Thanks for posting this. I've thought for a long time that it's hard to find a toe-hold in this or other forums to discuss some of the issues here.
I'm more or less coming at this from an advocate-of-capitalism point of view, but I think it's crystal clear the last few years (and decades, in some respects) have been characterized by many such advocates predictably cherry-picking "laissez-faire" capitalism and free markets to mean "do what you want, and the left-wingers just want a pretext to make slaves of all of us". For what little it's worth, I differ with those folks. As I see it, there is a role for a strong but non-authoritarian government in a capitalistic system. When property rights are violated (up to and including deadly wanton exploitation of unpaid-for externalities, and including when consumers are taken advantage of by businesses flouting contractual obligations or flouting the impossibility of mastering fine print in some situations) the proper role of a government in the system is to step in and cut it out. Instead, the advocates of "authoritarian capitalism", or some such, by and large ignore such a government responsibility, but seem to see a role for a strong government in a more traditional fascist sense, such as in using force to curb internal dissent, to curb immigration, and such as in enforcing crony favoritism toward big businesses.
Without a properly functioning government that does protect consumer rights and does identify exploited environmental externalities and curb them, a capitalist system cannot possibly function in my view. On environmental matters, and particularly with respect to the climate emergency, I think some smart (doesn't always have to cost a zillion dollars) government intervention within our capitalist system is the best way to undo the sense that the "Tragedy of the commons" is an insurmountable problem. The lack of appropriate intervention (the failure to protect property rights) is a real betrayal of capitalistic system principles, in my view, and so in my view, the very folks who claim they are defending free markets and capitalism (the republicans), certainly are not. One particular thing I'd like to see in the Budget (I'm not sure any more if it's there or not) is a serious attempt at raising funds by a pollution penalty system (so-called carbon taxes and related), probably along with a proper attempt at a bounty/reward system for cleanup.
I do think much of what the left is advocating is a form of socialism, and I do think it inherently requires, by some definitions, some degree of authoritarianism. For what little it's worth, I'm glad to see the centrist democrats pushing back on some major points (I'm a Sinema voter and will do so again, so far).
Whether or not I am correct about the "inherent" requirement, and even though my leaning toward democrats has been a "lesser of evils" choice for the last two decades (that I don't regret one bit), I've come to see an argument for some social programs being best done if they involve the government..... or, at least, the argument for direct government involvement in some areas is strengthened if the government is not going at least to do its job and enforce consumer contract rights, and property rights.
Anyway, up until November 2020, those of us (left and right and others alike) who were not seduced by the authoritarian pseudo-freedom-defending nonsense of the Republicans gathered under a big tent and did what we had to do to stave off disaster, but now that the dust has settled on that (including the ongoing attempt, in broad daylight, by the former President/would-be dictator, to end the rule of law and take over our government ), it behooves us to have some awareness that we are far from out of the woods. With the intellectual bankruptcy pervading so many minds in the US on so many points, including definitions of different government systems, and including in our philosophic considerations, we are in a very bad spot. In my view, a way to get out of the woods is to continue the sorts of conversations that can take place using such toe-holds as we can find.
a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
Socialism fails every time because you take the means of production, distribution, and exchange away from the people who created the production, distribution, and exchange, and you give control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange to politicians.
The politicians don't have the slightest idea what they are doing, so once the socialism has created misery, the politicians want to hold on to power, so they have to either give up power or create a totalitarian state to hold on to power.
Republicans are aiming to prevent the USA from going down that path of disaster.
Well said, but there’s no mention of fascism, which lies at the intersection of capitalism and authoritarianism. Fascism, and its populist right wing hit squad adherents, are where we seem to be headed in recent years. Fascism is the unspoken illness here!