Oh Come Ye All Faithful to the Promise Land: Blue pills soaked in Red #11

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Why can’t we do it? Why can’t we just copy whatever they are doing? Who is they you ask? Sweden of course. Or is it “Oof Cooourse”.

Who is we? Let’s pick San Francisco home of homosexuality and progress. An astute observer would notice that San Francisco is one of the few American cities that could do this. It is the most liberal (see image below check the very very bottom). What are they doing? Well it’s Swedish Style socialism. But could we? Certainly if a astute politician wanted to they might be able to sell the program, “Let’s be Sweden.” but would it work? Wouldn’t it be so disappointing if San Francisco got what they wanted, but it wasn’t what they really wanted or it wasn’t implemented right? Welcome to the introduction to the blue pill series.

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What is it thou desires? Socialism, egalite, fraternite, diversity? Canst thou immanentize the eschaton? What is thou’s eschatology? Is it a workers paradise? A vibrant rainbow? A world of leisure free of capital? Does this paradise exist and can we get there?

Democracy at Home:

In 2012 San Francisco went 83.5% for Obama. Unfortunately San Francisco only has about 800,000 people. It’s not quite big enough. If we take the bay area, at around 7 million we have a much nicer analog for Sweden ( ~9.5 million people). Unfortunately we sacrifice some holiness since in the Bay Area only 72.9% participated in the holy rite of voting Democrat. A sad reality in this day and age. So let’s say some enterprising young Democrat said “Let’s be Sweden.”? How would that work out? First of all let’s us gauge how many of these liberals are true believers and not just hangers on.

Pew Socialism PollOpinion of Socialism Gallup

Well between Gallup and Pew we might have a narrow majority of Democrats that say they support socialism.  Keep in mind though most of people, even the ones who vote Democrats are not self-identified party members.  Even then 53% ( Democratish people who have a positive view of Socialism) of 73% (Percent of Bay Area which voted Democrat) is only 38.69% that’s not enough for a majority.  Even in the most liberal of cities of San Francisco, 53% of the 83.5% who voted for Obama in 2012 comes out to a paltry 44.3%.   Closer but no cigar.  Again people who vote Democrat do not always identify with the party so the number are most likely even bleaker.  Ask any crazy libertarian though( you don’t really have too I’ve already done that nasty business for you), having a favorable view is not the same as openly supporting you.  There at least ten times as many people who are nominally libertarian as who actually vote libertarian in the United States.  So while the Socialists might be wining the opinion polls in the Bay Area we still don’t have a majority and we don’t even know how many of those would convert to votes.  Speaking of which, Socialism has been around for quite awhile, why hasn’t it succeeded in America?  What are we going to do about this?  Let’s look back at our model country for details.

Welcome to the Promise Land:

For years Sweden has represented a sort of nirvana for the left. To socialists everywhere, this was a country that managed enviably to combine high taxes and massive state spending with high living standards and a strong economy. –The Economist

The modern Swedish Welfare State began around 1970.  The Sweden we know and love in our vivid frigid imaginations is only about 40 years old.  If we want to get an honest assessment of the “Swedish Model” we should probably ask the experts.  Let’s take a walk down the street to Socialist World.  Now there are many different views on Sweden from a socialist perspective but we are going to put those aside, because after all you already like Sweden and why should we let some quibbles about their socialist “purity” get in the way of all the fun they are having.  I mean look at these people.

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So what do the socialists have to say?

“…. in the 1960s and in the early 1970s, thanks to the worldwide capitalist boom and a working class movement at home, a welfare system was created that became a model for the rest of the world. Universal welfare financed by public means (through taxation) provided a highly developed education system, world class healthcare, pensions, a childcare system second to none, and numerous other social benefits and insurance cover. The ‘welfare state’ and the social  harmony that existed in those days became known as the “Swedish model”, although that term already entered circulation in the 1930s.”-Socialist World

Don’t let the socialist jargon bother you they’re well meaning people.  However there’s a little more to the Swedish model than just the welfare state.  What about the public sector?  A good state makes sure it’s managing the important industries.  Some industries are just too important for the private sector.

