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We long intended to dedicate an issue of Religion & Liberty to democratic socialism. At that time, Bernie Sanders led the Democratic primaries, Elizabeth Warren attempted to outbid him, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had been hailed as the future of her party and the Roman Catholic Church. In the intervening months, however, the locus of the U.S. socialist movement has shifted from organized political campaigns to diffuse, mass movements.

Our cover story documents, in a straightforward way, the public platform adopted by Black Lives Matter. As it states, “The racially tinged socialism espoused by the organization Black Lives Matter should concern everyone who cherishes freedom.” Ismael Hernandez of the Freedom and Virtue Institute helps readers properly distinguish between the BLM organization, the movement, and the slogan.

Grand Rapids became one of the cities afflicted by the riots that erupted after the death of George Floyd. Dan Hugger describes the scene and details the forces that change a protest from “peaceful” to “mostly peaceful.”

The duplicitous and deceptive nature of socialism lies at the heart of Acton Institute Co-founder Rev. Robert Sirico’s column. “Whether putatively democratic or autocratic, all socialism is, in the end, bureaucratic,” he notes.

Philip Booth shares his story of growing up under the “democratic socialist” policies of the pre-Thatcher UK. He offers a powerful, cautionary tale.

Editor-at-large John Couretas says American supporters of programs like a universal basic income promote “nobility for a few and serfdom for the masses. And their policy prescriptions for our future would lock that system into place.”

If you read nothing else, please review the life of Robert Smalls in this issue’s “In the liberal tradition.” All Americans should be inspired by the slave-turned-legislator’s story of overcoming crippling obstacles and rising to the pinnacles of power in his day – and dispel the notion that the American dream of equal opportunity is dead in our own.

This issue has been made possible in part thanks to a generous donation from Jeffrey and Cynthia Littmann. Jeffrey and Cynthia Littmann are champions of conservation and the good stewardship of our natural resources as a gift from God.

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Rev. Ben Johnson is a senior editor at the Acton Institute. His work focuses on the principles necessary to create a free and virtuous society in the transatlantic sphere (the U.S., Canada, and Europe). He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History summa cum laude from Ohio University and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.