Today was my girls' lunch
Julie, Cassi and me back in November
My coworker Julie likes to work through lunch and Cassi once told me that she likes to take Julie out to lunch once a week to make sure she gets out of the office sometime and has some girl time. (Julie works in an otherwise all-male department.) I jokingly asked why I am never a part of the girls' lunch and was summarily invited. I guess I deserved that. I think I can fit in with the girls though. I used to watch Gilmore Girls. Doesn't that qualify me? And I made a comment about shoes today!
Neither of them had ever been to my favorite, Bongiorno's Pizza so of course they needed an introduction. After that, Cassi informed us that down the street from there is a store we might be interested called Nothing Bundt Cakes. As it turned out, none of us objected to checking it out. When that rare condition of unaniminity presents itself, who were we to argue? We went to check it out. This is where I made the shoe comment. It was very much in the girl style as I disparaged another woman's shoes. See I know...when in Rome...
After work, I drove south to attend a Socrates Cafe. I hadn't been to the last couple of meetings so I was eager to try it again.
I didn't have much time after navigating the accident-snarled traffic slowed me down. Incidentally, did you know the word for traffic in Chinese literally means "cars stuffed in." I always chuckle when I think about that. I don't know why. It's the same word used in "stuff your face." I also chuckle when I realize I know the Chinese word for pirate.
With little time remaining I stopped by Luigi's Pizza. Yes, pizza twice but for a good reason...I always wonder which is better and now I know. Luigi's is more novel because I eat it very infrequently. But I have to say that I prefer Bongiorno's. San Diego residents and visitors take note.
So to Socrates. The question of the night was - which should be the primary value, freedom or justice? This discussion was one-on-eight style as the asker was advocating justice over freedom. Often times it's not like that (one-vs-eight) but tonight it was which is fine. It wasn't adversarial, I'm just being descriptive.
We quickly came to the conclusion that a society that values fairness/justice over freedom probably can't be capitalistic (the "one" participant is a socialist). So the discussion rarely strayed far from politics from that point on.
I am undoubtedly a capitalist but I'm there to learn rather than convince. So I tried to probe for his answers to what I perceive as socialism's weaker points and try and figure out the societal ramifications of its stronger points. Interestingly, the socialist participant didn't believe a socialistic society has ever been created. He called places like Norway and France "social democracies." He's probably not wrong but others raised the point that attempts have been made to create socialistic societies but they all went astray and generally not in a good way. This may say something about socialism. An interesting rejoinder.
Also interestingly, one guy left the meeting freshly convinced that the kind of socialism we talked about was the best possible system. He had been looking for an alternative to capitalism and voila, there it was! Wow.
It was hard to get away from the value of profit as a motivation for behavior. I suggested that the socialist needed to find a way to get people to be motivated by fairness rather than money for it to work. I don't think anyone was optimistic about that idea though. The profit motive is of course orthogonal to fairness as the socialist defined it.
We all agreed that socialism could work in small groups such as families or small churches. Basically any group in which everyone knows everyone (probably about 125 or less). Larger than that and some felt that it was too easy to be partially anonymous and take advantage of others.
I learned about the concept of cohousing where several families set up something like a commune but not in such a hippie way. So it is possible (with enough freedom, natch) to set up your own community that emphasizes fairness at least within itself.
Finally, the Socrates group was all men and we wondered why female participation is so low in groups like this. I thought about telling them I was an honorary girl for the day but declined. All-in-all a fun day with lots to think about. What I do know for sure is that I will always value pizza -- even if it's not free and whether it's fair or not that I eat my two slices.