Socialism and COVID-19 | In Focus

If you object to socialism, maybe you should send back your stimulus money.

Rich Elfers, “In Focus”

Rich Elfers, “In Focus”

Socialism, according to dictionary.com, is defined as: “an ideology or system based on the collective, public ownership and control of the resources used to make and distribute goods or provide services.”

Is socialism bad or good?

Conservatives rant against the evils of big government. During last November’s elections, they used fear to warn voters that progressive Democrats would bring in socialism if they won. In most of the U.S. House of Representatives races I researched last fall, that was the common accusation.

These races were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. If properly administered, socialism can be a good thing, as in the case of stopping the spread of a pandemic or avoiding another Great Depression. Last year’s round of unemployment checks and government payments kept millions of people from dropping below the poverty line and not being able to feed their children or themselves.

Development of the COVID-19 vaccines that could end our isolation and improve the U.S. economy came in great part because the U.S. government worked in cooperation with the pharmaceuticals. President Biden just ordered the manufacture of 200,000,000 more doses. Distribution of vaccines has been organized by the state governments. The vaccine is free.

My wife and I just received a debit cash card with $1200 on it as part of the second round of financial aid authorized by both Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress and signed by the previous president. All of you either have received or will soon receive similar cash cards.

If you object to socialism, perhaps you should send it back, unless of course, it means you can now feed your family or fix your car or pay your rent or mortgage.

People are now getting vaccinated based upon priorities determined by both state and federal officials. Many are clamoring to be able to get their shots as soon as possible, complaining that their group is being forgotten or ignored. In a news article in our local paper, one woman complained that people over 70 were being bumped by teachers in the order of priority for shots. Perhaps they are, but someone has to set those priorities based upon the common good. Perhaps the importance of getting our children back into school is a higher priority to help the economy overall than the impatience of a few individuals. Making those life and death decisions is never easy, or often appreciated

All of these actions can be defined as socialism.

Small businesses have now received federal and state grants to keep their employees working and their businesses open. Most of those business owners are conservative.

So, is all this government aid a bad thing or a good thing?

Conservatives might respond by saying that the state government has put too many restrictions on the movement and actions of its citizens, using the pandemic as an excuse to gain control of power.

In some cases, they may be correct. It’s difficult to make good decisions under a great deal of pressure, but the overall concern has been to save lives and return the economy to normality as soon as possible. Mask wearing is promoted for the common good, whether or not you object to your individual rights being violated. It’s not only about you.

For those of you who listened to conservative candidates who told you to avoid electing socialists to office, did those conservatives speak out of concern for you, or did they accuse progressives, using fear to manipulate you into voting for them?

Socialism is not good for people if it causes them to avoid working hard and being independent. It’s not good if it takes away some freedoms that are necessary for a properly functioning society. As in all major issues, we as individuals and our government officials must seek a balance between individual rights and the common good, between the freedom that capitalism offers versus helping those who don’t have the capacity to take care of themselves.

COVID-19 should have taught us the necessity of socialism in keeping a society functioning in times of health catastrophes and economic downturns. Socialism is not all bad in the midst of crises. Think of vaccines, unemployment checks, and federal debit cards the next time you consider the evils of socialism.


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