Linux as Social Justice Symbol - I Think Not

by Susan Linton - May. 03, 2011Comments (60)

GNU/LinuxToday I saw a comparison of Linux vs Microsoft to the establishment/capitalism/corporate American vs 60's hippies. Either this young writer is a product of the socialistic indoctrination running throughout the world or he just has a profound lack of understanding of Open Source software. He might as well join in Ballmer's choir and sing Linux is communism.

He fails to realize that Linux and Open Source software represents FREEDOM -> as in FREE SPEECH as opposed to free as in no-cost. Many of those radical hippies of the 60's have grown up to espouse big government owning all assets and controlling every aspect of citizens' lives. They want guaranteed equal outcomes instead of equal opportunities.

Linux and Open Source is a meritocracy. To move up the food chain in Open Source development, you have to prove your coding prowess. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute, but only the gifted or those that work hard succeed. It does not mean that everyone born can contribute. Linux and Open Source under the various GPLs offers FREEDOM not free of cost.

His premise that Linux and Open Source can show how wrong capitalism is and how to create a "sustainable society" again is either naive or completely uninformed. Socialism is neither a nest for innovation nor sustainable. Socialism sucks all the motivation and incentive out of life and drains all the wealth out of the nation. This is the very antithesis of freedom and Open Source software. Socialists do not believe in freedom. In fact, their very creed demands a complete surrender of freedom in return for government provided necessities. Guaranteed housing, food, and (rationed) health-care does not make up for the loss in freedom of movement, purchase, occupation, privacy, residence, possession, and choice. His use of a 90's science fiction movie as an example is a metaphor for the reality of his thesis.

Linux is about freedom - freedom to choose which components to use, freedom to alter the source code as desired, and the freedom to redistribute for profit or not. Just because most Linux and Open Source software usually costs little or nothing does not make Open Source altruistic or socialist. Open sourced makes it free as used in the Constitution of the United States.

 




Abhijit Prabhudan uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?



60 Comments
 

You say, and I quote


"Socialism sucks all the motivation and incentive out of life and drains all the wealth out of the nation"


So, please explain this sentence in relation to China and it's apparent success in the world today?


0 Votes

China's economy is a house of cards vulnerable to a mild wind. They've deflated their currency for trade advantages which also has the side effect of keeping their local prices low. This does enable their workers to be paid a little better these days and those workers are able to buy. This does appear to grow the economy. The only problem is that the state owns most everything and does control everything. So, when someone (or the state) buys from a company, they are using government money, albeit through a middle man, to actually buy from the government. So even though it's analogous to moving the money from one's left hand to their right, it's still counted in their great GDP illusion and said to be growing their economy.


As far as innovation is concerned, Asians in general are taught from birth to work to benefit the collective. They work hard and students study hard. But much of China's technology is bought from or down right stolen from the West. What have they invented from scratch since gun powder? They've perfected doing what we do cheaper by slave-wage labor, stolen IP, and manipulated currency.


Much of their population is living way below poverty level. Yeah, the pictures we see of the beautiful modern cities and state-of-the-art airports are impressive, but most of their population is either still wearing pajamas, living in shacks, and wading in rice paddies or living like sardines in what would be considered slum housing units here.


Their success is in great part an illusion.


0 Votes

The political analysis in this article is utterly uninformed about what "socialism" in fact means and it is without substance. Perhaps tech bloggers should recognise the limits of their expertise.


0 Votes

Apparently the author suffers from a profound ignorance of what socialism is that especially US citizens seem prone to suffer from. Please educate yourself by at the very least reading the Wikipedia article about Socialism. Is this asking too much?


And, by the way, the last time I checked there was 0% of socialistic indoctrination going on about 98% of the world (though, again, that blatantly nonsensical claim might have been made because the author really has no idea what socialism means) and a 100% neo-liberalist indoctrination ('privately owned water supplies are good for you!') going on, especially in popular news media which are (guess what) owned by large conglomerates.


