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Socialism is primarily concerned with equality not liberty Discuss Socialism is an ideology that covers many diverse and divergent ideas and theories It is therefore very difficult to define it as one ideology in particular This is an important point because the question is a definitive statement about what socialism is In fact it is well summed up by Anthony Wright who wrote There is no shortage of available definitions of what socialism is but there is a shortage of agreed definitions Because socialism covers such a wide range of ideas the importance of equality and liberty varies between different theorists Further to this it is also worth noting that different theorists define the concepts of equality and liberty differently However most theories use either liberty or equality or both even if only in criticism of each other In an attempt to define socialism as an ideology many socialists agree that a characteristic theme of socialism is a commitment to equality However they all differ in their opinion over the extent of its importance Some perceive it to be the goal of society whilst others see it simply as a means to an end When socialism emerged as a recognizable ideology in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth it was strongly influenced by some egalitarian thinkers and ideas These included Rousseau and his demands for popular sovereignty Robespierre and the Jacobites and Babeuf and his society of equals Babeuf even said For the true and living equality we will give up everything Let the arts perish if need be But let us have the equality This quote goes to show that for some socialists equality is their primary goal The socialist tradition is one of opposition to the capitalist idea of competition amongst individuals in the name of personal gain Babeuf also went on to say Society must be made to operate in such a way that it eradicates once and for all the
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