Free Capitalist Network - Community Archive
Mises Community Archive
An online community for fans of Austrian economics and libertarianism, featuring forums, user blogs, and more.

Turning Socialists into Capitalists — Recommended method?

rated by 0 users
This post has 27 Replies | 7 Followers

Not Ranked
Male
Posts 14
Points 460
Samuel Marks Posted: Wed, Nov 2 2011 4:22 AM

As a student, I often find myself arguing with socialists. I have organised many debates with socialists, and am holding conferences in Austrian economics.

 

Doing everything I can with my knowledge, in order to persuade socialists to understand economics, capitalism and rights...

 

I am still young however, so I'm sure there are better methods than I have used to convince people. (i.e. YouTube videos of Friedman, Sowell and Rand)

 

Which tools and methodology (i.e praxeology, natural rights &etc) would you recommend to undertake this task?

 

Thanks for all suggestions,

 

Samuel Marks

Top 100 Contributor
Male
Posts 907
Points 14,795

I would address "why" before "how". What is the goal you are trying to achieve? To make more people propagating the ideas you like? To get a warm and fuzzy feeling from winning a dispute? To get reputation?

The Voluntaryist Reader - read, comment, post your own.
  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 283
Points 5,580

You might try pointing them to Gabriel Kolko's book, The Triumph of Conservatism, if you detect they are sincere. Kolko was a socialist himself and his book shows how big business agitated for government regulation to get around the competiveness of the marketplace.

However, most socialists I know don't read anything outside their own gospel, and usually they don't understand that very well. Good luck.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,289
Points 18,820
MaikU replied on Wed, Nov 2 2011 6:33 AM

Appeal to morality. Socialists love morality (oh what about the poor!) :)

 

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,490

Whenever they argue for regulations, ask for examples. Why? Because this forum has a counter for almost any example of a "needed regulation."

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 200 Contributor
Posts 391
Points 6,975

Make them think you're a socialist and slowly thrown in libertarian sound bites. I like to use Mikhail Bakunin myself as a starter; admittedly he isn't a libertarian, but he's a good way to get them to focus more on the state.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

Deleting my comment is like Cosmo telling women what men want.  You can live in the echo chamber, or you can hear it straight from the horses mouth.

Nice to see arbitrary censorship of good advice tho.  Thumbs up on that.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 208
Points 3,410

"I would address "why" before "how". What is the goal you are trying to achieve? To make more people propagating the ideas you like? To get a warm and fuzzy feeling from winning a dispute? To get reputation?"

This is completely asinine. If, for example, the lives of many people and peace depends upon free trade, wouldn't it be incumbent upon capitalists, etc. to argue for that position?

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 100 Contributor
Male
Posts 907
Points 14,795

This is completely asinine. If, for example, the lives of many people and peace depends upon free trade, wouldn't it be incumbent upon capitalists, etc. to argue for that position?

My message must have been unclear. I was not accusing the OP of anything, I just suggested that to answer his question better, it helps to know the ultimate goal.

The Voluntaryist Reader - read, comment, post your own.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,028
Points 51,580
limitgov replied on Wed, Nov 2 2011 12:41 PM

Examples, examples, examples!

 

don't tell them gov. creates monopolies, give them the real world example of this happening

don't tell them gov. destroys jobs and wealth, give them the real world example of this happening

don't tell them gov. kills thousands of innocent people in forgein countries, give them the real world example of this happening

don't tell them our gov. has become a police state, give them the real world example of this happening

don't tell them gov. makes prices higher by weeding out competition, give them the real world example of this happening

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 25 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,922
Points 79,590
Autolykos replied on Wed, Nov 2 2011 12:45 PM

On the other hand, the problem with examples is that it can be easy for people to invoke special pleading on them.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

  • | Post Points: 35
Top 150 Contributor
Male
Posts 694
Points 11,400
Joe replied on Wed, Nov 2 2011 1:11 PM

theory and then the history.

 

take their view of history and then use theory to describe how that 'could not possibly be the case  that A led to Z, only Y could have'

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,028
Points 51,580

you can tell them the theory, but they won't believe you.  Not until you prove that it is happening with examples.

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Male
Posts 4,987
Points 89,490

Deleting my comment is like Cosmo telling women what men want.  You can live in the echo chamber, or you can hear it straight from the horses mouth.

