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Socialists Question Time AKA 'Ask a Socialist' watch

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    (Original post by Harmonic Minor)
    Surely this is all represents the problems associated with the practical application of Socialism, and of Socialism in one Country? Just as I explained above, factionalism and infighting was just one of the practical problems which confronted revolutionary Socialists in their early years. One begins to understand the nature of Socialism once they think about it in terms of its practical application, as in the the USSR. A theory remains just that, a theory, until it is put into practice. Just because the utopia was never realized is beside the point.
    Well, Socialism is simply the democratic control of the means of production (at it's most basic form). A factory in which the factory is owned collectively by it's labour and democratically elects it's leadership and management irrespective of the ownership of Capital is a little Socialist factory in and of itself. The leadership of the USSR, which had nationalised industries, was never democratically elected and had overthrown the only previously democratically elected Constituent Assembly. A planned economy, despite what the right likes to tell you, is not part of the definition of Socialism. It's often something that several Statist Socialists would like to happen to replace market forces but Anarcho-Marxists, Market Socialists and other of their ilk are fine without planning.
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    (Original post by Harmonic Minor)
    Surely this is all represents the problems associated with the practical application of Socialism, and of Socialism in one Country? Just as I explained above, factionalism and infighting was just one of the practical problems which confronted revolutionary Socialists in their early years. One begins to understand the nature of Socialism once they think about it in terms of its practical application, as in the the USSR. A theory remains just that, a theory, until it is put into practice.
    These were all problems that plagued the USSR attemt at socialism. Prehaps they are problems that will always effect an attempt at socialism, but I have seen no evidence of this. Even if the factionalism and infighting were to happen at any attempt at socialism (I think it is more to do with trying to create one nation socialism coupled with the nature of revolution) the response to them in one case does not prove that other responces with different outcomes are not avalible.

    Again you mistake the USSR for socialism. The USSR was an attempt at getting towards communism. As I have said, the TSR socialist (and all the socialists that I know in real life) are not supporters of the USSR, and do not support totalitarianism.
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    (Original post by paddy__power)
    Because it isn't fair. It may not directly better the education of the 'less well-off' but it will serve to level the playing field. You managed to do well, plenty of people do, well done - but if you don't think that going to a private school drastically improves the chance of a child (who is not necessarily any smarter, more motivated or natural gifted than any number of students at state schools) getting into said top university or competitive course then you are fooling yourself. The closer we move towards meritocracy the better IMO.
    How is that more important than forcibly removing the rights of others, for no other reason than they have more money?

    They have a few, and they tend to go to people from reasonably well off families anyway because these are the families likely to push for such scholarships. I'm not saying parents are wrong for deciding to send their children to private schools while it is an option, indeed poor state schools is, in some cases, an issue; I'm saying the option shouldn't exist.
    But private schools are independent from the government (for the most part, I think?), and if a group of people want to educate, and another people want to pay them to be educated, how/why should that be illegal? If you want to improve those without as much money, you should probably spend your resources doing that by informing parents and poor schools, not taking opportunities from others.

    Awesome, that's great but this is largely irrelevant to the debate as nobody has stated that it is impossible, or improbable for a state-school student to be offered a similar place for a similar course - what has been made are statements about probability which are evidenced by statistics that everyone is aware of.
    I agree my own personal experiences should not be used in an argument, and that was not my intention. I was kinda just showing that I'm not really as biased as some rich kid that went to private school might be.




    Look, I'm on board with a lot of what you guys are saying. Inequalities are not great, I agree. But I still don't see how, and no one has explained how, banning private schools would improve the academic performance of poorer children? I don't really see how 'levelling the playing field' is right, or will work. That seems kinda childish. "Well if I can't afford to go to private school, then no one can go to private school!" I know that's a simplistic summary of your view, but it's how it seems sometimes.

    Private schools are hard. I know you need to have money to go, but it's not an easy ride to academic success either. They push the children hard and they're put through rigorous academia. Just because they're well-off, doesn't mean they don't still work hard to get good grades! Yes, they have an advantage, so what? That's not the be all end all to life.

