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Author Topic: RAQ: Oscar Wilde Special!  (Read 9138 times)
Mr.Mister
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« on: October 27, 2014, 11:09:06 PM »

This one is just gonna require some deep philosophical thinking.

For those of you who don't know, Oscar Wilde was a social anarchist who wrote "The Soul of Man Under Socialism". This quote is basically an analysis on how private property actually harms individualism.

Now, there are 3 ways you can go about refuting this quote:

1. Disprove his assertion that private property harms individualism.

2. Prove that anarcho communism harms individualism even more than private property rights

3. Do both.

Good Luck!

"For the recognition of private property has really harmed Individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is...With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
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macsnafu
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 12:15:40 AM »

"For the recognition of private property has really harmed Individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led Individualism entirely astray. It has made gain not growth its aim. So that man thought that the important thing was to have, and did not know that the important thing is to be. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is...With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."

I was going to sleep on this one, but an idea occurred to me as to how to approach it.

What he is mostly talking about here is human happiness, and not really politics or even economics.  I'm not even sure that I disagree with him.  Mere materialistic pursuits end up being dissatisfying, although of course, there's far more to capitalism and private property than the mere acquisition of goods. It is the provision of goods and services (services don't necessarily provide a physical good to be accumulated) to meet the needs and desires of people.  After all, would Oscar Wilde have been a better, happier writer on an empty stomach and wearing old, worn clothing?

What he overlooks, at least as far as this quote goes, is what a great amount of coercion and evil would be necessary for the abolition of private property, the harm and destruction involved, and the great unnaturalness of it all.  

At the heart of capitalism is simply voluntary exchange.  Two people willingly exchange something they value less for something they value more.  To really abolish private property, it is necessary to prevent voluntary exchanges, coercively, if necessary, as you are *supposed* to give away what you produce, and take, or be given, what you need to consume.  It's not supposed to be an exchange between two people, per the left-anarchists, it's supposed to be giving to and getting from the collective.

And once again, all the problems that a market economy solves have to be solved some other way, if they're able to be solved at all--the incentives for producing and innovating, the distribution of goods and the determination of need.  

More importantly, what could be more natural for humans to do than engage in voluntary trade?  I have something you want, you have something I want, we agree to trade.  Thus, I conclude that left-anarchism calls for coercive, destructive, and un-natural activities on the part of humans.  They have to forcibly prevent people from engaging in voluntary, capitalist actions.

The mere pursuit of material goods may not bring happiness, but then neither will the destruction and coercion necessary to abolish private property.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 07:38:11 AM by macsnafu » Logged

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Mr.Mister
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 12:23:54 AM »

Excellent, though MAYBE a little too harsh on leftist anarchism...

I'm gonna post something new tomorrow. Until then, goodnight!
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