So, please, while I agree that Linux and socialism are not naturally connected, don't refute deologically tinted nonsense by writing more ideologically tinted nonsense. ;-)


0 Votes

And, Susan, as a political scientist I can let you in on a secret: China (PRC) is a communist country only by name; indeed it has embraced market economy a long time ago, and has been a capitalist country for a long time. As far as its economy is concerned. Politically, it is an authoritarian regime, governed by a cadre elite. China is about as socialistic as Russia, nowadays.


As a chinese intellectual in private and he or she might very well agree.


It's really regrettable that ignorance about other countries' political systems and about political ideas makes such a mess of any discussion which involved politics in the U.S.


0 Votes

"It does not mean that everyone born can contribute."


Sorry but everyone can contribute simply by filling in a bug report when something goes wrong.


0 Votes

The other issue is that communism, socialism, and capitalism are economic systems. They therefore deal with the economic value of scarce resources. With software, the reproduction of bits is at a cost so low that it approaches zero, meaning that the entire concept of scarcity gets broken. This means that none of these models apply, and instead, only the social model applies. These are commonly democracy, totalitarianism, republic, monarchy, anarchy, etc. The GPL promotes meritocracy, largely because of freedom of association, and little cost of failure (try something, if it doesn't work, roll back the change.)


If we realize that we can separate the social aspect from the economic one (it is possible, if unlikely, for people to freely choose to live in a society where all property is in common) then we can see that the terms like socialism can't even be applied.


0 Votes

"Either this young writer is a product of the socialistic indoctrination running rabid throughout the world"


Your bias is showing, Susan.


"Socialism sucks all the motivation and incentive out of life and drains all the wealth out of the nation. This is the very antithesis of freedom and Open Source software. Socialists do not believe in freedom. In fact, their very creed demands a complete surrender of freedom in return for government provided necessities."


This is not remotely true. You are conflating socialism with authoritarianism. There have been famous examples of the two co-existing, just as there are as many examples of authoritarianism co-existing with any number of other economic ideologies. The two are separate and neither implies the other.


0 Votes

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0 Votes

"Your bias is showing, Susan."


Yeah, I'm very frustrated with the direction our country is going lately, so I might be a bit sensitive.


But look at the way things are going: 47% of our population pays no taxes at all while the top 1% of earners pays 38% of the taxes collected. The top 5% pay almost 60% of the taxes. 1 in 7 are on food stamps now while programs are being put in universities to encourage students to get on them. 53% of our population is getting a check from the government. But the government (and a large portion of the population) want to tax the so-called rich more to help pay for these and even more entitlements. For the first time in US history this year the government paid out more in entitlements than it took in in taxes. Washington is borrowing 41 cents of every dollar it spends. Our yearly deficits run over 1.5 trillion dollars lately and we have a national debt of that will be over 15 trillion by the end of this fiscal year. China and the IMF are telling us to get our house in order and the S&P recently downgraded our financial outlook from stable to negative. They are just before lowering our credit rating from AAA to AA. But all those in power want to do is tax more and spend more money on more entitlements all while the Fed is devaluing our currency and causing inflation.


Then just listen to certain think tanks, organization, and authors on CSPAN talking about their plans for more equity in this country and its scary as hell. One example: they think those in the suburbs have a much better life than those in the inner city, so what's their solution? Force those in the suburbs to move into the inner cities and take mass transit. In the meantime, Washington is denying oil drilling permits in our own country and gas is skyrocketing, but they are rejoicing because it will force folks to buy electric cars - nevermind that electricity is generated from fossil fuels. Oh but they have plans for that too. They want everyone to have high-speed internet at government expense. Why? So they can put them on the national electricity grid and ration electricity once they've eliminated most of the coal, diesel, and nuclear generators. And eventually get everyone to take high-speed rail instead of using cars.


That's just a drop in the bucket. They basically think we citizens can't control our own lives, so they are regulating every human movement possible. Soon the government will control every single thing. And some think that's the way it should be. A big money sucking machine telling us every step to take. Do you know the only city in America that didn't suffer a housing crisis? Washington DC. Oh yeah, jobs were created by the stimulus - in government.


So, I admit, I don't know all the nuances of socialism in Europe and Asia, but I see the direction it's taking in America - and Linux and Open Source have no connection to it and will not influence it at all.


2 Votes

Ahh awesome article Susan. But yeah...da' socialists are gonna jump all over this.


