Is Socialism Still a Dirty Word?

AbcsofsocialismTyler Zimmer at the Los Angeles Review of Books:

IN THE COLD WAR era and the decade or two following it, a few cheap jabs were enough to shut down any public conversation about the merits of socialist ideas. The mention of the Gulag, Pol Pot, or Stalin was sufficient to put the entire matter to rest. This is no longer the case.

If polls are to be trusted, young people today are decidedly more positive about the idea of socialism than they are about the profit-driven system they currently inhabit. A few months ago, 43 percent of Iowa Democrats said they identify as socialists. It is anything but clear what will become of the excitement generated by the (now failed) candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimeddemocratic socialist, but the surprising success that his campaign enjoyed in the last year is itself significant; if nothing else, it shows that there is a large audience for the idea that we need, as Sanders put it, a “political revolution against the billionaire class.”

The reasons for this left-wing shift in political consciousness ought to be obvious. For an entire generation of people, the 2008 global economic meltdown cast profound doubt on the once hegemonic myth that the free market always knows best.

more here.