Sadly, The Salt Lake Tribune published both a front page story promoting Chris Stewart’s Sutherland Institute speech on socialism on July 30, and then his follow-up commentary on Aug. 1, titled “We need a new way to discuss socialism.”

Source: Letter: Socialism is not a dirty word – The Salt Lake Tribune

Image: Prague hotel was once a base for spies to eavesdrop on guests: https://images.app.goo.gl/5BjjVZhoPut6uigR9

Opinion:

The US news is filled with rhetoric and debate about socialism vs. capitalism. Perhaps Bernie Saunders would love all  Americans to go back to riding horseback, provided the horses were shared through public hitching posts. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is probably trying to figure out how to buy the solar system.

Here in Canada, one gains a unique perspective on socialism and capitalism. We are softer than the US, for sure. Our health care is mostly covered and as a result our taxes are higher. Not as bad as some Euro countries but bad enough.

We don’t execute people for the crime of murder. Instead, we imprison and depending on the circumstances may release them after 12 to 25 years with the support of social services, essentially gambling that the psychiatrists are right and they won’t kill again.

Speaking of murderers, today’s linked letter has an astonishingly naïve view about socialism.

USSR spying equipment in Prague hotel | Robert Ryan

First, it seems somewhat illogical.

Socialism is not a dirty word. It is the mechanism that funds the public good out of the great wealth that capitalism so effectively generates.¹

In other words, socialism shares the prosperity that capitalism brings in the first place.

What?

Cart before the horse?

Well maybe, maybe not.

If a nation can achieve some kind of balance between the two extremes of capitalism and socialism, as we try to do in Canada, one might enjoy a reasonably good quality of life.

A problem with that approach, however, is that it largely depends on raw US capitalism. If the US economy tanks, Canada is sorely affected. Simple as that.

Satirists have compared the relationship between the two countries to a mouse sitting on top of an elephant. If the elephant stumbles, the mouse comes tumbling down with a mighty crash.

Another disturbing facet of socialism is the oft-overlooked reality of corruption and tyranny.

Czech hotel were VIP guests were eavesdropped on during the Cold War | Robert Ryan

Today’s images bring this point home. The photos show a Prague hotel where VIP guests stayed during the Cold War, quite unaware that the communist occupying Soviets were listening to their bugged conversations from an underground surveillance room.

This is socialism gone bad.

North Americans once believed they were immune to such things during the late 20th to early 21st centuries. But the world is shrinking and many are coming to realize that any society must be vigilant lest it find itself sliding down that slippery slope.

¹ https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/letters/2019/08/24/letter-socialism-is-not/