LETTERS: Defining socialism, Fidelity 

LETTERS: Defining socialism, Fidelity 

Defining socialism


A few months ago, I wrote a couple of letters expressing my concern over the rise of socialism in our country. Predictably, some Democrats tend to pooh-pooh any suggestion that socialism is something to be concerned about. "We already have socialism," some said. But we don't. Having government control over some aspects of our country (schools, the post office etc.) does not make us a socialist nation. When the government controls all of the means of production and distribution, then you have socialism.

Socialism does not have a good track record. Looking at our neighbor to the south, Venezuela, is telling. Venezuela has the largest known oil reserves in the world, yet there is widespread poverty and social unrest. I doubt that this is what the Venezuelan people signed up for, when they elected socialist Hugo Chavez, and subsequently present socialist leader Nicolas Maduro.

In spite of this, there are powerful people in our country who want to bring socialism to the United States. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have put forth their desire for a single payer, mandatory, government sponsored healthcare plan. That would move the entire healthcare industry from private to government control. All of the leading Democrats running for president, have said that they support the “Green New Deal.” Since that would involve converting from fossil fuel use to renewable energy sources within the next 10 years, that would be another industry moving from private to government control.

If you think I am exaggerating, watch the Democrat debates.

Hopefully, America can have a discussion about socialism, what it is, and how well it has worked elsewhere before next year's election. It would be sad if, like the Venezuelan people, we ended up with a government other than what we thought we were getting.

George Stowell, Wallingford

Futility of fidelity


Fidelity is an old-fashioned concept with diminishing examples of its practice in today’s world. Being “true to one’s word,” for example, is seldom considered to be the sine qua non of societal intercourse, particularly at the government level. I remember the times of my youth when I’d felt the impending sense of disgrace and embarrassment over the fact that I might had neglected to have adequately washed behind my ears or told the truth. There would surely always be someone there, walking behind me, to bear witness, or someone in front to determine if, in fact, my tongue had “turned black.” Over time, I had “done the math” and determined that by abiding by the rules, and acting in an orderly and truthful manner, [fibs don’t count], my life might go on angst-free. Well, that was then and now is now. Today, fidelity and truthfulness seem to be the life-principles that no longer seem to be of “bedrock” necessity. One has only to press adjacent buttons on the channel selector to experience the sense of reverse deja vu as competing commentators “truthfully” explain what the competing channel’s pundits have just read off the cue-cards. And the seemingly endless hearings of government investigative committees seem to hold no sense of dedication to the pursuit of “the unbridled truth.” The absence of which seems to be expected, and certainly flaunted by elected officials, campaign functionaries, and others of “once impeccable reputation.” Even the “truths” projected from lecterns at churches, mosques, synagogues sometimes fail the “wash-behind-the-ears” litmus tests. So, What should one do in today’s atmosphere of “yo-yo speak?” Maybe, let your hair grow like The Donald’s, or just keep your mouth shut. Couldn’t hurt!

Lawrence Singer, Wallingford