So, this ‘dipshit with a psych degree’ is going to write a rebuttal to an apparent note that I inspired on the part of an aspiring attorney. But first, some background: a friend of mine tagged me in a comment to a link that you can read here. This link has to do with healthcare, and you can read it on your own time. What’s important is that I found myself disagreeing with this aspiring attorney’s perspective that the ACA is socialized healthcare – which we’ll tackle later (initial thought:). What you should take away from this introduction is simply that he and I responded to one another for a little while. He brought up Stalin, and China, and North Korea, and rejected my mixed economic argument in favor of Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway), and I told him that post hoc ergo propter hoc was his error in full. He called me a socialist, and I called him arrogant, it was a delightful conclusion to such a conversation. Anyway, this note that he wrote is about 620 words long, and I will respond to it in sections (after I read it:  ). It begins with:
“I just had some dipshit with a psych degree(no offense all you fine psychologists out there) try to tell me that it’s logically flawed to draw a correlation between socialism and the shortcomings of the Soviet Union, communist china, and North Korea, because it was a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument. (Essentially the heater has been broken since you moved in-> therefore you must be the cause of it’s malfunction.) he seriously believed that their troubles had to be attributed to outside factors because and I quote “real socialism” provides superior education, innovation, etc. let’s all ignore the elephant in the room here… But socialism by definition is an idealistic, impossible, utopian society.”
There’s a lot to take in here, but this is the first part of his note. Let’s first discuss post ho ergo propter hoc. This is Latin for “after this, therefore because of this.” Another derivation of this is cum hoc ergo propter hoc, which means “with this, therefore because of this.” Post hoc suggests a consequence: Event B followed event A which must mean that A caused B. Cum hoc says that because A occurs with B (correlation), then A must cause B. Unlike post hoc, sequence doesn’t matter because A and B happen simultaneously.   
Yes, this aspiring attorney’s argument is flawed in drawing a correlation between socialism and the shortcomings of the Soviet Union, Communist China, and North Korea. In effect, his overall argument suffers from either a post hoc or an cum hoc fallacy, if not both, simultaneously. In presuming that socialism is the correlative, or even the cause for the downfall of the U.S.S.R., as well as the problems associated with China, and North Korea, he narrow mindedly generalizes each revolution, and the many complex circumstances revolving around them. He trivializes the differences, in fact, and presumes that it must be the same everywhere. Still, he makes clear the level of his own understanding by making such a bold presumption, that being pretty small. If this is any indication of his worldview then it is no surprise why he would be offended, or unclear why a white male would put so much energy into white man’s denial of hate crimes, or, as he put it “asinine non sensical concepts.” We’ll touch on that later. Regardless, his tenacity is admirable, except that he’s gripping onto non-factual information and creating causal relationships where only correlations exist through coincidental means.
Another way to put this: he’s a reductionist. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this term, it’s a label for a philosophical outlook that attempts to turn complex realities into single factor causal phenomena towards a specific outcome. His use of the U.S.S.R. is a wonderful example of a reductive mindset. He presumes that the Soviet Union, in all of its actual and perceived complexity, is the sum of the parts as it pertains specifically to Socialism which would conclude with socialism being the obvious cause for the failure of the overall system. This perspective allows him to point towards Stalin (Soviet), Mao Zedong (China), and Kim Il-Sung (Korea) as examples without, in his mind, undermining his overall argument. Never mind the fact that his argument derailed a long time ago.
Before I can continue on with this analysis, the first flaw in his argument, seemingly unbeknownst to him, is that he’s using socialism and communism interchangeably. He’s making an argument against socialism by using examples of communism. His second flaw, which derives from the first, is the apparent lack of any real understanding between the two as there are quite a number of stark differences. His third flaw, which is a natural progression from the second, is that any person who has ever done any real time investigating political theory, and thusly communism, would inevitably arrive at the sad conclusion that communism has never truly existed.