Nice to see arbitrary censorship of good advice tho.  Thumbs up on that.

Don't feel too special, now. This "missing post" problem has been occurring for tons of people on these boards:

Fixing it

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 60
Points 825

ive learnt never to argue.be open with what you beleave for sure but if you are going to simply tell people they are wrong 24/7 you will not have much luck.my favouret line is when  i realised its not goverments job to look after my friends and family was when i decided i would and i live by that "its payed off for me to lots of friends help me to"people who know me are usaly confused when i say im a capitalist  being a good person not putting obligations on anyone is the strongest strarting point.make them want to know what you beleave and most good logic you present to them will at worst will make them respect your ideas not put them in the  evil box. dont put there ideas in the evil box to . it does work i dont even realy try to make anyone a libertrian one friend helped found the green party here in nz and ended up rothbardian.people like to think they are on the side of good show them what the good side is..

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,133
Points 20,435
Jargon replied on Wed, Nov 2 2011 9:42 PM

s burgess:

ive learnt never to argue.be open with what you beleave for sure but if you are going to simply tell people they are wrong 24/7 you will not have much luck.my favouret line is when  i realised its not goverments job to look after my friends and family was when i decided i would and i live by that "its payed off for me to lots of friends help me to"people who know me are usaly confused when i say im a capitalist  being a good person not putting obligations on anyone is the strongest strarting point.make them want to know what you beleave and most good logic you present to them will at worst will make them respect your ideas not put them in the  evil box. dont put there ideas in the evil box to . it does work i dont even realy try to make anyone a libertrian one friend helped found the green party here in nz and ended up rothbardian.people like to think they are on the side of good show them what the good side is..

 

Did anyone else feel dizzy reading this? Anyways I find that the best way to argue with socialists is from a practical rather than moral POV. If you employ the Molyneuxian trope of GOVT=GUNS you convince no one and don't even build a case for free markets. I think a good place to start is on the Gilded Age and how it turned into the Progressive Era. Using statistics to show that the Gilded Age was actually a decentralist era economically speaking and how the Progressive Era was a centralizing one. This then obviously begs the questions of Central vs Free Banking, Federal Regulation vs Market Regulation, Property Rights vs Eminent Domain. Always be sure to tell the truth, that is, that these practices enrich the real robber barons Rockefeller, Morgan, KuhnLoeb and the like at the expense of the common working man so dear to the socialists heart (supposedly). As long as you make a strong case that free market capitalism has never significantly existed but rather corporatism, to the benefit of the people that OWS detest so vociferously, then I think it's a good argument. Try to show how free markets are more egalitarian than state-capitalism. (By egalitarian I mean that the working man has a better standard of living, though it's obviously not egalitarian because the rich are fantasically rich as well.) The truth really is our best weapon here, we don't have to lie to convince people, only appeal to their reasoning capacities to examine their own lies.

Land & Liberty

The Anarch is to the Anarchist what the Monarch is to the Monarchist. -Ernst Jünger

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Posts 531
Points 10,985

It's complex, but it can be done. You will need:

Kosher salt, holy water, a copy of Human Action, and fearlessness.

Approach the socialist calmly. Then make a circle around them with the salt. Lightly splash them with holy water by dipping your fingers in it and flicking them forward. As you splash them, rock while holding your copy of Human Action while demanding they solve the calculation problem.

Best of luck.

  • | Post Points: 60
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,439
Points 44,650
Neodoxy replied on Wed, Nov 2 2011 10:51 PM

There is no universal method to doing this, the fact is that everyone is different in the reason for why they believe what they believe and what it is that will change they're mind. This is what I reccomend

Step 1.

Decide whether or not this person can actually be convinced of your position or of any position that is not theirs. Sometimes it's just better to come out and ask "what would convince you of my point?". They cannot answer that nothing can because that makes them look like a close minded fool. Based upon their criteria (assuming you believe them and there aren't other ) If the answer is that they cannot then there are other reasons for debating them, but the question of how to convince them has been answered: You cannot.

Step 2.

