INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy. Continuing to use this website is acceptance of these cookies.

Socialist Humanism

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
Message
Author
phalarope
Posts: 63
Joined: February 19th, 2012, 3:35 pm

Socialist Humanism

#1 Post by phalarope » April 17th, 2012, 2:30 pm

It is fair comment to say that for the most part humanists are natural socialists, left of centre, anti-capitalist in respect of globalist exploitation, radical about equality and diversity, for the independence of small nations and for self-governance, in short close up and personal. Humanist causes are the 'right' causes because they are moral and principled.

So how come there are Tory Humanists as well as MP humanists in the warmongering HM loyal Opposition? Is it because humanism is chic and fashionable? Utterly Hampstead? Could there be envisaged a situation where politics could divide humanists or already do so? Are there right wing humanists reading this posting? [-X

stevenw888
Posts: 694
Joined: July 16th, 2010, 12:48 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#2 Post by stevenw888 » April 17th, 2012, 3:10 pm

I don't necessarily agree with your statment that most humanists are left-of-centre.
I regard myself as a humanist but don't regard myself as left-of-centre. This is because, in my opinion, humanism doesn't necessarily split down party lines.
Many Labourites (Inc Tony Blair) are very religious and take their religious beliefs very seriously.
I'm sure many Tories are atheist or humanist, even if they don't actually come out and say that they are.
Humanist beliefs are not always commensurate with socialist beliefs.
There again, they are not always commensurate with conservative beliefs.
Homeopathy is a good case in point. Homeopathy is promoted (generally speaking) by ex-hippy, left-of-centre socialists who believe that somehow "big-pharma" is not trying to cure us but only trying to get us to buy their goods. It is a left-of-centre cause. No Tory that I know (and I know quite a few) subscribes to a belief in homeopathy. Yet we humanists, who tend to only believe in things that can be proved by science, generally refute the beliefs and statments of a homeopathicist (or whatever the word is).
"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." - From the film "Top Gun"

User avatar
Tetenterre
Posts: 3244
Joined: March 13th, 2011, 11:36 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#3 Post by Tetenterre » April 17th, 2012, 4:36 pm

Phalarope, I must take issue with your first premise. I most certainly am not a socialist -- I did flirt with it for a few years, but spending two years in a socialist republic quickly cured me; I recommend that cure to anyone who thinks socialism is a good idea.

It's undoubtedly true that some humanists have socialist tendencies but, IMNSVHO, that is no more relevant than to state that some Xians have socialist tendencies
So how come there are Tory Humanists
Same way as there are Tory Xians.

Also, you seem to be dangerously close to the false dichotomy of "socialist" and "right wing".
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#4 Post by Dave B » April 17th, 2012, 5:12 pm

I would not know what side to put myself on, just so long as there is equality and justice of some kind (even if that is "firm justice"like putting a stop to benefit fraud in any legal way for the benefit of us all.)

If there is a "cherry pickers" political wing I must belong there! So I suppose I am middle of the roadish but with possibly the slightest of leans to the left. Not a socialist though.

Anarchist? If it were viable!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6522
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#5 Post by animist » April 17th, 2012, 5:44 pm

topics like this seem to me to expose the multiplex nature of humanism (at least on the basis of my experience of this forum). Atheism or at least agnosticism is at the core, and with this seems to go a distrust of non-scientific approaches to issues like healthcare, as well as scepticism towards any scientifically unorthodox "woo" like ufos or crop circles. Politically, humanists can be conservative (and certainly so in economics), though a non-doctrinaire liberalism and egalitarianism seems widespread; humanitarianism is not the same as humanism (though it misleadingly sounds similar), but it seems to be almost an integral part of it, as of course is concern for human rights, while pacifism and vegetarianism sit pretty easily within these folds. Humanists cannot really be Christians or Muslims, and certainly they cannot be fascists, racists or sexists, but nowadays I doubt that they will be Marxists either - the latter is too keen on making ends justify means.

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#6 Post by Fia » April 17th, 2012, 5:57 pm

Well said animist.

The only two ists I'd apply to myself are Humanist and Feminist. The political party I'm most in agreement with is the Greens, despite their flakiness on some issues. Are they left wing? Do those labels mean anything anymore? e.g. the SNP....
phalarope wrote:Is it because humanism is chic and fashionable?
It isn't is it? Oh no :shock: Have to rethink everything now. I've never been, nor wanted to be, chic or fashionable...

