Socialism: Just Another Political Scare Word

To The Reader’s Forum:

OK, the scare word for the 2020 election season is officially “socialism.” Everyone, repeat it again — socialism. Now that we’ve said “that” word, does anyone want to define it? No? OK, then, let’s go to the Oxford dictionary: “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the community as a whole should own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange”.

Anyone want to explain how American capitalism (private ownership of business) will suddenly become owned and controlled by communities as a whole? America is a democratic Republic, so unless our Constitution changes we will never become “socialist”. Even our elections have become a multi-billion dollar business run by private political parties – pure capitalism. Haven’t convinced you yet? One more try – name a business school that is teaching the mechanics of “socialism” to replace “Wall Street” and “stock exchanges”. None? OK, I’m done.

That said, you’ve probably heard about Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two alleged “socialists”. Let’s presume they actually promote “socialism”. So what? First, they are but two of 535 in Congress and have virtually no power unto themselves. Second, only Congress and 38 of the 50 states can pass Constitutional amendments so our form of government probably won’t change. Third, people generally wrongly confuse “social programs” and “regulations” as “socialism”, and the proof is that both political parties have supported them.

I urge people to understand that “single-payer health care” or “Medicare For All”, and a “Green New Deal” are “social programs” and/or “regulations” and not “socialism” as scare tacticians want you to believe. America is already moving to “greener” energy and related jobs; we have Medicare; most Americans want a more fair tax system; and most Americans support a less costly education system. None of these initiatives are “free”, but there is a lot of money already being “paid” to existing systems that will simply be redirected (e.g. tax incentives for carbon fuels would go to alternative energy; private health insurance premiums would go to a single-payer system; tax cuts to the wealthy would go to the middle class).

You may not like a transition that “benefits” more of society, but using the political scare word “socialism” is pure fiction. At least own up to what you don’t like instead of creating a “boogeyman”. (Remember “death panels” and the Affordable Care Act?) I hope voters are smarter than a fifth-grader.

Paul L. Demler

Jamestown

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