Is Olof Palme the Wave of the Future?
Does the rout of Communism in Eastern Europe, and its apparent loss of nerve in the Soviet Union, also presage the end of non-totalitarian forms of socialism throughout the world, or does it mean, as Mikhail Gorbachev’s adviser on German affairs, Nikolai Portugalov, recently proclaimed, that “the tree of socialism is greener than before”?
Two diametrically opposed judgments have filled the world’s media. One is that Communism is such a manifest failure that people everywhere will avoid like the plague everything associated with it in any way. The other is that since totalitarianism is incidental to socialism, and was really only an accretion that spoiled and deformed it, a socialism without totalitarian baggage will now conquer the world. On this view, the model for the future is free, prosperous, socialist Sweden (best symbolized, perhaps, by the name of its late Prime Minister Olof Palme).
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