If my opponent had spent any time reading history, or anything by Marx and Engels, he might well know that a particular component of any communist country requires that their political system be stateless. That’s right, it’s akin to anarchy, really. There’s no state, there’s no leader. Everything is run by the people as a collective whole, a unit, with a shared common understanding and goal. This was not, has not, nor will it ever be, the Soviet Union, North Korea, or China. This lingering fact, for me, means that they aren’t really communists. To my opponent, and seemingly to many others who still have a 1950’s mentality towards this political approach, this means nothing, and if it means anything, it must mean to them that what we’ve witnessed must be the true version – which is both sad, and false.
Continuing on, a fundamental component of the transition between Capitalism, Socialism, and eventually to Communism was that it all happened naturally. This is important, and cannot be ignored. Marx and Engels spent their lives studying the rise and fall of societies, and they saw a pattern – causal in some respects, between Economic Determinism, Base and Super Structures, and the Class Struggles between the bourgeoisie (rulers) and the proletariat (wage laborers).  Militant Marxists broke off and attempted to ‘hasten’ class struggles by doing so. However, there were also Marxists, the revisionists, who didn’t believe that a violent take over was the proper route, and instead wanted to ‘fix’ capitalism, but through peaceful intervention, i.e., being elected to political offices. Still, other Marxists didn’t believe that Russia met the preconditions necessary for a revolution of any kind to be successful.
One cannot fully understand the manifestation of the Soviet Union without understanding the various movements prior to it, and dating back to 1850; any attempt to do so undermines the very complex nature of its birth, and ultimately avoids the context to why the version that we saw wasn’t anywhere close to Marxist Communism.
In sum: the mid 1800’s was an important time for the East (in contrast to the West, or the U.S.). In 1848 was the Spring of Nations, effectively there were revolutions in France, Germany, Poland, Italy, and the Austrian Empire. A major figure during this time was Mikhail Bakunin, an opponent to Marxism (he didn’t think that it could work because he figured there would be a ruling class over the proletariat – and he was correct).  Regardless, he was a proponent for the violent overthrow of government and thusly imprisoned because of it. Following this was Narodniki between 1850 and 1880, which brings about Alexander Herzen, who didn’t believe that the proletariat needed to be instigators of change, and instead rallied college students. This didn’t work too well, and the movement split into two movements Narodina Volya (“People’s Will,” they assassinated the tsar in 1881), and Chernyi Peredel (“Black Repartition” who thoroughly disagreed with terrorism and a violent approach). Later was a character by the name of Georgi Plekhanov who founded the first Russian Marxist group which would later become the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) in 1898. Lenin would later lead the Bolshevik (Russian for majority) overthrow of the provisional government. This is important information because there was another party, the Mensheviks (Russian for minority). These two parties differed in that Lenin believed that a very small, well organized group, was best for the movement, whereas the opposition (later the Mensheviks) believed that membership should be broad. The formal split occurred in 1912. 
Lenin took Marxist thought and subsequently tried to spark a revolution. This was the death knell, in my opinion, to his whole movement. To be clear, I am suggesting, and I reckon history would be on my side, to suggest that Russia simply wasn’t ready, or ripe, for a revolution, and if it was, it certainly wasn’t ready for a communist revolution. He broke from traditional Marxist thought and interpreted dictatorship of the proletariat to mean that a single ruling party should instead be the determining factor of when to transform from a socialist state to a communist state. In effect, genuine Marxism never came to power in Russia, because every revolution prior to it was sparked by angry college kids, pro-anarchists who had trouble persuading conservative poor people into believing that they were slaves. Every revolution to this point required the forcing of a revolution through violent overthrow in the absence of preconditions, and Lenin wasn’t any different.
When Lenin died, he made it very clear that he didn’t want Stalin to succeed him – why? Because he knew Stalin was crazy. Alas, Stalin became the leader, and thus we have the example of the Soviet Union that everyone seems to love to hate. An integral aspect of Stalinism is rapid industrialization which was specifically tailored for the progression towards communism. If the revolution had happened upon a natural progression as Marx and Engels had argued, rapid industrialization wouldn’t have been necessary. A part of this was collectivization. Effectively, what Stalin created was a second serfdom, or such the process was perceived as, and for good reason because by 1940 over 90% of the farms were owned by the government where crops were taken for very little payment, it resembled the 1860’s all over again.
