Front Page Titles (by Subject) Socialism and Freedom - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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Socialism and Freedom - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Socialism and Freedom
“A Note on Freedom Under Socialism.” Political Theory (USA), 5 (1977): 461–471.
Socialists, before attempting to refute it, must recognize the cogency of the classical liberal attack upon the irreconcilability of socialism and freedom.
Criticism of socialism advanced by classical liberals such as Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek can be surmounted. However, the contentions that socialism and freedom cannot be reconciled should be seriously entertained. When these antisocialist assaults are combined with similar conclusions reached by socialists such as Frank Parkin—that “equality requires socialism and equalitarian socialism seems to require the suppression of civil liberties”—such arguments present a devastating attack upon socialism, if they are correct.
Initially, one can reject the two typical ploys by which socialists attempt to deflect the attack upon socialism as incompatible with freedom. The first ploy contends that it is invalid to cite communist states to support the antisocialist argument; in reality unique historical circumstances prevented them from establishing a regime compatible with freedom. The second ploy counterclaims that the freedom judged to be irreconcilable with socialism is not freedom at all; in reality this “freedom” is an atomistic, bourgeois notion. As regards the first point, even if this were true, it still fails to demonstrate that under more favorable historical circumstances, a socialist regime tolerating freedom could and would have been instituted. On the second point, one can dismiss the “positive freedom” position because it sanctions a slave or conformist mentality.
Three requirements seem necessary for an ideal of freedom appropriate to socialist aspirations: 1) social relations must embody mutual respect so that each individual can develop as a social being and “obey oneself” while responding to shared norms and objectives; 2) each citizen must have options available to carve out his own life; and 3) each must be encouraged to attain self-consciousness. The second requirement necessitates a free interchange of ideas, some autonomy for education, and protection for dissenters. A further difficulty in reconciling socialism and freedom is the problem of identifying local communal interests. Under socialism how can the individual always identify his own interests with the nation as a whole? That is, how can citizens come to identify themselves with the state without the persuasion of repression?
The solution for the socialist is to reformulate the socialist ideal so as to include the three mentioned conditions required for socialist freedom. Such a reconstruction would be founded upon partially autonomous work places and local community control within the nation state. Voluntary consent by citizens to national objectives would follow from this local autonomy. Other institutional arrangements would include local control of schools and publications. These local arrangements would exercise some independence from state control (maybe even a “modest market sector,” here), possess an independent judiciary, and guarantee the right of workers to strike. Thus, the socialist's solution to the antisocialist challenge of Friedman and Hayek is to synthesize socialist aspirations with liberal constitutional restraints.