Like so many people, our representatives may confuse socialism with communism. This confusion results in the word “socialism” triggering a strong, negative emotional response in the audience similar to the word “communism.” Thus, socialism must then be avoided at all costs and any programs that have a socialistic flavor are suspect.

In his Feb. 26 article in The Tribune, Rep. Chris Stewart warns of the dangers of democratic socialism. Yet each country he names as examples of the downfall of socialist societies are either communist or dictatorial countries: Russia, Cuba and Venezuela.

To be very brief, and possibly overly simplistic, socialism can be described as an economic system completely compatible with capitalism and democracy, in which the goal is to meet the basic safety and other human needs of everyone within a society, which strengthens the society.

Communism, on the other hand, is a political system that focuses on putting the working class in charge of society by having the government control the mechanisms of production. There are no social classes and no individual ownership of farms or companies.

Socialism attempts to work within the established political and economic order using regulation and taxes to meet its goal.

There is a broad range of what people consider to be acceptable in terms of regulation and taxation, which sets the stage for conflicting philosophies of governance.

Let’s not dismiss socialistic programs or ideas because they trigger an alarm bell that is needlessly associated with communism.

They are not the same, and each has to be considered separately in order for each of us to make intelligent choices about the desirability of programs that have a socialistic component.

Steven M. Ross, Millcreek