Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist


Socialism (even communism) seems to be the rage these days. Communism, believed by its adherents to be the end of a path of a metamorphosis whose genesis is capitalism, is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.”

Socialism, as proponents today call “good socialism,” is the kind practiced by the Scandinavian countries and other parts of Europe. However, I will call this “poor socialism” as compared to “rich socialism.”

Poor socialism, in theory, seems like something that might be good for society. But it has seldom lived up to its promises.

Socialism is wealth redistribution. Communism takes this a step further. The reason neither of these work for the long haul is very simple: The participants are not engaged with one another. They are isolated by time, distance and the insertion of government bureaucrats which isolates the participants.

One ends up with a system where no one is happy. The recipients want more, the donors (taxpayers) want to give less, and there is a whole passel of bystanders, who operate under their own agendas and are constantly saying “It’s not fair.” (The system, that is.)

Let me help you move toward being a rich socialist. First, the rich socialist does not worry about taxes or what the government does with the money it collects. That is just the burden of living in a great country like ours. Furthermore, have you ever been able to do anything about the money the government collects from you and what they do with it? Other than moving to a different taxing district or doing the very best job you can in calculating your income tax, you have no control over this money. So, forget it.

Imagine the surprise on the face of the politicians when no one shows at their public appearances because no one cares what they are doing. Rich socialism tends to make the politicians and the bureaucrats irrelevant.

Rich socialism is an independent activity you do on your own. First, you look up and down your street or highway, determine who is on hard times and who is not. You look in your purse or wallet and see how much money you can spare (be generous). Then, you, not the government, decides how to share your largesse with your poorer neighbors.

This allows you to get to know your neighbors, determine their needs and perhaps gently offer suggestions on how they might improve their financial lot in life. Invite them over, have a meal at your house with them, get to know them. Notice that we have gotten rid of the impersonal money laundering through the government bureaucrat. (But again, what about the money I already give the government? Forget it. You never had it, and you never had any significant input on how it is spent.)

But you can have input on what your neighbor does with your largesse because you will know them and learn how responsible they are.

There is a way to start practicing rich socialism that is inexpensive and can be done almost en masse. I keep several $5 fast food cards in my wallet. When I am in the city and confronted on the street by a beggar asking for money for food, I give them one of these. They are often taken aback, and, yes, I have somewhat imposed my will on a stranger, but I have met their request. I have given them money for food.

It is just not quite as fungible as they anticipated.

After a while, rich socialism becomes the natural course of things. You also get a tremendous satisfaction out of seeing direct results from your efforts – it is personal. Further, you get away from watching and fretting over what others are doing (or not doing) – a thought sequence that does nothing but eat you alive and embitter you.

Why don’t you practice rich socialism during the upcoming Thanksgiving season? It just may be some young person who has never eaten turkey will have that opportunity because of you.

I promise, you’ll sleep better, smile more and put a spring in your step with rich socialism.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press.