In fact, Sweden’s state sector was smaller than in many other countries and the role this state sector played was to provide cheap energy, infrastructure, and research and development (R&D) to the big monopolies that dominate the economy, while the welfare system and social democratic governments would guarantee the necessary political and social stability for capitalist expansion.-Socialist World

Sounds pretty good so far.  I wonder what those one percenters have to say about it?

Go on the dole in Sweden, for example, and you can get 80% of your last job’s pay for at least five years. Like to fish? The government will put you in a twelve-month program to learn how to be a fishing guide. Health care is free. So is education. Hence those obscenely high taxes. –Forbes

Sounds grand! Everything seems fine here.  I mean this is the stuff you dream of right?  Harmony, caring for others, great education.  Let’s do a little check up on the current state of this frozen flaxen utopia.

 “But this Swedish model ceased to exist long time ago. “It is a long way from the halcyon days of the 1970s, when the ‘Swedish model’ of cradle-to-grave welfare for all was held up to the world as an example of modernity and progress”, reported CNN almost triumphally in 2003.”-Socialist World

Wait how did this happen?  How did we go from the Swedish Model to the Swedish Model Lite?  Why would they throw away all their glorious progress?

It was the social democratic government of the late 1980s that started what is known in Sweden as the “the system change” – the rolling back of public welfare combined with deregulation and privatisation.

Not only did the Social Democrats ( Synonymous with the creation of the 1970’s era Welfare State) start deconstructing their own model, but it gets worse after the 1980’s the Social Democrats lost control of the government.

By 1991 the voters had had enough. They threw out the Social Democrats for the first time since the war and installed Carl Bildt’s Conservative government. Bildt set about liberalizing important state-monopolized or dominated markets, notably telecommunications and banking. –Forbes

What getting rid of state monopolies this seems like a bad sign.  How can we guarantee access to essential services without our governments help?  Was that the end of it?  Sadly no…

Probably most important, Bildt cut back Sweden’s confiscatory taxes. …Bildt’s tax reform also established capital gains, dividend and net interest income as special income categories, taxable at 30%. Corporate income tax: 28%. –Forbes

Gasp.  Scary stuff what do the Socialists think about this?

“tax reform of the century”, implemented in 1991. This so-called reform, jointly worked out by the social democrats in government and the bourgeois liberal People’s Party (Folkpartiet), ended what was left of progressive taxation. The”tax reform” lowered income taxes, particularly for the better off, while increasing sales tax to 23 percent and also rents…

This right-wing policy of the social democracy paved the way for a crushing election defeat in September 1991. This coincided with the most severe crisis for Swedish capitalism since the 1920-30s. All the main crisis measures adopted by the conservative government of 1991-1994 were supported by the social democratic party, including the beginning of selling out state-owned companies. –Socialist World

Things are looking dire not only did the conservatives come in to power but the Social Democrats supported their reforms.  Even worse they were doing some dirty dealing in right wing politics before they were ousted from government.  Well hopefully they’ve changed their tune.  Hmmm well did the Social Democrats Fix any of these issues?

However, when the social democrats returned to power in 1994, the debts and fiscal deficits became an excuse for a savage programme of spending cuts, tax increases and market orientated reforms. This programme was in main supported by the Left Party…

It made cuts in child allowances – for the first time ever the real value of this benefit was cut. Unemployment benefits was cut to 75 percent of income in 1996, down from 90 percent before 1993. However, because of the ceiling that exists in unemployment insurance – the maximum sum payable – fewer and fewer workers got 75 percent. Due to these changes, in 1992-97 the average unemployment benefit level fell from 81.3 to 70.5 percent of wages. (After the present governments’ cuts in unemployment benefit in 2006, average benefit level is down to 51 percent).

