A John Bircher resurfaces | TheUnion.com

A John Bircher resurfaces

The column comparing 1940s Stalinist Russia to America written by Tom McClintock's right-hand man Igor Birman is straight out of John Birch Society paranoid conspiracy theories. Pathological government hating and fear-mongering seems to a characteristic of the Tea Party these days.

There is a role for government and for private enterprise in our society; knowing the common sense balance is what makes our country prosperous — that's how we put a man on the moon. The history of Russia and the rise of a communism there is long and complicated and has little in common with our history.

Amongst most prosperous first-world countries today, one finds common themes of democracy, freedom of speech, codified human rights, environmental protections, well funded public schools, universal health care, an enforced tax code, and integrity of the courts. Exclusive of military spending, the percentage of GDP spent by government has not changed appreciably the last 70 years and regulations have all been democratically passed.

If Birman thinks tiny government is a panacea, perhaps a more realistic argument would be to compare the U.S. to Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, Australia, Japan, etc. Or a comparison to third-world countries with two class societies and tiny governments.

Michael Schwalm

Grass Valley

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