The Socialist Temptation (Hardcover)
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Socialism is tempting, seductive, alluring. It comes in many forms and speaks in many different ways. It appeals to people who value fairness, who value freedom, and who value security. It comes in many varieties, sometimes clothing itself in the dress of nationalism, sometimes in the garb of environmentalism. Yet there is one single, unifying feature – subjugation of the individual to the collective. While Americans have always been skeptical of socialism, even in the progressive and New Deal eras, that is beginning to change. Large numbers of Americans now express admiration for socialism, and similar numbers are critical of the free enterprise system. The problem is particularly acute among America’s young people. This is not the first time we have been here. In 1977, when America was deep in an economic malaise, Ronald Reagan gave a speech in which he wondered, “Whatever happened to free enterprise?” Noting that the free enterprise system “for 200 years made us the light of the world,” he warned that freedom is “never more than one generation away from extinction.” He took the lead in preserving it for the previous generation. It is time for this generation to take up the torch. Reagan framed the defense of freedom as first and foremost a communications challenge. Today, a field of study known as cultural cognition theory understands that our political choices are guided by certain values. Americans generally fall into one of three value groups, valuing fairness (egalitarians), freedom (libertarians), and security (conservatives) respectively. The Socialist Temptation is an attempt to meet the modern version of the communications challenge posed by Ronald Reagan. There are reasons why socialism appeals to each of these value groups. The Socialist Temptation tackles these reasons head on and responds with a vigorous case for free enterprise as better matching American values.
About the Author
Iain Murray is Vice President for Strategy and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank that works to promote free markets and limited government. Murray also directs the Center for Economic Freedom at CEI. For the past fifteen years at CEI, Iain has written and lectured extensively on free markets and the environment, labor policy, finance, the EU, and trade. He tweets at @ismurray and is a Contributing Editor at Instapundit.com. Before coming to CEI, Iain was Director of Research at the Statistical Assessment Service. A
former civil servant in the United Kingdom, where he helped to privatize the railroad industry, Iain immigrated to the U.S. in 1997 and remains a British citizen. He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of London and a Master of Arts from the University of Oxford. He is married with two children and lives in Northern Virginia. Iain is a long-suffering fan of the Washington Redskins, Sunderland AFC, and the England cricket team. He likes to brew his own beer and play board and table-top games with friends.