everything into a bureaucratized democratic hellhole is their utopian vision. So at least on that end, the review critiques them quite well. If the goal is a more egalitarian American society, stripping private ownership is the absolute most god awful way of doing this, and also something that a large majority of the country will never get on board with. It's just about the most anti-American idea in existence and most people who have migrated to this country likely came from places where private ownership of land and business was a bureaucratized nightmare. There is a reason immigrants start businesses at a much higher rate than native citizens in America.

 

A place like Claremont however really has no room to critique DSA. DSA's growth in popularity is a reaction to the decimation of communities from crony capitalism and a deregulated market that has stripped the private ownership capabilities of a large chunk of the population. DSA will keep growing in numbers as long as people equate a corrupt political and economic system with capitalism.

 

This country has used policy very successfully historically to increase private ownership of land and business and lift poor white people into the middle class. We don't really have to reinvent the wheel to do the same for poor brown and black people, who make up a disproportionate share of people hurt by today's economic system. And I guarantee you that loons at Claremont oppose policies that would do this, even though they don't stray from our capitalist economic system.

 

My tl;dr for this post: crazy people on opposite ends, who feed into each other and radicalize more people as a result of their bad ideas are the worst.

 

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