Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Do You Really Want to Rear Your Child in a Socialist Society?

The following is a Term paper written by a young Vietnamese woman now married to one of the Pilot's I served in Viet Nam with. Lily was born after American involvement ended in Viet Nam and the Communist takeover. She is enrolled in a Business Law Course and the Term paper was for that class. Her effort was awarded with a 100%

Posted with the permission of Lily.

Do You Really Want to Rear Your Child in a Socialist Society?

By Lily Cuc White

July 11, 2008

I was born and reared in a Socialist Society. Here is my personal testimony as to how good, or bad, I turned out. I turned out great! I would never cheat, or steal, or mislead anyone. I enjoy hard work, and my goals for my life are very lofty. I know that I will succeed in reaching my goals, and that my life will truly amount to something.

Considering that I was born in Vietnam and lived under socialist rule for the first 20 years of my life. (Furthermore, I lived in a very poor environment, reared by an uneducated single mother. We lived on the side of a tall mountain which, beginning at the age of nine, I climbed each night two and three times to pick up loose coal that had fallen from the coal trucks, then carry two buckets full down to the town below to be sold on the black market. This is how my mother, my grandmother, and my aunt survived. Just after I was born in the mid 1980’s and during the 1990, Vietnam was bankrupt. There was little or no food available to buy with the small amounts of money my mother, grandmother, and aunt made carrying coal). I seem to have turned out quite well.

Looking at my life one may think that rearing a child in a socialist society must have some very good advantages, after all, how did I turn out so healthy, happy, and moving towards a successful future? The answer is that things are not always what they appear to be.

It is true that I am healthy, happy, and moving towards a successful future, but this is despite of my socialist society upbringing and not because of it.

Vietnam may be an extreme example of a socialist society in the minds of Americans. However, it may be that many Americans do not think of Sweden as being “communist” in the same vain as China, Russia, or Vietnam. Nevertheless, the political system in Sweden, for many years, was a very “left leaning” socialist government. “Imagine a life where work is optional and the state guarantees a minimal standard of living regardless of employment or effort. Such a cradle-to-grave entitlement system has been the centerpiece of Swedish politics since 1932.” (The Washington Times; June 17, 2007; “Sweden's Turn from Socialism;” By Josiah R. Baker).

Another country that has had a strong communist or socialist society form of government is Israel. “The kibbutz in its original form was communal living with everything shared.” (The Jerusalem Post; April 24, 2008; “Living in a Kibbutz;” By John Benzaquen). These two countries, along with Vietnam and others are coming to realize that rearing a child takes more then just a village, or a socialist society. In fact, it is my opinion that it is the young people of these countries that have been reared under the philosophy of socialism, like me, that are quickly moving for change towards a more conservative, capitalist, less government political system. (Ironically, the young people in the United States seem to be moving in the opposite direction.)

In Sweden, the younger generation had their say in a political revolution. “Scandinavian political revolutions are quiet on the surface, but a sea of change lies below. The tide that brought victory to Mr. Reinfeldt's coalition (Christian Democrats, Folk Party and Center Party) represents a flood of Swedish desire, particularly from those younger than 40, to embark on a new economic course. Privatization, tax reduction and deregulation are all part of the program to bring Sweden into the global economy of the 21st century.” (The Washington Times; June 17, 2007; “Sweden's Turn from Socialism;” By Josiah R. Baker).

(This is exactly what a young doctor friend of mine in Saigon, who is one of our country’s new political leaders, told me is taking place in Vietnam. Her words were; “if the ‘old soldier’ do not leave, we will through them out.” “Old Soldiers” is how we refer to the communist that have ruled our country along with Ho Chi Minh for so many years.)

It seems that these anti-socialist quiet revolutions are rising up all around the globe. In Israel, “The philosophy behind the kibbutz has gone out of fashion. It was socialism and even pure communism impersonificated. The motto that every one should consume according to their needs and produce e.g. work according to his abilities was implemented in a kibbutz. In the large context of a state such an economic political philosophy did not work. In the small closed super ideological society of the kibbutz it worked - for a time.

