To the editor:
While I’m not a proponent of Socialism or Communism, there are a couple of important things in Peter Hill’s letter of March 13 that need to be corrected.
Socialism and Communism are not “basically interchangeable,” as Peter states. Communism is a twisted form of Socialism, where a totalitarian government takes over all aspects of running the country, rather than the community as a whole running it if it were Socialist. This is also why Peter’s claim that Socialism “leads right to Communism” is bogus, as this difference is basic and crucial.
As Ellin Leonard correctly pointed out, and Peter confirmed with his inaccurate claims, many people don’t understand either system, and incorrectly lump them together.
The quote Peter uses from Nikita Khrushchev, former premier of the Soviet Union, perfectly demonstrates that even a committed Communist didn’t understand the difference between the systems, as we have had many programs that would fall under the umbrella of Socialism in nature for many years, like Medicare. None of them has moved us any closer to a totalitarian Communist regime like the Soviet Union or China.
Here’s another famous quote from Khrushchev (to Western ministers): “We will bury you!” How’d that work out for the Soviet Union? For Khrushchev? The Soviet Union collapsed, decades after Khrushchev was removed from power by his own party. He wasn’t exactly a great predictor of the future for himself, his country, the West or our country, and he didn’t understand the differences between Socialism and Communism.
Hopefully, Americans will take the time to learn the differences, as the Trumpicans are already employing the dog-whistle claim that they’re one and the same, and trying to paint Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism with the same brush. Trump has already stated his brilliant election tactic if Bernie’s his opponent, calling him a Communist.