Socialism as a Cognitive Alternative
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Ireiterate that to the extent all the forces I have discussed here bolstering the capitalist status quo in America involve issues of cognition, conceptualization, and semantics, they become legitimate and necessary subjects of study in liberal education—as do socialist alternatives. In this post–Cold War, postmodern, neoliberal age, one is subject to ridicule, even in some sectors of the left, for insisting on any remnant of value not only in democratic socialism but even in social democracy.1 Aside from Senator Bernie Sanders and the late, lamented Paul Wellstone, the lone avowed socialists in the Senate, it is taboo for any prominent American politician, journalist, or media pundit to say anything in favor of social democracy. Only in America can conservatives smear both Democratic liberals and social democrats through guilt by association with communists—an infantile equation in the eyes of Europeans who have witnessed over a century of often-bloody conflict between socialists and communists. And only in America is the whole, wide range of Marxist scholars of economics, history, social science, literature, or cultural studies tarred with guilt by association with communist dictatorships. Thus there is little challenge in mainstream politics or media to outlandish claims like that of Michael Boskin, former chair of President H. W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors, that “the Western Europeans have seen their standard of living decline by 30% in a little more than a generation because of their high taxes” (quoted in Jonah Goldberg, 2007).
KeywordsSocial Democracy Socialist Party Public Broadcasting Socialist Alternative Political Writing
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