Moreover, sick pay was cut, it became more difficult to receive housing allowances, and so on. Every aspect of the social security system was affected. These attacks provoked the biggest movement of protest for decades. The movement started with strikes and demonstrations by the school students…

“Olle Wästberg, a liberal and the former Consul-General to New York, boasted that: “In many fields, we [Sweden] have more private ownership compared to other European countries, and to America. About 80 percent of all new schools are privately run, as are the railroads and the subway system.””-Socialist World

Let’s catch up on Swedish election history.  Below is the recent history of the Swedish Social Democratic Party ( the “Swedish Model” party in essence ) in the government section we can see green is in power and red not in power.  Politics is bit more complex in Sweden.  The Swedish Social Democratic Party always have the most votes but in some years lost to a coalition of smaller parties with more right wing policies.  We can see they “lost” in 1991, 2006 and 2010. From La Wik

Swedish Social Democratic Party Recent Election History

Swedish Democrat Stuff

Let’s check out the 2006 Election.  This was a loosing year for the Swedish Democratic Party.

The present [Not anymore] right-wing government, elected in 2006, began its term of office with drastic cuts in unemployment benefit and social insurance with the aim of creating a low-paid labour market. –Socialist World

And 2010 where the Swedish Democratic Party lost again. Note the Swedish Social Democrats ( “Swedish Model” Party) are different from the Sweden Democrats (Far right anti-immigration racists).

In September 2010 parliamentary elections, the far-right, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats won seats in parliament for the first time. The elections were inconclusive as Prime Minister Reinfeldt’s center-right coalition did not win a majority of seats. He reached out to other parties—not including the Sweden Democrats—to form a minority government. –Info Please

Fortunately in the year 2014 sanity was restored in Sweden…..or was it?

In the fall of 2014, the Moderate Party lost the general election. Prime Minister Reinfeldt resigned. Stefan Löfven took office as prime minister after leading his Social Democratic Party to victory with 31% of the vote. Thus, it was a return to power for the Social Democratic Party after being the opposition party for eight years…. However, like Reinfeldt, Löfven ruled out working with Sweden Democrats, which had more than doubled their support in the 2014 election. In fact, Sweden Democrats, which has right-wing extremist roots, became the third-biggest party in Parliament after the 2014 election.-Info Please

Let’s take a breather for a minute.  I mean there must be some solution to this problem.  We had the found a third way.  A model country which balanced Democracy and Socialism with a thriving economy with a social security net and fishing classes for all!  Something must be wrong here.  Why would these people vote in parties which deconstructed their own programs?  What insanity befell them?  Maybe the Socialist in all their wisdom have a solution for this?

The task facing genuine socialists in Sweden and other countries as well, is to rebuild the workers’ movement on socialist lines – to build a new mass socialist workers’ party and transform the trade unions into democratic and fighting organisations. The key lesson that has to be drawn from experiences in Sweden is that no social gain will last unless capitalism is overthrown. This is even more so in a period of crisis, when a revolutionary struggle is needed to win even the smallest concessions from the capitalist class and to save jobs. Therefore, with the basis for social reforms within capitalism having been eroded, the only way forward is a struggle for socialism and a democratically planned economy. –Socialist World

So they want to go full communist?  The lesson here is that there is no compromise we must have the workers revolution?  I mean one doesn’t like Sweden because it resembles the Soviet Union.  They like that it doesn’t resemble the Soviet Union.  Capitalism may be harsh but that’s where all the fun’s at.  Sweden was about finding balance and fairness not communism. There must be another way?  Something that doesn’t involve gulags or angry mobs.

PUBLIC DM ORIGINALS 31/05/2003 (P43) 1933 STALIN SLAVE LABOUR CAMP

Something about that Democracy:

So what did these reforms entail exactly?  Let’s take another look at the details.  I mean they can’t be too bad.  They wouldn’t do anything as bad as the Tea Party over here.

The proportion of private sector employees involved in – privatised or subcontracted – municipal services more than doubled during the 1990s and has kept rising since. The state sector too experienced the same development. The number of state employees halved – from 400,000 in 1997 to 200,000 20 years later. State assets worth 116 billion krona (16.4 billion U.S. dollars) were sold by the social democratic governments that ruled from 1994 to 2006. In many aspects social democrat-ruled Sweden took the lead in implementing the “market reforms” and neo-liberal agenda of the European Union (EU)….