So, to sum that up, every revolution that occurred on the basis of Marxism, and Anarchism (which, though inspired by Marxist thought, rejected the notion of it in the end), were split between violent overthrow or all inclusion, natural progression, or forced revolution. The Mensheviks were more in line with Marxist natural progression and preconditioning. Still, Anarchist critiques were accurate in assuming that the revolution would only lead to a single party ruling class, which was no better than Tsarist Russia, or their critiques of the bourgeoisie. In effect, Marx inspired Lenin, who inspired Stalin. Stalinism, and Leninism, natural progressions of one another, are what we perceived as Socialism, and Communism – neither of which are present, or accurate representations. Communism has never truly existed. (My thought/expression following all of this:).
Moving on, North Korea is a particularly fascinating example to use considering that Kim Il-sung and Hwang Jang-yop largely rejected Marxist-Leninist thought, having removed all references of this perspective from the subsequent constitution in 1972 following the revolution. By 2009, all references to communism were thusly removed as well. These rejections stem as far back as 1955. Regardless, what was officially written was a manifesto on Juche.  Still, North Korea is far more nationalistic than what a truly communist state would look like. They also have adopted a military-first approach, which is also a bit contrary to far-left thoughts. Still, North Korea doesn’t necessarily follow along with all of the Juche principles either if one were to read the writings on the concept. It’s really a piece defining Korean Socialism, which is, by and large, very different from Marxist-Leninist quasi-communism, and Socialist thought. 
Korean Socialism is a vastly different taste to Soviet Socialism (in whatever capacity that became), and especially different to the mixed usage of it in Europe, and most certainly different from American “socialism.” And still, the brands of Communism are also very different.
Both Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin were anti-revisionists, i.e., they were critical of official communist parties and didn’t believe that they were revolutionary enough (which is kind of amusing if you think about it). They critiqued Khrushchev and Trotsky. Leon Trotsky was an orthodox Marxist and a Bolshevik who initially disagreed with various components of Lenin’s thought, but eventually joined after realizing that there was no unifying the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.  
On the matter of China, Mao Zedong and his twerk on Marxist thought became known as Maoism. Despite many valid critiques of Zedong, particularly human rights violations and democide (act of government killing someone), there was a lot of useful modernization that came about under Zedong, including a higher life expectancy and healthcare. In any case, Mao, similarly to Kim Il-Sung, adopted Chinese culture and applied to Marxism. Juche and Maoism implemented very strong cultural and nationalistic principles to their versions of Marxist thought. There are various departures that cannot be ignored. In other words, each brand of socialism and communism are overwhelmingly shaped by respective geography and culture. 
Having said what I’ve said, I whole heartedly believe that the troubles related to North Korea and the Soviet Union were by and large related to many other circumstances, and not at all tied to socialism in the manner being projected. There’s an inordinate amount of evidence to agree with my perspective, whereas none has been given on my opponents part other than baseless radical rhetoric. I suspect that none will be given on his part so long as he continues to provide examples of quasi-communism, and not actually socialism, and maintains a reductionist attitude to political-economic systems.
Soviet Communism is overwhelmingly distinct from Chinese and Korean Communism because of many reasons, but there are some similarities. One particular similarities is that Mao and Kim focused on their country, and respective problems, and in many ways departed from Marxist ideology that required a global revolution on the part of the proletariat (Leon Trotsky’s permanent revolution) by keeping it internal. This is known as socialism in one country, and was largely a theory developed by Stalin. One difference however was Stalin’s idea of capitalist encirclement. This idea basically suggested that because Russia was surrounded by hostile capitalists that it required the collectivization of agriculture and forced development of industry. This was in order to build socialism. This gives Soviet Communism much of its taste, especially under Stalin.
