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Defining 'socialism' down

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19.06.2019

If there’s one thing that socialists and Republicans seem to agree on these days, it’s that there are a lot of socialist policies being proposed by Democrats these days.

“Under Nancy Pelosi's leadership, the past 100 days of the new Congress have been jam-packed with socialist policies,” declared the Republican National Committee. At the same time, socialists such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., defend the label, declaring that if you like policies such as roads, public education, and Social Security, you too like socialism! Socialism, it seems, is all around us.

Except it isn’t, at least not in the way socialism has been defined since the ideology gripped whole nations in the 20th century.
Societies where government owns the means of production, has nationalized large swaths of industry, and actively controls nearly every aspect of the economy are blessedly few, with nations such as Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea as the final holdouts.

Yet today, the way we talk about socialism has changed, and with it, the way the term is defined in the public consciousness. Both........

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