User avatar
Tetenterre
Posts: 3244
Joined: March 13th, 2011, 11:36 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#7 Post by Tetenterre » April 17th, 2012, 8:15 pm

Fia wrote:Well said animist.
+1

phalarope wrote:Is it because humanism is chic and fashionable?
It isn't is it? Oh no :shock: Have to rethink everything now. I've never been, nor wanted to be, chic or fashionable...
I have. but never managed because I wasn't willing to do what it takes. Now, it seems, I have got there merely by sticking to my principles. Go me!!!! :penguin:
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#8 Post by Nick » April 17th, 2012, 8:17 pm

Fia wrote:
phalarope wrote:Is it because humanism is chic and fashionable?
It isn't is it? Oh no :shock: Have to rethink everything now. I've never been, nor wanted to be, chic or fashionable...
.... more a trend-setter. :D

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#9 Post by Dave B » April 17th, 2012, 8:46 pm

... more a trend-setter. :D
Yeah, but which way are you trending, Nick?
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#10 Post by Nick » April 17th, 2012, 9:17 pm

I'm staying bearded.


In case the Taliban win.... :wink:

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#11 Post by Nick » April 17th, 2012, 9:27 pm

phalarope wrote:It is fair comment to say that for the most part humanists are natural socialists, left of centre, anti-capitalist in respect of globalist exploitation, radical about equality and diversity, for the independence of small nations and for self-governance, in short close up and personal.
No, it is not fair comment. It is, IMO, complete bollox. :D

Humanism is no more than the idea that we can promote humanity without god or gods. If some humanists are so misguided as to be socialist, then more fool them. It doesn't mean they are not humanists. It just measn they are wrong. :D
Humanist causes are the 'right' causes because they are moral and principled.

So how come there are Tory Humanists as well as MP humanists in the warmongering HM loyal Opposition?
Because it is just as compatible with being Tory as it is with being socialist. It just works better. :D
Is it because humanism is chic and fashionable? Utterly Hampstead? Could there be envisaged a situation where politics could divide humanists or already do so? Are there right wing humanists reading this posting? [-X
I don't think right or left wing is a useful concept to use in categorising political views. Not at all. And sadly too many opinions are held without understanding the consequences of the views held.

phalarope
Posts: 63
Joined: February 19th, 2012, 3:35 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#12 Post by phalarope » April 18th, 2012, 7:14 am

Are you saying that you are not for humanist aspirations such as a socialist humanist :wink: Republic of Scotland, Nick the Kentish pirate? What's wrong with aspirations to freedom as part of a humanist platform?

User avatar
Tetenterre
Posts: 3244
Joined: March 13th, 2011, 11:36 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#13 Post by Tetenterre » April 18th, 2012, 8:59 am

phalarope wrote:Are you saying that you are not for humanist aspirations such as a socialist humanist :wink: Republic of Scotland, Nick the Kentish pirate? What's wrong with aspirations to freedom as part of a humanist platform?
There is nothing wrong with aspirations to freedom. What is wrong is your implied premise that freedom is compatible with socialism.
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#14 Post by Dave B » April 18th, 2012, 9:48 am

What is wrong is your implied premise that freedom is compatible with socialism.
I agree, Steve. Just look at the history of the "socialist" states!

Like anarchy it is something idealistic that, due to human nature, is unattainable in anything but a small group - and usually not even then in the end. For it to work it requires the subsuming of the needs of individual into the that of the whole, I don't fancy that at all in a total sense! Would that be "freedom"?

I certainly do not want to spread out my money to give any more to that bloke down the road who is drawing incapacity benefit for his "bad leg" and living rent free, yet can play football, ride a bike, smoke, drink lager from 9am onwards at least . . . Still waiting for the chance to take a photograph of him when he cannot work out who did it - he is not known as a gentle and understanding fellow.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#15 Post by Nick » April 18th, 2012, 2:03 pm

phalarope wrote:Are you saying that you are not for humanist aspirations such as a socialist humanist :wink: Republic of Scotland, Nick the Kentish pirate? What's wrong with aspirations to freedom as part of a humanist platform?
What is wrong is that there is no particular political stance which can claim to be more humanist than another. For what it's worth, I think an independent socialist Scotland would be a disaster. But that is because I have some knowledge of economics, not because I am a humanist. :)

Compassionist
Posts: 3500
Joined: July 14th, 2007, 8:38 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#16 Post by Compassionist » April 18th, 2012, 2:49 pm

Tetenterre wrote:Phalarope, I must take issue with your first premise. I most certainly am not a socialist -- I did flirt with it for a few years, but spending two years in a socialist republic quickly cured me; I recommend that cure to anyone who thinks socialism is a good idea.
Could you please expand on this? What did you notice in a socialist republic? Which country are you talking about? I would love to understand more about the various political positions. Thank you.

