I am proposing a new name for the European economic system

I read an article at AZ Central that was pretty good.

If Democrats keep moving left to get away from Trump, they can kiss the midterms goodbye

Opinion: This is a strange presidency. But embracing socialism is no way for Democrats to win the hearts and minds of voters in November.

I’d agree for the most part, although there are some places in the US where Socialism is a winning message.

A Gallup poll this week discovered that, for the first time, Democrats have a more positive image of socialism than they do of capitalism. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners support the state-run economic system, while just 47 percent support free enterprise.

Did these people fall asleep in history class during the lectures about the Soviet Union and the Khmer Rouge? Miss the past few years of Venezuelans unable to find medicine, milk or toilet paper? Forget that just last month, Nicaraguan strongman Daniel Ortega shot up a bunch of university students in a church?

Socialism has never worked and never will, but the majority of Democrats want to give it another shot.

I think that sums it up pretty well.  I could go into to horrors of 20th Century Socialism.  The 100 Million who starved to death in the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, etc.  Or the millions more who were executed, because when then the central planners plans failed, the government couldn’t admit it was wrong, it had to shoot the farmers and the factory workers for not doing the impossible.  But we all know all of this already.

So I decided to take a gander at the comments.

Um… no.  A well done study has show that it is the Democrats that have moved to the radical extremes.  Bill Clinton was against illegal immigration.  It was the Clinton administration that pulled Elian Gonzalez out of a closet at gunpoint and shipped him back to Cuba.

Pictured: Illegal immigrant child ripped from a relative’s arms in a raid authorized by Hillary’s husband.

Now the Dems are screaming “abolish ICE” and “open borders.”

But I digress.  That is not the point of this post.

These two comments are:

These are somewhat accurate.  There is a lot of confusion between Socialism and Social Democracy.

Socialism is simply a a combination of an economic and political system that has a centralized planned economy.

An army of bureaucrats issue orders as to how much of what gets made, by who, and how much they are paid.  The planners are undoubtedly not smart enough to plan the economy so everything eventually falls apart.  There are shortages and famine and the goverment has to come in and shoot the workers who failed to make quota as an incentive for other workers to make an impossible quota.

  • Nazism was just socialism plus racism and a belief in German ethnic superiority.
  • Communism was socialism carried out in the Soviet Union.
  • Maoism was socialism done by the Chinese.
  • Democratic Socialism is socialism in which the people get to elect the bureaucrats that eventually shoot them in the back of the head.

It’s all variation on a common theme.

Scandinavia doesn’t have socialism.  Sweden tried it in the 1970’s and gave it up before they country suffered economic collapse.

What these nations have is often called “Social Democracy.”  That is a system of high taxes and generous welfare benefits but a relatively free market.  In fact, the Swedish market is in many ways more free than ours.  That is the only reason these nations haven’t fallen apart economically under obscene tax burdens.

Some people will say that this system works because these nations are small, ethnic mono-cultures.  The idea that everyone chips in for the common good and nobody takes advantage of the system.  Some aspect of that it true.  We’ve seen how these nations’ welfare states have come apart with the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa who do not have this common culture and refuse to work and instead feel entitled to live off the generous largess of the welfare state.

But that doesn’t cover this 100%.  There is something else there, something else that made the welfare state and high taxes possible in the beginning.

Feudalism.

Every one of these European states was feudal and almost all of them continue to have a monarchy.  Only France and Germany don’t and the Germans lost their in WWI.  The principles of feudalism has been bred into the Europeans over a thousand years and it hasn’t gone away.

Feudalism is a combination of political and economic system in which the lord owns the land.  The peasants work the land.  The lord owns the fruits of their labor and lets the peasantry keep what the lord thinks is reasonable.  In exchange, the lord offers the peasants protection and order and the enforcement of laws and contracts.  Still, it’s inequitable with the lord on top and the peasants below.

That is a good analog to what we see in Europe today.

This is why I propose renaming “Social Democracy” as “Democratic Feudalism.”

What we are seeing in Europe today is a form of fiat feudalism.  Fiat as in fiat currency.  Traditional feudalism is based on the ownership of land.  Current feudalism is based not on a hard good (real estate) but money, hence the fiat nature.