Now the kibbutz or communal living as a way of life is something of the past. The vast majority of the kibbutzim are no longer communal. This is the point where the real estate element comes in. The kibbutzim are facing grave demographic problems. The younger generation is leaving. They want to spread their wings in the wider context of Israel's future.” (The Jerusalem Post; April 24, 2008; “Living in a Kibbutz;” By John Benzaquen).

In my case, I chose a more singular form of “revolting,” I ran-a-way from my commune and home, and from socialism. At the age of 14, I realized that where I was, my only future would be that of all the other kids my age. I could work hard at my schooling and maybe the government would notice me and place me in a schooling program that I enjoyed. Then, after I finished their program, I could hope that they sent me to a part of the country that I liked where I would have to find a husband that I could live with (nothing about love) and have the decreed two children, hopefully one boy and one girl. If my kids got sick, I could take them to the government run hospital where they may recover, or they may die; not from the illness, but from the lack of care, and the unsanitary conditions. Either that or I could become a drug addict, get pregnant and carry coal down that mountain all my life. I chose neither of the above. I chose fright, uncertainty, and freedom. As it turned out, I took the correct path.

What is a socialist society? Actually, in theory, socialism is a kind, loving, wonderful way of life. In Hillary Clinton’s book “It Takes a Village,” which expound the virtues of a socialistic society, “the language isn’t hostile, nationalistic, racist, or aggressive. To the contrary, it brims with expressions of love and democratic fellow feeling.” (National Post; [f/k/a The Financial Post] [Canada]; February 29, 2008; National Edition; “A Very Creepy Village;” In a new book tracing the roots of the modern left, Jonah Goldberg).

In fact, reading the definition from the web site of the World Socialism Organization it is no wonder so many people embrace the ideals of socialism.

“What is Socialism? Central to the meaning of socialism is common ownership. This means the resources of the world being owned in common by the entire global population.”

“In practice, common ownership will mean everybody having the right to participate in decisions on how global resources will be used. It means nobody being able to take personal control of resources, beyond their own personal possessions.”

“Democratic control is therefore also essential to the meaning of socialism.” “Production under socialism would be directly and solely for use. With the natural and technical resources of the world held in common and controlled democratically, the sole object of production would be to meet human needs. This would entail an end to buying, selling and money. Instead, we would take freely what we had communally produced.”

“So how would we decide what human needs are? This question takes us back to the concept of democracy, for the choices of society will reflect their needs.”

“In socialism, everybody would have free access to the goods and services designed to directly meet their needs and there need be no system of payment for the work that each individual contributes to producing them. All work would be on a voluntary basis. Producing for needs means that people would engage in work that has a direct usefulness.” (http://www.worldsocialism.org/articles/what_is_socialism.php).

If only the working system could match the intellectual concepts. But, alas, they cannot, and will never. Why is that? The answer is quite simple—human nature. Yes, in all their wisdom, the philosophers of socialism have failed to account for the nature of us humans.

The fact that we need to look over the next hill; that all of us in small and huge ways have the desire to create; to make better of where we are, (or are told that we should be content with being where we are). It is our nature to want to have things more then we need things. There is an innate desire within us to reach out towards the distant universes and be more then just another one of the “same.”

The young revolutionaries who have grown up under the restrictive “democratic socialist societies” in Sweden, Israel, and Vietnam have felt these ideals inside their hearts. They are human feelings that no “village,” or society can replace. I believe that humans came together and learned to govern to fulfill our natural aspirations to improve our own lot. In that sense it does take a village, a city, a country to rear children, however, these governing political bodies must be of a system that do not restrict, or catalog the governed, but allows each individual to flourish using their God given talents. Government’s role should not be to own or control, but to protect and to serve.

