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Individualism

Letter: Is A Socialist Policy Applicable To America

A Correspondent’s Letter and Our Reply.

Crockett, California.

I am an interested, though at present unaffiliated, sympathiser, in fact an adherent to the principles and programme of your party, and have been in the recent past aligned with small study groups both in Detroit and in New York, patterned very much along the same line as your organisation in point of principles.

The question I am about to ask may or may not be fatuous, or ambiguous, it may even have been already gone over in your columns several times in the past year. I have not been able to get copies of your paper in a long time, but now that I live adjacent to San Francisco, I can get the “Standard” at McDonald’s book store as often as it comes, hoping that my query is given an airing in an early issue.

Stereotypes

On countless occasions I have been asked a question like: ‘Do you like children?’ or ‘Do you like dogs?’ Each time my answer has invariably been greeted by a sigh of frustration as if, somehow, I’m avoiding the question. My reply is that I like some children and not others (the same with dogs). Because I do not care to generalise my questioner cannot designate me as a ‘dog lover’ or someone who gets on with children. The need to generalise or ‘stereotype’ a person seems to be at the very heart of a popular conception of identity. Although these examples are trivial, unfortunately this need sometimes transfers itself to cultural, racial or gender descriptions. If people have personal trouble with a racial or cultural minority this is quite likely to affect their view of the whole group or culture. A woman once complained bitterly about the noise generated by the ‘Nigerians’ next door, forgetting that indigenous people can also be bad neighbours.

Might is Right

Everybody is talking about human rights these days but what are they and will they always need protecting?

Socialists have a problem with human rights. Not of course that we dont think individuals shouldnt have free speech or shouldnt be free from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. It is the concept of rights in general that is the problem.

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