Acton Institute Powerblog

Acton Line podcast: Socialism as religion with Kevin Williamson

From accusations of embracing socialism leveled at the Obama administration by the Tea Party movement to the rise of self-proclaimed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders as the second highest vote-getter in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic Party primaries, socialism has been an emerging movement and topic of conversation in the American body politic.

While polling data suggests that socialism is generally still viewed far less favorably than capitalism or free markets overall, the younger Millennial and Gen Z generations are more embracing of socialism than generations before. Similarly, those younger generations are more likely than their forbearers to be among the Nones: those who proclaim no religious affiliation and no religious or spiritual beliefs.

Is socialism filling in for the human religious impulse, allowing people to feel a part of something larger than themselves without embracing the concepts of God and church?

On this episode, Kevin Williamson, roving correspondent for National Review and author of the 2010 book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism,” discusses the emergence of socialism in American politics and the spiritual role it seems to play now, and has historically played, for its proponents.

Kevin Williamson at National Review

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism – Kevin Williamson

The Celestial Afterlife of Karl Marx – Kevin Williamson

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s crass Marxist materialism – Dan Hugger

The key to understanding Bernie Sanders – Rev. Ben Johnson

Bruce Ashford: Marxism is a false religion (video) – Rev. Ben Johnson

There is no ‘Catholic case for communism’ – Rev. Ben Johnson

Eric Kohn

Eric Kohn is director of marketing and communications at the Acton Institute. In that role, he works to bring Acton's vision of a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles to a wider audience. Prior to joining Acton, Eric was director of community management at the Illinois Policy Institute, one of the nation's premier state-based think tanks. He was also the founder and CEO of Curious Task Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm. For more than 10 years, Eric led the Chicago chapter of America’s Future Foundation, an organization dedicated to developing the next generation of classical liberal leaders in Chicago. From 2019 to 2021, Eric co-hosted Sources with Knowledge along with Joe Kaiser on News/Talk 560 The Answer in Chicago. He previously hosted The Eric Kohn Program on 1530-AM WJJG, and has guest-hosted the nationally syndicated The Guy Benson Show, Illinois Watchdog Radio on Cities 92.9FM in Bloomington-Normal, and Chicago’s Morning Answer on News/Talk 560 The Answer. He has appeared as a guest host and commentator on Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont, Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg, The Michael Koolidge Show, WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, and numerous news broadcasts in the Chicagoland area. Eric’s writings have appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Detroit News, the Belleville News-Democrat, and other publications. Eric grew up in Belleville, Ill., and is a graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, Ill. He lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., with his wife and two children.