18
   

Helen Keller...a radical socialist?

 
 
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 11:53 am
Hey guys! Quick question.

I'm reading this book called "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James W. Loewen and it says that Helen Keller was a socialist and the book makes it seem like that's a bad thing. So my question is what exactly is a socialist? Like, what are their beliefs? And before someone says "Google it", I have. I still don't get it...
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 18 • Views: 6,227 • Replies: 57

 
Rockhead
 
  4  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 11:59 am
@GracieGirl,
socialists believe in the betterment of the whole group over that of individuals, gracie.

hellen keller rocked.

welcome back...
GracieGirl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 12:10 pm
@Rockhead,
Oh okay! Thanks Rockhead!
I get that part but what kind of stuff do socialists do to make that happen?

Yeah, she was awesome. Smile

Rockhead
 
  3  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 12:13 pm
@GracieGirl,
socialism in the US is more of a mindset than a movement.

the communists gave it a bad aroma...

and the republicans use the term to slander democrats.
GracieGirl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 12:19 pm
@Rockhead,
Okay. Thanks!
wmwcjr
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 08:06 pm
@GracieGirl,
I, too, say, Welcome back! Very Happy I was afraid you wouldn't come back.
Atom Blitzer
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 08:37 pm
@GracieGirl,
There are many types but generally being a socialist is about having group orgies everyday and they plan to achieve this goal by butchering the greater part of the human populous who are opposed to them because we all know know that it will not be likely to convert all people to their criminal element of their vehemently obtuse creed.

0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 08:40 pm
wut?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 08:49 pm
Gracie, ignore atom.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 08:51 pm
@GracieGirl,
I agree with Rockhead on that. Things are naturally more complicated and interesting.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 08:53 pm
@ossobuco,
Of course you can regard atom, but he is a provocateur.
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 09:36 pm
@GracieGirl,
GracieGirl wrote:
Hey guys! Quick question.

I'm reading this book called "Lies My Teacher Told Me" by James W. Loewen and it says that Helen Keller was a socialist and the book makes it seem like that's a bad thing. So my question is what exactly is a socialist? Like, what are their beliefs? And before someone says "Google it", I have. I still don't get it...


I can't believe the answers you've gotten so far on this. I might tag this "history" so it'll draw the attention of people who can give better answers.


But anyway:

Socialism is a form of government and economy where the government runs all the businesses.

Socialism used to be the economic system of the Soviet Union, who were our implacable enemies and were really quite a threat to us. Because of that, some people see it as verging on evil.

In reality though, it is just an economic system, neither good nor evil. However, socialism probably isn't the best way to run an economy (no capitalism = no iPhone). But all economic systems have serious drawbacks to them. Nothing's perfect.

Socialism tends to be favored by people on the far left, so people who want to demonize people on the left will often call them socialists. The truthfulness of the charge varies based on who is being accused.
Rockhead
 
  3  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2012 11:25 pm
@oralloy,
you're a hoot, smart guy...

why don't you just give a better answer?

you just kinda rearranged what had already been stated, and put a right wing spin on it...
Walter Hinteler
 
  7  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 02:14 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

Socialism is a form of government and economy where the government runs all the businesses.

Socialism used to be the economic system of the Soviet Union, who were our implacable enemies and were really quite a threat to us. Because of that, some people see it as verging on evil.
Socialism roots in the scripts of Thomas Moorus (Saint Thomas). It was then developed during the French revolution, got later several national "branches".
Marx and Engels 'adjusted' socialism towards communism.
The communism in the USSR was called "real existing socialism" = their description of communism.

In European countries, we still have quite a few "socialist" governments, by the democratic kind of socialism, called "social democratic".


Many churches follow another kind of socialism, called "Christian socialism".


The economic system which we have got after the 2nd world war by the conservatives is called 'social market economy', which is a mixture of a bit capitalism with a lot of socialism.