    How is this different to banning the sale of luxury cars? Do socialists want that too?
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    (Original post by Geraldine)
    This video deserves a watch in my opinion, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

    But more than that, do you not think that individuals would prosper if the majority of people were not hampered by the gross blocks to success caused by inequality and private privilege?

    As a side note, I think that American capitalism is as strong as ever.
    Very interesting video, made me think.

    I still think that if everyone was equal society wouldn't prosper and there would have to be something that made people able to be individuals.

    Although I am completely against the massive inequality in this country and the fact that our child poverty levels are so high etc.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens to the US in our lifetimes'. I don't see it lasting personally but that's just my opinion.

    Thanks =]
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    (Original post by SMed)
    How is that more important than forcibly removing the rights of others, for no other reason than they have more money?
    1) You are assuming what is a right here?
    2) If you think the only reason is because of how much money they have then you are not reading the replies properly.

    But private schools are independent from the government (for the most part, I think?), and if a group of people want to educate, and another people want to pay them to be educated, how/why should that be illegal? If you want to improve those without as much money, you should probably spend your resources doing that by informing parents and poor schools, not taking opportunities from others.
    Because of the affect it has, it is the affect that is important as I explained elsewhere in this thread. I won't say more because you can scroll back a page and read it if you so wish.

    I agree my own personal experiences should not be used in an argument, and that was not my intention. I was kinda just showing that I'm not really as biased as some rich kid that went to private school might be.
    That's fair enough then I suppose I could point out my GF goes to a private school, and I attended to Grammar to show that I am against these things despite being personally involved (albeit indirectly with private schools). I was however the recipient of something good a private school does for state pupils - I received a scholarship for the Eton College Summer School. This is all said fora similar reason to you, although to justify the lack of bias in my opposite stance

    Look, I'm on board with a lot of what you guys are saying. Inequalities are not great, I agree. But I still don't see how, and no one has explained how, banning private schools would improve the academic performance of poorer children? I don't really see how 'levelling the playing field' is right, or will work. That seems kinda childish. "Well if I can't afford to go to private school, then no one can go to private school!" I know that's a simplistic summary of your view, but it's how it seems sometimes.
    Because of the outcome, again I direct you to the previous post I made. It won't necessarily improve the academic performance of all pupils - this isn't the argument as I see it. The argument for me is that it improves massively the chance of them being successful beyond mandatory education - if we as a society are going to make education mandatory to X age we should provide the same education to people until that time. In doing this we move closer to meritocracy and surely you support the idea of that?

    Private schools are hard. I know you need to have money to go, but it's not an easy ride to academic success either. They push the children hard and they're put through rigorous academia. Just because they're well-off, doesn't mean they don't still work hard to get good grades! Yes, they have an advantage, so what? That's not the be all end all to life.
    I agree, but they are afforded - as you allude to - a number of significant advantages that do impact performance. Nobody suggests that people at private schools don't work hard (a great many do). No it isn't the be all and end all but the same can be said for pretty much every problem and it isn't really strong justification for allowing it to persist.

    How is this different to banning the sale of luxury cars? Do socialists want that too?
    I think I have covered that. We are not forcing people to own cars, having a luxury car doesn't help you get into a top university etcetc

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    (Original post by oli_G)
    Very interesting video, made me think.

    I still think that if everyone was equal society wouldn't prosper and there would have to be something that made people able to be individuals.

    Although I am completely against the massive inequality in this country and the fact that our child poverty levels are so high etc.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens to the US in our lifetimes'. I don't see it lasting personally but that's just my opinion.

    Thanks =]
    It is equality of opportunity and not equality of person that is important
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    To add, if it's clear that private schools are 'better' and produce arguably 'better' students/professionals etc, then wouldn't banning private schools make 'worse' students/professionals? Might this lead to a brain-drain type scenario?

    I'm not saying it will, but it might be possible. I don't know. Sounds risky.

    How do we know banning private schools will improve our economy or scientific standing on the international field? That seems like one of the most important questions to me. What if it makes it worse?

