Friday, February 05, 2010

How would they know? 

I have a very short reaction to this poll (HT: PowerLine) that 36% of Americans, including 61% of those who identified themselves as liberal and 53% of those who identify themselves as Democrats, had a favorable view of socialism. My answer would be influenced by what I thought socialism is. If I read Yahoo Answers, I'd find out socialism is a midpoint between capitalism and communism. If I tried to read Wikipedia, I'd get this hopeless list of possible socialisms. If I read Marxists calling it the society of the free and equal, it's hard to oppose.

If on the other hand you thought of socialism as immiseration and murder, you would have a different opinion.

Jonah Goldberg, in his letter from yesterday (by free subscription) makes this same point:
I think this is one of the most fascinating and under-explored areas of 20th-century history. Not just the liberation theology angle, but the whole effort by the Soviets to manipulate world opinion, and thereby politics, in countless and often little-understood ways. So many of the conspiracy theories that have inflamed the moonbat Left over the years were, at least in part, psyop cons by the Soviets. Some scholars made their careers by making pro-Soviet arguments in good faith and then being rewarded with more access to the Soviet Union. Some people were bribed and others simply flattered into aiding and abetting the Soviet cause.
The effect of these academic scribblers lives on and influences how people respond to pollster questions on socialism.

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