By Hugo Newman writing for Fee Stories
It’s a familiar scene. A socialist and a critic of socialism are engaged in heated debate. The critic invariably raises what the socialist considers a hackneyed and lazy objection: “Well what about what happened in the Soviet Union? Or in Maoist China? Those were socialist states. Are you really endorsing such systems? Don’t they prove that socialism doesn’t work?” The socialist scoffs, shakes his head dismissively, and rehearses his own correspondingly hackneyed reply: No. Those weren’t really socialist states. They were socialist in name only. In fact, they were just co-opted by corrupt forces from within or compromised by destabilizing environmental and/or economic conditions, or pre-empted by reactionary forces from without… or some combination of the three.
Hugo Newman argues that most socialists are characteristically inconsistent, even hypocritical, in the standards they implicitly deploy. If they are to be consistent, they will have to admit that socialism comes out in a relatively unfavorable light vis-à-vis other modes of economic and political organization.