    Is there any evidence that banning private schools would achieve a more fruitful productive society, especially science wise?
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    (Original post by SMed)
    Is there any evidence that banning private schools would achieve a more fruitful productive society, especially science wise?
    Most scientists that I knew at Oxford went to state schools, just sayin'.
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    Thanks for the reply.

    (Original post by paddy__power)
    1) You are assuming what is a right here?
    2) If you think the only reason is because of how much money they have then you are not reading the replies properly.

    Because of the affect it has, it is the affect that is important as I explained elsewhere in this thread. I won't say more because you can scroll back a page and read it if you so wish.

    Because of the outcome, again I direct you to the previous post I made. It won't necessarily improve the academic performance of all pupils - this isn't the argument as I see it. The argument for me is that it improves massively the chance of them being successful beyond mandatory education - if we as a society are going to make education mandatory to X age we should provide the same education to people until that time. In doing this we move closer to meritocracy and surely you support the idea of that?

    I agree, but they are afforded - as you allude to - a number of significant advantages that do impact performance. Nobody suggests that people at private schools don't work hard (a great many do). No it isn't the be all and end all but the same can be said for pretty much every problem and it isn't really strong justification for allowing it to persist.

    I think I have covered that. We are not forcing people to own cars, having a luxury car doesn't help you get into a top university etcetc

    I think I better understand your stance. I just don't agree with it. I think equality is important, but not at the cost you're suggesting.

    Discussion on 'rights' can get long and tedious, and it's not something I begin to really understand, nor do I want to debate. But I simply think that people should be allowed to teach if they want, and others should be allowed to let them teach their kids too. I know it can be unfair, but you can't control everything, especially the choice of others when it's not hurting anyone.

    Why not make all state schools as hard as private schools?
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    Most scientists that I knew at Oxford went to state schools, just sayin'.
    And?
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    (Original post by SMed)
    To add, if it's clear that private schools are 'better' and produce arguably 'better' students/professionals etc, then wouldn't banning private schools make 'worse' students/professionals? Might this lead to a brain-drain type scenario?

    I'm not saying it will, but it might be possible. I don't know. Sounds risky.

    How do we know banning private schools will improve our economy or scientific standing on the international field? That seems like one of the most important questions to me. What if it makes it worse?

    Is there any evidence that banning private schools would achieve a more fruitful productive society, especially science wise?
    Banning private schools would be catastrophic, it helped me no end. I think extending their (successful and expensive) methods to the whole population would have a huge benefit to society which would far outweigh the cost (if bugeted about £1000 or £2000 more than state education) The socialist ideal would be excellent education for all, not equality in poverty.
    EDIT: before anyone accuses me of being an 'armchair socialist' I was in state education for over 7 years and that was also formative in its own way. My mum works for a charity.
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    (Original post by SMed)
    Thanks for the reply.



    I think I better understand your stance. I just don't agree with it. I think equality is important, but not at the cost you're suggesting.

    Discussion on 'rights' can get long and tedious, and it's not something I begin to really understand, nor do I want to debate. But I simply think that people should be allowed to teach if they want, and others should be allowed to let them teach their kids too. I know it can be unfair, but you can't control everything, especially the choice of others when it's not hurting anyone.

    Why not make all state schools as hard as private schools?
    That's fair enough, plenty of people do disagree - they tend to be conservatives (on here) and most politicians (IRL) not that this says a great deal.

    The problem is it is hurting people though - it is hurting the chances of people that can't buy themselves better grades.

    It is probably impossible, and certainly very improbable without an extremely large hike in funding and as a result taxes. You can't recreate the atmosphere of a private school for one things, the behaviour is far far better and the work ethic inculcated in the students from a young age is evident. The state educates a vast array of different people with different needs; while I'm not saying everyone at a private school is the same, it is legitimate to say the range of attitudes and needs is narrower.

    Your position is common and amounts to "it isn't the business of the state to exercise control over what we can spend money on" - am I correct?