See, the eventual downfall of the Soviet Union really does lie in Anarchist, Menshevik, and Revisionist critiques – the reason Communism failed was multi-faceted: it didn’t meet preconditions, they forced a revolution by attempting to build a precondition (socialism) and yet build a communist state (which is supposed to be stateless) simultaneously. In order to reach a communist state it must be a global affair. Socialism is democratic in nature, whereas the method in which communism was manifested was totalitarian, dictatorial, and contrary to socialism in principle. In fact, the way that communism was implemented was contrary to Marx’ vision of actual communism. Basically, it was a good ‘ole fashioned socio-political clusterfuck. One could simplify the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 by simply saying that it fell because Gorbachev introduced actual democracy and freedom – components to socialism, that without, will fail and thusly becomes not socialism. Another way to look at it is that Russia sparked a revolution before one was necessary, and instead made it necessary to have another revolution in order to get freedom back. They revolutionized revolution and painted it red. Gorbachev brought socialism which in effect destroyed the communist state – of course, he did it the correct way (this is putting it in a strange way, forgive me if you don’t understand).
Another reason for the downfall of these three examples goes back to socialism in one country. This principle stems from being highly nationalistic, not receiving assistance from capitalist enemies. So, what can you imagine led to the downfall? First, China has been growing as an economic powerhouse for many years, and much of that credit goes to Deng Xiaoping. After Mao died, Deng, a Marxist, modified the Chinese political system to a mix of socialist principles as advocated by Marx and Zedong, while also implanting free-market principles. China has since grown, overwhelmingly, and substantially increased the standard of living (in contrast to being under Zedong). When 1991 came around, and the Soviet Union collapsed, which left North Korea basically stranded with no powerful allies. Standing alone, North Korea could not maintain political and economic isolation – which Stalinist principles require. 
In effect, as communist states, they did not collapse because of socialism, but more than likely the absence of it as a precondition to revolution. Any version of socialism that did exist was a bastardized version, and can hardly be called socialism. They collapsed because of strongly implanted Stalinist principles of isolationism, that once made impossible to maintain, had to be abandoned. And to that end, China adopted free market principles and meshed it with socialism – which is why it has grown to be so successful. To suggest that socialism was the causing factor in any of their failures severely disregards history, political and economic theory, and the ultimate evolution of Marxist thought that drove each of these revolutions. Footnote 39 is a good source to read. Still, one of the many reasons for such a descent into totalitarianism is because the revolutions were maintained by minorities, when Marx, Engels, and Trotsky understood the danger in concentrated power dynamics. They called for the rule of the working class, not a totalitarian and dictatorial minority – which is exactly what Soviet Russia, China under Zedong, and North Korea under Kim became.
Socialism, by definition, isn’t impossible, nor is it idealistic, nor is it even Utopian – it’s practical. By definition, it’s actually an economic system whereupon the means of production are controlled by social ownership. Social ownership can mean state, citizen, common, or a combination of these. In fact, socialism has many flavors. The European Democratic Socialists are the not the same as Cuban, North Korean, or even Soviet socialists, as there are very strong differences between all of these. Any person with decent observation skills can tell the differences, never mind someone who’s read the actual manifestos (yes, I’m referring to myself). I don’t have time to explain in depth these differences, suffice to say, again, that socialism has many flavors and applications.
At this point, I should explain some of those differences. Socialism, in sum, is basically watered down capitalism (I admit, this is sort of a reductive way of expressing the differences). Within a socialist economy, class distinctions still exist, profit is still an important component but distributed differently, freedom of religion exists, there are multiple parties within the political system, people can still earn more money than their respective counterparts within the labor market, the means of production is typically controlled by the workers, government regulation is necessary, private property still exists, healthcare and education are provided freely, laws are only made to protect people, change is nonviolent or political in nature.
In contrast to communism, there are no classes, everyone is given equal shares from labor, there is no state, no leader (never happened), revolves around a culture of overthrowing the upper class, government (or the people) controls all business, there is no private property, free choice is supposed to exist (though this hasn’t happened, and instead the state tells you what you can and cannot believe or do), all members are considered equal (in theory), religion is abolished, profit is not an issue because everyone gets an equal share.