Attempt to fill the requirements that they set out. Continually refer to THEIR values. You are trying to convince them. As the praxeological law states men act according to their value preferences and therefore you must appeal to what it is that they want and they believe in. Remember that a belief should be a means, not an ends. You are a socialist, not because you value socialism, but because you value the ideals and the state of affairs brought about by socialism. If this can be met in a libertarian society then you should become a libertarian.

Step 3.

Be reasonable and to the point. Always try to give them some sort of exit strategy that prevents them from being humiliated. Assuming that the point of the debate is to convince them then you have to accept the fact that you are likely not going to be able to get them to go all the way. Especially when the debate is confrontational it's extremely difficult to admitt that you were wrong to another person face to face. Allow them to take a moderate few and sow the seeds of libertarianism and doubt. Trying to make sure that it's over time is a good idea too, of course. This also means that you must be sure to remain civil so as not to make it more confrontational and a matter of person vs. person, the loser being an idiot, instead we have to ensure that it's ideas vs. ideas and that it's understandable to believe what they believe, it's a small mistake that needs to be corrected. Another very important thing to do is to ensure that you do not get sidetracked. I've done this so many times that it's ridiculous, keep to the issue don't get into arguments over irrelevant side conversations. Connect everything over to the actual issue at hand, make it understandable and clear.

Step 4.

Realize when a debate is not going anywhere and simply attempt to back out as well as possible.

Step 5.

Remember, you're a salesman, you're trying to sell an idea, keep everything that you can in mind, don't talk about something that's going to take ages to explain, keep it simple and keep it appealing.

Step 6.

Know the basic statist fallacies. Be able to argue against democracy, market misconceptions, the larger historical misconceptions, anarchistic misconceptions , incentive misconceptions, and basic logical fallacies such as is/ought, ad hominemm and most importantly correlation/causation. 

Step 7. 

Don't get too wrapped up in it, remember, it's just one person, you're just one person. Don't be too uptight, be fun while you're talking, make it a fun conversation and don't make them feel like they need to be angry about the issue. It's all cool.

Also, pick out your targets selectively and attempt to research topics that you know are going to be important to them, don't spend your time even trying to strike up conversations with someone who is unlikely to respond well. There's a reason why democracy doesn't work as a universal system.

Step 8. Send them to talk to Neodoxy, or give them links to his (upcoming) videos!!! :D !!!

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,439
Points 44,650
Neodoxy replied on Wed, Nov 2 2011 10:58 PM

@Pony

 In my experience I find that Illegal cocain, smart water (also known as rationalistic H2O) , a hardcover copy of Man, Economy, and State (it's bigger and the cover is black making it more holy), and will to express rational self-intersted cooperation works better, but DISCLAIMER, THIS DOES NOT WORK ON ALL SOCIALISTS

Some of the more Marxist socialists will be reduced to ashes by such concentrated level of rationality and ethical behavior. If you are afraid that this will occur then simple store bought bottled water, name brand salt, and a copy of economics in one lesson will suffice and the socialist should come out of it with only mild burns.

Happy hunting! 

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Male
Posts 16
Points 275

First off, right off the bat, ignore the labels, avoid the labels - at all costs - yours or theirs. Forever. They are meaningless. Labels get co-opted all the time. The "Green" label is a perfect example. Just call yourself, your company, your product or whatever "Green", while doing some token "greenish" thing for Consciousness Awareness-ish-ness, and you are Green, almost irrespective of who you are or what you do. 

Focus on principles only, not sound-bites, not platforms, not competing ideologies that get hashed over mindlessly, ad nauseum, and remember that engaging in any of the familiar or "typical" rhetoric (to any person of any stripe, not just them) is an automatic trigger - one that will cause eyes to glaze over, the conversation and exchange will effectively be over at that point, as all answers are lobbed, thoughtlessly and effortlessly, from camp trenches. Quite by rote, these responses will be dug out from the auto-response arsenal that everyone has in abundance.  There are virtually no exceptions to this rule, so don't even go there.  Come out of your trench and talk to them, but only when they are out of theirs. 

Here is the beauty of this approach. You are only discussing ideas, while getting to know the person who has adopted some for him/herself; ideas that you don't even have to attack. You're just having a conversation, after all.  You can freely point out the strengths and good parts of the end result they would like to see ("Yes, an end to starvation would be good!"), regardless of their preferred means of getting there.  And you can also play referee to all ideas, including ideological methodologies and principles (not wearing a label or being in a camp and all).

