Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

9 Dangers of “Democratic Socialism”

dangers, socialism, socialist, 9, democratic socialism, meme, illustration, Jim Gill

First… some definitions:

Socialism advocates the public ownership and control of business and industry in service of a more equal distribution of wealth.

Democratic Socialist” Bernie Sanders places emphasis on redistribution and downplays the public ownership and control part of the system.

However… Bernie seems never to have met a government monopoly he didn’t love, or a private enterprise he didn’t distrust or despise. It’s the state for Bernie, and Bernie for the state.

What are the 9 dangers?

It normalizes envy.

It rationalizes theft.

It idealizes state power.

It penalizes accomplishment.

It rewards indolence.

It preaches obedience to the state.

It encourages dependence on the state by treating citizens as children.

It dismisses the protection of individual rights with a vague appeal to the “collective good” or “public good.”

It has repeatedly led to economic collapse, oppression, poverty and starvation.

So how have Scandinavian democratic socialists managed to avoid these dangers?

Quote from the current Prime Minister of Denmark:

“I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”
Speech, Harvard Institute of Politics


From “Scandinavian Unexceptionalism” (from the Institute of Economic Affairs):

Today the Nordic economies are again growing, following a return to broadly free-market policies that served them well before policies changed during the 1960s and 1970s.

The countries are changing in the face of serious long-term problems that have developed over the last 30 years.

Finland, Sweden and Denmark have…introduced far-reaching market reforms. These changes include greater openness to trade, clear reductions in the tax burden, private provision of welfare services, the introduction of personal retirement accounts and, in Denmark, even a shift towards a liberal labour market.

—Scandinavian Unexceptionalism (highly recommended!)

And the moral hazards?

The development of Scandinavian welfare states has led to a deterioration in social capital.

Nordic societies have for hundreds of years benefited from a strong Lutheran work ethic, a strong sense of individual responsibility and high levels of trust and civic participation.

In the early stages of their transition to “democratic socialism”, safety nets did exist, but few used them. Over time, an increasing share of the population became dependent on government transfers. The welfare states moved from offering services to the broad public to transferring benefits to those who did not work.

The situation that exists in Nordic societies today is one in which ethics relating to work and responsibility are not strongly encouraged by the economic systems. Individuals with low skills and education have limited gains from working. This is particularly true of parents of large families, which gain extra support if on welfare.

It is true that welfare systems have reduced poverty. However, especially in the second generation, they have also created a form of social poverty of the same type that is apparent in the countries from which many of the admirers of the Scandinavian systems come. Detailed research clearly shows that welfare systems have formed a culture of dependency which is passed on from parents to children.

All of these problems are widely acknowledged by policy makers in the Nordic states. They are generally ignored by American enthusiasts for “democratic socialism.”

MUCH MORE HERE on the moral and economic capital that preceded the welfare state, and its gradual disintegration over time… 

Do you believe that socialism is a good idea that has simply been corrupted by ruthless dictators? Consider the story of the Great Cultural Revolution. . .  a mass movement of Chinese youth dedicated to eradicating capitalism and advancing socialism. Its bloody history tells us quite a lot about the logic of this flawed political philosophy. . . “Socialism’s Idealistic Youth”

 Useful References

Scandinavian Unexceptionalism (Institute of Economic Affairs)
This paper is especially valuable because it was written by someone who actually favors a large welfare state. His willingness to concede the problems inherent in such a state are refreshingly honest… and useful for anyone interested in the issues.

What Can the United States Learn from the Nordic Model? (CATO Institute)

Myth: The Scandinavian countries are proof socialism works (Being Classically Liberal)

The Myth of the Scandinavian Model

Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report

International government spending (Wikipedia)

Index of Economic Freedom (Heritage Foundation)

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  1. Mark Burton says:

    Socialism is:The equal sharing of misery

    • Danny Uerling says:

      Personally I believe that socialism is based on a rejection of GOD and a desire to take the place of GOD. The socialist opposition to GOD is both foundational & fundamental. It is a core principal of leftism.

      • Robert says:

        I think your absolutely right. If you research Marx and Hegel, the ideas came from the ungodly, so it would only be completely logical that people who fallow their ideas would end up in the same boat. Some try to cross socialism with that of Jesus, but that too is simply a fallacy. God only helps thoughts who help themselves. We learn to give as Christians, not take and socialism is all about theft and deceit. 

      • gerard says:

        christian god people have always been the problem. They’re the cause for all hate, bigotry, racism,sexism, wars, murders,massacres,rapes,etc.

        • Manas says:

          This is false. Only about 6% of all wars ever fought were fought in the name of religion, forget even christianity specifically. Second, what about all the secular regimes like oh I don’t know the Soviet Union and Maoist China? Were they better socially? Idiot

          • JesusWasASocialist says:

            I am a Christian, and none of this information is based in fact. 

          • Bernie2020 says:

            And the fact you need to approve comments shows either you have fatally thin skin or you hate the first amendment.. or both.

  2. Nod Erehwon says:

    It’s too bad you never took a political class in College to learn the very basic differences between Socialism and Democracy along with an economics class to learn Communism and Capitalism.

  3. George Forss says:

    I do not think that the entire issue is a dualistic one between being politically Left or Right, conservative or liberal and having a Welfare State or not.

    I welcome people to view my blog >>> forssblog <<< to see an entirely new Triangular approach to all problems. We have to think like an honest Judge will when we are looking for any better way of doing anything. I spent 42 years responding to a vow to God I made in 1976, even while I do not believe that there is a thinking entity around us, I was able to find a very logical solution AND THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT HUMANITY on this scene that I describe as The Earth Garden.

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