While doing research for this lecture one question came up, which didn't know the answer.
After 1900 Marx's theories had found their way to a larger public and politics. We'll get to that in a minute.
The question that kept knocking on my skull was: why did socialism never reach America? On the contrary, it seems,
for what comes to mind is the hysterical McCarthy period in American history, as if communism was a deadly disease.
And listen to Republican comments on Democrats even today as if they are a kind of monsters spreading socialism and communism.
Although I planned to discuss the socialist developments in Europe since 1900, I was too curious and typed my question in Google Search.
Tons of answers. Probably I wasn't the only one who wondered about this matter. I found an article by Seymour Martin Lipset (1922 - 2006). He was an American sociologist and political scientist. (1922 - 2006).
In the article "Why Socialism Failed in the United States" (2000), he tells me things, which clarify a lot of American politics today too. Let me quote a few paragraphs
-BEGIN QUOTE- The question, why has there been no socialism in this country, addresses American exceptionalism.
Why is the United States the only industrialized nation that never had an electorally viable socialist or labor party?
Every other developed country has had one to one degree or another. The fact that the U.S. has not, means that it is different from other countries. -END QUOTE-
Lipset wrote a book with the title " American Exceptionalism, A double-edged sword" (19xx), in which he says:
"The nation's ideology can be described in five words: liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and laissez-faire."
-BEGIN QUOTE- There are many answers, but basically, two seem most important. The most salient interpretation is culture, involving assumptions
that the American value system and the American concept of the nation are antistatist and egalitarian. It follows upon Tocqueville’s analysis of what America is about.
Antistatism, the suspicion of the state in lawyers’ terms, has been a deep-rooted sentiment in American society ever since the Revolution and to some extent even before. -END QUOTE-
Socialism leans heavily on control by the state, so this quote explains a lot. It also made me think of this almost morbid obsession of Americans with their guns.
Previously in a conversation, I remarked that violence and the use of force are a monopoly of the state, thence we have police and army.
But if anti-statism is a basic undercurrent in a culture, you can imagine that also the individual wants to have equal rights as the state.
Again to make my point... =BEGIN QUOTE- The Revolution was a revolt against a strong state. The founding fathers laid out a doctrine in the Declaration of Independence,
which implied that the state is to be distrusted. And of course, they drew up a constitution designed to avoid a strong government. -END QUOTE-
A last quote, which struck me, because I must admit that Lipset has a point here:
-BEGIN QUOTE- Finally, I would note that American political exceptionalism is declining, not because of the growth of socialism here,
but as a result of the European left moving in an American direction. The socialist, social democratic, and labor parties of Europe have become more like the American Democrats. -END QUOTE-
One final remark. Lipset may have been right in 2000, however, I wonder what he would have said today when you look at the political situation in the US of today.
Thank you for your attention.
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
TABLE OF CONTENT -----------------------------------------------------------------
1 - 100 Philosophers 9 May 2009 Start of
2 - 25+ Women Philosophers 10 May 2009 this blog
3 - 25 Adventures in Thinking 10 May 2009
4 - Modern Theories of Ethics 29 Oct 2009
5 - The Ideal State 24 Febr 2010 / 234
6 - The Mystery of the Brain 3 Sept 2010 / 266
7 - The Utopia of the Free Market 16 Febr 2012 / 383
8. - The Aftermath of Neo-liberalism 5 Sept 2012 / 413
9. - The Art Not to Be an Egoist 6 Nov 2012 / 426
10 - Non-Western Philosophy 29 May 2013 / 477
11 - Why Science is Right 2 Sept 2014 / 534
12 - A Philosopher looks at Atheism 1 Jan 2015 / 557
13 - EVIL, a philosophical investigation 17 Apr 2015 / 580
14 - Existentialism and Free Will 2 Sept 2015 / 586
15 - Spinoza 2 Sept 2016 / 615
16 - The Meaning of Life 13 Febr 2017 / 637
17 - In Search of my Self 6 Sept 2017 / 670
18 - The 20th Century Revisited 3 Apr 2018 / 706
19 - The Pessimist 11 Jan 2020 / 819
20 - The Optimist 9 Febr 2020 / 824
21 - Awakening from a Neoliberal Dream 8 Oct 2020 / 872
22 - A World Full of Patterns 1 Apr 2021 / 912
23 - The Concept of Freedom 8 Jan 2022 / 965
[13:13] herman Bergson: Well oola, can you relate to this story?
[13:13] Here you find the whole article: https://www.aei.org/research-products/speech/why-socialism-failed-in-the-united-states/
[13:14] oola Neruda: i think one place to start is in the industrial revolution.... who is going to be in the most tight control of the money and rules about money
[13:14] oola Neruda: bribe the senators and other lawmakers
[13:14] oola Neruda: who ... many of them were the rich....