Love you more after this than any of the normal articles you've written!


-signed....


An objectivist. :-)


1 Votes

Just too much anti-Socialism in this piece for my liking.

As soon as people start talking in terms like "socialism sucks all the motivation out of life", alarm bells start ringing.

Socialism is a threat to the rich and powerful - they have spent years carefully engineering the system so that it favours them. Laws are made in their favour, Governments legislate in their favour, markets are rigged for them, tax laws are bent for them and "socialism" would mess all that up.


The article also falls into the trap of supposing that to code is all there is - this is also a fallacy. The OSS community is made up of coders, users, advocates, evangelists, documenters and so on. To code is the foundation, but it is far from all that is required.


Anything that pokes the proprietary mindset in the eye is great. Anything that offers the chance to awaken someone from the "screw you - pay me" mindset is greatly needed.


So, Ms Linton - I think you are either naive, or on a campaign. Either way - this piece is misplaced.


0 Votes

Susan, ask yourself from across the pond: Why is it, that Germany is doing relatively well in European context and even doing better compared to the US economically, when it has a political system and society with strong social(istic - from your pov) imprint?

Killing motivation? Have you followed scientific studies about human behavior under economic circumstances lately? The model of the homo oeconomicus is dead.


0 Votes

Susan, please go and drink some tea...


You are obviously a typical republican who does not even know the difference between open source and free software. Knee-jerking reactions are best kept to ones self...


0 Votes

Linux is not about politics. Linux is about better software! Is that so difficult to understand?


0 Votes

Linux is not about politics. Linux is about better software! Is that so difficult to understand?


0 Votes

Feed yourself some knowledge about Socialism:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_Socialism%3F (by Albert Einstein) is a clear example that FLOSS as we know it is really close to the quotes of Einstein's original article back from 1949 in that Wikipedia page.


0 Votes

Let me remind a saying from John Pierce: "After growing wildly for years, the field of computing appears to be reaching its infancy."


The linux is now a major contribution to the growing up of the computer science.


Forget those silly comments about tiranny of Microsoft. They have give their contribution to computer science by bringing computers to everyone.


Now its time show that there a new and better paradigm. For that, the Linux distributions and open source software should take more attention to the user friendliness and appearance . For example, OpenOffice/LibreOffice is good but when you look at the appearance... It is simply not appealing. It does not catch the attention of the potential users.


1 Votes

In a free society, social justice is an empty concept. It has no meaning. For something to be just, it has to be a moral agent, someone who acts. But society is a many-body system. To say that "society is just" is like saying that an anthill should be just. Just who in the anthill would a poor ant blame if she was attacked by an anteater?


Just saying. But I still think it is important that this debate is about a concept that is just nonsense. Justice is only a valid issue inside an organisation, where allocation of resources and merit is done by some people. If all of society is an organisation, the state, then it is a totalitarian state. This was in fact Mussolini's definition of totalitarianism.


Hayek is very good on this subject, in particular "The Fatal Conceit - the Errors of Socialism" and "Law, Legislation and Liberty", vol 1.


1 Votes

Linus Torvalds has actually called himself a socialist.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMbMimH0pvk


Go to 4:50 of that video.


0 Votes

Now here's a post sure to raise some hackles and bring out the comment trolls.


While Ms. Linton's language might be a bit politically-charged, her premise is certainly sound: in computing, as in government, every decision has some amount of impact on freedom. When our elected officials make decisions that increase the size and proliferation of government, they inherently reduce freedom in one form or another, whether you call that socialism or not. The same is true in software - choosing proprietary operating systems, protocols, applications and file formats moves us away from freedom one step at a time.


Just as I concur with Susan's distaste for the direction American politics is going - strongly favoring government control, influence and regulation - I also use free software for the same reasons. It's just as distasteful to be beholden to a multinational software company whose only motivation is revenue extraction as it is to be beholden to a government bent on controlling people's lives and wealth.


