Socialism, we are told again and again, is stultifying nonsense. The notion that we should care for all of our fellow humans at the expense of "free trade" is anathema these days, in the United States, at least.
So I just want to lay out why I think that this argument is wrong.
And the funny thing is, I have pop culture on my side in this battle.
How many movies star a protagonist (often an anti-hero) who has, as they say, "nothing to lose." The very fact that he--it's almost always a he--cannot lose anything renders him free to do whatever he feels needs to be done. And we go along with it, and relish his exploits.
This is the thing that is squelched in all American discussions of socialism. The constant narrative is that "nanny state" measures will lead to stagnation and complacency.
May I offer a competing narrative?
Socialism doesn't suffocate innovation with its provisions for health care and education and unemployment. Rather, it gives us all a certain feeling of "nothing to lose." That is, if we know that we--and more importantly, our people--will be fed and clothed and housed today and tomorrow, we are free to go mad with creation.
Socialism in the 21st century stands to be the force that unleashes the greatest ingenuity and productivity since capitalism took hold in the 18th.
And it'll be more humane.
This, at any rate, is my hope.