Almost exactly a century ago, Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor presented what is probably the most trenchant argument ever made against democratic socialism. By democratic socialism I mean the demand that men should come together to create a new kind of community, one that will generate mutuality and solidarity, as communities always have, but also one that will be created through a free covenant, and will operate through a network of free institutions. Dostoevsky’s Inquisitor is convinced that this can never be. “Freedom and bread enough for all are inconceivable together, for men will never, never be able to share among themselves.”
The only way modern men and women can ever become a community will be by “bringing their freedom to us and laying it humbly at our feet.” Once this is done, the trinity of “miracle, mystery and authority” will bind them together like glue....
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