El­e­vat­ing the con­ver­sa­tion

Austin American-Statesman - - OPINION -

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 tom­doyal@att.net


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.

Ron mcCRaCken


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