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In basic training, every drill sergeant warned us we’re going to Vietnam, so be prepared or die. There I was sent, and, after three days' “orientation,” flew to a firebase to tramp around the jungle for 10 days searching for the “enemy” with a half- dozen other guys, then a day or two at the firebase, envying the bunker-dwellers, before going out again. Our chances of surviving unwounded seemed about 50-50, and we all yearned for a safe “base job.” Five-sixths of incoming troops were given these, but there was a catch — once in the field, always in the field, because fresh troops had much higher casualties than seasoned ones. An older friend who stormed beaches in the Pacific in World War II said they were victims of the same “catch” — survive, and that’s your job until the war’s over.

As the Democratic candidates for president scramble to promote more and more extreme socialist policies, this “catch” again raises its palpable head. If you work at any useful occupation, under socialism you’ll eventually be required to continue working as long as needed, like Boxer, the horse in "Animal Farm." It’ll take awhile — ours is a rich country — but someone must work to support all the promised freebies (read AOC’s Green New Deal for the short list).

Finally, consider the fate of workers who didn’t embrace their country’s socialism – e.g., Stalin’s Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and Madero’s Venezuela. “Socialist governments ... always run out of other people’s money” (Margaret Thatcher, Feb. 5, 1976).

John Sarna

Philomath (April 6)

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