“A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.” ― Mark Twain

Half-truths in the opinion piece "Socialist history repeating itself in modern politics" (Feb. 24): 

The Berlin Wall is comprised of both inner and outer portions (parallel walls). The 148 miles is a combination of walls that run parallel to each other.  Using that methodology “The East German wall was around 1,000 miles long”) the Inner German Border portion is around 858 miles and was made up of many parallel walls; is 2000 miles a more accurate measure? The West Berlin border was 96 miles according to NATO (http://www.natolibguides.info/berlinwall). “Comparing it to a US border wall was stupid” — is it any less “stupid” than when someone refers to the Berlin Wall to combine it with another wall, around 163 km (100 miles) away that has a different name (Inner German Border)? This is analogous to talking about the population of Rochester and then adding in Syracuse because they are cities in New York.

“I detailed the immigration process my in-laws went through 1920/1930” — let's ignore 140 years of immigration history prior and discuss these 20. These details are only symptoms. The cause, concealed from readers, was The Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 and The Immigration Act of 1924 (https://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1901-1950/The-Immigration-Act-of-1924/). These acts started quotas on immigration and where implemented to prevent immigration from southern Europe (Italians, Slavic).  One of the authors was Representative Albert Johnson of Washington. One could imagine his quote in today’s news: “The greatest menace to the Republic today is the open door it affords to the ignorant hordes from Eastern and Southern Europe, whose lawlessness flourishes and civilization is ebbing into barbarism."   A reader has to wonder if we transported the opinion author back to 1920 and he faced the prospect that he might not meet his wife. Would he be as much of a zealot?

The rest of the story on the “people’s car” is that it cost 990 RM. A layaway plan of five RM was set up and when the worker saved enough, they received the car. Does the author see the specter of Socialism in layaway at Walmart? Citation: Volkswagen corporate website. Monthly Labor review, US Dept. of Labor March 1945 (Vol 60 no 3 page 506), indicates that weekly earnings in 1938 Germany average 27.84 RM or 1447 RM/year. To compare, the average U.S. personal income in 1938 was $1,731 and the average new car cost $860, about 50 percent of the yearly salary (Business Insider) vs. 68 percent in Germany. Readers will have to decide how “free” or “highly subsidized” it really was. Opinion that attempts to equate Republicans or Democrats with Nazis or Communists is drivel at best.

Internet sites have been cited and readers will have to decide if the NATO, VW corp. and the Office of the Historian for the U.S. House of Representatives are more credible then "I once knew a guy." When considering how much “Chaos” is really happening think about this: “Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear — kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor — with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real” (General Douglas MacArthur, American Caesar, 1965).

Matt Boldrin is a Canandaigua resident.