That, however, is not how it has been throughout the histories of much of the world’s socialistic governments where the dogma of socialism has overwhelmed common sense, especially when it comes to the indoctrination of children and young adults. For example, here is an excerpt from the Cuban young communists. “We have our invincible Party as a guide, with the intelligence and the culture that the Revolution has instilled in us and the unbreakable conviction of victory at the cost of our own lives. We cannot conceive of a future without socialism and independence. That is what we are working towards and we do so convinced that the empire will never have Cuba. We swear it! (National Bureau of the UJC [Union of Young Communists]; BBC Monitoring Latin America - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring; June 23, 2007; Text of report by Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde website on 22 June).

The Nazi Government of Germany, which was actually socialist, did away with the idea of Christmas in order to control everything in German life. “The tree looked perfect. The gold and silver tinsel, draped so elegantly over the branches, sparkled with seasonal cheer. Small lights flashed prettily and imitation snow had been dusted over the pine. It was, you might think, a vital part of any German home's Christmas. But you would be wrong. For instead of the Star of Bethlehem shining from the top of the tree, there was a huge black-and-white swastika. And any hint of it all being part of a great Christian festival had been eradicated. The truth was that the Nazis had, slowly and cunningly, hijacked Christmas and subverted it for their own propaganda purposes. They wanted to control everything in German life - and that included Christmas. Even the Christmas season was stolen by the Nazis - with children told that presents came from the Führer, not Santa, and carols being ditched for military songs.” (U.K. 1st Edition; “How Hitler Hijacked Santa; by Paul Callan).

Speaking to a gathering in Seattle in November 2002, about the wonderful life under a socialist society here in the United States, Megan Cornish said, “Won’t socialism in the US look like Stalinism in the USSR? (No, it will not. Here is why.) Russia before the revolution was a terribly backward country, whereas the US today is the richest country in the world. After our revolution, we will be starting at a technological, educational, historical point far ahead of where the Russians began. You see, socialism is by definition, shared wealth. The revolutions that took place in Russia and other economically backward countries could only go so far, because they were held back by poverty. Whenever there is scarcity, a scramble for the good things that are in short supply is inevitable, and a consequent division into the haves and have-nots occurs. What is socialism? Quite simply, it is public ownership of all major corporations—industry (manufacturing, services, and energy), banks and insurance companies, agribusiness, transportation, the media, schools and medical facilities. Socialism is also by definition democratic. It is economic as well as political democracy. The people will either directly make policy decisions on what to produce and how, or have immediate recall rights over their representatives. The first economic steps will… guaranteed employment and housing, free medical care, childcare and education through advanced degrees, elder care, and sports, music and arts opportunities for everyone. At our level of economic development, none of these things will be hard to provide on a global basis, and there is no excuse for everyone in the world not to have them—today! How do we get there? (We get there) by understanding the role of leadership, and not being afraid to take it, or follow it. There’s lots of misunderstanding about what leadership is. It is a relationship in which people who want to go in a certain direction turn to those who can help them carry out their own aims—they turn to people who know what needs to be done to win, and aren’t afraid to say so. Armed with those tools, the people then take leadership themselves, and can move mountains! All too many leftists shoot the movement in the foot by refusing to talk about a radical analysis within the mass movements, and by pressuring other radicals to shut up about it. This is all in fear of "turning people off.” Some people are turned off by radical ideas. We spread the word that socialism is the next step of human evolution” (Strong Medicine: Toxic Capitalism and the Socialist Cure; This talk was given by feminist author Megan Cornish at the Imagine Revolution Conference held in Seattle in November 2002 (http://www.socialism.com/whatsocialism.html).

Lastly, in this montage of the philosophies of socialism both historical and present, I must quote from a critique of Hillary Clinton’s views of socialism as found in her book “It Takes a Village,” because I believe that her views represent much of the progressive, liberal, politics of the United States. “In Clinton's village, however, there is no public square where free men and women and their voluntary associations deal with each other on their own terms free from the mommying of the state. There are no private transactions, just a single ‘spiritual community that links us to a higher purpose’ managed by the state.” (National Post [f/k/a The Financial Post] [Canada]; February 29, 2008; National Edition; A Very Creepy Village; in a new book tracing the roots of the modern left, Jonah Goldberg).