1 Votes

Susan,

As many people have already said, you are indeed wrong about socialism. More to the point, the string of percentages and facts that you post in the comment above are baseless facts. Half of the country receives checks from the government? How so? That's a bold claim for half of the country. The 47% that "don't pay taxes", do in fact pay taxes. They just happen to pay more than their share, so they get a refund back. That's why they take that money out of each check... However, companies like GE paid no taxes, and in fact received tax credits. So really who is syphoning the system? The top 5% pay the most taxes because they have the most wealth. Take 38% of 1 billion and you have well more than a middle class yearly income, so of course it would equal to more overall. That's called math, and Republicans seem to have problem with that. Surely your not suggesting poor people should pay half of their income while the rich keep all of theirs? And then there's the complaint about deficit and debt. Republicans wanted to lower taxes for everyone, Democrats wanted to get rid of 3% tax cuts for the wealthy. 3%, not that big of a deal right? Apparently it is because people like you decried it as Socialism. You can't complain about deficits and then give people tax breaks when they really don't need them, ie: millionaires and mega corporations. You mention think tanks and authors suggesting we force suburban families to inner cities, and I ask what the hell do they have to do with legislation? Just because someone gets up on Tv and says something doesn't make it the voice of an entire nation. I mean hell Glenn Beck says crap all the time. Speaking of Glenn Beck, did you get that rationing electricity thing from him? How do you go from investing in high-speed internet to rationing electricity? And for my last point, Washington DC housing prices did drop with the rest of them. So really, do some research before trying to spread your political views on your tech blog.


0 Votes

Very well thought out article. As far as the flamers go, that's just an indication of how well you hit the mark. If you didn't hit the nail on the head, they wouldn't be crying so loudly.


Just remember what Ronald Reagan once said when seeing liberals waving signs reading "make love not war":


"They don't look capable of doing either."


:)


I look forward to reading more from you.


1 Votes

Sorry, David, but it is true, according to the IRS's own numbers. the 47% that pay no taxes are not those who get a partial refund due to overpayment, but those who either are not required to have any withheld, or those who get all that was withheld returned. In fact, a significant portion of those actually get a refund in excess of the total paid, for a total net positive amount to the tax payer.


When it is to the point where the majority pay nothing, they can vote in any amount to be extracted from those paying, simply because they are in the minority.


1 Votes

When considering federal income taxes in combination with payroll taxes, the percent of households with a net liability of zero or less is estimated to be 24% this year, according to the Tax Policy Center's estimates. CNN Money


Susan needs to visit Norther Europe if she thinks we are going socialist.


0 Votes

Pot and the kettle.


Why are you taking some tech naive political activist to task for his mistake, when you didn't bother to do the 3 minutes of wiki-work not to make yourself look the grand clown by doing the exact same thing in your definition of socialism.


Hey, that FREEDOM of speech shouldn't be wasted on proving your intellectual laziness, or how narrow your mind is.


0 Votes

@susan : the fact that few people pay most of the tax income from a country only shows that the wealth is concentrated within the hands of these few people, and absolutely not that they are the hard workers. Between a fool who inherited his dad's portfolio and and another fool who works every day at the factory, who do you think pays more taxes ?


Otherwise, I fully agree with the majority of comment : the author doesn't know his subject and suffers from the effects of american anti-socialist propaganda...


0 Votes

@susan: Hear! Hear! There's too much, "I want to have yours because you have more than me" in this country and the rest of the world. It doesn't matter how the top 5% that pay almost 60% of the taxes earned their money, as long as it was legal, it's theirs. If it's by working to become high level officer of a fortune 500 or a pig farmer, they earned it. If they inherited it from their parents, then their parents earned it so their children could have a better life. It's still theirs. If it's "old money", then some ancestor earned it and passed it down through the family. It's still theirs. Either way, it was earned by someone. That someone can chose to give it to whomever they like or no one at all.


It is not mine or anyone else's to say what they should do with it. It is impossible to earn too much money and there is no obligation to "give it back."


If you want what they have, go earn it.


0 Votes

Susan when you said "rabid" I think you were looking for the word "rampant".

In noting the other comments...Perhaps like this word you chose one argument when you were looking for another similar sounding but actually different argument.


I can take part of your meaning to the bank but you lost your way to a degree and therefore lose a significant amount of impact that might have been made with a bit more care.


Thanks for the though, I enjoyed reading your views.


