Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Bill Neinast

History books are poor substitutes for experience.

A prime example of this truism is the enthusiastic support of Bernie Sanders’ Socialism.  Unfortunately, much of that support is coming from young college graduates.

These youngsters are just practicing or exhibiting the propaganda laid on them by their liberal professors.  For four years they were regaled with daily lectures on the beauties of a socialist government taking care of everyone’s needs, wants, and desires.

The bible for that propaganda is Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital.”  Technically, this is not a history book.  It is a book of philosophy, but it has been the guidebook for socialism/communism for over 150 years.

That book paints such a beautiful picture of communism.  Every naive reader would close the last page yearning for the idealistic life described by Marx or, as he called it, a worker’s paradise.

According to this philosophy, the wealth of the nation would be owned by the people.  The maintenance, growth, and distribution of that wealth would be shared by and borne by each individual according to his abilities and needs.  At its peak of maturity, the need for government would fade away, and all would live together in harmony on an equal footing.  There would be no super rich and powerful men and women to envy.

That paints a beautiful picture, doesn’t it?  What, however, is the reality?

I had the good fortune of viewing that reality on two occasions.  In the early 1980’s I was part of a busload of Texans touring the USSR, then referred to as the Soviet Union.

We visited three of the Republics—Russia, Belarus (the so-called White Russia) and Crimea.  The picture was the same wherever we went.

The only smiles and happy faces we saw throughout the tour were those of the Texans.  Conversely, dour and sour were part of the uniform required of all Soviet citizens.

The same attitude was reflected in the buildings.  The only bright, colorful buildings like those throughout the rest of Europe were the Kremlin, the Summer Palace in Leningrad (now once again St. Petersburg) and a few old buildings that had survived WWII.

The new buildings, particularly the apartment buildings, were drab, poorly constructed structures.  The entry ways were nondescript and looking in through the ground floor halls gave the appearance of slum accommodations.  Lacy or colorful curtains and window boxes with colorful flowers ala the rest of Europe were not in sight.

In the very light traffic on the highways, it appeared that the only passenger vehicles were being operated by government employees.  This was in a workers‘    paradise where governments are supposed to disappear. 

In summary, the real picture I saw was a far cry from the worker’s paradise painted in Das Kapital.

About ten years later, I was able to travel into East Germany for the first time.  This was a year or two after the Berlin Wall had toppled.  

Crossing from West Berlin into East Berlin at that time was like crossing the Rio Grande into Mexico from Texas.  The buildings, still showing the effects of WWII, were a reflection of Moscow.  

A difference, though, was in the people.  I saw some smiles and even heard a few greetings.   The Stamtisch (or regulars’ table) though, had disappeared.  This is the table reserved in every bar and local cafe in Germany for a special group of men who meet regularly for their evening beer.  

I was told when sitting at what had once been a Stamtisch that the custom disappeared under communism because the men could not longer afford the daily ration of beer.  Some of the Germans with whom I spoke were looking forward to a return of the Stamtisch in the brighter future they were eyeing.

This visit to East Germany included a ten day visit in neighboring Poland.  I was the first American to stay in the motel where I found accommodations.  The two story building had been constructed while communism still ruled the country, and the finish work seemed to be of the same poor quality as that in in the Soviet Union, or even worse.

The Poles, though, were even happier and more cordial than those in East Germany.  I met a number of entrepreneurs who were striking out on their own.  Several even invited me to invest in their new undertakings.

So here’s the perspective.

Do not believe everything you read or hear, particularly from left leaning politicians and professors.

Instead of disappearing as described in the workers’ paradise, the government will grow and grow and become even more involved in your life.

Taking over all medical services as proposed in the Biden-Sanders Platform would be just the first step.

Take care.



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