Capitalism is best, despite writer’s opinion
To the Editor:
In response to the opinion piece penned by Mr. Brabenec in the Dec. 16 issue, I would like to add some dimension to his compassionate words crafted to sway the readers that forms of socialism and communism are kind and humane to their subjects. I took the time to look up the words socialism, communism, and capitalism in my Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary printed 1976. Webster's defines socialism as: "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods." It goes on to define socialism as: "a system of society or group living in which there is no private property. A system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state." It is also a: "a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done."
Communism is a little harder to define. The ideology can be a little more cerebral. Webster's defines communism as: "a theory advocating elimination of private property. A system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed. As applied by a Marxist-Leninism, it is a doctrine that was the official ideology of the U.S.S.R., a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state owned means of production with the professed aim of establishing a stateless society."
Capitalism is defined as: "an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market."
In my opinion, capitalism, or rather the free market, allows any citizen in this country to come up with an idea and work hard to bring it to the consumer. I alone take the risk with my investment and I alone should stand to reap the reward of profit if what I offer is well received by the free market. Self interest has made our country the leader of the world for generations. Self interest is the grease that allowed the great men and women of the past to help feed the planet, cure countless disease, and elevate the living standards of untold billions of people on this planet.
When I go out shopping, I have millions of choices of goods I can freely buy. The shelves are stocked with food from every corner of our great land. All of it is there because someone had a dream and took a risk. Risk and reward is what capitalism is all about. Without risk and reward our great nation will be doomed to mediocrity forever. There is not one thing on the shelf that was put there by anything the state did. The phrase, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a cancer that has destroyed every society that it has been tried. The liberal elites of today feel that the reason socialism failed in the countless places it has been tried and over many millennium that have passed is because only they "will do it correctly" this time.
In his letter, Mr. Brabenec is trying to persuade the reader to make the emotional choice between socialism and capitalism. Based on the definitions I cited, I believe you will be able to make up your own mind. Mr. Brabenec tries to make the case that socialism is humane. I counter that socialist and communist ideology in the Soviet Union killed millions of its own citizens because they dared speak out in opposition to the power that was being seized. Those "humanely" kept alive were banished to the frozen wastes of Siberia for decades without trial.
Communist China killed and imprisoned untold millions more for opposing the state. The stark differences between socialism and capitalism make you wonder why this is even a question for discussion let alone debate. I for one am not clamoring to ask the state to make any decisions for me. However it does seem that our current government is working hard to take those decisions from me now. They are working to tell me what car I can buy by telling the car companies what they are allowed to make. They are trying to steal my ability to make my own health decisions with a bloated and hideous 2,000 page bill filled with corruption and pork. Soon they will be telling me how to heat my home and what temperature I will be allowed to set my thermostat, what food I can buy, and where I can get my news.
In his piece, Mr. Brabenec makes the statement that "capitalism is the maximization of profit, which is a gentle way of describing greed." I would counter that socialism and communism crush individual freedom and exercise maximum control of a population by a central party of elites. There is nothing gentle about it.
In his letter monasteries and convents were used as an example of a perfect communist system. In those societies the individual had no private property. If those systems work so well, why are they not the ideology of the whole world today? If they worked so well, why did Soviet Russia built walls around the countries they controlled? Using the writers' logic, the walls were necessary to keep the free peoples of Europe from rushing into those imprisoned countries for asylum. Did their guns point in or out? Do you apply to a potential employer asking for just enough pay to exactly cover your expenses, or do you ask for enough wages to pay for a comfortable life? If you ask for fair wages from the free market, are you too being greedy?
In closing, I ask if you want the state to make your life decisions for you, or do you prefer freedom?
Chuck Cline, Mussey Township
December 29, 2009