Experiences with socialism

Dear Editor:

I first gained knowledge of socialism in 1956 watching the Hungarian revolution being smashed by the USSR on our new Dumont television at home on 54 Oak St. I was 10 years old.

My second epiphany on socialism came in 1968 when my five-day pass to visit Prague, Czechoslovakia, was canceled because their revolution for freedom was brutally crushed by the Russians. I was 21 years old and stationed in Munich while serving in the U.S. Army.

I wrote to my family on Aug. 25, 1968, the following: “Totalitarian communism will decay from within if the people are given the slightest freedom. It cannot survive man’s hunger to do what he wants. The (Czech) people got a taste of freedom, which they liked and will demand more. Eventually it will spread to East Germany and Poland resulting in revolution and the ultimate destruction of the totalitarian state. This world is so busy and communications are such that millions of people cannot be made to believe what they hear when they see otherwise.”

The Berlin Wall fell 21 years later in November 1989. Freedom broke out all over Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union disintegrated two years later. So much for socialism.

My third experience seeing socialism firsthand was driving 110 miles from the border of West Germany through the Eastern Zone in March 1969. We had to stop at various checkpoints to make sure we heard the Russian officer request “your papers, please.”

My wife and her brother were required to leave their passports with the “Stasi” (Eastern Zone secret police) and meet me on the other side to walk around the most depressing place I had ever visited.

My fourth exposure to socialism came as a political science student at UMPG (now USM) from 1970-74. The Vietnam War had ignited a great hatred among the young and the Kent State shooting death of four innocent students made it worse. Many accommodating professors fomented more hatred against the USA in their classes. Then we had Watergate, the election of 1972.

My fifth encounter with socialism was precipitated in 1997 with the beginning damage to the lobster industry by the surrogate spotted owl, now the northern right whale. As I had first written then recently republished by the EA, my letter specifically noted that the Endangered Species Act does not take into account economic damage to the industry. We are seeing this vividly play out with the latest NOAA regulations that are strangling the industry but are doing nothing to help the whale. So, here we are with the federal government running headlong into socialism while the rest of the world has fled from it. This is indeed bizarre, but is just a continuation of subversive interests who have been trying to destroy our great republic since its founding.

Dudley Gray

Rangeley Plantation

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