The author of “Socialism jeopardizes liberty” (Letters, May 29) conflates political philosophy with economic systems, lumping Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao and Pol Pot together as socialists.
Hitler and Mussolini were fascists with capitalist, not socialist, patrons. Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao weren’t socialists either. They were communists. Their only commonality with the fascists was in their determination to concentrate political power in their own hands. There’s a difference between political structure and economic system that the author doesn’t get.
If the author wishes to attack socialism, he should attack our allies in Germany, France, Italy, England, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and others. All these socialist economies are characterized by capitalist entrepreneurs operating in well-regulated markets, governed by democratically elected legislatures. These are all stable democracies. Laissez-faire capitalism, as practiced in Milton Friedman’s America of the last 30 years, clearly is not a prerequisite for a vibrant democracy.
What all these tyrants had in common is not a devotion to socialism. It was their facility at conflating political allegiance to them with an economic system that served their narrow interests. We really don’t need to go there again, do we? The last 25 years of Reaganomics should have taught us this lesson.