When I was a young man, the world was in the grip of the cold war. For those of you too young to appreciate the cold war, I will try to give you a brief synopsis. It was about nuclear weapons and a whole lot more. It was an epic battle for the hearts and minds of the people of the United States and Russia, and many other nations. Ultimately, it was about freedom. Many people will tell you that Ronald Reagan helped us win the war, us being the West, but it still rages on.
For one to understand the purpose of so many years of strife, one has to understand that there are only a few world viewpoints, and each nation has to strive for the one that its citizens aspire to.
There is capitalism, which the United States and Canada used to be a model of. It is a free society where each individual is given the same opportunities to fail or succeed. It is a society where each person is expected to pull his or her own weight. There are laws and rules, but for the most part, they only work if a nation has moral character. The government is elected by the people, of the people, and for the people. There are democracies, such as Canada and Australia, republics like the United States, and Constitutional Monarchies, like Great Britain. Its citizens are free to choose their religion, their occupations, where they live, etc. They are free to leave their countries whenever they choose to.
Next to that you have dictatorships, tyrannies, and totalitarian regimes. In these countries, such as Iraq, Cuba, and some African countries, you basically do as you are ordered or you are shot. It is a simple process and after many decades, the subjects become docile as each passing generation knows less and less about real freedom. If you don’t like the current leader, you can at least hope to outlive him, but do it quietly.
You have communism, or socialism as it is sometimes known. There have been many socialist countries. Most eventually collapse because the premises they are founded on have no foundation in truth. Socialists believe that everybody owns everything, and everything is distributed equally amongst the population. This has no good long lasting effects, because hard work falls away as there is no incentive. There is no incentive to excel or to take risks, as the lazy do as well as those who strive for better. Every communist or socialist nation on earth has to depend on handouts from the capitalist nations of the world. China depends on the west for grain to feed its population, North Korea depends on the west for oil and energy, Russia depends on the west for grain, and the many others all depend on foreign aid to stop their dirt poor countries from becoming regimes who pose security risks for the rest of the globe.
Understanding how different we are and how blessed we are to live in a free country is vitally important. It is only by understanding the differences that we can hope to keep our freedoms and our way of life. Our children are not being taught these truths in school and as parents, we had better start explaining it to them. Tell them of the students who craved freedom in China’s Tiannamen Square and were systematically ground into the dirt beneath the tracks of Chinese battle tanks. Tell them of the fathers and sons and daughters who were gunned down trying to scale the Berlin Wall to come to freedom. Explain to them what food lines are, what gasoline rationing is all about, and how massive fuel shortages lead to massive freezing deaths in the winter. Ask yourself, have you ever seen a raft of American refugees trying to get to Cuba on a plank of wood?
Our parents didn’t fight socialists and communists for something to do. They fought them for our benefit, to protect our way of life. Those that tell you the way we live is wrong are the enemy. We are a free nation and we help many others, and we are a success. There is no shame in that. In fact, if many of the worlds socialist nations would adopt our form of government, they too would be a success.
There is a lie permeating our culture today that socialism and communism are dead. In fact, it is infiltrating our school system as we speak, and is the way of thought of our federal political party that we call the NDP. Socialist thought is driven into the minds of our young adults as soon as they enter university. There is also a Communist Party of Canada, with an active membership. They believe that the state is God, and the answer to all of our woes. They believe that the government should be responsible for everything, and that they know what is best for us. They also believe that choice is bad. Everyone should have the same thing, the same amount. What eventually becomes of it is a dictatorship where all have nothing.
If I sound alarmist, it’s because I mean to. Most of us do not read history. We figure it is in the past. The point of reading it is so we don’t make the same mistakes that others have. There have been important lessons learned and many lives lost. Will we repeat the same mistakes or learn from them? Only time will tell.