Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says he wants to transform America into Scandinavia. In a recent town hall, Sanders argued, like every freshman student after reading a page of “State and Revolution,” that what happened in the Soviet Union was not “real socialism” but “authoritarian communism.”
“When we talk about democratic socialism, I’m talking about Finland, I’m talking about Denmark, I’m talking about Sweden,” Sanders said. “And communism, whether in Cuba, whether in the Soviet Union … was marked by totalitarianism, was marked by throwing millions of people into the Gulag.”
This is a trope, a “no true Scotsman” fallacy, that every socialist uses whenever his examples inevitably crash and burn. Remember that both Sanders and U.S. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn once considered Venezuela under Hugo Chavez a socialist paradise and an exemplar of socioeconomic success, a claim they try to distance themselves from these days.
This idea that socialism never turns authoritarian, or can be without eventual authoritarianism, is ridiculous. What exactly would a socialist do in power when the people and the majority of the states oppose his harebrained, unnatural utopian schemes? He or she will try to force it in through executive actions. That in itself is authoritarianism, even in a smiley-badgey version.
The reason it is unlikely there will ever be communism in the United States is not due to the benevolence of our leftist leaders, who are as power-hungry as their brethren across the globe, but because the U.S. Constitution secures gun rights, which makes it impossible to ram through state-supported totalitarian actions. That is why socialists try to bring about their policies through a combination of judicial fiat (immigration, abortion) to outright hysteria (green economics, guns).
But that is not the full story. As someone who resides in Europe, it always baffles me that American liberals and socialists consider Scandinavia the best-case scenario. The socialists claim it is the place where socialism is perfected, even though the Scandinavians themselves refuse to be called socialists. Remember the famous quip by the Danish prime minister in reply to Sanders: “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”
Liberals try to use Scandinavia as an example of a market economy that is also an expansive welfare state, the kind they want to replicate in the United States. But how good are the actual records? Can the United States have Danish health care without having Danish immigration restrictionism under a center-left U.S. government?
With Sanders as president, there would be no immigration restriction even during a pandemic. Bernie wants Scandinavian health care, and has given Finland as an example. Yet the Finnish government collapsed for not being able to bear the cost of increasing health care. And Finland is only a country of a few millions. Consider the fiscal effect in a country, like the United States, of more than 300 million.
Sweden is considered the crown jewel of Scandinavian societies. The Swedish government doesn’t allow for keeping crime statistics by ethnicity (especially Middle Eastern migrants), lest right-wingers point out the results. This is how benevolence in motives easily results in soft totalitarianism and governmental censorship.
What is the result? Sweden is undergoing some of the harshest crime, bombing, and gang-war waves in its history, mostly orchestrated by Middle-Eastern gangs. Everyone knows, but they are powerless to say or do anything because of political correctness. Swedish police are accused of regularly covering up sexual assaults by mostly Afghan refugees, as our liberal academics write paens touting Swedish feminist foreign policy and their desire to incorporate that in the United States and Great Britain.
Scandinavian ads are so full of self-hatred that they claim nothing is ever truly Scandinavian, before being pulled off YouTube due to public backlash. Scandinavian politicians hate masculinity, and are quite open about it. Swedish gender studies scholars want to boycott U.S. academic conferences due to Donald Trump’s election, even when American taxpayers pay for European security. Most Scandinavian social sciences are a joke.
It is one of the stupidest ideas to assume that totalitarianism needs jackboots. It doesn’t. In fact, some of the worst totalitarians are the benevolent and maternalistic ones who just want to “make sure you are good,” not free. One can argue that part of the reason post-modernists and Euro-communists hate the Soviet Union is that even although they aimed at similar egalitarian goals and virulent anti-traditionalism, the Soviets were too authoritarian and hetero-patriarchal, and therefore too masculine.
But just because they hate the Soviet Union doesn’t make them liberal heroes. Scandinavian society is anything but truly liberal and individualist. No society can be when taxes are sky high, the entire country is geared towards equality, regardless of talent and merit, and social goals are more important than pesky, utopia-ruining crime statistics.
Scandinavia boasts effete and feminized societies where masculine traits like ambition are discouraged in favour of communitarianism. The Scandinavian concept of JanteLoven actively discourages individualism, private rights, social flaunting, and ambition.
Things like this are why there will never be a Tony Stark or Gordon Gekko anywhere in Scandinavia. Nor will there ever be technological advancement, economic might, and military prowess unparalleled in human history. Whatever egalitarian and repressed social system that is, classic Anglo-American freedom it is not.
I remember talking with a Scandinavian girl immediately after Brexit. She was simply incapable of understanding why on Earth the United Kingdom would pull up the drawbridge. After some fruitless waste of time, I thought it must be cultural.
See, the English language, the right to property, and the Magna Carta all embody a certain middle-finger-flipping spirit. The English flipped the middle finger to European communitarianism and social discipline for centuries, preferring entrepreneurial societies and individual freedom. The Americans in turn flipped their fingers to the English. The English finally managed to flip the bird again to the European Union.
This is because freedom and the ambition to grow individually are cherished cultural traits, the world’s opinion be damned. Forced egalitarianism is anti-nature, and it always turns to enforced equality at the cost of personal ambition, innovation, and individualism.
It doesn’t matter who, the liberals or the socialists, wants to portray Scandinavia as a utopian paradise. Flocks of people are not leaving the United Kingdom or United States to migrate to Scandinavia, or for that matter anywhere else in the world. It’s always the other way around.
There is no glory or happiness in being one of the many thousands of Unknown Citizens in a utopia. One should rather be free.