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August 04, 2015

Huh: Dutch King Declares End to the Welfare State

Misfire! Readers, who actually read the post and the article, point out that this story dates from 2013. I completely missed that. Apologies. I'll throw up a fresh post.

Original post follows:

Via Instapundit, as America abandons the American Dream, other people seem to be interested in exploring it.

King Willem-Alexander delivered a message to the Dutch people from the government in a nationally televised address: the welfare state of the 20th century is gone.

In its place a "participation society" is emerging, in which people must take responsibility for their own future and create their own social and financial safety nets, with less help from the national government....

"The shift to a 'participation society' is especially visible in social security and long-term care," the king said, reading out to lawmakers a speech written for him by Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government.

"The classic welfare state of the second half of the 20th century in these areas in particular brought forth arrangements that are unsustainable in their current form."

Rutte may be hoping that the pomp and ceremony surrounding the king and his popular wife, Queen Maxima, will provide a diversion from the gloomy reality of a budget full of unpopular new spending cuts he revealed later in the day.

The Dutch have pursued an austerity program (Northern European countries favor hard currency and more balanced budgets) and many (government workers, union workers, pensioners, etc.) are upset about all the cuts. Rutte's government is actually at record low levels in terms of support.

So this isn't a victory parade. As they say about democracy, people turn to freedom, capitalism, and personal responsibility when no other options are remaining.

Meanwhile, just to give you a bit of background on European politics, Geert Wilders "far-right" Freedom Party -- the party that is most vocal about stopping immigration -- is actually opposed to Rutte's cuts, and calls them a case of kicking the nation when it's down.

That tends to happen, that is, parties deemed allegedly "far right" pursuing more socialist, wealth-spreading agendas. Not as much as the socialists, but also opposed to what is often sneered at in Europe as "liberalism" (liberalism being both social and economic freedom)*.

* I found this Wikipedia entry useful on the subject. Basically, America is so thoroughly "liberal" -- in the "classic liberalism" sense -- that the parties were formally split between two branches of liberalism, what I'd call left-liberalism or populist/socialist liberalism, and "conservative liberalism."

But in America, we just called the two "liberalism" and "conservatism."

In Europe, they might deem people like us simultaneously "ultra-liberal" and "far-right."

Now that the Democrats are increasingly openly embracing Socialism, and increasing state control (every single day they rail against "so-called 'free speech'"), I don't think we can term them "liberals" any longer.

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posted by Ace at 12:46 PM

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