“Public services ‘produced’ by a non-public actor became increasingly common in childcare, education, child and youth social services, and care of the elderly. In 1996, Sweden deregulated its electricity sector, allowing private competition in distribution. Telecommunications, postal services and public transport were also deregulated. And state companies, including banks nationalised during the 1992-93 crisis were sold off, after their losses had been passed over to the public sector. –Socialist World

Nor did the social democrats reverse the so-called the school choice system introduced by their rivals in 1992, which has paved the way for an upsurge in private schools. In 1991, the share of secondary pupils in privately run schools was 1.5 percent – today’s figure is 17 percent. In the 1990s, the health sector too was opened to private alternatives. –Socialist World

Welcome to Democracy.  There are right-wing extremists in Sweden, and the Republicans have control of the House and the Senate.  Is this the future we wanted?  How could we have regressed so much?  I mean the Democrats had two years in control of all three branches of government from 2007 – 2009 and we aren’t really that much further along.   Do we really want a system where ignorant red-necks get to elect their bigoted candidates to the United States Government? Isn’t there something better?  Again we aren’t looking for gulags, but this is 2014 after all.  If Sweden is dismantling it’s Welfare State and privatizing the public sector and using allowing private schools to run on public kronor (plural of krona).  That sounds a lot like voucher programs Tea bagger stuff, that’s not a recipe for fair access to education.  Let’s ask a real Tea Bagger.

In a series of e-mails and interviews, Teri Adams, the president of the Idependence Hall Tea Party Association, explains that her organization is involved in its voucher advocacy because it believes “public schools should go away.” Adams said that their ultimate goal is to “shut down public schools and have private schools only“:

“We think public schools should go away,’’ says Teri Adams, the head of the Independence Hall Tea Party and a leading advocate — both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania — of passage of school voucher bills. The tea party operates in those two states and Delaware. They should “go away,” she says, because “they are hurting our children.’’ […] Adams says the current voucher program “discriminates” against wealthier students by providing public subsidies only to inner-city children in allegedly failing schools. Her group’s e-mails pushing vouchers caught the attention of James Kovalcin of South Brunswick, a retired public school teacher who asked Adams for clarification. She responded via email: “Our ultimate goal is to shut down public schools and have private schools only, eventually returning responsibility for payment to parents and private charities. It’s going to happen piecemeal and not overnight. It took us years to get into this mess and it’s going to take years to get out of it.”

“It’s refreshing to see a vouchers promoter who is honest about her real intent — to destroy public education,” responded Julia Rubin, a spokeswoman for Save Our Schools, a New Jersey organization that is opposing the voucher push in the state. “Fortunately, most New Jersey residents understand how devastating vouchers would be for our excellent public schools.” –Think Progress

Welp the Swedes are privatizing their schools.  The Tea party sees this as a method of destroying public schools.  Those might sound like poor bed fellow.  Lets do a little review so we can better understand what the Tea Party, I mean Swedes are doing with their healthcare system.

The taxes paid in Sweden should entitle citizens to social security, healthcare and so on. But that is only on Paper. In addition to taxes you must also pay fees when visiting a doctor, for being hospitalised, and so on – fees that have increased over the years. It now costs 140 krona (20 U.S. dollars) to visit a doctor in Stockholm, and 300 krona (more than 40 U.S. dollars) to see a specialist. A visit to the dentist costs a fortune, usually more than 600 krona (85 U.S. dollars) for a check up, while a simple filling costs more. 850,000 Swedes can no longer afford to see a dentist, according to a recent study.-Socialist World

Is there anything else fishy going on?