0 Votes

you seem to be unaware of how to use an apostrophe.


0 Votes

I forgot to add that if you know nothing about a topic, it is better to keep your mouth shut and be considered a fool than to open it wide and confirm it.


0 Votes

Today I learned that not only does Susan not know what Socialism is, she doesn't know what a fact is, either.


Susan, you cannot simply make up facts any more than you can simply make up what socialism is.


Shame on you. I have previously liked your articles.


If you can't stick to what you know, at least try to avoid what you're utterly clueless about?


0 Votes

I wish objectivists the best in be-bopp'in and scat'in their bootstraps from here all the way to Ca-li-forn-i-a.


0 Votes

Just fyi, all these Poor Poor Rich White Man's Burden Taxes are complete non-facts and a cursory examination of effective tax rates proves this false, and yet here we are again arguing against the Randian brick wall. The freedom to be beholden to private interests is no freedom, nor is the freedom to starve.


Did you know?: all commerce and innovation is impossible outside the USofA and Somalia because Taxes Are Too High Over There and Government stifles the free market invisible hand Austrian economics by making it illegal to put poison in children's vitamins. Better dead than red.


0 Votes

A good example of what you're talking about - socialism taking all the motivation out of modern life - is France and its rapant unemployment among young people. 25% unemployment for people under 30.


The reason: firing anyone in France is such a legal minefield they just can't can you. No one gets fired for anything.


So... when a young person applies for a job, they don't want to hire you, because if they do they're basically stuck with you forever until you retire, die, or quit. Temp jobs and contracting are heavily abused in France to screen young employees before offering them a shot at the real jobs.


TLDR - It's too risky to fire employees in France because of the strict socialist worker protections, so young French people can't convince employers to hire them.


0 Votes

Susan,


I invite you to Scandinavia so you could see how socialism looks like.


Hopeless article!


0 Votes

Rupert Murdoch owns OStatic now?!


0 Votes

I feel dumber after reading this article.


0 Votes

What a terrible article. Contrary to what you may have learned from Fox news, the primary objective of socialism was not to restrict freedom but to promote community. While Linux is not inherently socialistic or even really political, let's not make it a crutch for capitalistic propoganda, which is actually what is "running rabid throughout the world" nowadays. Or you could go back to watching Fox news.


0 Votes

"Open sourced makes it free as used in the Constitution of the United States."


What has open source got to do with the Constitution of the United States? Linus Trovalds is Finnish and not an American!


Why must everything has to do with US?


0 Votes

Hi,


A someone with experience living in a socialist country till 1991 and in the same but capitalist country from there on, I can tell that socialism is too conservative to allow progress. Capitalism has many problems, but at least you do not feel forced to live in a world 20 years behind the present. So if I would have to identify freedom (as in speech) with socialism or capitalism, I would choose capitalism. I do not know of a better option yet.


Regarding free (as in beer). There is nothing evil behind money. It is simply an universal measuring unit used to measure fitness in the evolution of society. If there are no price/wage/wealth... differences there are no opportunities for evolution.


So free software does not compete the same way as expensive software does. Is is not focused on competition, but on cooperation. Instead of competing on the existing fitness space it is reshaping it. It is pushing companies from from the current flatness caused by monopolies into unexplored edges full of opportunities.


Regards,

IzI


0 Votes

Socialism is something different than communism...


0 Votes

The capitalistic aspect of Linux.


Programmers are investors (this is true because they invest time and effort). The more programmers your project attracts the better your project sells If two projects do the same thing then you have competition and can compete to get more programmers and more users by the features presented in your project. This is capitalism. Projects that loose all their programmers fail and die.


Examples: Gnome vs KDE

Gnome and KDE compete for users and programmers (also usually users as well) the better job they do at coding the better the product. Faster lighter more features.


Gimp vs picasa

bash vs csh

php vs perl vs ...


We have freedom to choose what ever desktop, what ever shell what ever programming language what ever interpreted language we want. And when we contribute we become investors and help our chosen xxx become more competitive against yyy. Capitalism is clearly the model for open source.


0 Votes

You used the terms "Linux" and "Open Source"

not

"GNU/Linux" and "Free Software"


Given that, your assessment of Linux, Open Source, and the attitudes surrounding them is correct.


