There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism – by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.

—Ayn Rand.

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

It had been two years since I had been in a crowd, but friends offered us UT football tickets for the Georgia game along with a pregame tailgate party. I cheer for the Vols, though I’m not a passionate fan who lives and breathes orange. It is good for my university to win, and when our teams do well it is good for our community. Supporting the Vols is something the majority of Knoxvillians can agree upon. Supporting the Vols is rarely political unless we are playing Florida.

Yes, we lost to a better team, but over the Georgia weekend, Becky and I made new best friends. Most of our family lives in Knoxville, so our out-of-town guests are limited. However, being a Southerner, Becky stepped up and opened our home to five grown men who are friends of friends and were coming to town for the football game. Becky is more of a people-person than me and more so than our guests from north of the Mason Dixon Line. But by the end of the weekend, they were converted to Vol fans and southerners through the fine art of “visiting.” Years ago I introduced my son-in-law from Cincinnati to the transformative art of Southern visiting and he remains mystified by the ritual.

As my readers know, I am a stickler for words. Though 85% of communication is non-verbal (body language, tone and inflection of voice), we use words to convey our thoughts. Unique modes of communication are used in my novel “MANTIS,” enabling the redemption of the protagonists. Check it out at Amazon and

Language is a living thing. Words come into and leave our personal and collective lexicon (vocabulary). Not many moderns would use the word frowsy to describe a homeless person or the frumpy style of Annie Hall. Definitions also change. Fifty years ago a mouse was a small rodent scurrying under the cupboard, rather than a device to move a cursor on a computer screen. Every year dictionaries are updated and new words are added and obsolete terms are recategorized as archaic.

Some years ago we watched a TV comedy show called Not Necessarily the News. One of the regular segments featured made-up words called sniglets or words that should be in the dictionary but were not. Webster’s does not include a term for Southern visiting, but there should be one.

Recently, a friend sent me a comedic definition of woke: “A state of awareness by those dumb enough to find injustice in everything except their own behavior.” I found the meme (idea) ribald and quite clever. Webster notes that woke can be the past tense or past participle of wake, but is chiefly slang and defined as being aware and attentive to issues of racial and social justice. I hope that Americans have become woke (awakened) to the destructive policies of iPOTUS, progressive socialist Democrats, their media propagandists and their BLM/Antifa shock troops.

Previously, I’ve written about equity and equality, but some terms need to be redefined because they are so manipulated by the media. Equity is mandating that everyone has the same. Equality means everyone has equal opportunity under the law. It is ridiculous for me to demand that my golf skills be considered equal to Tiger Woods. On the other hand, Tiger and I are allowed to compete under the rules of golf with the best man winning. Again I reiterate, in America, we have a representative republic, a system of government that provides equality under the law (The Constitution). We do not have a democracy. The Founders were terrified of democracy because of the historical abuses of majorities, best described by two wolves and a sheep deciding what they’re going to have for dinner.

Gaslighting is a modern term where people are psychologically manipulated and come to doubt themselves or reality. The term first arose in the 1960s, but actually the technique arose in Mein Kampf as the “big lie.” Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels effectively used propaganda and the big lie in their National Socialist Party. The premise is, if you tell a big enough lie, boldly and often, the common man will begin to believe the lie because the average man cannot perceive anyone as being so duplicitous. I see disturbing analogies with the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and I could go on. The Russian collusion farce is a classic example of the big lie and gaslighting.

Fortunately, I am woke to the big lie and not yet broke in Ol’ Joe’s shortage economy. Some years ago I heard a commercial describing retirement as a time when you pay yourself to do what you really want to do. I worked hard, saved and was frugal for 45 years. Now I get to go wherever my interests take me and do pretty much what I like. And I like writing and using the pen to awaken others to the evil of the big lie and the destructive forces of the Democrats (if there are any left).

Have you ever wondered how one-third of Americans still support the iPOTUS cabal amidst the border crisis, the Afghanistan disaster, inflation, shortages, rampant crime and COVID mismanagement? And after destroying our position of energy independence under President Trump, iPOTUS is now having Russian tankers bring diesel fuel to America. Where is the outcry of, “Russians everywhere,” from Pelosi, Schumer and toadies like Adam Schiff?

This is a short Holiday week and my column is due Tuesday afternoon so the Focus staff can “put the paper to bed” and be off for Thanksgiving with their families. So, I’ll cut my pontificating short and wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. We still live in the best part of the greatest state and the greatest country in the history of mankind.

Be thankful and “keep looking up.”