To use socialism and communism as interchangeable terms is the same as using apple and orange as interchangeable terms. Socialism is more like a granny smith apple to capitalism which is a red delicious. That is, of course, if we wanted to compare the three ideas to fruit, and even in doing that, capitalism has many differences to socialism, and should not be used interchangeably with socialism.
In the conversation that lead to such inspiration, my opponent stated:
“Stalin did it because the dissenters were hogging all the hope and change. It’s the key ingredient in socialist superiority, and unicorns.”
What he’s referring to is another person’s point that many people were killed off in the Soviet Union. This is true. I would not feel that this rebuttal is complete without acknowledging this statement. First, it presumes that all socialists are violent. Second, it presumes that all communists are violent. This may seem a stretch for the weak minded folks out there, but after the long winded explanation above, and my opponent’s incessant belief that socialists and communists are the same, it’s not hard to see why I would arrive there.
First, many socialists, as I mentioned above, didn’t believe in violent overthrow of the government, and many examples exist today, in many countries, that follow along with this particularly more effective method of political change. Second, not all communists are violent. In fact, Karl Marx acknowledged that peaceful means are possible, he also understood the need for force. Socialists, like any revolutionary, understands the necessity of bearing arms against a tyrannical government.
Still, my opponent relegates socialism to nothing more than totalitarianism in the same breadth that he presumes it’s the same as communism. Stalin didn’t have Trotsky assassinated because Stalin was a socialist (which I would argue that he wasn’t), he had Trotsky assassinated because he was a critic of Stalin, and disagreed with much of how Stalin was handling things. Being a socialist had nothing to do with it. Socialism in order to reach communism was what was being fought for, it didn’t make people intrinsically violent, much the same way that American Revolutionaries bore arms to fight for a concept of liberty against a repressive regime did not make them violent – violence was a mode of revolution necessary at the time. Not that I think any of these countries were ready for socialist and communist revolutions. Still, Soviet Russia had a strong cult of personality going on. The education system, propaganda, everything that you can think of essentially brain washed people into believing the cause. In a truly global, natural progression of socialism, such a method would not be necessary.
Shifting now to other matters relevant to this rebuttal:
“…because and I quote “real socialism” provides superior education, innovation, etc….”
The context that he’s making is a little different from what I said, in which he is referring to. What I originally said was:
“Never mind the fact that countries with, albeit “real” socialism, happen to have higher levels of equality, higher education outcomes due to higher rates of innovation, mixed with capitalism, of course.”
That’s pretty important. Genuine socialism has the quality of being democratic, and having freedom of speech, and religion, etc. Still, in socialist states education and healthcare are paid for via high taxes. As for education, according to the recent PISA results (Program for International Student Assessment) that found that we did worse than the last assessment in 2009. Now, 29 nations are better at mathematics, 22 countries are better at science, and 19 are better at reading. Of the countries that are doing better than we are (which, we rank at 36th overall), are Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Finland, Canada, Ireland, Poland, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, France, Norway, and several cities in China, such as Shanghai and Hong Kong which ranked 1st and 2nd respectively. To our benefit, Connecticut and Massachusetts scores pretty well off, whereas Florida did poorer than the global average. 
There are arguments and perspectives that propose that education and innovation have a correlative and reciprocal relationship. Education drives innovation, but when there’s little room for innovation, education decreases. It’s obviously more complex than that, but it’s not entirely farfetched. Countries like China, Italy, and various other countries that are catching up to the U.S. with respect to education scores are doing really well off, and much of that is tied to innovation, and market economies.
With respect to healthcare, the United States spends almost twice the OECD average on healthcare. Interestingly, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, New Zealand all spend above average, but not by much. The Netherlands spends 12% of its GDP on health, and is the second highest to the U.S. which spends 17.6% of GDP, whereas Japan, Norway, Island, Australia, Finland, South Korea, Poland, and Estonia fall below average. And what do we really have to show for it? Well, if life expectancy is a measure of quality than we rank 33rd.