The government acts as though it owns all the wealth of the state.  The people work and are allowed to keep what the government thinks is fair.  Denmark thinks that keeping upwards of 60% of a workers income is fair, Sweden thinks taking 56% is right for themFrance tried a 75% tax, but the peasants revolted.  In exchange for the goverment taking the bulk of the fruits of the workers’ labor, the goverment gives the people health care, child care, college, 30 days vacation, etc.

The government take money instead of grain and pays for doctors instead of knights, but it’s fundamentally the same.  The only real difference is that the people elect their lord bureaucrats instead of a monarch claiming divine right.

Hence “Democratic Feudalism.”

It works in Europe because of two millennia of Feudalism imposed on them since the fall of the Roman Empire.  America has none of that history.

Wherein a Swede might think “I will give over half my income in taxes and pay a VAT on everything I buy so that my education, healthcare, and transportation needs are met.”  An American will say “to hell with that, that’s my money, I’ll buy what I want, leave me alone.”

Consider that Appalachia was settled by Americans who didn’t want to pay taxes on booze and would rather try an eek out a life on top of a mountain than have to deal with the US government.

I don’t know how much this will change the minds of people.  I believe that there are people who will always be afraid and resentful of freedom and want the comfort of having their lives micromanaged in exchange for some modicum of material comfort.

Their attitude seems to be “I know I really can’t be reasonable for myself.  So don’t mind if you tell me what I can and cannot say and own and do, as long as don’t have to pay for my housing, or doctor, or college classes, or food out of pocket so what money I do have I can spend irresponsibility on Starbucks and accessories for my Instagram selfies.”

For a lot of Americans, that isn’t a worthwhile trade.  We’re not peasants, and no matter what our lord promises us in return, we will never be peasants.

15 Replies to “I am proposing a new name for the European economic system”

  1. I’ve seen the sentiment of that first comment echoed many times over the years (that the right has moved so far right). Abject nonsense. Democrats of 50 years ago would be labelled as far right wingnuts by the current crop of Communist swine in that party.

  2. Time was saying everyone should be treated equally before the law made you a left-winger. Nowadays it makea you a “white supremacist”.

  3. Another factor often ignored when Scandinavia’s social system comes up- national defense. Having a good sized, well equipped and well trained military is really, really expensive… and most of Europe really doesn’t have a military, and pretty much hasn’t since WWII.
    Mainly, they rely on the USA to keep the big bad Russian out (and bitch and moan about it).
    Should the USA pull out of Europe and NATO, the fat days of generous social programs would pretty much vanish overnight.

    1. The US subsidizes much of the rest of the world (Europe in particular, but other parts too) in quite a number of ways.
      (1) Defense, as you mentioned. (2) medical drugs (artificially low prices elsewhere made possible by US prices not dictated by government). (3) Technology — what was the last time you saw a significant invention out of Europe? Never mind that essentially all Communist technology is stolen, mostly from the USA.

  4. “Feudalism is a combination of political and economic system in which the lord owns the land. The peasants work the land. The lord owns the fruits of their labor and lets the peasantry keep what the lord thinks is reasonable. In exchange, the lord offers the peasants protection and order and the enforcement of laws and contracts. Still, it’s inequitable with the lord on top and the peasants below.”
    __

    The idea of income inequity and wealth redistribution is based in that premise. It is the idea that there is a finite amount of wealth, and if one person has a lot of it, they must have taken it from someone else. It is a very colonial way of viewing economics and the world in general.

    The Industrial Revolution shattered that reality. That is why it is called a revolution.

    Suddenly, someone could gain wealth via selling their services, skills, and time to an employer. Theoretically, someone could earn as much as they could without limit. No need to own land. Henry Ford and the other industrialists did not have to own a finite resource (land) in order to get wealthy. They did not have to. And everyone who worked for them got wealthy as well.

    And, no, I am not saying the factory workers suddenly became millionaires. However, their standard of living rose significantly, and things that were formerly out of reach became economically viable.

    So, this socialist ideal is actually an outdated concept. It is based on the false concept that wealth is finite. And, curiously, the outcome of these “equality” systems (socialism/Naziism/communism) is actually a return to the very same social structure that creates wealth inequity. It replaces the possibility of infinite wealth with a finite resource (political influence is generally the new currency in socialist societies.)

    1. Maybe that was true during the Soviet Revolution or when Marx was writing in the 1800’s.

      Today the central principle of Socialism is “it’s not fair that that guy has more than me – even though we may have worked harder than me – and I want the goverment to take if from him and give it to me!!!”

