The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—A gentleman has written me a long letter insisting that I gave the impression in my columns on Russia that socialism is the same thing as communism.

I thought I had explained a number of times that both President Tito of Yugoslavia and Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union told me that communism is their ultimate objective but that it did not exist in its perfect form in the world today. They explained that human beings have not reached the point of accepting the doctrine that "no human being can be greedy and that all must be willing to see each individual receive according to his needs from communal production."

Both of these men went on to say that they considered they were administering Socialist states, which represent a step toward communism, and are developing them toward this end.

I know full well that this is not the doctrine to which a genuine Socialist subscribes—one who has always fought communism and looks upon it, because of what it means in police state oppression, as a dangerous end to strive for.

I find that in this, as in so many other things, we are very loose in our definitions. What we in the United States and those in most of the Western world are opposed to is not an idealistic theory but an existing dictatorship, kept in power by secret police and creating fear among all its people.

It is not even the different economic system that stirs our greatest opposition, though we in the U.S. believe in private enterprise. I think there would be no difficulty in living in the same world with people who have chosen a different economic system.

It is the terror and the control of men's minds, as well as of their physical actions, that turns anyone who has tasted of freedom against the existing regime in the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain countries.

One can acknowledge that certain improvements in the economic conditions of the Soviet people have come about under the present regime. However, anyone breathing the air of freedom and democracy knows full well that this is a welcome transition only to a people who have never known freedom and are coming out of the slavery of a despotic regime to taste of a limited type of economic security, even though achieved through compulsion.

I went to a luncheon the other day in honor of Mary Margaret McBride's publication of a new and different cookbook, "Harvest of American Cooking." It has a thousand selected recipes, but more than that, it provides much history which any American woman—and man, too—will enjoy, I think.

I went to see the stage drama, "Romanoff and Juliette," the other night. It was a delightful evening, though I felt that the end of the play petered out, for there seemed no way to end it. There are good lines in the play and I found the acting excellent.

I also have been to a meeting of the American Association for the United Nations in Bridgeport, Conn., and found considerable activity on the part of our organization there. The day was made particularly pleasant by the fact that Mr. and Mrs. William Benton called for Miss Estelle Linzer and myself and took us there by car.

We had a pleasant lunch in the Bentons' lovely home overlooking the sound. They also entertained many of the local Democratic officials and I felt I was returning to the days when my husband was active in New York State politics. Both Mr. and Mrs. Benton are among the kindest and most delightful hosts I know.


(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, November 2, 1957

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.