Back in the sixties when a number of protest songs were being sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary and Joan Baez and people like that, one of the songs was entitled “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Each stanza ended with the sad refrain: oh, when will they ever learn? oh, when will they ever learn?
This morning, I pick up the newspaper and read that Chavez, the anti- American president of Venezuela, is doing all he can to push his country into socialism. And I think as I read that, “oh, when will they ever learn?” Just a few miles across the Caribbean, the island nation of Cuba is in terrible economic and social trouble because of Fidel Castro’s adoption of socialism fifty years ago. To say nothing of the demise of religion there since the more socialism fades into communism, the more hostile toward religion it becomes.
We must remember that for seventy years, the evil empire of Russian communism called itself the “U.S.S.R.,” which stood for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Communism does not call itself communism; it prefers to use the deceptive term “socialism” because that doesn’t sound so radical, so threatening. There are countries today which are quite socialistic, like the Scandinavian nations where taxes are extremely high, but nearly all the needs of the people like education, employment, medical expenses, housing, etc., are met by the government. And yet they are basically free countries and could, theoretically, vote socialism out and a more hands-off policy on the part of the government, in.
So now, Mr. Chavez in Venezuela, ignores the seventy years of misery caused by Russia’s “socialism,” and ignores also the fact that in Cuba, horses are being used to pull automobiles because there is no gasoline, thanks to the glorious “socialist” system of economics. And he wants to bring Venezuela into this wonderful way of life where everyone is supposed to be so blissfully happy. Then, of course, the Catholic Church will continue to preach the sovereignty of the human person over any and all political or economic systems, and the government will begin to persecute the Church. People will be imprisoned, oppressed, and killed. And some day, the whole ugly thing will either collapse as it did in Russia, or it will be thrown out by a bloody conflict.
Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn? Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.