Saturday, April 23, 2016

Left turn …

… Glenn Reynolds — Bernie's plan: Make America European again!

As Swedish pundit Johan Norberg writes: “Sanders is right: America would benefit hugely from modeling her economic and social policies after her Scandinavian sisters. But Sanders should be careful what he wishes for. When he asks for ‘trade policies that work for the working families of our nation and not just the CEOs of large, multi-national corporations,’ Social Democrats in Sweden would take this to mean trade liberalization — which would have the benefit of exposing monopolist fat cats to competition — not the protectionism that Sanders favors. ... Being more like modern Sweden actually means deregulation, free trade, a national school voucher system, partially privatized pensions, no property tax, no inheritance tax, and much lower corporate taxes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie.”


  1. Johan puts words in Bernie's mouth, and then pretends that Bernie thinks in such a way. The straw man problem here is that of one person thinking he "contains" both another's person's vision and intellect. Johan would have us believe that he is 40 years more advanced in thinking than Bernie. The case may be quite the reverse if Johan believes what he is saying.

  2. But Bernie does seem to have a view of Scandinavian at odds with current reality. Has he ever visited there, I wonder.

  3. This is off the subject a bit, and has nothing to do with heavy-duty studies on Scandinavian economy and politics. It's at the experiential level of Norway, about 10 years ago.

    Part 1 of 3 is to know that Norway is oil rich, but the dividends are divvied up among Norwegian citizens. It's an interesting concept that the poor sister of Sweden has become the socialistic rich little sister. The prices of things, like ice cream cones, get driven up this way, because Norwegians all have enough pocket change for one if they wish. It's tough on non-citizens. This dismay was relayed to me by a doctor from another country who was driving the cab I was taking to the Oslo airport. Yet, he was happy to be in Norway.

    Part 2. On another day, the group I was with, showed up at the airport in Oslo, with tickets to Bodo in the Arctic Circle. The Norwegian we were with goes up to the counter and starts speaking with the airline person. They were planning together how to gracefully bring us foreign guests through the airport experience. My Norwegian friend acted as if, and was treated as if, she co-owned the airport, a full-fledged and important citizen of Norway, and we were her guests.

    Now, I had just a week earlier made it with my life though the airport in Boston, where travelers were treated to the rudest and most abrupt treatment possible, all under the guise of 9-11 security. If security treats everyone like a lowlife, then no one gets uppity, is the theory. No flyer was to be treated with courtesy under any conditions, everyone was a scowl away from being treated as a terrorist. A mistake I made was not remembering to take my belt off once distracted. I was pulled aside by my collar and held up for derision to the other travelers as an example of what happens when you don't put your belt in the basket for scanning.

    Granted, Norway has a lot of money to divvy up, sure. But when did we in the USA get leap frogged, or when was our dream of being a respected citizen squashed like a frog now dead, and how is it, beyond being socialistic and rich -- and I had to grant that a lot of "Scandinavian" socialism works at least when there is a lot of money going around – did a different system come closer to providing equality and liberty. Furthermore, the Norwegians do naive, idealistic things and get laughed at by Russians when they, for instance, approach them with the idea of a costly co-clean-up effort of the North Sea.

    Part 3. We are on the plane to Bodo, and the women in our party are talking about the guy 4 rows behind us that is "smoldering" I am told. I don't know his name, but he was at the time the most famous stage actor in Norway, which is a big deal there. I paused, and then it occurred to me, so I asked, why is he not in first class. In Norway, there is no first class. When we got down to baggage pick up, I watched him not pick up a single piece of luggage, and realized I forgot my entourage, and had to carry my own luggage out of the airport.