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Friday, March 15, 2019

Americans Are Still Confused About What Socialism Actually Is: New at Reason

By Reason Staff - March 15, 2019 at 08:00AM

Why are we still debating the merits of socialism?

There seem to be three main answers. First, a surprising number of people still are seduced by its nice-sounding promises. Second, some politicians and activists are using the term again, which gives rise to this discussion. If you ask the public anything, including the virtues of cannibalism or self-immolation, a certain percentage will like the idea. Third, many people think wanting more social-welfare programs is the same as being socialist.

There is indeed nothing new. Perhaps it's human nature to cheer politicians who make grandiose promises that don't pan out, while being overly critical of the flaws in a system that has created unparalleled wealth and opportunity. But can't we try to be a little wiser?

Polls say large percentages of Americans have a vaguely warm view about socialism. The best response is to highlight its failures in its many forms, especially as some politicians use the term in a positive way. Let the debate continue, writes Steven Greenhut.


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