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Morten Bay

Morten Bay

Research Fellow/Adjunct Professor at USC
  • Everybody calm down. As someone who grew up in Scandinavia during the last part of the cold war, I too think Socialism is a horrible idea.

    But this is a lingual matter. The word "Socialism" has been appropriated by young Americans in the same way "Liberalism" has. The classic, ideological definition

    Everybody calm down. As someone who grew up in Scandinavia during the last part of the cold war, I too think Socialism is a horrible idea.

    But this is a lingual matter. The word "Socialism" has been appropriated by young Americans in the same way "Liberalism" has. The classic, ideological definition of "Liberal" is closer to how we use "Libertarian" today.

    In the same way, when these kids say "Socialism", they mean "Social Democracy", as in the main ideology that has driven Europe forward since WWII.

    Even Bernie Sanders has it wrong when he calls himself a "Democratic Socialist". Democratic socialism as an ideology is for nationalization of corporations and property rights. He doesn't believe that, he's said so himself. He's a social democrat.

    So when you see "socialism" used by young people in the U.S., just read "social democracy" in the style of Labour in the UK and Israel and the Social Democratic parties of Scandinavia, Germany and France (where they unfortunately have made the same mistake of conflating socialism and social democracy lingually).

    This was the same trajectory the U.S. was on between WWII and the Reagan era. I think it might not be so bad to return to that.