What I Learned About Socialism
By Bernadette A. Moyer
I learned about socialism when I was in the third grade and I learned it from twin boys that were my own age. Van and Yar along with their parents had fled from Yugoslavia to the United States of America. The word “fled” was their word and not mine. According to them, they came here for a better life and more opportunities.
The twins not only went to my school but they lived in my neighborhood, I am sure this was why I was asked to tutor them in English. They didn’t know our language but they were eager to learn it and I was happy to teach them.
They explained to me that if you had a loaf of bread and your neighbor had none, you were expected to give half that loaf to the neighbor. Their culture in Yugoslavia didn’t allow them free choice. Kids were tested and told what school and ultimately what career would be assigned to them. The government chose for the people. The people did not have the many freedoms that we are afforded here in the United States of America.
It didn’t take long for Van and Yar to integrate into our culture. It has been many decades now but the last time I saw them we were in high school and they were both popular and excelling in school. Their futures were bright and according to them a lot better than anything they would have had back home in Yugoslavia.
This family was willing to leave everything in Yugoslavia behind them and that meant socialism. They knew they could do better here in our country.
As we are into the process to elect our next President of the United States, I can’t help but be struck by the popularity of Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist. He makes no bones about wanted the rich to pick up the slack of the poor. He makes no bones about a desire to re-distribute wealth.
What also strikes me is how popular he appears to be with so many college aged students. They hear the word “free” like in “free college” for everyone and they are beating the drums for him. “Feeling the Bern” is the new high for a generation of young people that have yet to work for anything. They don’t yet know what it is like to get a job, work hard, set goals, buy a car, purchase a home and raise children. Most students are still living on mommy and daddy’s dime. I can’t help but wonder how they will feel when it is their paycheck that is reduced by 50, 60, 70% or more in taxes to pay for all that “free” college and “free” healthcare.
Seems to me that in order to understand socialism you would want to research the countries that adhere to this way of life and ask yourself are they living a better quality of life? Ask the people that literally “fled” from both socialism and communism and listen to what they know about living this way.
Most educated people know that nothing is “free” somewhere someone along the way is paying. Should the cost of education and the cost of healthcare be so high? Probably not. But expecting a government or expecting other people to pay for our education and/or our healthcare isn’t what our country was ever built upon.
Our country is a melting pot and a country of immigrants. People that came here not because we gave “free” anything but rather because they wanted the American way. They wanted to come to the United States because they knew that if they worked hard that their dreams would be realized.
What bothers me most about today’s young person and their expectations of “free” isn’t as much as their desire for everything to be given to them but their lack of any desire or willingness to work hard.
I don’t know of anyone who is successful and who has a good life where you can’t trace it back to a desire to work towards goals and toward achieving them. It scares me to think that a burning desire for success could be replaced with the apathy that comes from sitting back and expecting everything to just be handed to you.
What I learned about socialism I learned way back in the third grade when a family “fled” their native Yugoslavia to come to the “land of opportunity” also known as The United States of America.
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