Just because someone promotes a view you don’t like doesn’t make that person a communist. The U.S. Constitution is filled with ideas that sound like they came from dedicated pinkos — but they didn’t.

A recent email from a reader contained an alarming revelation.


This reader addressed some debate that resulted over a column I had written about a legal dispute between Catholic Charities and the state of Illinois. He supported his previous assertion that Democrats are the same as communists by including the following definition of communism from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:


A) A theory advocating elimination of private property. B) A system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed.


Webster’s New World College Dictionary (Fourth Edition) offers a better definition of communism: Any economic theory or system based on the ownership of all property by the community as a whole.


The definition provided by Merriam-Webster lends itself to a broad interpretation, thus allowing my faithful reader to use the communist label for any idea he doesn’t like and anyone who advocates such views. From this perspective, placing any property under common ownership is an act of communism.


The difference between the two definitions is that the one by Webster’s New World College Dictionary clarifies the issue. The goal of communism, according to this definition, is to place all property under common ownership.


If we use the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition, it appears the U.S. Constitution was written by a cabal of pinkos! There are provisions for spending tax money to provide for the general welfare as well as to seize private property for public usage. Karl Marx might as well have written the portion of the Constitution authorizing eminent domain himself.


What distinguishes communism from government actions permitted under the Constitution is that the former seeks to place everything under central control. The value of the Constitution is that it allows us to debate the extent to which we should allow the government to intrude in our lives.


This lesson is worth recalling as many organizations prepare to commemorate Constitution Day on Friday. This will serve as a prelude to Constitution Week, Sept. 17 to 23.


So we can use this time to recall what this document contains or engage in baseless name-calling — the choice is yours.


Jerry Moore is the opinions editor for Suburban Life Publications. Contact him at (630) 368-8930 or jmoore@mysuburbanlife.com.