Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a series where Colorado Times Recorder contributor Gregory Hill asks readers to email him their concerns about the Biden administration in order to engage in meaningful conversation. Read the first “Conversation About Socialism” here and read part 2 here.

Let us now rejoin my conversation with Leona on the subject of socialism (she believes it’s evil, I believe it’s an idea.)

To recap: We started by trying to agree on a definition (or definitions) of socialism. That didn’t work out, exactly.  Next, Leona asked me for some examples where socialism as a form of government has worked. In response, I provided a list of 73 countries that currently employ some form of socialized health care and then I offered this observation: “It would seem that there’s little correlation between socialized healthcare and the downfall of humanity.”

Here is Leona’s response:

When I asked about an example of where Socialism as a form of government has actually worked, I need to add a number of qualifiers to that question. Even if there appears to be a good economy, such as China’s, that does not mean the system is truly “working.” When I see news clips of university students holding signs that say “Freedom is Bad’ or “Communism is good” or “We want Socialism” etc., I believe these students have been taught by their professors that these other forms of governance is superior to what was established in this country. These students believe freedom of speech is only good if it’s the speech they want to hear. Those of us who want to offer a different point of view should be burned at the stake as in days of old and as happens in places like China, Russia, Cuba, etc. If this form of government is so bad, why do people flee those countries you listed (sometimes risking their lives to do so) to come here? Yes, there are countries that have tried to combine a form of Socialism with Capitalism such as Australia and others on your list, but they are not truly Socialist countries.

When I think of Socialism, I think of what Bernie Sanders, who is a self proclaimed Socialist (even though he acts far more like a greedy Capitalist with the 3 mansions he owns,) talked about continuously on the campaign trail, i.e. Free healthcare, Free education all the way through college, Free money, Free…Obviously, someone has to pay for all this “free” stuff. Prior to last year when a lot of travel was shut down, the “socialists” in those various countries who needed medical care, often came to the USA to get it because “socialized medicine” means waiting, and whenever the government gets involved in anything, the red tape, ie. government interference, goes through the roof, and people don’t get served as well as they wait in line, and the quality, more often than not, goes DOWN.

Countries like Colombia not only have just a form of socialism as they also embrace Capitalism, but I know that Colombia has a “class” system as well. You might be able to work your way out of one class and into another, but your class determines where you can live, where you can go to school, and how much you will pay to go to university. So while they may have a form of socialism, education is not entirely free, and you are allowed to have your own doctor and go to the pharmacy to get your medicine without going through a lot of red tape. I know this from Colombians who have worked for me and from personal experience. 

So, to get back to my initial comment on the qualifications of “working governments”, I would list:

1. government respects and treat ALL of its citizens the same — doesn’t commit genocide of any sort — that eliminates a number of countries on your list

2. dictators and others in power aren’t living in HUGE mansions while the vast majority of the citizens can barely keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables — this eliminates the rest

There was a great deal more to Leona’s response, but, in the interest of space, we’ll have to leave it there.

NEXT: My frustrated reply, and the reasons behind that frustration.