Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hitchens Discusses Socialism

Anyone that reads this blog or knows me personally knows I have a soft spot for socialism. Much is misunderstood about socialism and the socialist impulse, especially in this country of ours. The worst conflation is to believe socialism is the same as Sovietism -- or the state capitalist system of the old Soviet Union.

For anyone interested in this, Christopher Hitchens discusses socialism's attraction, its ties to the Enlightenment, Marx's love of Lincoln, the U.S.'s potential as a socialist republic, and one of Lenin's only achievements: the creation of a secular Russia.

For those that believe socialism equals slavery, this is as good as an antidote as any I've ever read. When you begin to know the history of socialism, you begin to feel an intense hatred that the likes of Stalin, Mao, and Castro got their grimy hands on the ideal and used it as a means to achieve power at the cost of the ideal.

Remember, much of what we take for granted these days, and which is in the process of being rolled back: the elimination of child-labor, compulsory education, the 8-hour workday, weekends off, collective bargaining, full employment, and international solidarity are products of the socialist impulse. It is an impulse in all of us, whether we recognize it or not, that allows most of us in the West not to be plowed over by the likes of unregulated capitalism.

Much like the sentiments of Jesus of Narazeth, it is an intense hatred of exploitation and a bid for a humanistic world. To deny it fully, is to deny our better natures.