Do We Need to Give Up God to Embrace Socialism?

Do We Need to Give Up God to Embrace Socialism?
AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

hy should we be in favor of socialism? Many thinkers—philosophers, economists, sociologists, political theorists—have labored over this question and advanced arguments of various kinds. Some appeal to fairness: Only a fundamental change in the distribution of property and social goods will arrange society in such a way that capital and inherited wealth do not award advantages mainly to a privileged few. Others invoke the idea of human flourishing: People can realize themselves and achieve true happiness only if they have the freedom to pursue their individual and collective goals, and they can do that only if they do not find their life paths obstructed at every turn by economic need. Then there is the instability claim: As an economic system, capitalism is intrinsically unsound and, quite apart from any moral considerations, will eventually collapse under the weight of its dysfunction, even if we seek to allay its difficulties through stopgap efforts in social welfare and massive incursions of foreign debt.

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