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home : opinion : columnists November 25, 2015

11/7/2012 12:01:00 PM
Socialism - a response to Butruille
Dear Editor,

The commonly used definition is wrong.

News reporters, editorialists, academics, and liberal-progressive politicians generally deny that the Obama administration is socialistic. Socialism, they say, is a political state in which the government owns the means of production and distribution of goods and services. Because some businesses still are privately owned, ipso facto, ours is not a socialistic government.

That definition is confuted by the earliest theoretical writings on socialism. In France, Henri de Saint-Simon, in the first decades of the 1800s, and his pupil and colleague Auguste Comte, in the 1820s and 30s, along with Robert Owen contemporaneously in England, stated that the essential feature of what Owen called socialism is government regulation of the means of production and distribution.

Equally important is regulation of banking and education. When the government controls the volume of money and its economic applications, it has the economy in a stranglehold. When government controls education so that nothing other than secular socialism may be taught, as Saint-Simon advocated, it controls the future destiny of a nation.

Not until the advent of the Soviet Union after the 1917 Communist Revolution did the idea become general that socialism meant government seizing ownership of the economy. Experience in 19th and 20th century France, England, and Germany, however, made it clear that regulatory control by government bureaucrats is sufficient to implement socialism.

Bob Rankin


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