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Gervais reader invites dialogue with Hubbard reader on defining the tenets of modern socialism

Opposing readers may not be so different

Now that the tumultuous days of the election are passed, I would like to continue the conversation initiated by Merle Stutzman a couple months past (Sept. 9 issue). I and another reader took issue with his vehement disapproval of a free school lunch program (Sept. 16 issue). After reading Merle's follow up letter explaining his disdain for socialism (Sept. 23 issue), rather than specifically feeding children, I now believe he and I may have a lot in common. Enough so, I take the liberty of concluding his gender and inviting him to refer to me by my first name, Donovan.

I sense our misunderstanding or disagreement to be around the term 'socialism'. Few, if anyone, limits their definition of the word to the historical Marxist Theory. Rather, most feel it to mean any goods or service supplied by the government.

I hope Merle will enlighten me of his repudiation of socialism, for I find some programs of socialism to be very beneficial to our country and to mankind. For example, had it not been for the government's electrification of rural areas, great numbers of our farmers would have continued carrying all of their water from streams or wells. Women and children were most responsible for this weary heavy labor.

Another socialist act by our government from before day one — mail roads. Were it not for our sponsored highways and backways, we on a trip to town would be stopping every few miles to pay a toll to a few very rich owners of the road. It is difficult to imagine how detrimental that would be to our economy.

Consider where would our country be in the world's economic ranking if at one time or another the government had not provided the basic services of education to all, subsidized electricity, railroads, airports, flodd prevention, fire and police departments, medical research and vaccination (recall the relief of the Salk vaccine), drinking water and sewer systems. What, specifically, would you have our country do differently? My curiosity forces me to question a topic in your first letter, and that was of orphans. Along in this category, I must add neglected children.

If it were not for the government, thousands of children here in Oregon would be starving, sleeping in the cold and physically abused. I have known of such children and no extended family, church or civic group were adequately caring for them.

I include love as a basic need, and organizations do not fulfill this need. If you have not adopted with love, you have not looked carefully. The state always has a list of children awaiting adoption. If one thinks orphanages alleviate this need, then one has not thought deeply of the problem.

With sincere anticipation, I await your thoughts. Donovan Stair,

Gervais


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