Subject: unsubscribe
From: (Pete Chown) pc@DALE.DEMON.CO.UK
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 93 21:25 PDT

   > As one last parting shot, socialism is dead. (Ok, so some of you haven't
   > noticed this yet, and continue to tilt at windmills.)

   If I thought this group was promoting socialism, I would unsubscribe as
   well.  Some socialists do think free software is socialist, but as
   usual, the socialists are wrong.

I don't really want to get onto general politics, since that is not
what this list is about.  However I can't really allow "...as usual,
the socialists are wrong" to be left un{answered,flamed}  :-)

I think actually that when I explain what socialism means to me, you
may well agree with it, and our disagreement may turn out to be just a
matter of terminology.

Socialism does not, to me, mean a command economy - it means that
Government should assist industry, and should intervene in the economy
to prevent businesses from taking destructive paths, but that is all.
To give an example of the former, Government might sponsor the writing
of free software, knowing that in the end everyone would be enriched
by it.  To give an example of the latter, the Government might force
the banks to accept liability for for stolen credit cards.  Otherwise
the banks can just use their superior bargaining position to force all
the cost onto the customer.

Libertarianism has been claimed by both the right and the left.  By
calling his book "Free to Choose", Friedman tried to turn the old
civil liberties argument, and damage the left with it.  I have yet to
see, however, a right wing government that has expanded civil
liberties.

Socialism also encompasses such worthy goals as making sure that no
one starves.  In the UK, we have had a decade of right wing rule, and
during that time the number of beggars has risen beyond belief.  You
used to see someone begging very occasionally - now whenever you go
into a large city, you see dozens.  Back in the "good old days" these
people would have been housed by the local council.

Pete.