Riggins wrong on socialism
In his column for June 12, “It can’t happen here?” Tom Riggins gave two examples of what he called the dangers of socialism. One was Venezuela, and there are a lot of interpretations of what went wrong there. The other example was Czechoslovakia. Riggins made this jaw-dropping claim about that country: “First is Czechoslovakia after World War II. This country went from a booming capitalist economy as a result of the Warsaw Pact to a socialist government in just three years.”
Czechoslovakia was under Nazi domination until after World War II. It then became a communist country under Soviet domination. The Warsaw Pact was created in 1955. This was a defense treaty between the Soviet Union and several Eastern European communist countries, including Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia actually became a victim of the Warsaw Pact when it tried to break away in 1968 and was invaded by Soviet troops. Czechoslovakia finally became free when the Soviet Union collapsed, and it broke into two independent countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Both of these are now free, prosperous countries with a democratic socialist-type economy.
The question is, what was Mr. Riggins talking about? How was Czechoslovakia a “booming capitalist economy” under the Warsaw Pact? That statement makes no sense. If Mr. Riggins really wants to make a point about socialism, maybe he needs to choose his examples and his facts a little more carefully. Picking a country that went from communism to freedom within a socialist framework doesn’t bolster his argument.