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Saving Ourselves

Why A Socialistic System May Be Our Best Course

By James Donahue

During my college days and the early years of my career in journalism I was fascinated by the ideas perpetuated by novelist Ayn Rand. Her corporate heroes with their steel grey eyes and their willingness to take chances to keep their enterprises running painted a positive picture of the way a capitalistic system could and should run.

I could understand the influence Rand had on ultra conservative political figures like Paul Ryan because I was once caught up in that same mind-set. It was a comfortable place to be for me. My father was a staunch Republican. I lived and worked in a rural Michigan district where the Republican party literally ran the city, county and regional governments. I obediently voted for the Republican candidates.

Then John F. Kennedy came along and I started looking at the Democratic Party in a different light. His assassination and the following presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson nearly squelched that interest. His guns and butter policy, escalating the war in Vietnam and dumping tons of unneeded federal money into state and local coffers through his revenue sharing programs looked like a misuse of taxpayer dollars. But in spite of LBJ, I found my political views broadening. I was declaring myself an independent voter in those days, refusing to take sides.

I read Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy In America and was interested in the way he looked at our political system from a European perspective. One warning in that book hung with me like a fog. He wrote: "The America Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money."

One of my former editors, during a luncheon gathering when reporters and editors were talking about the politics of the day, said something else that stuck with me. He said he believed that people on welfare, or receiving government assistance of any kind, should give up their right to vote. It was his belief that people would support politicians that continued to pour federal and state dollars into the pockets of the poor.

And in those two statements we can find the very root of the conflict now going on in political circles all across America. We have those steel-grey-eyed corporate CEO’s over-extending the powers ever envisioned by Ayn Rand and using their great wealth to stuff the pockets of the politicians. The politicians, in turn, are using the money stuffed in their pockets to bribe the public with slick television advertising campaigns. And we have a growing number of poverty-stricken Americans desperately seeking the federal and state assistance they need just to stay alive.

The capitalistic system worked well when the element of corporate greed was not present. Henry Ford, while known as a skinflint in his personal life, wisely chose to pay the workers on his automobile assembly line a decent wage because he wanted them to be able to buy the cars they were building. That was the way capitalism was always supposed to work.

Socialism, however, entered the picture during the Great Depression. Democratic Party President Franklin D. Roosevelt used federal dollars to launch public works projects. He put millions of people to work building bridges, roads, dams and government buildings. From this sprang unemployment insurance, state welfare programs, the Social Security retirement program and eventually Medicare and Medicaid for the poor and elderly. These and other socialistic programs have worked well over the years.

But now, as the steel-grey-eyed industrialists and corporate CEO’s gain even more money and power, and gain more and more influence over the operations of our government, the very concept of socialism is under attack. The very word "socialism" is constantly associated with communism, which was a failed form of socialism carried to the extreme. Under Communism the state owns everything and it provides for the needs of the masses. Under socialism you still can have privately owned businesses but overall there is a sharing of the wealth so that nobody goes hungry and everybody has a roof over their head.

America is now drifting away from those socialist roots and is moving toward an extreme form of capitalism that resembles the old system of kingdoms and surfs.

A recent commentary by Mike Adams, editor of Natural News, suggests that Collectivism is giving way to Conservatism because the cities, where the more liberal voters live, are turning into "death traps" and more and more Americans are moving into rural areas.

Adams argues that "people who live in cities tend to be liberal" because people crammed in close proximity to one another share a "dependence on infrastructure and the close proximity of police stations." This existence "lends itself to a socialist mindset."

People living in rural areas, Adams writes, "have every reason to be more conservative and independent. Self-reliance means survival."

We do not agree with Adams’ views. It appears that he has not flown over the country and looked down on the urban sprawl that now seems to cover the landscape. Everywhere you look you find highways and mini-malls filled with fast-food restaurants, motels and shopping centers. The only places left barren are the open farmlands, deserts and rocky mountainous terrains. And America is not as harshly populated as the other nations of the world.

People everywhere are forced, not by choice, to pack into small quarters and share what little space they have with their neighbors. This is because we have been busy overpopulating our world. Our numbers are approaching 7 billion people and growing fast.

This is happening as our world is running out of natural resources, clean drinking water, and air. We have stripped the forests, the oil and gas reserves, mined all of the resources under the surface, and polluted everything. We have fished our polluted seas so many species of sea life have gone extinct.

Supporting more big corporate enterprise, which is busy making wealth at the expense of our Mother Earth, is the wrong choice. The world desperately needs to move into a balanced socialistic system of controlled sharing of resources and wealth. There still is enough for everybody and we can survive together for a few more years if we all pull together.

To do anything less is to race toward extinction.