While homogeneity is a valid reason for some of the variation in costs, expenses, and the capacity to sustain strong welfare nets, that is only a small part of a vast explication. Reducing the entire reason behind its success to homogeneity is ignorant. In fact, ignoring the fact that places like the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, etc., that have very mixed economic systems that are running successfully completely demerits the socialism as a viable tether to free-market principles. It’s not only ignorant, it’s dangerous. Socialists understand the value of government intervention through non-violent political reformation, if that means reining in corporate greed or manipulating the economy sometimes then it is a risk that should be taken with swift accuracy and efficiency. Many countries, who are showing that everyone can receive a quality education along with quality healthcare, have mixed economic systems that implement socialist principles of welfare statism along with free market innovation and economics. Only a fool would reject socialism, either through reductionism or ignorance, or a strong combination of both. Then again, a fool would also reject the qualities that capitalism brings about. I bear resemblance to neither being the strong advocate that I am towards a mixed economic system.
This brings me to the topic of the ACA. All of this originated from a statement that said the ACA was socialist. Parts of it, sure, in principle, whereas other parts of it sort of aesthetically look socialist, there might even be a slight smell. Why would I find humor in someone suggesting that the ACA is a socialist move? Well, for one, it doesn’t give everyone healthcare. That’s basically the biggest reason. It gives many more people what might resemble affordable access via subsidies and what not, but 10 year projections are still showing at least 19 million people without insurance! Beyond that, the ACA didn’t create a government option, which meant that it left insurance plans in the hands of the corporations. The ACA forces everyone to purchase health insurance or pay a fee. On one hand that’s sort of socialist because if makes everyone pay in, on the other hand I have a hard time calling that scheme socialist absent a government option because effectively what the ACA does is force you to pay into a capitalist scheme. You’re paying a corporation, not a government. These are pretty strong differences to socialism which would have centralized healthcare into government – which, again, this didn’t do.
If this were a truly socialist scheme, I would reckon that everyone would wake up in the morning with government healthcare, and significantly higher tax rates. Obviously there would be other mechanisms in place because not everyone can afford such a hefty tax increase. So please, forgive me for not agreeing with the overrated, overstated, ignorant, and utterly false accusation that somehow the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is socialist when it does more to assist corporation gain profits than it does to create an environment of equality, access, and healthcare.
I’ll only spend a little time focusing on the last part of my opponents note. It’s amusing to me that he doesn’t understand why a white man (me) would spend energy and time focusing on a group of people such as black folks as if to suggest that they aren’t victims. Still, it’s even more amusing that an aspiring attorney would presume that all murders occur because the perpetrator “hates” the victim. Yet another post hoc ergo propter hoc assumption, depending on his definition of hate. Hate is a powerful word, and I have a hard time classifying a crime of passion as a hate crime. Still, if I shoot a man who is shooting at me, and I kill him, it wasn’t because I hated him, it was because I valued my life enough to defend my own. If a police officer kills an armed gunman in an elementary school, it isn’t because the police officer hated the gunman, it is because there’s a likely chance that if he doesn’t, others will die. Still, these are extreme circumstances and examples. A city in Iceland just experienced its first cop-shooting-death, and they mourned because of it. Hate is not a variable in every crime, and especially note murder necessarily. Let’s not trivialize hate crime, which are crimes perpetrated against a group solely for being in another group, such as the color of your skin, your nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. You aren’t marginalizing a gay man by making laws aimed at protecting him from violent people. Even still, his propensity to only refer to all kinds of murder as murder, regardless of whether it was motivated on the basis of race, sex, or sexual orientation, is fascinating to me. To him, apparently, hate crime law exists to propagate and perpetuate hate crimes and to keep minorities in a state of ‘minorityship’. His perspective undervalues the problem, in fact, it ignores it completely. It saddens me that an aspiring attorney would trivialize the very real issue of hate crimes.
