Reality was not so simple. Liberals, Christian democrats and conservatives lived the collapse of communism with the exhilarating satisfaction of those who had unexpectedly turned out to be on the right side of History. They had denounced communism not as the wrong application of a just principle - socialism - but as the inevitable consequence of a deleterious ideology carried to its logical conclusion. Without the market, they claimed, there could be no freedom. No conscious mechanism for the allocation of resources could provide greater happiness than the innumerable decisions of millions of individual consumers.
What the new revisionism attacked was the view that socialism had as its goal the abolition of the private ownership of the fundamental means of production - in other words, of capitalism itself. This is less starling than it may first appear. The abolition of capitalism, after all, was hardly the only goal of socialism. It was considered a necessary and, for some, even a sufficient precondition for the achievement of other desirable objectives such as social equality, prosperity and happiness - all aims also pursued by many non-socialists. Unlike non-socialists, however, socialists maintained that these desirable goals could not be be reached while large-scale private ownership prevailed. Thus, the establishment of collective ownership in some form or another, such as nationalisation or, less frequently, workers’ control, did not require any further justification: the abolition of private ownership was the precondition for public happiness.