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episode 289: Nathan Robinson’s case for socialism


“Socialism” is simultaneously one of the most commonly used and most confusing terms in American politics. Does being a socialist mean advocating for the complete abolition of capitalism, markets, and private property? Does it mean supporting a higher tax rate, Medicare-for-all, and Sen. Bernie Sanders? Or does it simply mean a deep hatred of systemic injustice and the institutions that perpetuate it? 

In his new book Why You Should be a Socialist Nathan J Robinson, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Current Affairs magazine, attempts to shed light on these questions. In his writing, Robinson distinguishes between a “socialist economy” (think collective ownership, worker cooperatives, single-payer health care) and what he calls a “socialist ethic": a deep sense of moral outrage that animates agents of radical change. This distinction may sound like a dodge, but I think Robinson gets at something here that — while hard to understand from the outside — is crucial to understanding today's left politics. We also discuss: 

- The central role of democracy to the socialist worldview

- What it means to be a “libertarian socialist”

- What Robinson's socialist utopia would look like 

- Why so many socialists have turned on Sen. Elizabeth Warren in favor of Sen. Bernie Sanders 

- Robinson’s special loathing for South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg

- What he believes Sanders’s “political revolution” would look like

- The lessons of Jeremy Corbyn

- Whether the deep difference between liberals and socialists is temperament 

- Why “public vs. private” is often a false choice

- The challenge of economic growth 

And much more. 

Book recommendations:

Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky

The Anarchist FAQ by Ian McKay 

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

 If you enjoyed this episode, you may also like:

Leftists vs. Liberals with Elizabeth Bruenig

Matt Bruenig’s case for single-payer health care

Why my politics are bad with Bhaskar Sunkara


My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

You can subscribe to Ezra's new podcast Impeachment, explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app.

Credits:

Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Engineer- Cynthia Gil

Researcher - Roge Karma

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 2020-01-06  1h43m