'Shut the heck up'? Ridicule doesn't work

Eric Vimr never ceases to amuse. This time it's his insistence that old, angry white men such as myself need to, "shut the heck up already."

Well, for once he got a few things right: I am old, I am white, and until I have that first cup of morning Joe, I am a bit of a grump.

However, as one who respects everyone's First Amendment right to speak, even Vimr's, I respectfully decline his invitation to "shut the heck up."

I suspect Vimr is attempting to apply rule No. 5 from socialist Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" ("Ridicule is man's most potent weapon"), the purpose of which is to render the recipient an irrelevant, angry old white man.

Joking aside, the truth is that socialism has an Achilles heel, as penned by an Alinskian socialist predecessor, Karl Popper.

In criticizing Marxism's historicism and tendency toward totalitarianism, Popper wrote, "If there could be such a thing as socialism combined with individual liberty, I would be a socialist still. For nothing could be better than living a modest, simple and free life in an egalitarian society. It took some time before I recognized that this is no more than a beautiful dream; that freedom is more important than equality; that the attempt to realize equality endangers freedom; and that, if freedom is lost, there will not even be equality among the unfree."

While Popper remained sympathetic to Marx's moral purpose, he correctly called out this one determinedly fatal flaw.

R. STAN MARSH

Champaign

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