Consider the semantics of economic policy

Posted4/20/2019 1:00 AM

Walter E. Williams' op-ed in the April 10 Daily Herald sounded a lot like my mother, except that my mother doesn't lob baseless accusations about the lack of facts or bash on our educational system or her millennial grandchildren.

What we have here is a lack of common language. Williams states that wherever socialism has been tried, "it has been a true disaster." Yet, as I understand it, socialism, which simply means collective ownership of wealth and production, must be attached to a form of governance. In places like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, etc., that governance is democracy, where people vote in free and fair elections. In all of the places Williams cited, it is linked to an authoritarian government.

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Some will argue that Nordic countries are not truly socialist. That's fine, but then neither is Bernie Sanders. What Bernie wants to do -- make health care and education available to all -- is what is happening in Nordic countries, not in North Korea.

Millennials simply want a system that does not continue to widen a chasm between rich and poor, with no hope of change for people who work full time but cannot afford to buy a home or visit a doctor. Bernie supporters, likewise, should probably find better terms than "socialism" to use in talking about his platform.

Rather than bashing a whole generation and getting bogged down in semantics, let's agree that our current path is not sustainable in this country. It doesn't help anyone to further polarize people with inflammatory rhetoric. We must understand one another's concerns, then seek common ground and solutions, before disenfranchised Americans find a Bastille to storm.

Deena Bess Sherman


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