Sun, Sept. 22

Letter: ‘The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money’


The United States of America is hated by numerous nations and groups. That’s certainly no surprise, and I need not delineate the myriad culprits. But our greatest enemy – and one that the mainstream media ignores – is not without, it is within. Our greatest enemy is us, or to be more precise, the “us” that teeters ever more not just Lefter and Lefter but into the dangerous miasma of socialism and its eventuation into communism and totalitarianism.

“Free” is good, right? And that siren song of free healthcare, free college, free housing, guaranteed monthly income from the government, et al. is more than tantalizing. Yet as the lotus eaters learned, the allure is a false paradise. Sooner or later, a price has to be paid, and it is not a cheap price.

In the case of socialism, that price is liberty. When everything is free, no one is free. Everyone is beholden to the benefactor. We become a nation of share croppers who, to borrow from the Tennessee Ernie Ford classic, owe their souls to the company store. Even worse, in a purely socialist state, the government decides what we can and can’t have, what we may and may not do, where we may and may not live, ad nauseam. If you don’t follow the dictates of the government, you are cut off from your benefits or, as we’ve seen in too many socialist nations, cut off from your life.

Am I being an alarmist here? Perhaps. But look at history. Check out the “success” of the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, and so many more over the millennia.

Listen up, kids – and by kids I especially mean you Millennials and the generation behind you. Socialism does not work!

Centuries ago, Sir Thomas More (aka Saint Thomas More) penned a novel titled “Utopia.” That title suggested a way to achieve a utopian world. But what More found was that utopia was not only unachievable, its pursuit was dangerous to the health, wealth, and freedom of the people. More warned of the potential totalitarianism of a utopia. His liege and close consult Henry VIII was not happy. More was summarily executed.

Socialism by its very nature embodies government control of the lives of the citizenry. There is no freedom of choice. You get what the government deems to give you. Period. That kind of unquestioned and unquestionable power necessarily homogenizes a society, such that free-this-and-that rapidly equates to do-this-or-that. “Good news! Today you get chili dogs. They’re free. Bad news. You get chili dogs tomorrow, the next day, and every day of the year. But no onions and no cheese. And if you don’t like chili dogs? Stay where you are! We’ll be there shortly!!”

A long time ago, the authors George Orwell and Ayn Rand, to name two, cautioned about the likes of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Idi Amin Dada, Castro, Ferdinand Marcos, and other socialist dictators. How sad and terrifying that our young people – yes, you Millennials and those behind you! – have not only forgotten history, you haven’t been taught it! Shame on our educational system. Shame shame shame.

The words of George Santayana echo again: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Alas, it doesn’t take any notable memory to see how socialism is destroying Venezuela, eh? So please, how is it that the Twitter-ites and Facebook-ites refuse to see that socialism is a failure, that it was doomed to fail from the start, and that it continues to fail? I just don’t get it.

Yet we have Bernie Sanders & Co. trumpeting a socialist agenda? And, uh, while Sanders himself and with his wife is a major high-value property owner in the Northeast and, by some accounts, also in Florida? In “Animal Farm,” Orwell said it best: “All pigs a created equal, but some are more equal than others.”

So as you are lured the treats of socialism, think of the fish that’s drawn to bait. Looks good, smells good, so bite. Oops. There’s a hook. Gotcha.

Sadly, so many of my above literary references mean nothing to you young folks. Not your fault. You’ve been un-educated ... and that’s horrifying for the future of America.

Let me then conclude with an apt summation of socialism, this from then-Prime Minister of the U.K.: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

Or shall I quote the old comic strip “Pogo”? The classic line was, “I have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Michael Westlund


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