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(I’ve read Dinesh D’Souza’s book “The United States of Socialism” twice and have gleaned these thoughts.  I give him credit for the thoughts and the expertise to write an outstanding book.  I strongly enourage you to buy it and read it!)

You hear it all the time from the likes of Bernie Sanders, AOC or Elizabeth Warren.  “We don’t want Venezuelan-style socialism, we want Scandinavian-style socialism.  They either haven’t studied Scandinavia or they have, and they don’t really understand it.

According to CNN and Forbes:[1]

Sanders has proudly adopted the label of a “democratic socialist,” and he has pointed to Denmark as a model for his vision of an ideal American future.

“I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway,” Sanders said, “and learn what they have accomplished for their working people.”

But let’s get this straight, the Scandinavian countries are, in fact, market-driven, capitalist countries.  Lars Lekke, the prime minister of Denmark, remarked.

“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.”

But, let’s grant the “democratic socialists” (as they like to call themselves) the benefit of the doubt for a moment and look at the underlying principles of “Nordic Socialism and see if they’d really want it.”  I don’t think so.  Why do I say that?  Let’s look at these fundamentals:

“We are one tribe” is the hallmark of Scandinavian society. They welcome immigrants but insist immigrants integrate into their society and adopt the Nordic culture.  Nordics don’t vilify the rich, they celebrate them.  Nor do they glorify illegal immigrants and say they are willing to give them free healthcare as all but one Democrat presidential candidate did in a debate in March 2020.  Contrast this to the progressive mantra that “Diversity is our strength”.   Progressives celebrate differences: oppressors versus oppressed, haves versus have-nots, black versus white, immigrant versus native.  Some progressives have bumper stickers saying, “Billionaires should not exist.”

Simply put, in the USA, the progressives simply want the oppressors to submit to the will and pay up to their supposedly oppressed victims.  These American beliefs are antithetical to the Nordics.

Scandinavians trust each other. They trust that people will not scam the system.  That they will only take what they need.   They trust those who can work, will work, and not slack off.  But, most of all they trust their politicians (and, in return the politicians trust the people[2])  In the USA we don’t trust each other.  We know too many people who’d rather let the others, including the government, pay their way.  We even have politicians who espouse a “guaranteed basic income” for not working.  In a land where we want to reward people for not working, can we really trust each other?

My thesis is this.  If we could import Nordic-style “socialism” to the USA, would the progressive left want the conditions necessary to make this system work?

I think not.

 

[1] https://www.cnn.com/2016/02/17/politics/bernie-sanders-2016-denmark-democratic-socialism/index.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rainerzitelmann/2019/11/11/bernie-sanders-dreams-of-scandinavian-socialism-the-only-problem-it-has-long-since-failed/?sh=51be05336c5a

[2] Sweden, for example, had no Covid-related lockdowns.  According to the Prime Minister, “we trust our people to do the right thing.

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