Gerald Staack’s letter (Jan. 29) reminded me of my youth. Visions of crowds storming barricades of the powerful elite to overthrow the bastions of capitalism that was responsible for so much poverty and inequality. Then came the realities of: Castro’s Cuba, the Berlin wall, the Hungarian revolution, Mao’s “Great Leap Forward,” postwar Vietnam’s “Boat People,” the collapse of the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, and now Venezuela.
In every instance, starting with the Bolshevik revolution but including the French, Haitian, Mexican and Chinese, the “grand dream” of a Utopian socialist society has collapsed into national bankruptcy and refugees, costing over a hundred million lives and tens of thousands sent to “re-education” camps, national survival only realized when “free market reforms” and “limited capitalism” have been allowed for economic movement from the bottom up.
The conceit of the American left is that the murderous aftermath that followed those socialist victories, and the subsequent consignment of whole populations to a life of meager government handouts and an absence of personal freedom and civil rights, wouldn’t, couldn’t happen here.
They are wrong. Think not? Find a historical situation to the contrary. Socialism writ large is dependent on a system of a full-time, unelected, administrative bureaucracy, who sees to its own needs first, and its first need is to stay in power, so it depends on a police state and popular repression.
What some fail to realize is the same power-seeking, corrupt, self-serving interests they condemn as a product of free-market capitalism are, regrettably, broad HUMAN qualities, and are found at the upper reaches of socialist governments also. (Do barefoot farmers run China?)
I have come to believe that the only real hope for people on a broad scale is FREEDOM. Freedom to educate yourself, to work, contribute, to live by your better judgment, and to take personal responsibility for your actions, without blaming others for your unhappiness. Either that or abdicate yourself to live under a system of emotional slogans and government-mandated mediocrity.
P.S. President Trump’s government shutdown and the teachers strike were moral equivalents. Both used suspension of labor to gain leverage favorable to negotiations.
Richard La Motte, Santa Clarita