Thank you for illustrating why it is so very important to use our language to differentiate concepts and be wary of those who would attempt to co opt it for their gain.


Also, you must work on research if you're going to write at this level.


0 Votes

@ don't waste your time and sleep your life away


Richard Stallman's new key words

Free Software is more ambiguous because there is non Open Source Free Software also know as Freeware. his old keyword Open Source was less ambiguous. Maybe we should call it Choiceware or Beerware to be less ambiguous?


I use openssh it is not GNU it is FreeBSD license. I also use Firefox and Apache neither of those are GNU and I consider them part of the OS. I think GNU/Linux is a bit of a miss nomer. Yes there are plenty of GNU apps in most Linux distros but certainly not all the parts people consider the OS are all GNU. Stallman doesn't just get all he wants because he says so.


0 Votes

You take what you need, you contribute what you want. And it's wonderful.


The concept of free open sourced software is the closest thing to communism/anarchism that ever existed on large scale anywhere in the modern world.


You should read some thick philosophy books before discussing such topics.


0 Votes

You are just bitter. I'm surprised you were allowed to.publish this.


0 Votes

"But look at the way things are going: 47% of our population pays no taxes at all while the top 1% of earners pays 38% of the taxes collected. The top 5% pay almost 60% of the taxes. "


I don't know where you are getting these numbers but supposing they are true then this is simply the outcome not of socialistic policy but of capitalistic greed.


The current world course is not of greater socialism but greater centralization of wealth and greater accumulation of capital in fewer hands.


As more people fall into poverty they pay less taxes and as greater wealth is accumulated by a top 1% to 5% of the population then of course they pay greater taxes, they also own and control greater amounts of a nations wealth and resources, and will continue to only to accumulate even greater amounts of wealth.


You are too far gone into your republican cultured mindset so quit trying to dirty the Linux OS and Free Software with it.


0 Votes

Hey, you folks who think you're being sucked dry by the poor; you folks who think 'socialism' is draining motivation from the masses:


Consider for a moment whether you would bother to care for your parent, sibling, child or spouse if they are unable to earn a living on their own. I'm guessing, in general, the answer is yes. The only difference between what you are feeling for your family and what 'socialism' manifests for the citizenry is how big is the family.


Have a compassionate day.


0 Votes

Helping your family and friends or strangers in need through charity is a wonderful and blessed thing. I encourage it. But having government take from the rich to give to the poor is wrong and evil. It's theft, pure and simple.


Yes, I believe in temporary safety nets for those who have stumbled or were dealt an unfair blow; but temporary is the operative word. It's to help them get by until they've regained their footing. But cradle to grave entitlements are wrong and are bankrupting countries that operate under that system.


Sure, some of the rich came by their wealth by no effort of their own through inheritance for example, some others or companies may have performed illegal or immoral deeds to gain theirs, but most earn their money through hard honest work. Why is it right to take their money and give it away just because they have it? Don't the rich have rights too?


Self-reliance and self-discipline made our country great. But those who want government to not only take care them but also tell them what to do will diminish our country and push it to insolvency like several European countries have experienced in the last couple of years.


We can see what central government planning has accomplished in the US:


Inflation of food, clothing, energy; everything

Weaker dollar

downgraded national credit rating outlook

looming bond crisis

historically slow recovery from recession

persistent high unemployment

soaring health care costs, doctor shortages

lower standard of living

small businesses going bankrupt while big banks and cronies get richer

decreased national security

increased privacy invasion

decreased civil and personal rights

rejected rule of law

greatly divided nation, hatred, violence

class and race warfare


Socialism ain't working out so well for us in the US.


0 Votes

Oh, Susan, you are just showing how little you know about your own country again; you mindlessly repeat what some Republican demagogue told you because it corresponds to some gut-feeling you have.


As I happen to know quite a thing or two about comparative politics let me educate you a little.


1) The U. S. doesn' t have centralised government planning. The US has one of the weakest central governments in the world; it cannot do a thing without the senate, i.e. the state level. Foreign policy and defense is pretty much all that the president really can monopolise.

