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Virtual Reading Group:
Exploring Socialism in America

**Registration for this event is now closed. Please sign up here to get the latest updates about upcoming Virtual Reading Groups.


"Socialism" has become a buzzword in the news lately. Several politicians in the national spotlight have offered their own definitions of "democratic socialism," and op-ed writers continue to debate whether we should or shouldn't be concerned about the growing interest in "socialism" in the United States.

But what do we actually mean when we talk about "socialism"? What is "democratic socialism" and what does it mean for American democracy?


Join the Center for the Study of Liberty this summer for a civil, open conversation about this important topic facilitated by a distinguished professor. You can participate from the comfort of your home; all you need is an Internet connection.

Session Dates:

  • Wednesday, August 7th

  • Wednesday, August 14th

  • Wednesday, August 21st

All sessions meet from 7:30 - 8:45 PM EDT.

Location: Online (Zoom Video Conference)

Registration: $25

In this online reading group, you will:

  • Engage in a 3-week conversation around a set of readings drawn from popular sources such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Economist

  • Interact with a respected professor and people across the country interested in ideas

  • Examine the principles of socialism through the lens of politics, economics, and culture

  • Investigate the impact of socialism and free markets on equality, freedom, and human flourishing


All are welcome to participate, and we hope there will be a range of views present for a lively but respectful conversation.

About Your Facilitator

Dr. Brandon Turner

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Clemson University

Dr. Brandon Turner is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Clemson University, where he works in political theory. He earned his B.A. from Miami University of Ohio (2004), and his M.A.and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2008). He is currently revising a manuscript titled Antagonism in the Liberal Tradition. He previously taught for one year at Wake Forest University. His research interests include the history of modern political thought, particularly British liberal thought, as well as theories of republicanism.

What to Expect

The Virtual Reading Group format allows you to explore big ideas and their real-world applications through selected readings. Participants take part in three 75-minute conversations that build on each other, so you should plan to attend all sessions. Your registration includes a digital reading guide, Professor Turner’s facilitation in a small group setting, and the video platform for face-to-face discussion with fellow group members.

Over the course of the three sessions, we'll ask questions such as:

  • What is the “common good”?

  • What do classical liberals and socialists mean by “freedom” and "equality"?

  • What benefits do free markets and socialist economies offer to society?

  • Is there a middle ground between capitalism and socialism?

Learn more about the Virtual Reading Groups format.


This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.