I have had residence in China for the past 4 years, and was very surprised to learn how few socialists there are there - right up to leaders in the so-called "Communist" party, and how much more capitalistic they are in many ways than us in the States.  That should not surprise me, given how how much more socialist we are in so-called "capitalistic" America. But the labels persist, such that stinking pile of crap can still be called a rose and everyone will believe it.  

So the Chinese "Socialist" way, to most Chinese, is "whatever we are in the moment". To most of them, that is Socialist, including all the rampant free market capitalism that is now taking place in China.  Likewise the "American Way" is whatever we are in the moment (which of course always means that we are forever the land of the free and the home of the brave, even if we are busily straight-jacketing one another, and quivering in fear and cowering in corners).

/stuffandblather

 

"...to debauch the currency...engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose." -- John Maynard Keynes, 1920
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 75 Contributor
Posts 1,485
Points 22,155
Kakugo replied on Fri, Nov 4 2011 8:19 AM

Tell them to study North Korea up close. No, really. North Korea is the perfect example of a Socialist economy in its final stage: all means of production are owned by the State and the end result is out for all to see. Nuclear weapons and famine going hand in hand.

Also point out the dramatic failure of Nikita Krushchev's politics in the then USSR. Krushchev's long standing goal was to improve the lives of the citizens of the then USSR. Despite being by all accounts a smart man wielding enormous power, he failed miserably. Krushchev perfectly understood the single, largest fatal flaw of a Socialist economy: the price calculation issue. But instead of allowing for free market reforms to solve the problem for him, he simply aped the Western economies. He ordered factories to churn out consumer's goods (scooters, record players, watches etc) and prices were set arbitrarly by committees using complicated mathematical models. Pay levels were also set by committees without regards to the labour value. In the end this generated enormous confusion: for example there was a massive overproduction of glassware (the famous GUM general store in Moscow was notoriously overstocked with these goods) while women's stockings were always in short supply. Factory managers simply met the production goals set by Moscow and product designers simply did what they were told regardless of consumers' demands. Struggling to understand what they were doing wrong the bureaucrats in Moscow spent enormous sums to buy Western designs and to have Western companies set up whole factories for them. In the end nothing mattered as the price calculation simply could not be solved by edict.

That should give you something to think about for your upcoming debates.

Together we go unsung... together we go down with our people
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 2,940
Points 49,115
Conza88 replied on Fri, Nov 4 2011 9:11 AM

Yo Sam.

Division of labor.

Along with the fact that they have a fairly good class analysis, it's just blaming exploitation on the wrong people. See Hoppe.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 6,953
Points 118,135

Laotzu del Zinn:

Deleting my comment is like Cosmo telling women what men want.  You can live in the echo chamber, or you can hear it straight from the horses mouth.

Nice to see arbitrary censorship of good advice tho.  Thumbs up on that.

No one deleted your comment, chief.  If that were the case it wouldn't show up in the thread, the whole post would be in the trash.  The forum just doesn't load the content (usually when you use a crappy browser like Internet Explorer).  This has been happening for a while.  Thanks for the low-grade similes and metaphors though.

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Male
Posts 1,899
Points 37,230

Then I stand corrected.  My apologies.

In States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. ... In short, a law everywhere and for everything!

~Peter Kropotkin

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 6,953
Points 118,135

Birthday Pony:

It's complex, but it can be done. You will need:

Kosher salt, holy water, a copy of Human Action, and fearlessness.

Approach the socialist calmly. Then make a circle around them with the salt. Lightly splash them with holy water by dipping your fingers in it and flicking them forward. As you splash them, rock while holding your copy of Human Action while demanding they solve the calculation problem.

Best of luck.

Oh look.  Another post from a pony.  A birthday pony. 

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 208
Points 3,410

"

It's complex, but it can be done. You will need:

Kosher salt, holy water, a copy of Human Action, and fearlessness.

Approach the socialist calmly. Then make a circle around them with the salt. Lightly splash them with holy water by dipping your fingers in it and flicking them forward. As you splash them, rock while holding your copy of Human Action while demanding they solve the calculation problem.

Best of luck."

Replace Human Action wit Das Kapital and there you go.

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (28 items) | RSS