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September 29, 2009

NY Times: "A Specter Is Haunting Europe — The Specter Of Socialism’s Slow Collapse"

They seem really sad about it too. Almost like it's unfair.

Unfortunately the rest of the story doesn't back up what is supposed to be a scary lead.

Europe’s center-right parties have embraced many ideas of the left: generous welfare benefits, nationalized health care, sharp restrictions on carbon emissions, the ceding of some sovereignty to the European Union. But they have won votes by promising to deliver more efficiently than the left, while working to lower taxes, improve financial regulation, and grapple with aging populations.

Europe’s conservatives, says Michel Winock, a historian at the Paris Institut d’Études Politiques, “have adapted themselves to modernity.” When Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Germany’s Angela Merkel condemn the excesses of the “Anglo-Saxon model” of capitalism while praising the protective power of the state, they are using Socialist ideas that have become mainstream, he said.

Really what the Times and Euro lefties are upset about is they've been co-opted by what passes for "the right". In fact that actually reflects an important victory for the left, the permanent acceptance of their most cherished principles.

Europe's political battles are fought over the ground ranging all the way from the left to the really, really far left. We haven't gone down that path, yet.

This is one of the reasons I would have supported Hillary over McCain. As it is we concede far too much ground to the left in this country as a given in terms of government's rightful role. A win by Maverick would have gone a long way to moving the political gravity of the country to the left and once things start moving in that direction, they are hard to reverse (see FDR and LBJ).

It's why defeating health care in general and a government option in particular is so important. Once people turn their very lives over to the beneficence of government, it's game over.

As for Europe, yes, Merkel in Germany and Sarkozy in France are improvements but they aren't enough to make an American conservative jump for joy. Merkel is already talking down promised tax cuts and the French have not exactly embraced reality yet when it comes to basic economics.

So as for the death of socialism in Europe, let's just say that unfortunately it's demise is being greatly exaggerated.


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posted by DrewM. at 12:15 PM

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