Still, this is what he had to finalize his thing with:
“How are these people getting college degrees? how do they succeed at just everyday problem solving and critical thinking ? They’ve been educated stupid. They can’t see the obvious because they are so invested in some asinine theory created by some dip shit stoner doctoral candidate because he needed a novel concept and his dissertation was due in 6 months that they won’t use their common sense. It’s destroying the world. All this self righteous modern liberalism has literally brainwashed vast swaths of society into ignoring readily observable empirical evidence and asserting that reality is false because some ideal theory says so. It infuriates me.”
How did I get my degree? I earned all of my degrees through hard work, determination, and the support of friends and family. I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t infuriate me that someone would question my intelligence on the basis of a disagreement, and because, somehow, my having a master’s degree in psychology somehow divests me of valid input into any political conversation. I guess the fact that I have a bachelor’s degree in Political Science (International Relations and Pre Law), as well as Psychology doesn’t matter to him. Would it make him feel better if I told him that I won both of the mock trials that I participated in? I wonder, would it matter if he realized the extent to my knowledge, and breadth of pages read on socio-political affairs?
What really rattles my giblets is that in one fell swoop he diminishes the work, education, and intelligence of not just me, but the many professors who have led me down a path of enlightenment, the friends, the colleagues, the random homeless man on the sidewalk who always has philosophical questions to ask. But he does it in a such an arrogant fashion as if to suggest that his intellect is superior to the collective whole of my collegiate experience – and he most assuredly is not. This isn’t to suggest that his arguments aren’t valid, or devoid of merit – though much of it is from lack of proof, examples, logic, and rationale. Nor am I suggesting that my opponent is stupid, I am sure that he isn’t considering he’s nearly complete with law school, if not already finished. But, then again, I pushed aside becoming an attorney because there’s so many out there, which tells me it must not be too difficult.
What’s destroying the world, my friend, and undermining the fabric of any possible conversation that might resemble productive, is his propensity to question a person’s intelligence. That kind of arrogance is destructive. I wonder if he can even define “self righteous modern liberalism?” And what readily observable empirical evidence does he speak of? I haven’t rejected free market economics, in fact I supported them. I rejected the notion that socialism is the same as communism, because they are different, and in fact support mixed economic systems – with empirical, real life, in the present, data. What’s destroying the world is the utmost inability to see differences, to see validity in another person’s argument with or without evidence being given. What’s destroying the world is this belief that absolutism should supersede any ideology. To suggest that modern liberalism is at fault presupposed that it has no valid assumptions, and qualities – which isn’t true at all.
I apologize if I may come across as arrogant, which is defined as “having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance,” or “marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one’s superiority towards others,” as that is not the image of my intentions. The difference between myself, and presumably my opponent, is that I never enter a conversation without first emptying my proverbial tea cup. What’s there to learn if I presume I already have all of the answers, especially the “right” answers? But that’s how I tackle all philosophical, economic, and political matters. I never enter a debate without preparing for the possibility that I will be wrong. Arrogance has no place in politics. As far as I am concerned, he’s no better than Stalin in philosophic principle – attempting to destroy another person for disagreeing with him. That is not how change occurs, that is how it is prevented.
Still, my education, my qualifications, my experiences, my worldview, the color my skin, my sex, the gender roles that I choose to ascribe to, my unyielding support for moderation in politics, and my overwhelming desire to listen to 90’s music while writing about socialism, do not make me superior to anyone else. That being said, sometimes, some things that people are frankly wrong, or right – I have outlined here why I believe my opponent is wrong, with evidence.
 I don’t think that I am a dipshit. This aspiring attorney has provided this nickname for me at no cost.
 For those of you that don’t know, dipshit is defined as a foolish¸ inept, or contemptible person.
 Hesli, V.L. (2007). Governments and Politics in Russia and the Post-Soviet Region. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Pg. 15-17.
 Hesli, V.L. (2007). Pg. 19.
 Hesli, V.L. (2007). Pg. 19-22.
 Hesli, V.L. (2007). Pg. 22-24.
 Hesli, V.L. (2007). Pg. 26-31.