COMMENTARY: Socialism is simply a term used to deceive

Frank Daniels’ letter (“To each his own”) addressed to Bill Clemens struck me with its consistent level of fallacious posturing. There was a wild flailing at imaginary shadows flickering across the tedium of his erroneous assumptions. Parts of it had about the same amount of legitimacy as a Trump stump speech. By the way, Frank, nowhere did I find that Mr Clemens “attacked (you) on a personal level.”

Moving on to a brief clarification of your favorite reactionary bugaboo, the word socialism. Simply put, socialism generally puts the well-being of society ahead of the greedy appetites of the few. Goals include providing a reasonable percentage of one’s earnings to support a basic quality of life, a free and secure society, and an equitable income for all.

Another universal principal of socialism is found in a healthy skepticism of unregulated, privileged workings of economic markets. These freewheeling, ethically immune systems are geared, normally at the expense of employees and the general population, toward the continuing increase of wealth for private corporate management, share holders, and the attendant governance that supports the exploitative system.

It is clear that under-regulated economic systems are highly susceptible to greed and abuse of power, resulting in the “trickle up” effect — the river of affluence flowing up to the affluent, the opposite of Reagan’s erroneous “trickle down” theory of wealth distribution.

American “Socialism” means different things to different people. Often right wingers consciously confuse socialism with Soviet-style communism or some ill defined system of unlimited welfare and anarchy.

The GOP routinely uses this designed confusion as a bogus pejorative talking point aimed at Democrats and Progressives, frequently during election campaigns. Many of these same people do serious damage to the foundations of the nation by concocting conspiracy deceptions that repeatedly target political and cultural opponents. When that happens, it’s called treachery. When that happens within conspiracies with a hostile foreign power, it’s called treason.

The U.S. is not a socialist country. Our citizens are nearly unanimous in rejecting Marxism, anarchism, ISIS and mostly dismiss neo-Nazism despite the efforts of the co-Conspirator-in-Chief. America probably comes closest to the social democracies of Europe but without many of their considerably stronger safety net of public benefits, such as high quality universal health care, free education, and income equity. Of course taxes are higher but the net gains are also significantly greater.

As a pluralistic capitalist democracy, we have adapted many successful programs that are paid for by citizen (and immigrant) taxation and services. They are also beneficial and very popular, but only partially defrays the human cost and suffering to millions trapped in the basement of under regulated capitalism. You say “no one gave (you) anything?” Really, nothing from Uncle Sam? Not ever? No tax rebate? Not even Social Security?

In my own life I have relied on work income. I have also benefited from the GI Bill, wide-ranging VA medical care, and a SS check once a month. That too was earned, Frank. And there was blood, sweat and even a few tears after the fact. So maybe no one in this conversation was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Except one. That would be Spooner 1, who currently lives rent free in the White House.

Just a few questions, Frank.

I’m glad to hear you “support helping others…” But it sounds as if your support doesn’t go much beyond a vague declaration of support for supporting something. Kind of like telling the widow after the funeral that “our hearts and minds are with you.”

Exactly where have you found “unlimited support to those who are able to work but will not or do not,” or that someone is “tak(ing) away an individual’s drive to succeed?” Who are these slackers, Frank? And where are they? Were they hiding in that vast caravan invasion packed with drug lords and other felons sweeping across our southern border?

And how have Progressives “denigrated the word equality?” Equality under the law doesn’t mean “pushing for everyone to be the same.“ On the contrary, equality ensures that all of us can be free to be ourselves. Equality means respecting the law, ethically and evenly, no matter who it concerns or where it leads. You can’t find that on Fox News or in the White House.

Will Gillespie is a resident of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania.

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