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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 27, 2009 / 3 Iyar 5769

The Choice Between Capitalism and Socialism

By Robert Tracinski


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A few days ago, I happened to meet a doctor in our area who has an unusual background. He emigrated to America from Russia, and I heard from one of the nurses in his practice that he had to go back through medical school and earn a new degree in order to get his medical license in the United States. This, I thought, is a man who has uprooted his life to an extraordinary degree, all so that he can live and work in America. So when I had the opportunity to talk to him, I asked him why he did it.

He is a very quiet-spoken and reserved man, so much so that I felt sheepish asking him a personal question, and I did not expect much in return. Instead, I got an answer more thorough and profound than I could have guessed at.

"I came here," he said, "because of my son." His son is ten years old, and he moved to the US ten years ago. I thought perhaps this meant that his son had some rare medical condition that could be better treated in America. But that wasn't it. He came here, he said, because "they won't change"—by which he meant that Russia's culture had not fundamentally changed after the collapse of the Soviet system. I asked if he left because of Vladimir Putin, who has spearheaded the effort to re-impose an authoritarian political system in Russia. But he replied, "Putin is nothing. It is the system."

You can get by in the system and have a decent life, he explained, if you know the rules—that is, if you know which wheels to grease and which authorities to please, if you know the right things to say and the things you aren't allowed to say. "I grew up in the system, so I learned the rules," he continued. "But you ask yourself whether you want your child to learn the rules." That is a profound and courageous observation. It is not just the material effect of living under a corrupt, bureaucratic, tyrannical system that he feared; it was the soul-destroying psychological effect of having to learn and internalize the rules of that system.

His overall summary of Russia's culture of authoritarianism is that "They do not value human life." This was his introduction to the subject on which he was most passionate: socialized medicine. A major part of the reason he left Russia was because socialized medicine is just as intolerable for doctors as it is for patients.

Socialized medicine, he stated flatly, "doesn't work." Why doesn't it work? He explained that a doctor works for the state—not for his patients. So he spends much of his time filling out forms. "As long as the forms are filled out, no one cares what the patient says," how he is doing, or whether he survives.

He then went out of his way to point out that the current administration wants to move us toward socialized medicine. "If they move us just a little bit, it will not be so bad. But if they move us a lot, it will be a disaster." Keep that in mind during the coming debates over President Obama's plans for the de facto nationalization of our medical system.

After our conversation, I shook his hand warmly and told him we were happy to have him here. But that one question he asked kept haunting me. "Do you want your child to learn the rules?"

It struck me that this is not just the question he had to ask himself when he decided to leave Russia. It is the question we Americans ought to be asking ourselves right now. Do we want to live in a society where the state has such a predominant role that you get live a decent life if you know the rules? Do we want our children to learn those rules—the rules they will have to follow to show their proper subordination to the power of the government and those who run it?

That is what socialism is about.

But America is cherished the world over as the place where no one has to learn the rules. We have traditionally been a country where the average person can speak his mind and plan his career path without having to think twice about the arbitrary rules that might be imposed on him by some government authority. And when it comes to informal rules about social customs or the way things are done in the business world—well, we pride ourselves on being people who break the rules. The key to our dynamic society and our enormous productivity is that we are constantly rearranging "the way things are done"—and we are rewarded for doing so.

That is what capitalism is about.

Fundamentally, America is a place for independent men—which is why it attracts independent thinkers from around the world. But the current push toward a dominant role for government in our economy—with the government running automakers, hospitals, universities, banks, and who knows what else—threatens to change our culture at the deepest level, converting us into a population of compliant rule-followers.

So that's the choice we face, and you are going to have to decide where you stand. Do you want your children to learn the rules? Or do you want them to grow up as free men?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Robert Tracinski writes daily commentary at TIADaily.com. He is the editor of The Intellectual Activist and TIADaily.com. Comment by clicking here.

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