Port: You absolutely should be afraid of socialism
The left has spent the last few years wringing their hands over President Donald Trump's seemingly too-cozy relationship with abusive, totalitarian political figures like Vladimir Putin. Yet they're challenging him with a candidate who thinks Fidel Castro wasn't that bad?
MINOT, N.D. — Our nation's Democrats — or, at least, a faction thereof — are fond of explaining to the rest of us that socialism isn't all that scary.
The efforts to rehabilitate that ugly, abusive ideology coincide with the rise in popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, currently the 2020 frontrunner for Democrats. Sanders is a self-described socialist, and our left-wing friends are worried about what that does for his mainstream appeal.
The case for the defense usually runs along the lines of this recent letter to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead from reader Arnold Jordheim. "There will be an effort, especially this election year, to claim that progressive Social Democrats are kind of like Socialists and Communists, and will try to taint all opponents with that label," he writes. "However, there is a vast difference between totalitarian communist socialism and social democracy as practiced in the Scandinavian countries and in most of Europe."
People like Jordheim want us to believe that socialism isn't the stuff of Joseph Stalin or the Kims of North Korea. It's just big government. He cites "schools and water/sewer systems" as examples of socialism.
Which means, I guess, if we have any government services at all, we're socialists.
If accurate, that makes me wonder what all the socialists want a revolution for.
The thing is, socialism does mean Stalin and the Kims. You cannot implement socialism's preferences for social entitlements and wealth redistribution without giving awesome amounts of power to the government.
Power which inevitably corrupts. "A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have," as the saying goes.
As much as our liberal friends might want to haul socialism's legacy out of the historical swamp of poverty and dead bodies it's mired in, they simply can't.
We need to look no further than Sanders himself for evidence of this. He is our nation's preeminent democratic socialist, and he loves tyrants.
In 1985 Sanders praised a Soviet-backed government in Nicaragua just months before it suspended civil rights like free speech and assembly and stood by his position even after those oppressive moves. The man honeymooned with his wife in Soviet Moscow in 1988. Sanders was encouraging to Venezuelan tyrant Hugo Chavez , whose brutal socialist administration preceded the human rights tragedy, which is the current Maduro regime .
Presently, Sanders can be seen on the campaign trail singing the praises of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro . "We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba," Sanders said by way of defending his comments, "but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad."
Which sounds a bit to me like praising Benito Mussolini for getting the trains to run on time ( he didn't ).
The left has spent the last few years wringing their hands over President Donald Trump's seemingly too-cozy relationship with abusive, totalitarian political figures like Vladimir Putin.
Yet they're challenging him with a candidate who thinks Fidel Castro wasn't that bad?
If Democrats want us to believe that socialism can be a benign ideology, that it's something different from what was practiced in Societ Russia, maybe don't line up behind the guy who seemed to think Soviet Russia was a groovy place.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.