Tales from the Socialism side – Part 1

Since the political campaign season has finally gotten down to some real issues approaching underlying philosophies of candidates (and parties), the time has come for me to speak out on Socialism. There is a good chance our government and society might take an abrupt turn to the left in the next couple of years and we need to get ready.

Having spent a number of years living abroad and traveling in Communist and Socialist countries, I have seen a lot and heard a lot from those who already tried ‘the experiment’.

There is no better answer in a debate than real experience, is there?

You might argue that no one in this campaign has really come out and claimed to push socialist philosophy, but any student of history or philosophy will readily admit that one side is more prone, shall we say, to socialist leanings than the other. That this might be called ‘progressive socialism’ or socialism ‘light’ is not the issue. The real issue underpinning it is the underlying philosophy that leads to a socialist understanding of government, business, and cultural life.

Add to that the huge risk we just took as a nation by nationalizing a good part of our business infrastructure and the risk is suddenly enormous. It must be handled exactly right, or our children will inherit a government with huge control over business and economic life – hence – Socialism.

There is a lot to say here and this is just the first installment. Call it part 1.

One of my favorite succinct quotes is from Viktor Belenko (Виктор Иванович Беленко), the famous MIG pilot who piloted the Soviet MIG 25 from Siberia to Japan in a bold  (and successful) attempt to give the west an intimate look at the new super-fighter the Soviets had produced to challenge our air superiority at the height of the cold war (1976).

Belenko, like all top level Russian military at the time, had been raised and cultivated with the ideals of the “New Soviet Man,” nurtured in the values of state socialism and impressed with the rigorous studies of Dialectical Materialism, Hegelianism, and numerous other social and historical philosophies clung to by traditional communists and socialists (and most philosophical leftists of our day as well).

The conclusion it all drove him to, however, was that it simply DID NOT WORK.  Something was missing. In the process he decided to flee to the West and take a plane with him.

Enough on the background – here is THE QUOTE: – I love this one –

Belenko met President Ronald Reagan and told him :

“You should start an exchange program where you send 1 million American High School students to the Soviet Union for a year in exchange for 1 million Soviet High School students coming to the US for a year.  The Russian students will return to the Soviet Union incredibly impressed with the country, which will be a good thing. The 1 million American kids will return home as Republicans.”

(I could not find this online but I remember reading it in Guidepost magazine around 2001)

More coming tomorrow – stay tuned. Listen to one of the greatest jokes the Russians used to tell about the Capitalist system and the Socialist system – and so true!!

2 thoughts on “Tales from the Socialism side – Part 1

  1. I was excited to see what you would write about this. As a European and a Dane (one of my professors at Georgetown once introduced me as coming from a socialist country – well NO I do not – I come from a social democratic country). Obama is leaning left in an American context on various issues but compared to being left or progressive in Denmark or other European countries there is a long way to go (in my opinion) – but I do understand why Republicans are trying to push this agenda.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Anne! Yes there are differences in Social Democrats and pure rigid state Socialists, and we need to look at what they are. Good food for thought.

    I lived in Austria under the Social Democrats for several years and then in Germany under first the Social Democrats and later the Christian Democrats. It was very interesting – the subtle and not-so-subtle differences.

    Stay tuned and please help us keep up the dialogue!


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