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The threat of socialism is greatly exaggerated [Letter]

12:30 PM EST, November 29, 2013

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Columnist Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. recently reminded us of Winston Churchill's prescient warning of the dangers of European socialism ("The challenges Churchill faced nearly 70 years ago mirror those of today," Nov. 24).

I admired and liked Mr. Ehrlich as governor and thought he was fine public servant. Sometimes, however, his staying in that same echo chamber of like views allows his rhetoric to go a little overboard.

While Churchill was prescient, his prescience was more directed toward Nazi Germany than toward European socialism. Later in his career he warned mostly of the Soviet Union and its expansionist ambitions in Eastern Europe. I am sure he voiced concern over socialism, but that wasn't his main contribution.

Moreover, Mr. Ehrlich's fear of this nation turning more and more socialist reminds one of earlier fears about the changing nature of our nation and its government. There were many times the same refrain, with different language, has been voiced about government centralization leading to communism or socialism.

Thomas Jefferson feared the nation was turning away from its agrarian character toward the dawning industrial age. Others feared that Andrew Jackson's scalawags would make the nation into more of a democracy. The Know-Nothings predicted gloom and doom out of anxiety over the industrial age. There were even those who predicted that Abraham Lincoln's presidency would lead the country to ruin. And etc., etc., etc.

Yet here we stand, the most powerful successful economy in the world. By the way, Britain and Germany, two of the nations among that European socialist-leaning group, are among the world's top economies. Either we are not turning socialist, or we are — and socialism works.

Mel Mintz, Pikesville

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