      It’s pure, unadulterated envy.

    2. Socialism is already outdated since the late Middle Ages. It was at this time when the merchants and craftsmen in the cities rose to wealth and power formerly reserved for the nobles with a lot of land.

      That Marx was nearly 400 years behind the reality tells a lot about the “genius” of this man, does it not? 😉

  5. A little insight on AZ Central and their commenters: Up until around 2011, AZ Central had open commenting boards for every article with a “thumbs up and thumbs down” comment voting system. They’re was actually healthy debate that went on in the comment section with several thousand comments per article and more often than not, the center to right side opinion would be the most supported position. Many articles and “journalists” were taken to task over poor research or false statements. Around 2011, AZ Central changed their commenting to FaceBook only. Commenting dropped to a couple dozen comments per article without much debate; mostly just leftist snark. Then AZ Central went behind a paywall (I think all Gannett publications are now) and the only commenters left are people stupid enough to pay for the AZ Republic.

    1. Very similar story to what has happened to the Buffalo News. They had an ill-fated foray into a commenting system where people were forced to register and use their real names, all in a futile attempt at getting people to play nice with one another. Didn’t work, comments went down and then people were still nasty and hateful. I think they tried Facebook next and then moved onto Disqus, but that paper is dying. I never visit their website, last time I did it wouldn’t let me view it without turning off my ad-blocker. Looks like they are desperate for that ad revenue. It’s a garbage paper anyway, most stories are reprints from the Washington Post, New York Times, and Bloomberg. So in other words, it’s fake news.

      1. That was AZ Central’s excuse too. “Too many negative and hateful comments.” And there were trolls but with the commenting system they had, those comments didn’t see the light of day very long.

        I suspect that the journalists didn’t like being called out in the comment section by people that simply understood how to do a Google search. Similar thing happened over at CNN’s comment section 3 or 4 years ago.

  6. You win the comment derby for today. I have argued often in print that Europeans are have basically been socialized to be peasant serfs for millenia, and this the American way of seeing Government and State Power As Limited and not absolute is exceptional. The British , while they rejected peasant based feudalism for a long time , sort of the-adopted it starting in the 1920’s and jumped whole heartedly into it in the 1950’s. They just elect their OverLord.

    In a discussion with a 30 something Brit two days ago, he shut the conversation down when I suggested that under a political/philosophical concept of Limited Government and “Natural Rights”, there were simply things Government could NOT do, it did not have the Power, in the US, to simply ban firearms .

    His position, Government could do anything if Parliament approved it by a majority. I agreed, that certainly HIS Government could, after all. Parliament REPEALED the English Bill of Rights of 1689 in the 1920’s when it’s “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” provision became scary to Parliament. Just “took it away” by majority vote; sort of like Obama and his “pen and cell phone” orders.

    Such an act demonstrated that in Great Britain and the UK, Rights are not Rights, they are merely temporary License grants until the Parliament, votes them away, which can be done at any time. Other countries in the world function basically the same- a pretend “right” exists until a King, Parliament, Party Committee, Boss, Fearless Leader determines its not good for the State; then it is removed- for the common good of course.

    The Briton I spoke with seemed totally unaware that there had even been an English Bill of Rights, so in addition to being in awe of the correctness of unlimited Government Power, he was ignorant. He defaulted to the rhetorical tool of name calling , insisting it was crazy to suggest that Government has Limits to its Power.

    He called me a “Nutter” as a dismissive insult. My final response was that no, I was an American and a Texan and that meant I didn’t subordinate my Liberty to a Legislative majority vote, and the US Founders agreed with me.

    Great analysis. “Democratic Feudalism”; what an apt term and clever coinage. With your permission I will start using the term.

    Thanks.

    Taggart

    1. I don’t know of any other country that has a Constitution like ours. One that — at least in principle, and occasionally in practice — limits the powers of the government.
      To take your example, the UK has none at all. Parliament has all the power because it has gradually taken it over the centuries (from the king) and nothing has stood in its way.
      Or take Holland, which appears to have a constitution. It says things like “everyone has freedom of speech, subject to everyone’s responsibility under the law”. (In other words “void where prohibited”.) And, amazingly, it says that no court has the authority to judge the constitutionality of any law or regulation. (In other words, “this constitution is void”.)

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