Elevating the conversation
Re: July 20 commentary “Capitalizing on socialism’s bad name.”
I want to thank you for Thomas G. Palaima’s column on the contemporary use of the word “socialism” as a calumny in public discourse these days. I was especially gratified to see the reference to Homer Rainey and the dark days of University of Texas history in this connection.
Rainey’s own memoir was titled “The Tower and the Dome” and is long out of print but worth reading if you can find a copy.
Thanks for elevating the conversation with some valid local history.
Tom doyal email@example.com
The reason conversations about socialism inevitably evoke comparisons to various forms of totalitarianism (to Palaima’s distress) is the unfortunate fact that the former hasn’t succeeded without the latter. Whenever socialism has been tried — by the early Christian church, the Jamestown colony, the Soviet Union, etc. — in order to make it work some form of “no work, no eat” eventually had to be imposed.
Humans strive to meet their own needs with the least effort possible, and some are depressingly willing to prey on their own kind when that course seems easier. As a result, socialism’s ideal cannot be achieved without coercion because you will always have those willing to accept their own needs from the commonwealth without contributing anything.
Invent a form of socialism that addresses this fact while preserving individual freedom, then let’s talk.