On the difference between liberalism and socialism

A Reading Note

One reason for judging socialism to be superior to liberalism is the belief that human beings are political animals not only in the sense that they have to take account of each other’s need for fulfilment, but that they achieve their deepest fulfilment only in terms of each other.

Eagleton, After Theory, page 122

I’ve heard whispers about rescuing the word “liberal” from the prison where the media have kept it these last forty years or so. But what of socialism? It would do us a lot of good to restore both terms to our political dialog. It’s infuriating that socialism has become synonymous with communism, which is, of course, synonymous with evil. (And what a renaissance that word has seen of late? Someone ought to study the frequency with which the word evil appears in public discourse both before and after the 2000 election. I’d lay money on an exponential increase.)

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