Stone Pigs

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R.I.P. Socialism

Posted By Alan Partis on January 3, 2010

As Americans, we like to believe that we are world leaders in just about everything.  While this is a bit of a chauvinist attitude, it’s also a reasonably healthy way to live life.  Believing that you are a leader often results in acting like a leader, and the view from a leadership position is much nicer than that of a follower.  However, when it comes to social policy, we seem to be abdicating our leadership position and heading down a well worn path to join the Europeans toward more socialism.  Coincidentally, many European populations are awakening to the err in their journey and instead returning to a path toward more capitalism and freedom, a path where the US once was the guiding light.

In a NY Times article1, journalist Steven Erlanger tries to point out what he sees as the failure of capitalism.

Even in the midst of one of the greatest challenges to capitalism in 75 years, involving a breakdown of the financial system due to "irrational exuberance," greed and the weakness of regulatory systems, European Socialist parties and their left-wing cousins have not found a compelling response, let alone taken advantage of the right’s failures.

I do not see today’s economic problems as a result of capitalism, or too much capitalism.  Instead, I think it is more fair to say that our problems today are a result of a lack of conservative discipline in governance and of too much socialism trying to inject regulation into free markets.

However, much of Mr. Erlanger’s article laments the fact that socialists are slowly losing control throughout much of Europe as populations there tire of onerous taxes, unsustainable deficits and public debt, and the lack of progress and growth brought about by the head winds of socialist policy and market regulation.

He cites recent election losses in Germany …

German voters clobbered the Social Democratic Party on Sunday, giving it only 23 percent of the vote, its worst performance since World War II.

… and European Parliament …

Voters also punished left-leaning candidates in the summer’s European Parliament elections.

… and France.

[Voters] also trounced French Socialists in 2007.

Everywhere else you look in Europe, things are bleak for socialists:

Where the left holds power, as in Spain and Britain, it is under attack.  Where it is out, as in France, Italy and now Germany, it is divided and listless.

It seems evident that while Europeans are done with their socialist experiments and ready to throw them on the junk heap of history, many here are eager to repeat those same mistakes.

Will we not learn the lessons that history is teaching us and finally, once and for all, bury socialist philosophies in a cold grave?

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1 Europe’s Socialists Suffering Even in Downturn., Steven Erlanger, The New York Times, September 28, 2009.


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