In fact in Stockholm they’ve done what Salmon says can’t be done, and taxis are allowed to charge whatever price they like. The main solution to the problem he identifies is that most cabs are affiliated with one of a few large taxi companies that have posted fare schedules. You no more haggle over fares with Taxi Stockholm or TopCab than you bargain with the guy at the butcher counter of your local supermarket over the price of a steak. The prices are posted and the customers take them or leave them.  –Think Progress

This is Sweden right?  Deregulating Taxis? That’s straight out of an evil Libertarian wet dream.

Public services remain generous, but this government has done more than the Social Democrats to boost the private provision of education, health care and welfare. –The Economist

Well at least they haven’t gone full Tea-bagger, but why are voters approving of tearing down the social safety net?  Why are they privatizing education, healthcare and welfare?

Public spending has fallen by no less than one-fifth of gross domestic product, taxes have dropped and markets have opened up. -Bloomberg

The current government has cut them every year and abolished wealth taxes. Inheritance and gift taxes are also gone. Until 1990, the maximum marginal income tax rate was 90 percent. Today, it is 56.5 percent. -Bloomberg

These are free-market reforms the sort of things you hear during a Republican debate.  There are significant changes in the tax structure.  While Occupy Wall Street was storming the streets Sweden has been slowly giving tax cuts to the rich.  Why aren’t they making them pay their fair share?  This was a country build on economic equality.

A second trend is growing dissatisfaction with the “Swedish model”… Yet the centre-right has made welfare payments less generous, cut taxes for the lower-paid and trimmed the numbers on sickness benefit. Voters seem to approve. –The Economist

Gone are demands for the restoration of social benefits. Opinion polls have rewarded the Social Democrats for their right turn with sharply improved ratings.  -Bloomberg

Where are the socialists, the defenders of the workers?  What happened to this intellectuals who defended Sweden?

Where are the left-wing intellectuals to challenge this new order? They have disappeared. The old socialist research organizations have closed down. The Center for Labor Market Studies was a state institution that generated propaganda, not research, and the government closed it. The Trade Union Confederation had a sophisticated research institute, which it eliminated for not being sufficiently political. -Bloomberg

The union economists, who dominated Swedish economic debate in the 1970s and ’80s, have been replaced by bank economists. The free-market ,right has influential research centers in Stockholm. -Bloomberg

How can the “nirvana for the left” be so reactionary?  We have a serious backslide here.  The parties left and right havve sold out completely.  They had a working system and they abandoned it.  We notice that in democracies only one thing is guaranteed, change.  People always want change.  Something new and better.  But what if you’ve already pretty much done it all?  What if everything is grand?  What if you’ve designed the perfect system?  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it?  Sure you might need some tinkering here and there but you’ve pretty much solved the problem.  Take a look at American instability below.  Does this look like a system which can produce coherent change?

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Sweden is not socialist. According to the World Values Survey and other similar studies, Sweden combines one of the highest degrees of individualism in the world, solid trust in well-functioning institutions, and a high degree of social cohesion –Dan Mitchell

Seems like the last few years have all but validated the myth of the Swedish Voter.  At least they are a tolerant bunch right?

A Vibrant Rainbow:

One of the best ways for a mature economy to rejuvenate itself is to open its borders to upwardly mobile immigrants from poorer countries. Sweden has learned this trick. Walk the streets of any Swedish city and it’s clear that the country is far less homogeneous, much more diverse, than it was just a decade ago. Last year, one of five new businesses was started by immigrants. The newcomers, most of them from the Balkans and Mideast, work hard, make money and harbor grander ambitions for their children. –Forbes

The religion of peace has brought its wonders to the shores of Stockholm.  According to recent estimates about 5% of Sweden is Muslim.  Unfortunately their deep wisdom and gifts to Swedish culture are being suppressed by a culture of intolerance and white privilege.  Let me introduce to the sad state our “Swedish Socialism”.

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Look at the brave angelic face of Sweden.  Testifying against hate crimes committed against his oppressed people.  Lets get a background on intolerance in Europe from the OSCE.

