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Letter: Social programs not the same as socialism

I am amazed at how many people do not know, or care, about the difference between the support for a social program (like Social Security, health care, unemployment compensation) and the thing called "socialism." 

These people throw words around, or support those who do, without really knowing what those words mean or the harm they can cause.

Socialism is a political and economic system in which property and the means of production are owned in common but typically controlled by the state or government. Think for instance of China, Cuba and North Korea. These are socialist countries (run by the Communist Party). A telltale sign is the lack of capitalism in these countries.

Simply put, people who support socialism are called socialists.

People who support social programs are NOT "socialists" because they support social programs. In fact, most of those folks aren't "socialists" at all. Think here of Sweden, Norway, Germany and Denmark.

Plenty of capitalism (and democracy) in these countries. They can maintain generous social programs because they are among the world's wealthiest, most prosperous nations and they choose to do so.

Most Democrats are no more "socialists" than most Republicans are "fascists." To pretend, or allege, otherwise either shows ignorance or an intentional mislabeling.

These (apparently little understood) labels are purposefully applied incorrectly by those who want to manipulate us and to generate distrust, fear, anger and hatred in place of understanding and constructive dialog.

We can stop the (mis)labeling whenever we are tired of the division and the hate it is designed to foment. 

Ronald Barrett, Moneta 

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