by Linda Roorda
This is simply my opinion on the socialist agenda that seems to pervade political ideology once again. Ever wonder why so many people from around the world want to come to our nation, legally or illegally? Could it be that the capitalistic United States of America offers freedoms and blessings that are limited or non-existent in their countries? Why are folks not overrunning their nations’ borders? Could it possibly be that Socialism and Communism are the great limiters of the very freedoms which we enjoy… and take for granted?
What is so appealing about our far left-leaning politicians promoting Socialism? Is it Free health care? Free tuition? Free guaranteed income? Free housing? Why is it so hard for some to work themselves up from the bottom of the ladder to the upper levels in companies? Is it a feeling of entitlement? Life is not fair. Never has been, even in Biblical times, and Jesus said “the poor you will always have with you.” (Matthew 26:11) Life is tough, requiring us to work thru difficulties, help each other, and seek to better our life and the lives of others with talent and ingenuity. I, too, worked from the bottom up. Yet, I’m not angry or discontent because others earn way more than me/us. There will always be someone, or some company, who has bigger and better things than you. Be happy and content, grateful and thankful for what you are blessed with.
“What most millennials mean by ‘socialism’ seems to be a mix of our welfare state and what they perceive to be Swedish democratic socialism. But Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, including Denmark, favor the free market, content with private rather than government ownership of major industries. Danish domestic spending including comprehensive health care has a high price — a top personal income tax of 57%. After decades of sluggish growth and bureaucratic inefficiency, India rejected state socialism in the 1990s and shifted to a capitalist approach that spawned the world’s largest middle class of more than three hundred million (nearly equal to the entire U.S. population)… Much of the appeal of Marxism was its scathing critique of capitalism and its 19th century excesses, which included 16-hour work days and Dickensian working conditions… In The Communist Manifesto Karl Marx says, ‘The theory of the communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property… ‘ It’s often argued that socialism is a secular version of Christianity (Acts 2-5) which describes the early Christians having ‘all things in common.’ It is true that following Pentecost, Christians sold their possessions and property and shared the results with ‘any [that] might have need.’ But there is a critical distinction between Christians and socialists: Jesus urged his followers to give up their possessions while socialists want to give away the possessions of others. St. Paul is sometimes quoted as saying that ‘money is the root of all evil.’ What he actually wrote in I Timothy 6:10 was that the ‘love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.’ Without exception, every socialist leader from Vladimir Lenin to Fidel Castro promised to initiate basic political freedoms such as free elections, a free press, and free assembly. None fulfilled those promises.” (What Americans Must Know About Socialism by Lee Edwards, PhD https://www.heritage.org/progressivism/commentary/what-americans-must-know-about-socialism )
As a teen, I read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, read about our nation’s wars, the prison camps, Corrie ten Boom’s experiences in Germany’s prison camp, losing her family, my Dad’s books The Arms of Krupp and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (the first Christian martyrs after Christ’s death which I could not finish because of the horrible persecution they suffered), books on overcoming and dealing with adversity including pioneers trekking across the nation to the Great Plains and far West, and so much more. I recently read The Ghost Ships of Archangel by William Geroux, of our teaming with Britain to send ships bearing supplies to aid USSR in their fight against Hitler. The communist regime and its effects were clearly evident under Stalin’s heavy-handed control, but we gave him aid to fight the Nazis.
The first immigrants in Plymouth, Massachusetts Colony had a socialist-styled economy to start – except it quickly became evident who the hard workers were vs. slackers expecting freebies. When William Bradford privatized everything, as in you work to feed and care for your own family, selling/trading any surplus, they all flourished! (Bradford in Saints and Strangers) You may argue we destroyed the Native Americans. In a sense we did. But let me ask, what did the ancient Romans and other ethnic groups/nations do as they conquered other lands and peoples?
A similar thing happened in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (New York City) when Pieter Stuyvesant was forced to give the settlers personal and governing freedoms which had been limited under the Dutch West Indies Company… the people began to thrive and the city became what it is today because of the early Dutch influence even after the English takeover! (Russell Shortle, The Island at the Center of the World).
There is a socialist undercurrent in this nation that I’ve known about since my teens in the early 1970s. Socialism does not benefit the common citizen, but rather the ruling elite who determine what we should believe and how we should live. Free handouts provide a certain element of equality-for-all, until… as Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of England once said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” In an era of one-sided, taken-out-of-context, fake news, Dear Lord, help us to discern and know who’s telling the truth and what we should do.
Our American freedoms have been a powerful force for enrichment and a better way of life, including unprecedented wealth for those who care to do what it takes to pursue it. Jealous? Think no company or person should be so rich? Their wealth provides jobs for the rest of us… including what their money can do to benefit others. Instead, we’re taught to feel guilt for our nation’s failings and wealth. While millions around the world long to live and work in our United States, to pursue the dreams we can freely achieve with hard work, we are supposed to be ashamed of and hate our nation. Are we always right? No! Are businesses and individuals greedy? Yes! As a nation, we paid for our mistakes of the past. Is there injustice in life? Yes, because mankind has not reached perfection, and never will. There is no perfect person but our Savior, Jesus, and no perfect society except Heaven.
Socialism promises equality, and for a time it seems like utopia; but, it too often brings about the opposite in poverty, hunger, desperation, and inequality, with government control of every aspect of life. Look around you at the world’s impoverished nations. The government rules. Government tells you how your healthcare will be handled, whether you can be treated or not – like my friend’s Mom-in-law in Canada at 72 with breast cancer put on a waiting list for treatment; when it was her time, her cancer had progressed such that she was told there was nothing they could do for her and she died. Instead, my cancer was treated with appointments, biopsies and surgeries in less than a month, continuing cancer free today. They determine whether you can start your own business, remodel or enlarge your home, even if and when you can buy a home or vehicle (as per Canadian friends)… and socialism and communism typically lead to despots in control with a weakening economy and a citizenry forbidden from speaking and living freely like with our constitutional rights.
Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have projected socialized medicine will cost upwards of $30-40 TRILLION to pay for health care of all!! I’ve read that equals about 60% or more in higher tax rates for everyone - that’s every person, not just the rich corporations. But, hey, that’s socialist equality – we all pay our costly fair share… with nothing left over to enjoy, including freedom.
Congressman Gerald Smith made the following statement, which is now inscribed in the Congressional Record. He said in 1958, "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give away that which it doesn't first take from somebody else."
As a teen, I had several foreign penpals from Holland, Germany, France, Australia and Columbia. Andrew from Australia was shocked when I’d written about getting my own job and buying my own car… while a senior in high school. In his socialist nation, he had to wait for the government to say when he could get a car, and they would tell him where he was going to work – he could not make the same choices I made freely. That stayed with me all these years. Something else is missing today – respect and true tolerance.
Socialism destroys our innate ability to pursue betterment by using our God-given gifts and talents to improve life for ourselves and others. That’s why so many people emigrate to our great United States of America – for the freedoms and blessings we enjoy and too often take for granted.
Linda Roorda is a resident of Spencer.