Let’s talk honestly about social programs
To the Editor:
Communism, socialism and Democrats are all the same, always bad, all the time. Democratic-leaning relatives, friends, and associates who you have known for years are now considered pedophiles or worse, socialist. The Republican propaganda machine is in warp drive. I lived through the “Red Scare of the 1950s and, like today, unfounded fears and pure lies are at the heart of this assault on the truth.
As a governing principal, pure communism and pure capitalism have never succeeded in a modern state. Only Cuba and Venezuela — two failed states — can be called Communist. Russia, China, and many other modern states are really just dictatorships. They are run for the benefit of one person, like Putin in Russia or one minority group, like the communist elite in China. Even these countries have a strong dose of capitalism to support the governing class, because without it no one has any incentive to produce or create wealth necessary to support the state.
Today, most modern governments, like the United States, that are not run by a dictator, are a combination of capitalism, the pursuit of individual wealth and socialism (the use of social programs). Capitalism is needed to provide the incentive to produce wealth and create an economy to support the state. Social programs are needed for the protection of children, elderly, minorities and those in need. These citizens would all be abandoned in pure capitalist society. Think Social Security, Medicare, public health programs and a hundred others we have come to depend on.
The last time the Republicans won the presidential popular vote was 2004. Since then, the Republican party has created this hateful “straw man” socialism to divert our attention from their failed policies. It is a common tactic when one party concludes it cannot succeed by arguing the merits of their position. Let’s have a rational discussion about the need for social programs and how to pay for them, in a capitalist state. Calling your opponent names and equating them with the devil is not what our founding fathers had in mind.
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Margaret Thatcher once said that "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."
Thank you for this wonderful and informative editorial.
Well spoken. My parents were members of the Socialist Party. They were blacklisted under McCarthyism. I grew up with a phone tapped by US government. Everything Mr. Vitale says is spot on. A fellow named Jesus Christ said a long time ago that the most important thing is to love the Lord and to love your neighbor as yourself. If everyone loved their neighbor love would spread around the world, from person to person, from country to country. True love is not an emotion; it is the most powerful force in the universe.
My hat off to you. Great piece!