Social good vs. Socialism

Social good is something that benefits the largest number of people in the largest possible way… (

socialism is based on the idea that common or public ownership of resources and means of production leads to a more equal society. (, what does socialism mean in simple terms)

Often one thinks of golf as the elitist sport, but there are many public courses around the U.S. and the world. If you don’t know the sport, here is a simple explanation: a hole goes from the tee box to the cup on the green and can be from 106 to 690 yards. The first shots, or drives, are around 200 yards and the final ones, putts, can be 3 inches or less, but both count as 1 stroke. There is an expression, “drive for show, putt for dough.” Any obstruction on the putting green can divert your shot. When a ball lands on the soft putting green surface it leaves a divot, or hole. The etiquite is to “fix your divot” and try to keep the green as smooth as possible for the next players, and hopefully people have done that so that you have a smooth green.

Well, this past weekend, I played at Westchester golf course in Los Angeles, and the greens looked like the above image BUT WORSE. The holes were brown., i.e. dead grass. This just got my fury up thinking about how so many in the U.S. do NOT act for the benefit of the greater society. How so many people think it’s not their responsibility, or think “they did it, so I can too.”

I actually called someone out when they threw their paper cup on the side walk. They answered, “someone is paid to pick it up. I gave them a job.” I was in line to get on a Mammoth ski lift and a snowboarder had an anarchy symbol on her snowboard. She said that she didn’t vote or believe in government. We didn’t have time to see how deep her advocacy of anarchy went, but I wanted to ask her if she knew that the Mammoth Ski Resort is actually in a National Forest, and the way we got there were by the roads built by the state of California. I was in a cave in Idaho and a young boy was going to carve his name in the rock, next to some other names that defaced this natural place. I spoke up and said, “you shouldn’t do that.” When I turned around, I heard his mother say, “just wait until that lady leaves and then you can carve your name in the stone.”

There is a movement to name everything that is for the social good “socialist.” Socialism got a bad rap because it is considered the precurser to communism. To me it seems that the extreme right MAGA group is actually more on the lines of the U.S.S.R. communism “through a single authoritarian party, controlled a society’s economic and social activities” ( than the radical left, and tends towards fascism “…forcible suppression of opposition.” (

So many of the extreme right’s beliefs want to control the other: abortion rights, gay rights, gender rights. To me it is simple—if you don’t believe in it, don’t practice it. It is no one’s right, in a just society, to limit another’s expression of self and choice.

What ever became of one is part of the whole? doing unto others as you would have them do unto you? the idea that we work together and what is good for one is good for all? What about separation of church and state? What about compromise?

Over forty years ago I saw Bill Cosby do a solo show in Las Vegas. I still remember his joke about the parts of the body arguing which is the most powerful. Ultimately it came down to the asshole, which every body part laughed at. Yet, when the asshole shut down and didn’t let any shit pass, all the other systems of the body failed.

I wish we could appreciate everyone and every job equally. I hate it that CEO’s make 300 times the lowest employee; that our every day garbage collectors aren’t valued as much as a lawyer or plastic surgeon.

When you listen to music, the melody line is often what is first related to, but it wouldn’t soar without the back up band.

So often, I’ve noticed that I only play as well as the bass and drums that are behind me. When the rhythm section is grooving it is so easy and fun for me to ride their energy and sound good. So many times it isn’t me that creates the form, but the drummer who builds the tension and climax and I just have the joy of riding with them on their energy.

So I just ask, that we can start seeing the interconnections in life and on this earth. Eating organic isn’t just for personal health. It is also for the planet, the people who farm, the bees, the water systems, the health of the soil. The supermarket cashier isn’t just about checking out your purchases. She/he has a family, a commute, health, life circumstances we can’t imagine. Maybe a smile and hello is a connection that will go further than just an immediate exchange.

How many ways can we acknowledge and appreciate how we are together on this earth? How can we fix the metaphorical divots that will make the next person’s life a little smoother and possibly lead to the joy of a one putt?

For further reading:

Anarchy “ the absence of government” (

Socialism, social democracy, communism, democracy (

Fascism which “exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. (