To the editor:

Wow! Rarely have I come across an opinion column excoriating socialism as biased as the one in last week’s Salem News (“We must educate future generations on the myths and realities of socialism,” Sept. 7). Of course, we need to keep in mind the source of this diatribe — The Heritage Foundation, in their own words an organization promoting conservative ideals.

The author of the piece, Foundation President Kay C. James, refers to socialistic extremes, such as the former Soviet Union, which was in fact a communist regime, and at the same time refers to the success of Scandinavian socialism, noting their economy is a free-market one, where social programs are paid for by taxes. Is this any different from the United States? Is it wrong to offer free health care, and free education? In Mrs. Kay’s perfect world, I suspect she would do away with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. All social services, such as police, fire, public works and school departments would be provided by private companies. Is that what the Heritage Foundation is promoting?

When will politicians wake up to the realization the leftist movement we are witnessing today is in response to a capitalist system that has run amok? Income inequality is at an all time high. Does anyone really believe the United States is still a true democracy? Sure, we have our constitutional rights, but in reality the strings that run our government are controlled by large corporations and the upper 1% who control most of the economy. Upward mobility, a cornerstone of what made this country so unique, is essentially gone. No longer is the United States the benchmark for almost all statistics, be it education, health care, infant mortality, and now coronavirus cases. The recent rise in the progressive movement, and the political upsets achieved by left-wing activists, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are the result of the Democratic Party leadership not listening to their constituents. Maybe if they had, Trump would not be in the White House. I suspect many are aghast at some of the ideas proposed by the New Green Deal, but sometimes it takes an extreme idea to move the population. Good example: the 1776 Declaration of Independence. That took a lot testicular fortitude to pull off!

Mrs. Kay’s reference to the failed state of Venezuela has more to do with a ruthless dictatorship than with socialism, and was the result of years of chronic corruption among senior government and corporate officials that led to a coup by Hugo Chavez. Somewhat similar to what happened in Cuba in 1959, when Castro toppled a corrupt, U.S.- backed dictator (Batista.). Not that it has anything to do with this op-ed, but what happened in Cuba and Venezuela is the result of a failed U.S. foreign policy.

Lastly, what is blatantly obvious by this op-ed piece is the fact few Americans understand the many ramifications of socialism. We have been so brainwashed by corporate America about the dangers of socialism, it brings back memories of the McCarthy era and the House Un-American Activities Committee of the 50s when Congress decided to put the phrase “one nation under God, in the Pledge of Allegiance, to counter the godless communists. It doesn’t appear as if we have come very far.

Peter G. Eschauzier



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