You can’t spell fringe without E

Work travel kept me from commenting on today’s column by Dave Kranz until now. All in all it was accurate but let me note that you read it here first. I also would point out that South Dakota Bill Stegmeier and his friend who sees taxes and secular schools as part of some Communist plot appear as well educated about the Communist Manifesto as they are about checks and balances and democratic principles.

The Communist Manifesto doesn’t say anything about property taxes. That’s because it proposed abolition of private ownership of property and, hence, there would be nothing upon which to levy a tax. But beware! Parts of the manifesto are apparently dictating public policy in South Dakota.

Among other things, the manifesto proposes free education for all children in public schools. Shockingly, Article 8, § 1 of the South Dakota Constitution guarantees a free public education. Since the Communist Manifesto was published 37 years before the South Dakota Constitution was adopted, it looks like the Commies started taking over the state more than a century ago and about 30 years before the Russian Revolution. And just to forestall what I’m sure I will hear anyway, you’d don’t have to be a Communist to know what the Communist Manifesto advocates. It’s something you can learn in any basic political ideologies class.

Still, I personally thought the cartoon accompanying Kranz’s column was a bit over the top. There’s certainly nothing to indicate the Stegmeier is a front for his Communist-hunting friend. The cartoon does, though, certainly illustrate that there’s plenty of absurd ideas waiting in the wings for which the political fringe associated with J.A.I.L. appear intent to make South Dakota their guinea pig.

The lunatic fringe wags the underdog.

H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy

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