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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune
\x34Rants and Raves\x34 includes everything from political commentary to movie reviews
One more reason why I sometimes despair of humanity.
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By Stephen Browne
Steve Browne is an award-winning reporter and columnist who entered journalism by accident while living and working in Eastern Europe from 1991 to 2004. He is the author of two books for English students: \x34Word Pictures: English as it is REALLY ...
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Rants and Raves
Steve Browne is an award-winning reporter and columnist who entered journalism by accident while living and working in Eastern Europe from 1991 to 2004. He is the author of two books for English students: \x34Word Pictures: English as it is REALLY Used,\x34 published in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and Novosibirsk, Russia, and \x34English Linguistic Humor: Puns, Play on Words, Spoonerisms, and Shaggy Dog Stories.\x34 In 1997 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Yugoslav Movement for the Protection of Human Rights. He is currently living in his native Midwest, which he considers \x34the most interesting foreign country I have ever lived in.\x34
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By Stephen W. Browne
March 14, 2013 11:32 a.m.



Note: Cross-posted from my professional blog at The Marshall Independent.

This morning I saw something on Facebook that almost made me lose my breakfast.

It was under a label “Take Back Socialism” and posted by someone I’ve known for 30 years – who I know for a fact has never visited any of the countries he has held up as exemplars of socialism. Not a one. Nor has he ever visited any of the former Eastern Bloc countries – though I personally urged him to visit Poland as my guest.

Quoted in full.

“I love socialism.

I love socialism because I love having a post office that will deliver my mail.

I love socialism because I love having roads to drive on, bridges to drive over and sidewalks to walk on.

I love socialism because I love having national parks to visit.

I love socialism because I love having libraries where I can borrow books to learn about new topics.

I love socialism because I love having a fire department to call if my house is on fire (or to make sure my neighbor’s burning house is saved before it catches mine on fire).

I love socialism because I love having a police department that keeps the streets safe.

I love socialism because I love having a military that keeps the country safe.

I love socialism because I love having water that I can drink straight out of the faucet without worrying about ingesting poisons or parasites.

I love socialism because I love knowing that the food I eat is safe to eat.

I love socialism because I love knowing that the medicine I take has been tested and proven to be safe.

I love socialism because I love knowing that when I get old and retire, I will have Social Security to buy food and housing with and Medicare to pay for my medical expenses.

I love socialism because I love the environment and am glad there are regulations to protect it.

I love socialism because I love knowing that if I get hurt or sick or layed-off, I’ll be able to get assistance in buying food, paying medical bills and paying rent… and that’s why I’m happy to pay taxes towards those things.

I love socialism because I love knowing that there is a minimum wage, a weekend, sick days, holidays, a 40 hour work week and an 8 hour work day, overtime pay and all the other benefits that labor activists have fought and died for.

I love socialism because I love that there are public schools and universities where those who came before me, myself and future generations all will or have learned and I would be more than happy to pay a little extra in taxes if it meant funding them properly.

I love socialism because I love our space program and the thousands of advancements it has brought to everyday life from GPS to freeze-dried ice cream and everything in between.

But most of all:

I love socialism because I love my country and all the people in it and think that everyone deserves a FAIR shot at life, whether we agree on politics or not. The American people deserve better than dog-eat-dog capitalism.

-Seth Bailey

I replied:

“I lived from 1991 to 2004 in the former Eastern Bloc – none of this describes the socialism I experienced first hand. The post office was inefficient, and mail theft was rampant. Every bureaucrat down to the little old ladies that sold tickets at the railroad stations were petty-minded tyrants whose idea of relaxation was to ruin your day. Medical care was a nightmare.



As for “fair” the Party aristocracy enjoyed access to special shops full of western good ordinary folks could only see in movies. For only one example, a Party member could get a telephone installed reasonably quickly – the average wait for anyone else was 14 years!



I saw it get dramatically better, almost day by day, when this evil system was replaced by a freer market-oriented system.



Medical care in the newly privatized sector became so cheap, my first child was born in St. Sophia hospital, the one in Warsaw patronized by movie stars. The whole 9-month process cost about $1,000 equivalent – and our pediatrician made house calls!



Now tell me about your experience living under socialism.” (Said I dripping sarcasm.)

I could have multiplied examples point-by-point, but you get the point.

Some time back a writer coined the term “xenophilia” for this kind of phenomenon. The conviction among some Americans that it must be better somewhere else, in spite of all evidence that people everywhere else still want to come here, in spite of all our problems.

Twenty-four years after the most disastrous political experiment in the history of the world collapsed, there are still people who want to give it another try.

Sometimes I despair of the human race.

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