MINOT, N.D. -- Modern proponents of socialism have become so desperate to divorce their ideology from its ugly realities - North Korea under the Kims, Cuba under the Castros, Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro - they've taken to a sort of white washing through dilution.
They're defining anyone in favor of any level of civic organization beyond outright anarchy as a socialist.
"This was surprising to hear, because North Dakota has two huge Socialist institutions; a State Bank, and a State Mill. The State of North Dakota owns them."
Problem is, those institutions aren't really socialism. That the state of North Dakota owns a bank, and a mill, does not preclude private ownership of those sort of businesses.
Private banks and private mills have existed and flourished for decades alongside those state institutions. What’s more, nobody is required to do business with the state bank or mill.
They're not really socialism. Just services the state of North Dakota offers which might be beyond the what you or I think the appropriate scope government ought to be.
But Stanley, like many other proponents of socialism in our region, doesn't stop there with his examples of how supposedly socialist our state is.
"Police, public schools, all forms of street maintenance (especially our snow removal crews), firefighters, public water, rural electricity regulations that allow most of North Dakota to have power, and the aforementioned State Bank and State Mill; are successful and necessary Democratic Socialist institutions."
I guess we're all socialists now.
Joking aside, if we're already socialist, why are these socialists so angry?
And they are angry.
Anyone familiar with the social media feeds of the Red River Valley Democratic Socialists of America - a North Dakota/Minnesota chapter of that national organization - knows what I'm talking about. The rants on those feeds are so perfectly on-the-nose you might think they’re some conservative wag's caricature.
You can almost smell the dirty socks through your monitor.
Alas, the accounts are very real.
Again, why do we need socialist revolution if we're already socialists?
Because we’re not socialists. Not even close.
Pro-socialism letters are a regular feature in our local newspapers. State Rep. Ruth Buffalo, a Democrat from Fargo elected to office last year, aligns herself with the Democratic socialists. A trip to the White House by the local college football team featured a lineman with a socialist pin on his jacket.
It’s important to push back. Because socialism is not the plow clearing your street.
It’s always an apparatchik with a clipboard deciding who gets what.
"From each according to their ability to each according to their needs," is what Karl Marx wrote, and the socialists aspire to be the ones to decide that for the rest of us.
Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.