2) "Socialism ain't working out so well for us in the US." These words of yours leave me wondering -- do you think centralised government planning - which you don't have - equals socialism, or do you think that your country has ever had a socialist system - which it never had.


Do you even know that socialism describes a system of government and an economical system that are completely alien to your countries system?


Do you yourself know that you have no idea what socialism and are you on purpose calling politics which I would have a hard time calling 'liberal' as 'socialist'? Or do you honestly believe that (not even) four years of a less hard-ass conservative governmet have turned your country into a socialist state?


Well, as I see it, the US are politically hopelessly backward; firstly because its political system with senate and president canceling each other out produces an almost permanent political stalemate in which none of that 'change' that Obama promised can ever truly happen, secondly much of the US middle class (e.g. you) are blaming the lower-income, less-well off classes for their own economical downhill-trip, instead of thinking reasonably and trying to repair that broken economical and political system of yours.


Your fear will be your undoing. And fear (and resulting hatred) are what I hear out of your words. I thank my lucky star each day that I don't live in the US and thus can still have some hope for change.


0 Votes

Marc, I hear ya. But the US hasn't been a true free market capitalist system since the establishment of the Fed. But yes, in the last few years it has been under constant attack and the current administration through regulation and executive order besides the new health care law have taken over or begun to take over almost every area of our economy (and daily life).


The senate was neutralized a 1/2 century ago. Senators are no longer appointed by the state but elected in popular elections like representatives. That was one of the first major blows to our divided government system and took states' rights almost completely out of the loop. Otherwise, the new health care law probably never would have passed.


Socialism being alien: which is probably why it isn't working as well as some might think it should. We have a hybrid. I mean look at the health care law for example. It's a bunch of rules that insurance companies, providers, and patients have to follow. Every citizen is told to buy insurance and what kind of insurance. If they can't afford it, they can sign up to let the government pay for it. Insurance companies are being told what kind of insurance to offer and what and who they can or can not cover. Doctors are being told what procedures they can and can not perform and what drugs they can and can not use under the guise of cost saving. Doctor are even being told what they can and can not charge for services. Agencies are being set up to determine more and more of these rules, but it's a layer of socialism over our current system. This will not work they way it was advertised.


Our country has heavy heavy socialistic subsystems that are going to weigh us down. I would love someone to fix it. How about abolishing the Fed and getting back on the gold standard? That'd be a great start. Over-regulating every aspect of society will smother it.


Educate me then: socialism isn't the government owning or regulating every aspect of life, business, economics including the personal finances of its citizens - such as taking excessive amounts of taxes from the rich to give out to everyone else? In other words, the government being in complete control of everything under the guise of "helping the disadvantaged?"


Fear!? You betcha. I harbor no hatred. But it was our Constitution that allowed this country to become great. Throwing it out the door will be its destruction.


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Again: You are completely wrong in your usage of the term 'socialist'; please, please, please, read at least the Wikipedia entry. You mean probably mean 'social' where you write 'socialist'.


Your government is definitely NOT regulating every aspect of life. If your government were any smaller it wouldn't be there at all.


Your idea of a good state is apparently one that isn't there. A 'state of affairs' where the strong survive, the weak perish - unless a rich person happens to feel like handing out pittances.


Yes, certainly that would make things alright. As far as I recall such a system actually existed in 19th century England. Yes, it was the glad old days of unregulated free-market economy and proud self-reliance of every citizen, the heyday of child-labour and good, hard-working Christians beating their servants. This would have been your dream-country, the land of the free, where no-one was forced to buy a health-insurance and nearly half of all funerals in London were for children under the age of ten.


You could really do what you wanted (except for being gay, of course), you had the gold standard and no government smothering any aspect of society - they could all die unmolested by the government, unless their presence troubled the peace of mind of those parts of society that were wealthy enough to matter, of course.


In simple words: Susan, you are politically absolutely clueless and on no good path to ever change that. Please, if you must think about politics, do it silently.


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Come on Marc, that's a bit extreme isn't. I didn't say completely unregulated. Many are useful and desired. But over-regulation is as dangerous as none. Yes, limited government but not none.


Apparently your idea of our government is a little behind the times. Perhaps you should read up on what's been happening lately - since 9/11 really, but last couple of years especially. I think you are the one that doesn't know about recent politics.


