Greetings Americans, from your socialist neighbor. Don’t you Republicans ever get tired of fighting yesterday’s battles poorly?
So, I was thrilled recently to hear a bunch of Republican “intellectuals” issue dire warnings that Joe Biden was trying to turn America into a socialist country like Canada. Give me a break.
I guess you haven’t noticed that socialism is dead. So dead, in fact, that I bet most people have forgotten its definition. Don’t believe me? Look it up here. Other than North Korea, we are so far away from the concept of collective ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, it’s not even worth talking about.
Most modern countries have a mixed economy. Just consider the Economic Freedom Index from the very conservative Heritage Foundation, shown above. You will find that this index is the closest proxy available for evaluating whether or not an economy and its people are generally free. As you can see, our few remaining socialist countries place poorly – Cuba and Venezuela, I did not bother with N.K. Russia, China and India have large parts of their economies under government (or criminal) control, show up a bit better.
But if you walk up the scale, countries with higher economic freedom are all mixed economies, many perform better than the U.S. according to its own conservatives, and pretty well all of them fit into the Republican definition of “socialist countries.”
In the modern world, it simply makes sense to do some things collectively. These include the military, roads and bridges, and public utilities. This has nothing to do with socialism; it just makes practical sense.
Fighting Yesterday’s Battles – Flashpoints
Most Republicans think of public health care and gun control as key indicators of a socialist state. Let’s consider publicly funded health care. If the Republicans repeal Obamacare, the United States will be the only country on the economic freedom index above that does not have substantial public health care. For most rich countries, and even some poor ones like Cuba, health care is universal. This is not about socialism, it simply makes sense, and costs a lot less, as well.
Gun control as socialism? Virtually every country on the list above has an order of magnitude less gun deaths than the U.S., except socialist Venezuela. Think about that one for a few minutes.
I suggest that most high performing countries manage their politics from the center as they adopt good ideas from both sides. Culture wars and fighting yesterday’s battles are a waste of time.