Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I saw Tony Judt on PBS last night...

Last night I watched an interview with Tony Judt on PBS. A few things peaked my interest so I looked him up this morning. He is "a universalist social democrat", former Marxist. He acknowledges the atrocities that have resulted throughout history when socialism is instituted, and does not admire the results... only the policies. He wants to untangle the perception of “over-powerful states” or "economic dictatorship" and the policies of social democrats. He is interesting and seems to be a smart guy, but fails to point out just how you institute these policies without “over-powerful states” or "economic dictatorship".

Interesting summary of his most recent book: Ill Fares the Land

He desires the European socialism over Nazi/Soviet/ Venezuelan/ Cuban socialism. To that I agree, but that does not mean that I like it... much to the contrary. So the question is, what separates the two results, if anything? Well, one major factor is money.

In the PBS interview Judt acknowledges that Europe has had to pay for very little of their own defense, due to the "nuclear umbrella" of the USA. He also notes,"I have never met a European, or indeed anyone else in the world, who says, "We don't want America in the United Nations. We don't want America contributing to the World Health Organization. We don't want America paying for, helping to pay for, the cost of refugees, for AIDS victims."

As opposed as the USA is to socialism, it has been subsidizing it for years... Do you like European health care systems? you subsidize it. Do you like European mass transport? You paid for it.

If Europe had to pay for their own defense and the USA did not shoulder the majority of the UN/ WHO burden, their social utopia would not have lasted for so long... because, as Margaret Thatcher so ingeniously noted, " The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money"... and as seen in Greece and the national debts in Europe... they are running out of other people's money. As we pursue more and more of these policies.. so are we... and that is when socialism turns ugly (AKA.. Soviet/ Cuba/ China/ Venezuela/ Nazi -kinda-ugly) The world needs the economic engine of our free market economy (all though it has not been truly free for years) to feed their social program machinery.

Luckily, some in Europe are showing a different path. The UK is acknowledging they are out of other people's money, and instead of turning ugly, they are decentralizing and reforming!!! They are even decentralizing their health care, as we are centralizing our own!! Greece is also trying to institute reforms, but are meeting with much opposition to those reforms from socialists and unions within their own ranks.

1 comment:

  1. It's crazy how we watch Europe and want to be like them until they try to change to what we were. Shouldn't that trigger some kind of instinctual need to survive, to which we say "HEY, those guys were idiots! Looks like we were right all along."

    I really think societies run in cycles (just like the world's climate by the way). A society struggles to take off, fighting all opposition on the way. Once it makes it, it relaxes and maybe takes a well deserved nap. While that goes on, your opponents learn from your success and get better than you. While resting, the society looks at the opposition's "weaknesses" and thinks those are nice. Thinking it is a better, smarter society; it trys to pull off all the things it exploited to defeat it's opposition. The society eventually deflates and starts all over. REPEAT!!!

    As a logical minded engineer, this cyclical failure really grinds my gears. Learn from the past and apply it to the future people! But what do I know... I'm just a conservative taking care of his own problems. I've ranted and now I'm tired... it's only 8:20 AM.