Thoughts from the Outside

I have changed the name of this site to Thoughts from the Outside. Before I made the change I did check to see if other people had blogs or sites with the same title. I discovered that a few did. One seemed to center on cooking and recipes and another on Nascar. A few others exist as well. After looking at these samples I decided that if any have the right to title his or her blog Thoughts from the Outside I do. Given who I am, the choices I have made in life, the things I have committed to I think that I am an quintessential outsider. (Note this is neither a term of self praise nor self contempt.)  Therefore  I think that Thoughts from the Outside is an appropriate title for this site.



Changing Directions

In spite of the recent August 14 slaughter in Egypt of Muslim Brotherhood supporters protesting against the imposition of a military dictatorship in Egypt and now of the recent slaughter by poisonous gas attack of people in Syria, I have simply not been able to find it in my self to post at this site. Furthermore in spite of the title of this blog Center Socialism I have in fact posted nothing for months regarding issues of socialism.

This is not a confession of laziness;  it is a statement that I am deeply disenchanted with the idea that the single basically isolated individual can have much effect on the direction of politics in this society, at least I do not have that ability. It is also a statement that I have other interests to which I have dedicated quite a bit of energy which are not directly political. These are in the direction of religion which at this point of my life seem to me to be more useful and personally significant than the politics of the day. Of course committed atheists will view this direction as being delusional. Well I doubt that it is any more delusional than the politics as usual that most of us little people practice, if we practice any politics at all.

I have generally changed direction within this blog when it becomes clear that either I can not keep my prior commitment to a certain level of activity or because what I am doing is simply not working. In the current situation both of these are true. What I am going to do first is to change the name of this blog. Lets deal that name of which “socialism” is a primary part. While on a personal level I still view myself as a socialist as certain minority traditions of socialism have defined it, a real problem exists.  As an important leader of the Social Democrats USA has stated a multiple of times recently the word “socialism” is normally defined differently by significant groups in the broader society than it is by its self-confessed adherents. Unfortunately even within self-confessed socialist circles a great variety of definitions of socialism exits. Thus the unfortunate fact is that even if I talk to another self-confessed socialist we are very likely to be talking about what are really quite different political economic systems, and all of this says nothing of the pragmatic politics of being a socialist. Suffice it to say my Neo-conservative-like commitments regarding the civil war in Syria and the recent establishment of a military dictatorship in Egypt is very much a minority position within the spectrum of American socialism.

When ideas of socialism initially developed in the 19th century, these ideas were very compelling to the both the working classes and many radicalized intellectuals of Europe. Ideas of socialism were in the air, and while Americans did not want to commit to socialist ideas to the same degree as did Europeans, ideas of socialism still appealed to a minority in this nation as well. This situation no longer exists of course. The socialist movement has been moribund at the very least since the mid 20th century in this nation. At this current time the only people who really believe that socialism is alive and well are the deluded Ted Cruz type of Teapartyers and an infinitesimal number of college kids who are learning about Marxism for the first time.

The fact is that in spite of some polls almost nobody believes / commits to socialism in this nation. The socialist vision is essentially dead regardless of whether its ideas have any intellectual credibility. I personally believe that if any of the best ideas of socialism do survive and even take root, this will be in the context of movements that no longer define themselves as socialist. Of course all of this is really old news. I have known of these facts before and am now simply returning to them.

As a result this blog will no longer be called Center Socialism. So what will this blog be about? Well to be honest I am not sure. I would still like to commit to writing at least one or two articles a month here. But I am not sure that I will even achieve that minimum. I will try but that is all I can say with any certainty. What are some of the themes that interest me? Well I still have a strong commitment  to the idea that this nation as the world’s most powerful nation and the international community as a whole have the responsibility to protect peoples who are being slaughtered by their own governments.  I still have an interest in issues of foreign policy such as the Syrian Civil War and the recent overthrow of democracy  in Egypt. No doubt I will continue to post some about these issues. The other issues that interest me are primarily issues regarding the actual structure of society. Thus I still support cooperative economics. The Mondragon Cooperative system of Spain I still think is the best model of a post capitalist society that we have. I also have an interest in issues such as communitarianism and the gradual destruction of meaningful community in this society. I find the Distributist ideas of G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, etc to  have significance, and while ecological issues are seldom the burning issues that are being discussed by most people in this society  I still suspect that they are ultimately more decisive regarding the direction of this society than is all the crap that the Republicans and Democrats choose to talk about in Washington.

Any way these are some of the things that interest me and which I hope to discuss in the blog. Whether I will be able to do so is another matter. Of course I am aware that no one is waiting on the edge of their seats  to know my future plans. I do not know in fact if any one will even read this. However what I am writing now is more a promise and commitment to myself than it is to anyone else, and in my life promises to myself are in general some of the most important promises that I must make.