The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday December 7th

Lecture on socialism held by UNC professor

A lecture was held Wednesday night at Internationalist Books in Carrboro called “What is Socialism Anyway?” to explain socialism as "what it is, what it could be and what it should be."

Barry Maguire, a core faculty member of UNC’s Philosophy, Politics and Economics program, lead the talk.

“With socialism, people don’t know what they’re talking about,” Maguire said. “That includes some socialists.”

Through the evening, Maguire cited G.A. Cohen’s book, “Why not Socialism,” to dispel rumors about socialism, a word that he says has a historically bad taste in the mouths of Americans and a word thrown around a lot lately due to Democratic Socialist presidential nominee, Bernie Sanders. 

While Maguire showed no public affinity for Sanders, the same can’t be said for another attendee, Kerry Foerst, UNC Junior, who admitted to being both a supporter and a campaigner for the Vermont senator. 

“Socialism is a theory of justice, and justice is equality,” Maguire said. "A principle of community where everyone looks after each other."

Maguire explained equality as two things, the equality of welfare, or to equalize opportunities for all people and equality of opportunity for welfare through industrial responsibility.

"If we were developing talents equally in an open market, the economy would improve," Maguire said.

He also said there were three main obstacles to socialism; formal obstacles, like jobs that only hired men vs. women, social obstacles like racism and social norms, and natural obstacles like people who have disabilities.

If these obstacles were overcome, Maguire says socialism could prosper.

Not all attendants were convinced.

"You're talking all hypothetical here," Chapel Hill resident Neil Slater interjected. 

In response, Foerst said that people "have to have an idea of how to move society forward." 

Slater later admitted he was homeless. He asked Maguire if he would share his salary with him.

Maguire refused, citing his low salary, the ineffective nature of the act, and by stating, "Quite frankly, I don't know you from Adam."

Maguire explained he did give 10 percent of his salary to charity every year, and insisted more people should do so. 

The Internationalist will be having another lecture next Thursday.

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