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‘Capitalism tends to be heartless’

As a former Republican (50 years), I was disappointed to read in the Aug. 25 Mirror of Rep. John Joyce’s assessment of socialism.

Echoing comments from official GOP spokespeople, our congressman shed ignorance and rancor in an effort to derogate Joe Biden.

With the help of Google, I found more accurate and sensible explanations online. Socialism is a political and economic theory practiced in a very few countries — China, Vietnam, Cuba. Some of our closest allies in Europe show humanitarian instincts that are often mischaractrized as socialism.

Capitalism, often extolled in the U.S., tends to be heartless.

FDR’s New Deal introduced more concern for the welfare of all but was zestfully opposed by many Americans, including Altoonans.

But over the years, compassion for the less fortunate has led to governmental support for capitalism’s victims.

Persons lacking empathy rationalize their own success and show little Christian or humanistic concern for the needy.

This lack of empathy is not a choice. As a psychiatrist who studies neuroscience and political psychology, I understand that we all are victims of our genes and life experiences.

No one should be blamed for reflecting those automatic influences. We all draw conclusions from what we see as evidence and should try to make intellectual sense of the world as best we can.

Pre-existing biases shape our thinking, mostly unconsciously. Intellect is thereby easily subverted.

I would love to see thoughtful consideration of how best to use governmental support for those who lack assets and opportunities. And I would hope to see less emotionalized rhetoric, less factual distortion.

All we can do is to acknowledge human limitations, especially our own, and to summon what kindness we can find within.

Joseph S. Silverman MD

Hollidaysburg

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