Not Every Bad Policy is Socialist

by Matt McCaffrey

Not every criticism of markets or property rights is socialist. This point might seem obvious, but it often gets lost in the incessant social media shouting matches that surround economic policy. In free-market circles, just about every government intervention these days is dismissed as “socialist,” with the predictable result that the term has lost much of its meaning.

In some ways, it’s unfortunate that socialism no longer carries much weight as a critical term. If it did, it might have done some good in countering the recent wave of enthusiasm for “democratic socialism.” But the lack of critical attitudes toward the word socialism itself should actually serve as a wake-up call, a reminder that a free society can’t be defended simply by using the kind of guilt-by-association arguments that we invoke by indiscriminately shouting “socialism!” every time someone proposes a tax increase.

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