[13:15] oola Neruda: why share with the "heathens" and drifters.... get elected and protect your wealth
[13:15] herman Bergson: yes, but the point is that there were socialist initiatives in the US, but never got flesh on their bones eventually
[13:16] herman Bergson: Trade unions never joined forces with socialist parties in the US like happened in Europe
[13:17] oola Neruda: i am not a happy camper.... I believe that money in politics corrupts those who have it and makes it hard for those who do not know how to organize against is... particularly with lies flying around... like Fox...
[13:17] oola Neruda: fox news is not a new invention... it has been in solciety forever
[13:17] herman Bergson: I agree...the money matter in American politics, this fund raising is a mystery to me
[13:18] herman Bergson: Still don't understand the mechanics
[13:18] oola Neruda: many don't
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:18] Dien (djdien.bailey) is offline.
[13:18] oola Neruda: Report from Iron Mountain...
[13:19] herman Bergson: I just realized all of a sudden....there never was a real significant socialist party in the US....how weird
[13:19] oola Neruda: is a book from the '60's... talks about rich people getting together to optimize their profits by manipulating government
[13:19] herman Bergson: But this deep rooted attitude against gig government is probably strong in the US
[13:20] oola Neruda: work together to undermine what would mess with their profits
[13:20] oola Neruda: propaganda takes care of the masses....
[13:20] herman Bergson: They managed to that pretty well, it seems
[13:21] oola Neruda: and a friendly "bonus" to the congress helps too
[13:21] herman Bergson: It is becoming clearer more and more the Putin does the same in Western democracies....
[13:21] oola Neruda: yes
[13:21] herman Bergson: getting together with destabilizing factions in western societies and fund them
[13:22] oola Neruda: exactly
[13:22] oola Neruda: this is just my opinion...
[13:22] herman Bergson: But that is a side track
[13:22] oola Neruda: others may say something else
[13:23] herman Bergson: Next lecture I'll talk about European socialism....
[13:23] herman Bergson: But Lipset is right....
[13:23] oola Neruda: can't let some else tell you how to make and spend your money... or to pay workers a living wage
[13:23] herman Bergson: Certainly after 1989 the fall of the Berlin Wall socialist parties went down the drain in Europe
[13:24] herman Bergson: They look indeed somewhat like the American Democrats these days
[13:24] herman Bergson: there is however one positive point to mention.....
[13:25] oola Neruda: you mentioned McCarthy
[13:25] oola Neruda: i remember coming home from school in 7th grade, turning on the radio and they were having the hearings...
[13:25] herman Bergson: in the period 1900 - 1970 most European countries drafted social welfare laws....universal healthcare, and things like that
[13:26] oola Neruda: also, when in college, met some of the women in Wisconsin who brought hime down
[13:26] oola Neruda: him
[13:26] herman Bergson: although the socialist parties are decimated these days...it still is their legacy
[13:26] oola Neruda: yes
[13:27] herman Bergson: McCarthy was a disaster.....
[13:27] herman Bergson: The Republican party is again collecting such idiots....now they are Boeberd, Taylor Green Ted Cruz....
[13:27] oola Neruda: he is still considered BAD
[13:28] oola Neruda: yes
[13:28] herman Bergson: But what I learnt today is why Americans love their guns....
[13:28] herman Bergson: It is because they distrust their own state
[13:28] oola Neruda: Senator Whitehouse called the Senate... the House of Mammon
[13:29] oola Neruda: basically referring to bribes from lobbyists
[13:29] herman Bergson: About 40% of the Americans do, so arm yourself
[13:30] herman Bergson: In Europe you find this "Distrust your government" mainly among small right wing groups
[13:31] oola Neruda: when i was teaching in Chicago... i became really aware of the role of guns.... in neighborhoods yes... but in schools especially
[13:31] oola Neruda: would even shoot firemen... not just cops or gang members
[13:33] herman Bergson: Well, this was a lesson on the absence of socialism instead of the rise of socialism :-)
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Malmö in Sweden was a while refered to as "Little Chicago" because of all the drug related violence . Even bombs were sset off. Now its become calmer there it seems though a while since i heard something from there
[13:34] herman Bergson: We'll address that next Tuesday :-)
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but when a city name gets synonymopus with violence and murder its not a good sign
[13:35] herman Bergson: No, indeed Bejiita
[13:35] herman Bergson: If no questions are left unanswered, thank you , oola and others:-)
[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:36] oola Neruda: if i may say
[13:36] herman Bergson: Get ready for a pleasant and sunny weekend....
[13:36] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...