Army Bob: Be careful about promises of social justice

by Robert M. Traxler

Army Bob SalutesThe presidential election circus is rapidly descending upon us, heaven help us all. The “social justice” movement will be a hotly debated issue for the next twenty months. Who can be against social justice? It sounds like a wonderful concept and it is an intoxicating theory.

Social justice, social fairness, social equality, all noble causes, all are goals of the social justice movement. The end game of the social justice movement is a socialist society. In a fully socialist nation no person is better off than any other, no person has more than another, all receive the same compensation regardless of effort or honesty; all are the same and oneness prevails. The basic problem with the social justice and socialism movement is that it does not work; tried in varioBob Traxler_0us forms thousands of times over the centuries, it simply fails over time.

The communes of the 1960s and 1970s, socialist societies in the purest form, all failed; the Soviet governments in Eastern Europe failed. The socialist government in Cuba is unraveling; the socialists in North Korea are in deep trouble as the good folks in the North discover that the lifestyle of their relatives in the South is much better than theirs. The capitalists in South Korea are on average two inches taller, live nine years longer and have a much lower infant mortality rate, mostly because of nutrition and health care. The income disparity between the two countries is huge. The South has all the electricity it wants; the North is dark a good bit of time.

The two Koreas are a very good example of the success of capitalism and failures of socialism. In 1945, when the Japanese left Korea after 35 years of brutal domination, half of the Korean peninsula adopted capitalism and half adopted socialism; the two halves were fairly equal in population and resources. Both Koreas were dirt poor and mostly agrarian economies. Education levels were similar; both had an education system that was almost nonexistent. Poverty was the rule as was disease, hunger and misery.

The Korean War stopped the economies of both halves until 1955. After the war the dirty socially unjust capitalists in the South went to work and in 30 years built what President Ronald Reagan called the economic miracle that is South Korea. South Korea has a standard of living that rivals ours and those of Western Europe. North Korea embraced socialism and is an economic and social disaster.

The South has a vibrant university system and produces some of the best scientists and engineers in the world. The North sends students to Chinese and Russian schools and concentrates on weapons development. The South has an open democratic government; the North has a socialist state and “social justice” that has been governed by one family since 1945.

One nation split into two more of less equal halves, both with the same resources, history, climate, language, customs, norms, and values. Both halves of Korea started from nothing and had an equal opportunity to build a new nation, one successful and one not. One embraced free market capitalism, one the joys and social fairness of socialism. One embraced government dictated social justice, and one let people who excelled and worked harder to be rewarded in an open market economy and with a strong safety net for the needy.

We have subcultures in American society that are good examples of socialism; everyone dresses alike, all live in the same number of square feet, all eat the same food, all are paid the same wage, all get free health care and all keep to the approved routine — but none of the people in our prisons have freedom. President Eisenhower said, “If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.”

It is impossible to find a better petri dish to use in a side-by-side study of economic and social systems than Korea. I have been to both nations and can say the people are as different as we would find in looking at the differences between those of us from Michigan and the good folks from Ohio: not very. The only difference found in the two countries is the form of government. Be very cautious of what you advocate for as you may get it; socialism is outstanding in theory and a disaster in practice. Remember that when you vote.

P.S. Please note the name change of this august publication; it is now Townbroadcast. The Wayland portion of the name has been dropped for the simple reason that the paper covers Dorr, Hopkins, Wayland, Moline and Martin. Townbroadcast covers all five communities to a greater extent than any other available publication. The news is current, relevant, objective, fair, fast and free.

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