My views on Megan Cornish’s talk are that she is wrong about socialism in the U.S. not ending up the same as in Russia. Wealth or poverty will not be the deciding factor. Both Sweden and Israel began their experiments in socialism from positions of relative wealth. Today the young people of these and other socialist countries are not in the process of revolution from socialism because they have no wealth to distribute, but because the young people that are churning out that wealth no longer see socialism as the advertised utopia. (I, also, believe that much of the folly of socialism is in the idea that “leadership” can be as simple as following, or leading which ever you may feel like. I look to the French revolution when I think of the concept of leading and following. The Guillotine fast dwindled the leaders, and many of the followers. Stalin and Ho Chi Minh did fast work on many a good leader and many followers, as well.)

In conclusion, it becomes impossible to be a parent in a society where the state laws require you to send you children to state run schools, then directs their futures in place of their mothers and fathers. A village should be a place where people gather to buy and sell their goods, where the citizens can enjoy many diverse schools, churches, guilds, and businesses interacting in safety, peace, and good will under limited government laws, which enhance freedom of chose.

From my experiences and from what I have seen of socialist societies, I do not want to bring my son up under socialism. I want to make free choices as to his education, and his medical care. (He is a hyperactive boy, and I do not want some public school nurse telling me that I must pump him full of drugs to sedate him.) Furthermore, I do not want the state telling my son what he must be when he grows up, or where he must live, or work. Utopia is not for me either. I would rather suffer, struggle, and make what I can of myself on my own without the government holding my hand. I will ask of my government only these three things. The first is to provide a safe country and city for me to live in and I will help in this by giving of my service when needed.

Next, is to treat me fairly and equally under the law. Lastly, I want to have what the last six words of the American Pledge of Allegiance state, which is “liberty and justice for all.”

Work Cites

1. The Washington Times; June 17, 2007; “Sweden's Turn from Socialism;” By Josiah R. Baker.

2. The Jerusalem Post; April 24, 2008; “Living in a Kibbutz;” By John Benzaquen.

3. National Post; [f/k/a The Financial Post] [Canada]; February 29, 2008; National Edition; “A Very Creepy Village;” In a new book tracing the roots of the modern left, Jonah Goldberg.

5. National Bureau of the UJC [Union of Young Communists]; BBC Monitoring Latin America - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring; June 23, 2007; Text of report by Cuban newspaper Juventud Rebelde website on 22 June

6. U.K. 1st Edition; “How Hitler Hijacked Santa; by Paul Callan

7. Strong Medicine: Toxic Capitalism and the Socialist Cure; This talk was given by feminist author Megan Cornish at the Imagine Revolution Conference held in Seattle in November 2002 (http://www.socialism.com/whatsocialism.html).


Roger W. Gardner said...

This is a tremendously important article. Thank you for posting it. Everyone who wonders what Socialism really is must read this. I intend to cross post it in its entirety.
Thank you Lew.
Roger G.

LewWaters said...

Roger, all Lily has asked is that she be credited with her work.

I received it late last week and asked for permission to share it. Finally received it last night and posted it.

And yes, young people raising families or preparing to raise a family should read it.

I can only imagine what life was like for her growing up.

Last night, she said she was homesick for her country, but wanted it to be free like America where people can do and be what they wish.

Roger W. Gardner said...

Thank you Lew and please thank Lily for me. I have cross posted her superb article to Radarsite and of course I have given her proper credit. I wonder what life has in store for this talented young woman. We desperately need voices such as hers to be heard.
Roger G.

LewWaters said...

I've never met Lily, Roger, but I do know her husband and flew with him in Viet Nam.

As he says, she is a "scrappy little fighter." Not to mention a little cutie, LOL.

klatu said...

This is Powerful Lew. You should put this on Victoria Tafts Blog.