User avatar
Emma Woolgatherer
Posts: 2976
Joined: February 27th, 2008, 12:17 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#17 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » April 18th, 2012, 4:13 pm

Although I agree with those who have rejected Phalarope's premise, I consider myself to be a socialist, and feel a strange urge to declare it. :D I am in favour of some kind of common ownership of resources, and certainly uncomfortable with the private ownership of resources on anything but the smallest scale. I wouldn't call myself a Marxist, because that implies too great a degree of agreement with the views of a man who died nearly 130 years ago and who was responding to the ideas and circumstances of that time. Although I think Marx was wrong about a lot of things, I strongly suspect that we are, on balance, better off for the contribution that his ideas have made. But there have been plenty of socialists (and I include anarchist communists/socialists within that term) before and since Marx whose views are closer to my own, and who have also struck me as significant figures in the development of humanism, as well as of socialism. Peter Kropotkin and Emma Goldman are the two that come most rapidly to mind. I think I've said before in this forum that I consider Kropotkin to be one of the great unsung heroes of humanism. And Rudolf Rocker's book Nationalism and Culture is very much in the humanist tradition, I think. Rocker opposes nationalism, religion and authoritarianism, and advocates a "new humanitarian socialism". I think a lot of socialists, anarchist and otherwise, were ahead of their time in their rejection of religion, and in particular of religious authority. So there's a historical link there. But times have changed. Socialism is associated with the failed state-capitalism of the former Soviet bloc, so many people are reluctant to use the term to describe themselves. At the same time, the rejection of religion has become much less of a political stance.
Tetenterre wrote:What is wrong is your implied premise that freedom is compatible with socialism.
Absolute freedom is not compatible with socialism. But then it's not compatible with capitalism either. Come to think of it, it's not even compatible with anarchism, of either the communist or capitalist variety. There are always tensions between liberty and order, liberty and equality, liberty and property, liberty for some and liberty for others.

Emma

User avatar
Tetenterre
Posts: 3244
Joined: March 13th, 2011, 11:36 am

Re: Socialist Humanism

#18 Post by Tetenterre » April 19th, 2012, 1:36 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Tetenterre wrote:What is wrong is your implied premise that freedom is compatible with socialism.
Absolute freedom is not compatible with socialism. But then it's not compatible with capitalism either. Come to think of it, it's not even compatible with anarchism, of either the communist or capitalist variety. There are always tensions between liberty and order, liberty and equality, liberty and property, liberty for some and liberty for others.
Absolute freedom isn't compatible with anything, including the freedom (absolute or otherwise) of others. Firstly, I was merely responding to the implication that freedom is compatible with socialism; had the implication been that it was compatible with capitalism, I would have commented similarly. However, that said, I would argue that it is less compatible with fascism, socialism and communism than with any other political "caste".
Compassionist wrote: What did you notice in a socialist republic?
That it just doesn't work. Example (one of many): Lunacy like the imposition of a minimum agricultural wage at a level that meant that cotton cost more to pick than it could be sold for; net result: farm workers who previously had low wages, but free accommodation, health care and education for their children, and subsidised basic foodstuffs suddenly had no job at all and the cotton bolls were left to rot.
Which country are you talking about?
Zimbabwe. But the same is true of, say, the former east European socialist republics; they too just didn't work -- which is essentially why their populations chose to get rid of the system. Note: I am not asserting that any other socio-political system is problem-free, but socialism, in practice, seems to do a far better job of not working than most of the others.
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

User avatar
Emma Woolgatherer
Posts: 2976
Joined: February 27th, 2008, 12:17 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#19 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » April 19th, 2012, 4:59 pm

Tetenterre wrote:Firstly, I was merely responding to the implication that freedom is compatible with socialism; had the implication been that it was compatible with capitalism, I would have commented similarly. However, that said, I would argue that it is less compatible with fascism, socialism and communism than with any other political "caste".
I get the impression that you're talking about what has happened in practice, rather than actual compatibility. Any form of political order is bound to inhibit freedom, but each will inhibit it in its own way. The more authoritarian the form of order, the more it will inhibit freedom. Fascism is authoritarian by definition, so will be at the least free end of the scale, along with totalitarian communism and totalitarian anything else. But there are libertarian forms of socialism, just as there are libertarian forms of capitalism. It strikes me that each one is no more or less compatible with freedom, in general, than the other, but each focuses on different kinds of freedom at the expense of other kinds. It all boils down to which kinds of freedom one values most.

Emma

User avatar
Dave B
Posts: 17809
Joined: May 17th, 2010, 9:15 pm

Re: Socialist Humanism

#20 Post by Dave B » April 19th, 2012, 5:13 pm

Have there been any successful large scale, in terms of millions, libertarian socialist communities, Emma? I will leave the definition of "success" to you but it should include personal freedoms plus universal healthcare, education etc. etc.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Post Reply