    Oh and you're welcome
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    Most scientists that I knew at Oxford went to state schools, just sayin'.
    Science has s higher preponderence to being 'gifted', end of (if you understand) - my dad somehow got a scholarship for engineering to cambridge (maths skipped a generation horrifically in my family) and he said it was easy!!??! Arts must be developed as well as learned, wereas science to an able person is just learning as far as I am aware, the mental processes are logical and gradually stack up anyway for talented people. Clever (ie Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, Durham, Warwick etc.) people will be clever anyway, hence the state school intake. Private education helps to develop skills (as there are more teachers to students) but teaches theory and information similarly to state schools, so is more beneficial to arts students and less so to sciences.
    Most academic scholars at my school have Oxbridge parents. Just sayin'
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    (Original post by SMed)
    And?
    Well just shows that talent isn't exclusively bound up with private schools. Thus, in response to your point about the consequences of banning private schools for science, I was implying that it might not actually matter.
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    (Original post by Chazzer66)
    Science has s higher preponderence to being 'gifted', end of (if you understand) - my dad somehow got a scholarship for engineering to cambridge (maths skipped a generation horrifically in my family) and he said it was easy!!??! Arts must be developed as well as learned, wereas science to an able person is just learning as far as I am aware, the mental processes are logical and gradually stack up anyway for talented people. Clever (ie Oxbridge, LSE, UCL, Durham, Warwick etc.) people will be clever anyway, hence the state school intake. Private education helps to develop skills (as there are less teachers to students) but teaches theory and information similarly to state schools, so is more beneficial to arts students and less so to sciences.
    Most academic scholars at my school have Oxbridge parents. Just sayin'
    Well science doesn't exactly require humanist thinking which is why those who tended to be gifted and talented in maths and other computational subjects tend to lie somewhere on the autistic spectrum so in that regard I agree with you. It's also the case that private schools tend to have an intake from those who have degrees from Oxford and Cambridge as there is a definite cycle. Some of us with Oxford degrees, however, have a conscience...
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    Well just shows that talent isn't exclusively bound up with private schools. Thus, in response to your point about the consequences of banning private schools for science, I was implying that it might not actually matter.
    You may be right, but evidence? My own bias is towards science anyway, so if private schools have little impact on equality in science, then I automatically don't care as much.
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    (Original post by SMed)
    You may be right, but evidence? My own bias is towards science anyway, so if private schools have little impact on equality in science, then I automatically don't care as much.
    Well any evidence that we might provide here is probably circumstantial and framed by personal experience so I'm not going to bother providing any really. The problem faced from your abstention from caring, as a scientist, is that so much of what makes up society and its institutions is dominated by people from the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences which are very definitely tangled up with the webs of inequality, unfairness, and social hierarchy that follows from private education. Judges, politicians, doctors, academics, and so on all ensure that the bastions of unfairness are maintained because it benefits their lifestyles. Whereas there are plenty of intelligent people from the bottom of society (and I say this on the basis of multiple intelligences here) who are stiffled by that hierarchy. Private schools may only be one head of the hydra, but by god it's an ugly one.
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    (Original post by SMed)
    Why not make all state schools as hard as private schools?
    Because it's not possible when you have classes of upwards of 30 pupils each, some of which might be armed and intent on disrupting the education of others.

    Good grades, whether it be in highers like I did or A-levels like they do elsewhere in the UK, depend mainly on rote learning and regurgitation. When I went to university and was in a flat where a large amount of the students were privately educated, after discussions it was concluded that the main difference in a school like mine (very underperforming state school) and a private one was that the teachers gave them more homework and spoonfed them more. It's easy to spoonfeed pupils when classes are small and they are listening, because if they don't then their parents will be mad that they spend thousands a year on their education and they still only get Cs. It's harder when a lot of the pupil's parents themselves are not supportive of their education, whether it because of drug addictions, or simply because they could no longer afford to keep at 16 year old in full time education when instead they could be working full time.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    Because it's not possible when you have classes of upwards of 30 pupils each, some of which might be armed and intent on disrupting the education of others.
    No, I know. It was a facetious question. But wouldn't that then show meritocracy? lol
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    (Original post by SMed)
    No, I know. It was a facetious question. But wouldn't that then show meritocracy? lol
    How?
 
 
 
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