There are 13 arguments for socialism; they have to do with distributive justice, equality, the need for planning, self-respect, fraternity, and so on. But the one that seems to me the easiest and best is a political argument, an extension of the defense of democracy. It has been put forward often over the last 100 years, but it has never, in this country at least, commanded general acceptance. I suppose no doctrine commands general acceptance that is, as Hobbes wrote, “contrary to any man’s right of dominion or to the interest of men that have dominion.” And yet there is some sense in which we are all democrats, so I shall start from there, assuming that we have good reasons, and see how far I can go.
The central commitment of socialist politics has often been put in a phrase that must be intuitively appealing to democrats: the abolition of the power of man over man. Neither democrats nor socialists begin with an asserti...
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