Intolerance and discrimination against Muslims has become increasingly prevalent in the OSCE region in recent years. The “war on terror”, the global economic crisis, anxieties about national identity and the difficulties in coping with the increasing diversity in many societies have led to a growth in resentment against Muslims and Islam that has sometimes been fuelled by intolerant language in media and political discourse.

As a result, many Muslims experience a range of discrimination, including verbal harassment, hate speech, violent attacks and religious profiling. Many are also confronted with a lack of equal opportunities in employment, housing, health care and education, and face restrictions on the public expression of their religion. –OCSE

Sweden must be better than that right?  They are above such base bigotry.

Like the millions of other ordinary Swedes whom he now sees himself as one of, Mohammed Abbas fears his dream society is now under threat. When he first arrived in Stockholm as refugee from Iran in 1994, the vast Husby council estate where he settled was a mixture of locals and foreigners, a melting pot for what was supposed to be a harmonious, multi-racial paradise. –Telegraph

Two decades on, though, “white flight” has left only one in five of Husby’s flats occupied by ethnic Swedes, and many of their immigrant replacements do not seem to share his view that a new life in Sweden is a dream come true. Last week, the neighbourhood erupted into rioting, sparking some of the fiercest urban unrest that Sweden has seen in decades, and a new debate about the success of racial integration.  –Telegraph

Clearly these Muslims are reacting to bigotry and discrimination.  Their voices cry for freedom.  They have come to what they expected to be a multicultural paradise and found something lacking.  Let’s see why they might be rioting.  Let’s hear from these Swedish voters themselves.

“In the old days, the neighbourhood was more Swedish and life felt like a dream, but now there are just too many foreigners, and a new generation that has grown up here with just their own culture,” he said, gesturing towards the hooded youths milling around in Husby’s pedestrianised shopping precinct. –Telegraph

“Too many foreigners” growing up with their “own culture”.  It seems like the some Swedes can’t appreciate the contributions Muslims have made to their society.  Let’s hear how the Muslims feel about their stature in society.

he claimed that many Husby residents still suffered from discrimination from the police and employers. Besides, he added, living in such a prosperous, advanced country offered no real satisfaction for those so conspicuously at the bottom of the heap. –Telegraph

he said. “But people don’t like being dependent on social welfare, and there is hidden racism.” –Telegraph

Discrimination, inequality, hidden racism no wonder these poor citizens rioted.  They had to express their political angst somehow.

“It’s a very divided city,” said Daniel Sandström, editor of the main city paper, Sydsvenskan. “It’s made a successful transition from being an old industrial city to a new, postmodern place of middle-class consumers. That means winners and losers. The losers are the old, the poor, and the immigrants.”  –Guardian

It sounds like the locals are trying to make excuses for their privilege.

Signs of friction and trouble are not hard to find beneath the veneer of Scandinavian order, decency and prosperity.  –Guardian

A bullet perforated the reinforced glass earlier this year, shaved the neck of a colleague and lodged itself in the drawer of a desk. “We’ve got to defeat all fascism,” said the imam and head of Malmo’s 60,000-strong Islamic community. “But you get it on both sides, on our side as well.” His mosque is the oldest and biggest in Sweden. It has been burned down once, and a pig was placed in the prayer hall. Becirov said there had been 300 attacks since it was built in 1983. There have been riots. There are no-go areas. –Guardian

Burning Mosques, no wonder there is friction.  Growing Fascism, this is not a proper and respectful community.  Where did all this hate come from?

The other novelty was the local rise of the Sweden Democrats, who Becirov described as the “new Nazis”, suggesting that the country was joining the European club. “It’s a bit like a tsunami spreading across Europe. And now it’s here, too.” –Guardian

The Tsunami has apparently washed ashore in Sweden.

Yet despite Swedish language education being offered free to all long-term immigrants, ghettos of foreigners have flourished in recent years. So too have Far Right parties challinging the political class’s long-standing pro-immigration consensus, –Telegraph

The centre-left still controls the city, but its power is eroding in what has been an exceptionally promising summer for Islam-baiting, anti-immigrant movements in Europe. –Guardian

From street thuggery to the election booths these are not the positive trends of a healthy society.

