By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Well, we have it on authority: Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow on February 2nd, Groundhog Day, and therefore we will have an early spring. This prediction makes about as much sense as the predictions of thirteen polls which said Trump would win the “Hawki Cauci.” Frankly, I distrust pollsters as much as I do politicians and the media. I’m ready to turn it all off, but I can’t because it’s all over the TV and radio, and the robo calls just keep coming.

Actually, I’m ready for spring – but not Obama and Hillary’s Arab Spring which is an unmitigated disaster. As a matter of fact, I’d rather it be hot than cold. Maybe my age has made me a skeptic because I also distrust the hype about anthropogenic (man-made) global warming which largely comes from dishonest politicians and media types who are not scientists. Folks, please realize that funding for climate research is dependent on political correctness and group think. Recall that commissions for music and artwork came from kings and popes in times past. An artist must please his benefactor if he wants more work. Remember, look beyond what they say these days and ask yourself why they’re saying such and such. Simply put, follow the money.

The season I least like is the election season. A poll of 2000 millennials (age 18-29) by The Reason Foundation recently caught my eye. This generation voted overwhelmingly for Obama and supports big government. Millennials are sympathetic to gay marriage, pot and 40% prefer socialism to capitalism, though only 16% can define socialism. Many are flocking to Bernie Sanders and making Hillary “feel the Bern.” We shouldn’t be too hard on millennials because two thirds of self described liberals and more than 50% of Democrats have a favorable view of socialism. Maybe they all think socialism just means being sociable.

I suspect other terms such as right-wing or leftist are often used without a clear understanding of what these terms mean. Arguably, if you can’t define socialism or capitalism how can you vote for the self described socialist Bernie Sanders or the capitalist Donald Trump? Even liberalism, progressivism and conservatism are poorly conceived in many people’s minds. Can you differentiate between fundamentalism and evangelism? The talking heads in the alphabet media certainly can’t. Consequently, in this election season it seems fitting to understand the terms bandied about.

America is a capitalist country and we’ll start here. The word capitalism comes from the Latin word for head. Capitalism is based on private ownership of the non-labor means of production. Examples of capital goods are buildings, raw materials and machines. Capitalism is an unequaled engine of production. It fueled the Industrial Revolution and American prosperity. Millennials were apparently never taught this perspective by their liberal professors, and they won’t hear it from Bernie. Fortunately, the abusive, unbridled capitalism of the 18th century “robber- barons” is now long gone.

Modern liberalism is not the “classical” liberalism of the Founders of our country who opposed restrictions on individual liberty. The Founders’ “old” liberalism favored free markets, limited government, private property, and equality under the law. Modern liberalism began in the 1920s as a rebranding of the increasingly  unpopular Progressive philosophy that brought prohibition and the income tax to Americans. Later, liberalism became unpopular and so they again changed their name to “modern” progressives. Self described examples are Obama and Hillary Clinton. Some people believe big government, taxes and regulations can fix our problems, but it can’t. Socialism is fine, until “you run out of other people’s money.”

Conservatism stems from the Latin word conserve or preserve. This perspective emphasizes traditions and social stability. There is no comprehensive conservative ideology because many types of conservatives exist. Sometimes a term is best defined by examples. There are fiscal conservatives like our own Congressman Jimmy Duncan. Religious or social conservatism might be represented by Billy Graham. Mark Levine is a Constitutional conservative who holds to the original language of our nation’s operating agreement. Rush Limbaugh espouses political conservatism and says he’s the “big voice on the right.” Obviously, he opposes the voices on the arbitrary “left” such as  progressives.

Progressivism is not represented by the white-garbed Flo of the Progressive Insurance company. Incidentally, this insurance company was begun by Peter Lewis whose liberal-progressive and “leftist” philosophy would be the opposite of Ronald Reagan’s. The progressive ideology arose out of “populist” yearnings of the late 1800s. Populism derives from the Latin word populus or people and is a philosophy that focuses on the differences between “the people” and “elites.” Donald Trump has been labeled a populist.

Socialism arose in the 19th century in opposition to capitalism and the abuses of the Industrial Revolution. Socialism’s desire is to abolish capitalism and establish collective ownership of all means of production. Class struggle may be integral to bringing about social change, and may be violent as in the Russian Revolution. Class struggle in Russia brought about an extreme form of socialism known as communism where a small ruling elite governs the masses. Lenin once said that the “goal of socialism is communism.”

Another mechanism of social change is slower and may be brought about through the Cloward-Piven strategy. These two socialists and Columbia professors articulated a policy of increasing government complexity with unending promises to the masses, thereby fostering unrealistic demands and an eventual collapse of the economic system. The result will be tyranny run by elites. Cloward and Piven were lauded by Obama in a Rose garden ceremony during his first term.

The media stated that Ted Cruz won in Iowa because of the evangelical vote. Until a few years ago I could not have distinguished between an evangelical and a fundamentalist Christian. I discovered the fundamentalist perspective began in the late 1800s and holds to a literal interpretation of the Bible. An example would be that the universe and the earth were created in six days as noted in Genesis. Personally, I believe the Bible is more a compendium of truth rather than facts, so I am not a fundamentalist. However, I do unabashedly proclaim the Gospel message, and like the disciples of Jesus, Martin Luther and Billy Graham, I identify with evangelical Christians.

You may find this essay odd and non-medical. My defense is that I am not a conformist nor will I be pigeon-holed into a particular topic because my column appears in the Focus under Health and Well Being. I believe there is more to health and wellbeing than bodily functions.