SWriters of letters to the editors who fear “socialistic” answers to harmful change need a rebuttal. I’ll stick with the plain-language “fear of change” here because metathesiophobia, is too big a mouthful.
So how should people react when fearful change is thrust upon them; when temperate areas become intolerably hot, when deserts become flood plains and visa versa, when drinking water becomes precious, when income disparity breeds widespread poverty, when air becomes too dirty to breathe. When health care isn’t available to all, when uncontrollable wildfires become a frequent threat, when infrastructure can’t keep up with population growth? Isn’t some kind of adaptive action necessary for problems that big?
It’s obvious that neither you nor I can cure such things by ourselves. It takes group action. We have three choices: We could turn to government and expect to pay the cost in increased taxes. We can look to corporations to offer solutions, though fixing such things wouldn’t offer much incentive. Or we could leave a less habitable world for our children to fix.
If availability of water became critical here (not likely), our view of water policy would have to change. Our shared view and concern would call us to act together in an act of — are you ready for this? — socialism! That is, government focusing available assets to achieve necessary solutions. Let’s not allow fear of socialism to close diminishing windows of opportunity to address big issues, like global warming, like health care, like dwindling oceanic fish stocks, like an out-of-control waste stream.
Forget the old bugaboo Gateway-to-communism concept of socialism. Stalin is dead. It’s Russian and Chinese capitalists, not communism and socialism that pose today’s international threats. Please, don’t let fears of 20th-century socialism cripple government’s necessary and timely responses to 21st-century social responsibilities.