Alan Wolfe of The New Republic has a useful reminder — in this age of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and nearly every elected Republican crying (sometimes literally, in Beck’s case) about “socialism” because liberals are in power — that to equate liberalism with socialism is to show that you flunked Vocab 101 and Politics 101. Key quote:
We aren’t headed for an era of socialism at all, since socialism is not a natural outgrowth of liberalism. Liberalism is a political philosophy that seeks to extend personal autonomy to as many people as possible, if necessary through positive government action; socialism, by contrast, seeks as much equality as possible, even if doing so curtails individual liberty. These are differences of kind, not degree– differences that have historically placed the two philosophies in direct competition. Today, socialism is on the decline, in large part because liberalism has lately been on the rise. And, if Barack Obama’s version of liberalism succeeds, socialism will be even less popular than it already is. [emphasis mine]
Now, perhaps trying to equate liberalism and socialism is to show that you passed Propoganda 101 and Spin 101 with flying colors.