Socialism an external construct
In reference to Mr. Rock’s statement, I must say that I certainly never indicated that socialism is communism. These are two different ideologies. Nor did I say that safety nets are bad or unnecessary to help those with economic barriers regain their independence and place in society.
What I am talking about is semantics and I am curious as to why that is difficult for some to understand. We are talking about words, so why would one be so triggered and defensive to the point of name-calling? Instead we should rely on a more civil discourse, and for clarity I’d like to reiterate a paragraph from my original letter: “’Social conscience’, however, is different. It is pure. It has no political agenda and seeks to control no one. It’s just compassion. It is merely motivated by a sense of concern for our fellow human beings, independent of government power and any attempt to inhibit one’s freedoms. We can all participate in exercising our ‘social conscience’. A sense of unrestricted empathy, purely given, without conditions.”
So, to be clear, a social conscience comes from within while socialism is a political and economic theory which advocates that labour and the means of production (i.e. workers and industry) are controlled or owned by the state collective. In Marxist theory it is a transitional state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism. There are several different subheadings, such as market socialism, authoritarian socialism, revolutionary socialism, etc. under that banner, but the above is the core definition of socialism and is the definition currently taught through critical theory at the university level.
Yes, there were socialists in history who were tyrants at the core. Josef Stalin is an example of a zealous self-proclaimed democratic socialist who rallied against the rich and powerful, promising equality to all, only to lead the population into mass poverty, violence, and famine. Mao Zedong is another example of a leader originally espousing socialist ideology eventually dissolving the masses into abject communism. Even Adolf Hitler started out as a national socialist. There are more, some of whom are more contemporary, but I need not go on. Yes, history has shown us that a political socialist in name can indeed lack social conscience. That is my point.
I am surprised by so much misplaced vitriolic diatribe in response to my letter which outlined the difference between one’s social conscience and socialism as an external construct. Why so emotional? Why the anger? One is a human trait while the other is an ideology, a tool of political organization, and a tool like any tool that can be abused. The premise is clearly straightforward. But once again some prefer to attack personally those with whom they disagree, even though they have misunderstood the issue at hand. Also, my sharing a story of having great academic discussions (while in lockdown due to the pandemic) has nothing to do with the pandemic itself as Mr. Rock suggests. It is from these discussions on linguistics DURING this time that we have noticed the misappropriation of the two terms.