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Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Socialism

I forgot to mention something that came up earlier in the fascism and communism article from Volokh. One of the commenters made a good point, I think. Fascism, racism, and a lot of other bad things are often associated with the right (usually unfairly I think, outside of Pat Buchanan, who I don't even associate with the right anymore). However, I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would stick up for those systems, especially the "thinkers" of the right. Everyone knows that fascism is a failed system, and no one sticks up for it. In fact, it's an insult of the highest order. Meanwhile, communism and socialism are typically associated with the left. And if you call someone on the left a communist, there's a "there you go again" response typically. And yet the left still has a soft spot for socialism, and as the figure skater, as well as much of academia has shown, and even for communism in the form of the USSR. If you accept the various labels assigned to the right and left, than the right seems to me to be the only one that has disowned its radical fringe. But this post is mostly to provoke debate.


I think it's largely a problem of labels. If socialism means progressive taxation, then many people still have a soft spot for socialism. If socialism means a command economy, then far fewer people have a soft spot for socialism. Unfortunately, I think it's used for both, and, as a result, the term is too confusing to be very useful.
That said, no one should be glorifying what the Soviet Union "achieved" politically. (Although I'm with Ivan, I'm not sure that's what that skater was doing.)
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