I don't think that you can explain socialism in a few sentences.
Thomas
 
  5  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 04:07 am
@GracieGirl,
I think the American Heritage Dictionary gets it right in its first definition of "socialism":

Quote:
so·cial·ism n. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

It's not your fault you don't understand the word "socialism", because it doesn't stand for any one coherent thing. For example, every country in the world today has a "socialist" (read: government-run) army. All developed countries in the world, except the US, have more-or-less socialist health care systems. But some countries, North Korea for example, have taken the idea to an extreme and abolished almost all private property. Socialism is a matter of degree. And most political ideologies call for some amount of socialistic institutions in society --- including some ideologies whose adherents would fervently deny having anything to do with socialism.

While I haven't read Lies My Teacher Told Me, I guess that the tone of indignation you hear comes from an appeal to extreme cases of socialism such as North Korea and Cuba, which have indeed turned into hellholes because of (too much) socialism. Some people on the political right use those extreme, tyrannical cases to smear moderate, democratic socialists, the kind that just wants universal health care and strong labor unions.

So why is socialism a bad thing? It isn't --- at least not in the dosage you're likely to find in Western democracies. I don't know if Helen Keller's socialism went beyond that or not.
oralloy
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 04:07 am
@Rockhead,
Rockhead wrote:
you're a hoot, smart guy...

why don't you just give a better answer?


I did. But that doesn't mean that the thread wouldn't benefit from other serious answers.

My explanation was short, straightforward, and to the point, but longer and more complex answers from people with in-depth knowledge of socialism might also be useful.



Rockhead wrote:
you just kinda rearranged what had already been stated,


If there were previous statements in the thread about governments controlling businesses, I must have missed them.



Rockhead wrote:
you just kinda rearranged what had already been stated, and put a right wing spin on it...


Not really. So far as I can tell, I am the first here to explain that socialism means the government being in charge of businesses.

That is what socialism really means isn't it?

What rightwing spin? The fact that we wouldn't have iPhones without capitalism??? That's the truth.
Walter Hinteler
 
  6  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 05:06 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
So far as I can tell, I am the first here to explain that socialism means the government being in charge of businesses.

That is what socialism really means isn't it?
'Socialism' is a Latin borrowing, from socialis (and that's from socius ["associated, allied, companion, ally] plus -alis).

Btw: Pufendorf and the followers of his ideas were called 'socialists' in 18th century Germany ... Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson read him and utilised his ideas "as they formulated the political thought of the new Republic".....
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 05:10 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
Not really. So far as I can tell, I am the first here to explain that socialism means the government being in charge of businesses.

That is what socialism really means isn't it?

Yes, it is. You are right on this point, and Rockhead was wrong about the history of this thread. While I often disagree with you, I would prefer it if correspondents criticized you for what you actually said, not for what they imagined you to be saying.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 07:02 am
Socialists are largely responsible for the fact that women now have the right to vote in the US.

On the other hand, they did write a very nice pledge.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Fri 7 Sep, 2012 07:25 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
So why is socialism a bad thing? It isn't --- at least not in the dosage you're likely to find in Western democracies. I don't know if Helen Keller's socialism went beyond that or not.

Apparently not. What made Keller a member of the "radical left" was her activism for women's right to vote and workers' right to organize. She also campaigned for civil rights in general. (She was one of the ACLU's founders.) Biography.com has an informative summary of what Keller was all about.

www.biography.com/people/helen-keller-9361967

Allow me to turn this into a teachable moment. Gracie, do you notice how history has generally vindicated Heller's views? And do you notice how she got belittled for her radicalism in her early life? The same could be happening to putative radicals today. So don't pay attention to labels like "radical", "extremist", "far left" etc. Focus on content instead. When extremists are wrong, you can oppose them for being wrong, just as you can oppose anybody else for that reason. And when extremists are right, they're right. Either way, the fact they're extremist adds no useful insight.
 

Related Topics

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, EVERYONE! - Discussion by OmSigDAVID
WIND AND WATER - Discussion by Setanta
Who ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall? - Discussion by Walter Hinteler
True version of Vlad Dracula, 15'th century - Discussion by gungasnake
ONE SMALL STEP . . . - Discussion by Setanta
History of Gun Control - Discussion by gungasnake
Where did our notion of a 'scholar' come from? - Discussion by TuringEquivalent
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Helen Keller...a radical socialist?
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 12/04/2021 at 08:49:58