From a reader:
I’m reminded of a piece by Roger Kimball in The New Criterion entitled “The Death of Socialism.” Kimball catalogs socialism’s crimes and then asks why self-professed socialists are still welcome in civilized discourse. Kimball unwittingly answers his own question when he states that he knows many “decent and honorable people” who are socialists.
Isn’t this the problem? No serious person would speak of decent and honorable neo-Nazis, yet even conservatives who should know better attribute benign motives to neo-Socialists. In so doing they are legitimizing socialism.
To be glib, I would say that no decent person could excuse the mass murder and enslavement perpetrated in Socialism’s name, nor could any honorable person claim to be ignorant of those crimes.
I suspect that what Kimball really meant – and this is another conservative failing – is that he doesn’t think those decent and honorable really mean what they say. But that strikes me as pure condescension.
Anyway, as long as no stigma is attached to professing socialism, it will endure.