Yep, silently. Typical. If I don't agree with your position, then I should just shut up. Where have we heard that before? ..and here I was thought we were having a civil conversation.


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@ cvrc


"You take what you need, you contribute what you want."

Not quite if you release the binary of modified code many of the licenses require you to submit the source code changes. Also as such that you take what you need you are also taking the time (or have already spent time) learning said software thus also investing in said software. An often forgotten cost in these realms.


"The concept of free open sourced software is the closest thing to communism/anarchism that ever existed on large scale anywhere in the modern world." This is a contradictive statement. Communism and Anarchism are almost as opposite as can be. And neither is anywhere near reality.


In the aspect of Communism it most certainly is not. You are not forced to use any particular software. I could switch from KDE to Gnome or vice versa if I wanted to.


In the aspect of anarchism it is most certainly not. You are not forcing away all head programmers of projects. Political structures in projects tend to exist. Each project has its own what could be considered a government of a sort. Which like it or not seem to be capitalistic. Ones that contribute more are usually considered more important to the project and have more say about the direction of the software.


I suggest you read less and use your mind more. You might learn something from pure logic. ;-)


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Common misnomer: Rich pay taxes


This is simply untrue. Rich usually own enough to make decisions on pricing of products. If they have an amount they want to make after taxes they take the amount they want plus the figured taxes. So raising the taxes on the rich doesn't raise the tax on the rich it raises it on every one else. We are F**ked no matter how you set taxes.


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What is killing us.


Patents and copyrights. (Hey how about that something I mostly agree with Stallman on.)


They restrict the capitalist system from working itself out. I can see the need for a patent or copyright for a while but the current time is way way too long. Its way too easy to get a patent now a days look at the current mess. This is what we should be fighting with are votes but I hear no candidates out there fighting for us. Lawyers make money from both sides and where do most candidates come from hmmm.


Nothing eats innovation and progression like patents and copyrights.


I personally believe they should expire in 5 yrs. This would allow the capitalist system to grow on better competition and lower product costs. No company would be able to get away with stagnant costs of antiquated technology.


I'm not sure of the effects this would have on open source technology.

If a copyright was only good for five years that would mean they could copy the software after 5 years as well and consider it free of any licensing? I'm not sure because I'm no lawyer. But 5 year old linux is lacking on current tech that linux wouldn't have to worry about this too much right?


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You see how powerful (and ignorant) the popular socialist machine is, Linton? This perfectly true and accurate five paragraph statement is met with anger and utter nonsense. They even spewed the most radically uninformed stereotypes of the epoch: the people of the U.S. are stupid, and Republicans are evil. They couldn't help themselves. As it is, GNU+Linux/open-source anything is most definitely a political thing. Susan Linton is right; those who would distort its promise to support their personal love affair with inherently totalitarian systems must be weeded out before they kill it.


This schism has been brewing for a long time because Stallman and others are fans of nationalizing everything, as if these ridiculous positive schemes have anything to do with the simple negative assertion that people have a right to productive knowledge and a right to reproduce what they've figure out.


I'm so glad you've come out on the right side, Linton.


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Tying it all together.

One thing I see as erroneous is the definition of communism seems to be a moving target just so that you can't pinpoint what it really is. It starts off in the wikipedia entry about classless nonsense but isn't there a leader or a dictator? Really their is no way to have a classless system this is purely an idea then and not reality. Too be fair so are almost all ideas on government.

I'd say our democratically elected republic seems dead on from what I understand of that definition. Even with representatives we don't like, it still is a democratically elected republic; with some laws and policies that some are always going to disagree with. Socialism isn't a government at all; it is an economic system again with no materialization into reality same goes for many other economic systems. Capitalism is the only one that could be practiced its not because of laws and perceptions and its perceptions that make socialism impossible. Someone will always claim they are working harder or treated unfairly. Laws like patents make capitalism impossible because sooner or later all new ideas are patented under some broad concept that doesn't really deserve a patent and thus no one wants to produce a product that they have to pay royalties to many different parties.


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Wow, there's a lot of cry-baby hippies that want the government to run their lives.


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