Symposium

Symposium

The crash of communism coincides with a loss of faith and face on the part of social democracy. Where social democrats remain in power, as in Spain and Norway, they are reduced to trimming the public sector—for some good reasons and many bad. No longer the crusading champions of the one-tenth or more of the population who are jobless, they are reconciling themselves to their new role: cushions. Cushions are no small achieve- ment—we could do with plenty more in America. Still, the decline in the ambition of the actually existing left does raise the question: how do we even get cushions? Could it be that, when the marketeering mentality is so strong, to get serviceable cushions we have to aspire to far more than that—while also remembering, as the sun goes down and deals need to be made, that half a cushion is better than none?

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Lima