The disturbances erupted in Husby last weekend, after police shot dead an elderly man brandishing a machete inside his house. Angered at what they saw as police heavyhandedness, youths torched cars and buildings and stoned police and firefighters. –Telegraph

A regular Trayvon.  A innocent elder of their community cut down before he could pass down the wisdom of his proud story.

Many Swedes were left asking why a country that prides itself on a generous welfare state, liberal social attitudes and a welcoming attitude towards immigrants should ever have race riots in the first place. –Telegraph

The Swedes didn’t listen.  On Deaf ears the cries of the oppressed have fallen and the politicians are no better.

Sweden’s centre-right prime minister, Frederik Reinfeldt, blamed “hooligans” –Telegraph

Meanwhile politicians from the Swedish Left, which ruled the country for most of the post-war period, blamed the trouble on social spending cuts introduced by Mr Reinfeldt, whose Moderate Party vowed to trim – though not slash – the welfare budget when he took office in 2006. –Telegraph

They are clearly blind to their white privilege and oppression of their minorities.  This sounds oddly familiar.  I wonder where else something like this could be going on?

He added: “Many San Franciscans don’t feel as if they’re benefiting from the boom in any way. While 23-year-olds are becoming instant millionaires and the rest of the digital technocracy seek out gourmet restaurants and artisanal bars, a good portion of the city watches from the sidelines, feeling left out and irrelevant. Dot-com decadence is once again creeping into the city of St. Francis, and the tensions between those who own a piece of its future and those who don’t are growing by the day.” –Pando

A Radical Solution.  

Democracy is demanding, and sometimes people feel that demands of change are too great. That creates what Karl Popper called the strain of civilization, and the risk of people falling back to what he called tribalism. That, I think, is what we’re seeing throughout Europe — too many changes, globalization. They feel left behind, they see foreign faces on the streets that they’re not used to, and then the strain of civilization creates the breeding ground for the populism and the extremism, and that is expressed in these particular political parties. –NY Times

A dire portrait indeed.  Surely their must be voices of hope among the media?

Democracy is not in good shape. Many systems seem dysfunctional: The U.S. Congress, the coalition government in the U.K., and many governments in Europe have had difficulty making the decisions necessary to finding a way back to economic growth. Some fledgling democracies seem, in the short term at least, less competent to serve the needs of their citizens than some autocracies are.

Difficult decisions really?  How hard is it to decide what is right when good models have been so clearly laid out before us?What are we to do with these challenges?

We have become complacent about democracy. It remains the system of choice. It remains what free people freely choose. But it has what I would call an “efficacy” challenge: Its values are right, but it is too often failing to deliver. In a world of change, where countries, communities and corporations must constantly adapt to keep up, democracy seems slow, bureaucratic and weak. In this sense it is failing its citizens. Why has this happened and what should we do about it? –NY Times

Yeah what should we do about it?  Oh that we should just vote harder.  Is that the best you got?  Violence, extremism, abandoning our values.  These are the things we face.  Have not our feet spoken?  We want security and fairness, not austerity.

We have forgotten that theories are only as good as they work in practice. So the technical nuts and bolts of democratic systems matter. The basic principle that the people should elect their government remains popular and obviously right, but its implementation seems to have gone awry.-Tony Blair

He has a point here.  We should evaluate systems on how they work in practice.  We have a perfectly good system in Sweden.  It worked well.  Then Democracy began to tear it apart.  If we want a good system like the Swedish model, it can only last as long as people elect the right people and stay the course.  This apparently isn’t very long.  Should people be able to elect their government really?  I mean are they really that smart, worthy and wise?

What we have are principles.  Democracy doesn’t seem very good at upholding them.  Why?  People, voters, are particularly finicky and unprincipled.  So how does one traditionally encode principles?  Usually by having an orthodox morality.  What is an orthodox morality?  Well its a fancy word for a religion.  We don’t really need the god part, but we’re gonna need to maintain our good morals?  Do we really want to see racist Nazis taking over Sweden?  A hundred years from now is if they vote in Hitler 2.0 is Democracy going to make that right?  Can’t as we’ve seen many, many times democracy be wrong?

