Hardly any societies are totally capitalist or socialist

Posted: Aug. 22, 2019 3:30 pm

To The Herald-Whig:

Don Blickhan's letter (Aug. 8) contains a number of statements that I challenge.

He says that socialism is immoral because it takes money from one group and gives it to others, which he says is theft.

All taxation is theft. It is theft when we tax ourselves to pay police, firefighters, school teachers and Medicare recipients, and to build highways and airports.

We should do as much as possible without government intervention, but when we cannot get something done by private efforts, we should use government authority to do it. Governments exist to support life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

There are almost no societies in the world today that are either totally capitalist or totally socialist. All countries have a mixture of private enterprise and government intervention. How much government intervention is necessary needs to be determined by reasoned political discussion.

Blickhan presents as absurd several ideas proposed by some current political candidates: " ‘free' college education, socialized medicine and open borders."

We have free elementary and secondary education. It is not absurd to debate whether we should have free college education.

"Socialized medicine" was the term used to oppose Medicare when it was being proposed in the 1960s. While Medicare is no more perfect than any other human enterprise, not many of us over 65 want it to go away.

We should not be looking at "open borders" as a horror to be feared. Jews and Christians welcome strangers and immigrants. Immigrants seeking asylum are people who have fallen among robbers, and we do not pass them by.

Furthermore, our country has thrived because we have welcomed immigrants. Our openness has provided us with some of the most creative and productive people in our economy. Our gain is other countries' loss. Immigration is helping to mitigate the problem caused by our low birth rate: fewer and fewer young workers supporting more and more aging retirees.

Blickhan does not mention the most important issue we face: climate change. Science is warning us that really drastic changes in our lifestyles will be required if the earth is to be livable 50 years from now. Drastic changes will require government action.

Joe Zimmerman