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Has the meaning of Socialism changed?

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Editor: There is growing interest and debate in our country on Socialism. This reader has been following, as closely as possible, many of the discussions about the topic and is doing continuous research to understand clearly the tenets of Socialism. From my research so far, one thing is certain to my mind – Socialism is a political ideology which does not recognize the God-given right to private property.{{more}} Under this system, the state owns all the means of production and controls the distribution of the goods produced. The Merriam Webster Dictionary describes socialism as ‘ Any of the various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods”.

As I continue to listen to the debate, I am driven to wonder if the meaning of socialism has suddenly changed. Socialism is now seen by some as “ the answer to the capitalist; something we should adopt as soon as possible; Christianity in action…”

On one radio call-in program two Saturday nights ago one caller asked “ What is the fear about Communism? …in Cuba you get free food, free education…so what’s the fear?” In response I say, everything about Communism/Socialism is to be feared! Let us not forget the millions of human lives that were wiped out under well known communist/socialist leaders like Lenin and Mao. Socialism (‘dressed up communism’ I call it) is a great evil that has not benefited humanity but has caused misery and confusion. Concerning the freeness of education, health care and food…we as hardworking Vincentians love our God-given freedoms above ‘freeness’. It is the use of our God-endowed abilities (intellect, physical strength) that will bring success by His grace. By the sweat of our brow, we shall eat bread- every man according to his labour.

Many agree that Socialism/Communism has not improved the life-condition of the average person. A research paper by R.J. Rummel called “How many did communist regimes murder?” states “ Soviet Union appears the greatest megamurderer of all, apparently killing near 61,000,000 people. Stalin himself is responsible for almost 43,000,000 of these. …Communist China up to 1987, but mainly from 1949 through the cultural revolution, which alone may have seen over 1,000,000 murdered, is the second worst megamurderer. By far the most deadly of all communists countries and indeed, in this century by far, has been Cambodia under Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot and his crew likely killed 2,000,000 Cambodians from April 1975 through December 1978 …”

Let us not seek to redefine or change the meaning of Socialism. But rather, let us seek to uncover and understand the real meaning and works of it. Do not be deceived!

Ann-Marie Ballantyne
[email protected]

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