Reading about the struggles of laborers are the beginning of the 20th century really made me want to read more about the movements that sprang up in the US around them, and part of that means socialism. I don’t have a problem with that, but as I was thinking about it, I realized that so much of our modern day discussion is is war with words. “Socialism” is politically either a bad word or a rallying cry. Unions, capital, labor, all polarizing terms.
One things that occurs to me is that in the American dialog often excludes historical context. I wish I could comment on other countries, but honestly I don’t pay that much attention to the arguments put forth, just the end results.
In this country, time and time again, we have to start from scratch and justify arguments from the ground up. That isn’t a bad idea, and I wish more laws, and hence conversations around them, had sunset clauses so we could reassess them as we go. The difficulty comes in the culture we create in the meantime, and the narrative that is created around important aspects of our governance.
When the FBI’s top lawyer is quoted as saying, “And the problem with that is that a search warrant requires probable cause to be shown and many of these techniques are things that you use in order to establish probable cause. If you require probable cause for every technique, then you are making it very very hard for law enforcement.”, it sounds like the modern day equivalent of Sherman Bell’s, “Habeas corpus be damned, we’ll give 'em post mortems.” Well, it does if you understand the context.
The situation in this country seems overwhelming. But I am an optimist, if for no other reason that it really irritates me to leave a problem unsolved. That is why I will start reading more about the history that brought us to this point, as well as voting with my conscience, which is mostly aligned with the Green Party. When something interest me, I focus on it (have you noticed all the gaming posts lately?), and that may mean I spend a lot of time speaking about socialism and labor movements. I am not going to let the toxicity of the current political taxonomy deter me from exploring those ideas. Unless, you know, they use violence, in which case I will just run an underground network of encrypted message systems to explore those ideas. But the idea is that we don’t regress to that, rather, we always strive to become more free.