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So, this socialist and this capitalist have a beer. Guess who buys?

Sounds like a set-up for a pre-election joke? No. It’s a true story. I am the capitalist and it happened the other night.

I was at a bar watching for the newest rise in country music. I ordered a Blue Moon. I hardly drink, but the beer’s title intrigued me. Before I had the opportunity to judge the beer on its merit, I had the opportunity to judge the band on its music, sort of.

The band’s leader was doing more talking than singing and he was bragging about being a socialist.

“I’m a socialist and I’m voting for Barack Obama,” he said. “Now, I can tell you I’m a real socialist – he is not.”

So, there you have it. If a socialist is voting for Obama, which candidate might you guess has socialist ideology?

Getting back to the bar story: I tap the shoulder of the guy next to me at the bar who’s vigorously cheering this socialist singer…before the band closes its set with its socialist anthem, “This Land Is My Land.” (I always thought that was such a sweet and innocent toe-tapper.)

The fan turns to me. I ask him why Stalin and Mao Zedong were to be admired for butchering millions? He started shoving me, but I again plied the question about the murders. I didn’t back off. Finally, he calms down and offers to buy me a beer. I declined, feeling content with my Blue Moon. He finally answers that a Stalin and Mao were just one man and that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That threw me into a state of laughter because socialism always ends up elevating one man. At least, he didn’t hedge with all that stuff about the differences between Communism and socialism.

“The difference between a socialist and a capitalist is that a socialist like to share,” he said. He then promptly asked me if he could have some of my beer. I smirked at the irony. I must be a socialist because I was the one doing the sharing. This “sharing stuff” started to sound like a kindergarten teacher’s admonition.

I didn’t learn much from the band, but I learned a lot from my peaceful resistance at the bar.

The answer to the pre-election joke is that capitalists have something to share, usually will, and socialists will gladly have you “share” all you want. He was the punchline.

P.S. The following is no joke…

From Hong Kong Historian Frank Dik├Âtter’s book, “Mao’s Great Famine; The Story of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe:”

State retribution for tiny thefts, such as stealing a potato, even by a child, would include being tied up and thrown into a pond; parents were forced to bury their children alive or were doused in excrement and urine, others were set alight, or had a nose or ear cut off. One record shows how a man was branded with hot metal. People were forced to work naked in the middle of winter; 80 per cent of all the villagers in one region of a quarter of a million Chinese were banned from the official canteen because they were too old or ill to be effective workers, so were deliberately starved to death.

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