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Letters to the Editor: Republicans call us ‘socialist.’ We just care about other Americans

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump referred to Democrats as "radical" and "socialist."
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

To the editor: The statement “socialism is when the government actually owns the means of production” is far too reductive to the point of potentially reinforcing the fears from the right of “creeping socialism.” (“When will Republicans learn that demonizing liberals as ‘socialists’ doesn’t work?” Opinion, Jan. 27)

As stated by the Oxford Lexico, the definition of socialism is this: “A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

The term “socialism” is a big tent that covers a wide range of political, economic and social positions, virtually all of which necessarily imply an opposition to the completely unregulated workings of the free market.

Democratic socialism is the part of this overarching definition that is the aspiration of most U.S. centrists, liberals, progressives and whatever other label is currently fashionable to describe those who care about the welfare of Americans.

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Kay Virginia Webster, Agoura Hills

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To the editor: I am so over Democrats labeling conservatives “fascists.” I am so over reducing political discourse to uninformed name calling and identity politics.

I am so over reading a newspaper that offers only one point of view. I am so over being told that the path to government takeover of an entire industry is anything other than socialism. I am so over waiting for one example of real-world success of a socialist regime.

I am so over the concept that the Republican Party never supported anything that benefited the average American.

And no, I don’t like Social Security, so I guess I don’t have to shut up.

Gerald Swanson, Long Beach

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To the editor: Abcarian quotes the late Sen. George McGovern, who said liberals were behind every social program that has benefited the public.

She might want to mention the piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal in 1992 commenting on the role that government regulation played in the bankruptcy of his business.

After he retired from the Senate, McGovern bought a Connecticut hotel and restaurant. He wrote that federal, state and local rules “that were designed to help workers, protect the environment, raise taxes for schools” had raised costs to his business beyond what he could recover from increasing prices.

Abcarian is correct that socialism has been defined as government ownership of the means of production. But the economy can also be controlled via regulation and monopoly buying power. The Department of Defense is a current example; single-payer healthcare would be another.

George Zwerdling, Carpinteria

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To the editor: Another apt and memorable comment regarding the labeling of socialism came about quite a few years ago, when George Wallace, the former governor of Alabama, was campaigning for president. He traveled around the country railing against the menace of “creeping socialism.”

However, some observers, citing the large number of federal projects in his home state, rightly observed, “Yes, Wallace is against creeping socialism, until it comes creeping into Alabama.”

Richard Hollis, Los Alamitos


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