We have an admitted socialist running for president and making a “good” (for certain definitions of “good”) showing. People don’t really seem to get what socialism means. Recently I had a college student tell me that, “A little socialism is good.” Rather than hammer them into the ground and destroy a friendship I mildly disagreed with their claim and changed the subject.
Unless you are of the opinion that we need to destroy our country before we can save it we need to destroy the idea that socialism in any form is “good”. Socialism and communism have been attempted and failed more times than any other political system. While many of the failures have only resulted in general malaise, economic stagnation, and lower standard of living the most extraordinary political failures in history occurred under socialist systems. National Socialism of Germany, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Peoples Republic of China being the most well know of those with their approximately 100 million dead.
I’ve talked to people that have lived under socialism. They know better than the naïve people in this country who have lived all their lives in a somewhat free market economy. I’m not the only one who has talked to the survivors of these regimes. One of my children’s high school teachers, Don Kaag, posted this on Facebook a couple days ago:
My old VW mechanic Dieter in Pullman, WA, is in
his 80’s, retired now, and has turned his shop over to his son Georg. In the late 1950’s, Dieter, as a young East German, “came over the wire”. He escaped from the German Democratic Republic’s “Socialist Paradise” with nothing but the clothes on his back and some mechanical skills he could use to earn a living in the West.
He worked as a car mechanic in West Germany, in Scandinavia, and then immigrated to South Africa, where he met his wife, and where they started their family. Finally he relocated to Canada and then at last to the U.S., earning his way with his talented mechanic’s hands and his brain.
He hates what Socialism did to his homeland.
I was stationed in southern Germany—in Bavaria—in the early to mid-80’s, an Armor officer and tank company commander guarding the inter-German border against a possible invasion by the USSR…and for those of you who were not there and privy to the secret briefings, you have no idea what a very near thing it was. Our tanks had their war-load of ammo on-board 24/7/365.
The border was a sobering sight. Twenty-foot-high barbed wire fence on concrete posts topped with concertina wire. On the fence, pointed back into East Germany, were command-detonated claymore mines. Past that, 100 yards of ground was defoliated, plowed and planted with pressure-sensitive anti-personnel mines. Then further into the GDR there was yet another barbed wire fence with a gravel patrol road behind it, and with hexagonal concrete guard towers every quarter-mile. They had powerful searchlights mounted on them, and machine guns, both pointed into “no-man’s land”.
There’s a point to all of this, I promise. All of this was built TO KEEP EAST GERMANS IN, not to keep West Germans and Americans out.
My friend Dieter was one of the lucky ones—thousands of East Germans died on that wire, or lost their lives to the minefields or machine guns, or to the killer guard dogs trained to attack would-be escapees—Dieter made it, he got out.
Dieter and I have seen the ugly face of “true Socialism” firsthand. He suffered under it and risked his life to escape from it, I only watched it slowly destroy a people through my binoculars and tank sights.
When the Wall in Berlin came down in November 1989 such was their hate for that wall that Germans from both sides attacked the ugly barrier by hand with sledge hammers and picks.
The moral to this little tale of obscure Cold War history is this: America, be very, very careful about electing an avowed Socialist as President of the United States.
Bernie Sanders seems a harmless old duffer, and he promises free goodies for everyone, but in the final analysis he represents those who still think, despite all historical evidence to the contrary, that Socialism is the “wave of the future”. (Look at the U.K. before Lady Thatcher, or at Cuba and Venezuela right now… “Iron Maggie” once said, “Socialism works great until you run out of other people’s money.”)
Socialism and communism needs to be swept into the dustbin of history and given as much respect as witch burning—which it closely resembles.