Last week, fifty railroad cars of the Norfolk Southern Railroad derailed, in a fiery crash, in Ohio (near the State line, between Pennsylvania and Ohio). As reported, ten were carrying hazardous, toxic chemicals, which were in imminent danger of exploding. Crews hastily released the toxic chemicals that were in danger of exploding, into the air and began burning them, after the local residents were directed to leave the area, due to the imminent possibility of death.

Although our previous paragraph reads like an excerpt from the (1985) novel “White Noise,” by the post-modern author, Don DeLillo, it is, in reality, a terrifyingly, accurate, summary of that Friday’s news reports. Angrily, we thought of the myriad of vitally, important, governmental safety regulations, consistently, opposed by the Republican right wing and irresponsibly, eliminated by the former President, Donald J.Trump,                                                                                                                                            

The proximate responsibility and attributable guilt, inarguably, lies with America’s political right-wing legislators and politicians; the latter, financed by, anti-regulation, big business which, values profits over human life, and, in our view, may be clinically diagnosable as sociopathic..

It is frustrating and truly infuriating, to continue to observe the malign success that anti-regulation, advocates and lobbyists, have enjoyed, over the years, in tactically inculcating the Nation’s large, populist, constituency, to thoughtlessly and reflexively, respond to the asserted buzzwords, “socialism, or, “socialist” as a ubiquitous, epithet for un-American, or basic evil. Their adopted, classically, dynamic model, for this dynamic, was discovered by a well-known 19th Century Russian scientist who is credited with the developmental understanding of the “conditioned” (or “reflexive”) response to stimuli. In Dr. Pavlov’s, revealing trials, it was the hungry dogs’ response to the ringing of a bell; in the MAGA universe, it is merely the tactical assertion of the buzz- word, “socialism,” to alert the less than adequately, educated, right-wing constituents, to the purported existence of “evil” in what, in reality, are responsible governmental efforts to shield American citizens from harm.

It may be useful to once more, define the meaning and essence of “Socialism.” The latter term is a theory that comprehends the governmental ownership and control of all business and industry. There is not, nor has there ever been, a desire on the part of any American Administration, nor any possibility for the implementation, of such a form (or philosophy) of government.  Yet, bizarrely, the tactical designation of the term, “Socialism,” or “socialist”, is the “dog whistle” or Pavlovian bell, employed to elicit the desired and unfailing, negative response. It should be noted, that, as declared in an earlier essay, (“American Socialism”), it is the programs of compassionate capitalism, in our view, that have constituted the deterrent to any declared, need for an alteration in the form of government.                                                                                                                     

 The plethora of empathic, governmental programs, responsibly, enacted and designed to alleviate the suffering of poor and needy American citizens to be sure, are in no way socialistic. Nor are the many facets of the social security system (in which all conservatives, happily participate)  the federal FEMA programs of flood, tornado, earthquake, flood and forest fire relief,  postal and governmental health agencies, metrological and environmental agencies. Conservative politicians, self-interestedly, in acceding to the interest of anti-regulation, big business, shamelessly, and dutifully, assert that the prudent and responsible imposition of regulations, providing for the safety of transport such as mechanical efficacy, speed limits, safety at train crossings, transport of hazardous materials in close proximity to human habitation, and the like, are “socialism” (and ipso facto, bad);  however, the enormous cost to the governmental treasury, in restoration of the substantial damage caused by the catastrophe, which occurred, due to by the lack of application of relevant, prudent government regulations, regarding use and mechanical acceptability, is not. The tragic loss of life and health caused, on the date of the crash, by reason of the hazmat release has medically, been predicted to be exacerbated in the future.

Nor are regulations as insuring the purity of water, safety and effectiveness of medication, healthiness of food, safe and humane working conditions, safety of automobiles, roads, highways and bridges, air travel and too many other protective measures to enumerate, instances of the “dreaded” socialism.  

It would inarguably, appear that the greatest danger to the existence of a democratic Nation, is that of the grave misfortune of having a large, population of under-educated and poorly informed citizens.



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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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