This is America, and we have an entrenched oligarchical system in place that insulates us all from any meaningful political change. –Rolling Stone

…it’s only a matter of time before the uprising as a whole gets castrated, just like every grass-roots movement does in this country. Its leaders will be bought off and sucked into the two-party bureaucracy, where its platform will be whittled down… –Rolling Stone

We need radical thinking here to solve our little dilemma.  What we have is a religious problem.  Not a theocratic problem but a religious one.  Being reasonable people we support democracy.  But what of rural Alabama?  Are they right?  Can they be?  Democracy claims relativism in the face of choice.  When Alabama continues to ban gay marriage through the Democratic process are we to stand by and claim it is their right?  Humans have rights, rights to equality, fairness and love.  Is there not truth in this?  Is it not universal?  Does the truth change as the moment we cross a boarder?  We are locked in a tribal battle between truth and hatred, why do we give the other side a chance?

We’ll fortunately we have a proper model.  A religious Non-profit.  Religion makes sure the organization maintains the proper set of values.  This religion is of course not a traditional religion but orthodox progressive values.  We don’t need god for morality our history has shown us the light of human rights.  Having an orthodoxy we will have a source of interpreting new events and conundrums.  The Non-profit’s goal is to serve the people services, the same services that the “Swedish Model”  provided.  Its goal like any non-profit is to provide as much service as possible. See there you have it, stability, sanity, morality, fairness and no gulags.  Freedom is maintained, and we don’t even have to worry about all that instability.  No Gulag.  In the past freedom has been associated with democracy, but there’s not hard fast law that says it is the only system that can produce freedom.

We are on the bleeding edge of history.  Given the history of the 19th century we can see voters can be wrong, Democracy can be wrong.  Do 50, 100 years make slavery or Jim Crow right or wrong?  Our values are timeless without qualification or context.  Our democracy is only as good as the voter.  While Democracy has been the vehicle which has taken us this far it is high time we look to another model.  Change has happened too slowly.  As an enlightened people we cannot afford to idly stand by.  We must bravely step forward.  Democracy is lame limping from age and wear.  We have obtained civil rights, freedom and fairness and yet we still see hatred an inequality abound.  Will we sacrifice our progress on the alter of some misguided principle.  Allow the system to feed and let our enemies grow in power and boldness?

Democracy is the great fiction which allows the individual to grasp at power.  But the system has grown other things as well.  They metastasize and spread feeding off the loop holes and chaos of bureaucracy.  Our selfish and improbable desire to remake the world in our image has usurped our morals and vision of the world.  Let our voice be the voice of fairness, justice, equality tolerance and diversity and let it ring out.  Let it be the only voice and let it ring out singly.  Let it not be polluted by democracy by the voices of bigotry and ignorance.  Do we want to be remembered as the generation that let equality die and bowed our heads to cowardly politicians?  Do we instead want to be the remembered for creating a new system that we may be the beacon on the hill once again shines hope for the world.  Not a false hope cut low by intolerance and inequality but true virtue and opportunity.  Our revolution carried us from the chains of serfdom and slavery to the civil rights movement.  But where are we now, we march on the street to no avail and let the dogs of fascism slay our children in the streets.  Oligarchy buys our government and bigots run wild.  We have pushed the boundaries of democracy and now it pushes back.  We have screamed for progress until our rulers have gone deaf.  Our anti-antibiotics no longer work it is time for something stronger to purge the system of virulent strains that survived our previous attempts.

Oh look Buzzfeed video.  Whaaat Ruling lets work email be used to organize unions?  What was I talking about again. Oh right…Hilary 2016!!!!

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One thought on “Oh Come Ye All Faithful to the Promise Land: Blue pills soaked in Red #11

  1. Pingback: This Week in Reaction | The Reactivity Place

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