MINOT, N.D. — The Red River Valley chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America have started themselves a softball team.
Their goal is “raising visibility and connecting with the community.”
This isn’t an uncommon tactic for social movements.
Churches hold dances. Political parties hold pie auctions.
Jim Jones, the infamous socialist who led hundreds to their deaths decades ago, emulated Mao Zedong in using the structures of religion to organize his people even though he was himself an atheist.
The Red River Valley DSA wants to recruit people. So they’re playing softball, and telling a credulous reporter about how they’re not at all like the socialists of yore whose machinations resulted in death and suffering for hundreds of millions.
I mean, who even remembers all that anyway?
"Older generations do have some sort of negative connotation because of the Cold War. Young people just don't. If you think about it, 20-year-olds today weren’t around even when there was a Berlin Wall,” Zac Echola, an organizer for the DSA, told reporter Kim Hyatt for her story about the team.
Echola clearly sees it as a positive that young people don’t have a firm grasp on the historical horrors of socialism.
The East Germans who lived under the Soviets had a life expectancy far below that of their West German neighbors. A recent study shows that, even decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, those who live in what was East Germany still haven’t quite caught up.
Ignorance of that history services the purposes of modern socialists.
But Echola and his fellow DSA members claim they’re different than the historical socialists. The Soviets are “not what we’re talking about when we talk about socialism,” he told Hyatt. “What we’re talking about is making sure people have the things they need to survive and thrive in the world. That appeals to a lot of young people because they need those things, and we’re the ones struggling the most under the system we have.”
The Soviets claimed they were just out to promote the common good too. Protecting laborers from the excesses of capitalism. Protecting the rights of women. Caring for the poor and the elderly.
No successful political movement starts out by saying they’re going to dominate and oppress the masses, and violent suppress any dissenters. They always start with the best of intentions.
Interestingly, in the pictures accompanying Hyatt’s story, Echola can be seen wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “profit is theft.”
According to that, individual gain is theft from the collective.
Can you imagine what people with that point of view would do if given power over our society? Do you suppose they’d respect individual rights?
I think not.
These “moral busybodies,” as C.S. Lewis called them, would torment us without end because they’d be doing so “with the approval of their own conscience.”
“They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.”
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.