To The Editor:

In her March 13 letter to the editor, Eva Adams suggested that we educate ourselves on the “present” meaning of socialism.

I agree. Let’s start by examining the “past” goal of socialism, which is identical to the present goal of socialism: To elevate “oppressed” classes within society and to give the government direction over economic activity under the belief that free markets only allow the rich to oppress the poor.

This is the vision that brought the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (pronounced in German as “Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei”) to power in Germany’s Weimar Republic in the 1930s. That party is better known today as the Nazi party, which sought to elevate “oppressed” Aryan Germans.

If we are to learn from this history lesson, we should see that painting socialism and totalitarianism as dissimilar is a failure to recognize that totalitarianism is the inevitable result of socialism. This is because pursuing greater equity through government design requires (1) the centralization of power in the government to oversee this utopian goal, and (2) the elimination of equal application of laws to people based on race, class, gender, etc. so that wealth can be redistributed to whichever group is lucky enough to be labeled “oppressed” by whichever power-hungry politician rises to power.

These traits make socialism the system of “hate your neighbor” politics: Today’s socialist movement pits the masses against the supposedly evil and oppressive “one percenters” who horde their wealth. This should disturb us, since that is exactly what the Nazi party did in casting Aryan Germans as the oppressed masses against purportedly oppressive Jews who were ultimately stripped of their human rights. Socialist societies produce the exact opposite of the noble goals they initially aspire to because they make dictators out of politicians whose influence over our lives should be negligible.

French economist Frederic Bastiat best summed up the core beliefs behind socialism when he noted that “when plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

May we learn that lesson well.