This may seem an odd time to be thinking about socialism in the 1990s and in the West. The collapse of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe has been so much the most interesting political event of the 1980s, and such an apt celebration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution, that it is hard to think of anything else. But there is some danger that we shall be so entranced by the transformation of the once arrogant and bullying Stasis and Securitate into shifty and frightened political
criminals that we shall forget to think about politics nearer home. If we have “won” the cold war, there is little incentive to ask what exactly we are up to, and what sort of victory it is. Between mindless celebration of the collapse of an old foe and gawping curiosity about what replaces the Eastern European ancien regime, articulate thought about our own condition may easily be squeezed out.
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