May 11, 2021 • 52M

Is Socialism Still a Dirty Word?

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Appears in this episode

Bob Zadek
Bob talks about the issues that affect our lives on a daily basis from a purely libertarian standpoint. He believes in small government, fewer taxes, and greater personal freedom.<br /><br />America has lost its way, but it cannot and does not need to be reinvented. Our founders were correct about their approach to government, as were John Locke, Adam Smith and the other great political philosophers who influenced them. The country’s first principles are economic and social freedom, republicanism, the rule of law, and liberty. Bob believes we must take the best of our founding principles and work from them because a country without principles is just a landmass.
Episode details

Not long ago, the word “socialism” was something of a taboo. Following the failed Soviet experiment in hardcore socialism, most Americans of a certain age still shudder at the prospect. Libertarians schooled in Friedrich Hayek’s writings have learned to instinctively resist even the smallest encroachments of government ownership into the means of production. But have we perhaps learned a lesson too well?

Revisiting Socialism
Every so often, I like to re-assess my fundamental beliefs by inviting highly intelligent people to make the case for ideas like socialism on my program. A glance through my show archives reveals that I'm long overdue for a challenge, and John B. Judis is the perfect man for the job.

John is Editor-At-Large at Talking Points Memo and author of eight books, including most recently The Socialist Awakening – the last in his trilogy of books on the revival of the doctrines of nationalism, populism, and now, the "S" word.

Venezuela or Sweden – Which Way for the New Socialist Man?
Judis observed how Trump used populism to promote a nationalist agenda, and calls on today's progressives to use these same populist forces to advance a rebranded socialist program.

For Judis, Bernie Sanders is the poster-child of the evolution of socialism, from orthodox Marxist ideology calling for imminent revolution to an incremental approach of expanding the power of labor over capital in a modern "mixed economy." Where I see a flashing red DANGER sign in Sanders' appeal to young people, Judis sees a sign of hope.

Is Judis’s vision compatible with a robust economy, free markets, and individual autonomy, or will a single step toward Scandinavian-style socialism set us down the "Road to Serfdom"? Can socialists learn from the mistakes of the past, or are they doomed to be relegated to the dustbin of history?

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