A Conversation on Socialism

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the Missoulian, one of the largest newspapers in western Montana. It is well-written, researched, and reasoned. I answered it. See below.

“All this current agonizing over the concept of “socialism.” Republicans cringe at the word and hold up their crosses to divert the horrors of it.”

“I got curious. What of socialism around the world? According to the United Nations, seven of the 10 happiest countries in 2019 are Finland, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada. FYI: The U.S. ranked 18th.”

“According to the Peerform website, among the 10 most socialistic nations in the world today are Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand.”

“Interesting overlap, do you not agree?”

“On thelibertarianrepublic.com website, the blogger listed the most socialist policies of the USA. They were Social Security, the Federal Reserve, endless wars, farm subsidies, public schools, corporate welfare, income taxes, Medicare/Medicaid/Affordable Care Act, public transportation, public security, and the Food and Drug Administration. Allowing for the obvious libertarian leanings in what got included in the list, which of the listed policies would you be willing to give up?”

“Maybe we can all agree on giving up the “endless wars”!”

–Linda Holtom, Missoula

(This is my reply. Note that the links I have posted do not show up in the paper, so the content below is not exactly the same as the version submitted.–RM)

Socialism. Republicans cringe at the word. I agree and consider them to be inconsistent. While they speak against socialism, they advocate for and enact socialist policies, including all the items Linda Holtom listed in a Letter to Editor, Missoulian, 7/28/2019. See here and here for an extended version of my opinion on Republican hypocrisy concerning socialism and government.

It is interesting that the blog post she referred to, Peerform, had a large graphic at the top of the article showing Lenin, Marx, and Engels—all of whom were instrumental in bringing about the ‘worker’s paradise’ known as the former Soviet Union, socialism taken to the extreme. She also neglected to mention that one of the most socialist countries, according to this blog post, is China, with the attendant photo of armed soldiers lined up, ready to enforce compliance with socialist law.

Holtom asked a question. It deserves an answer. I would give up all of them, starting with the FED, which finances every form of socialism in this country. This action, by itself, would inevitably change or eliminate every other item on her list, including the endless wars.

There is only one alternative to socialism—liberty, in which the freedom of people and their property is considered sacred and off limits to government. Everything else is socialist.

End of letter. I expect some pretty harsh criticism, from both the left and the right.

It seems that Holtom has equated socialism with happiness. After all, most of the most socialist countries in the world are also the happiest, at least according to the sources she mentioned. What she never said anything about is that the most socialist countries this world has ever known, the USSR, Maoist China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Nazi Germany, etc., have also been the unhappiest, filled with an immense amount of human suffering and misery.

All of the countries she listed have a few things in common. There are probably more.

  1. They are small, population-wise.
  2. Many of these populations are indigenous and closely related.
  3. They have no large military expenditures, relying instead on the United States to keep the “bogeyman” away.

One thing which should be obvious is that they are more similar to each other than they are to the US, which has a large, rapidly growing, rapidly diversifying population and is acting as policeman to the world. Apples to oranges. They are not the same.

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