Countries progressives like

Continuing the discussion from Distrust!:


If you want to go on a tangent, which is fine, I believe creating a new thread like this rather than derailing the old one is the way to do it.

I subscribe to the philosophy that being critical of an aspect of something doesn’t mean you unilaterally dismiss the whole thing as crap. I’m surprised and amazed such a concept is radical and controversial, but I guess that’s my fault. I’m not a fan of Trump therefore I love communist China unconditionally.

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For real! In my mind a true patriot is critical of their country where it disserves criticism rather than sticking their head in the sand and declaring the home country #1 on all fronts. How can we ever enact positive change if we refuse to recognize our flaws?

Of course this is correct.

Patriotism is actually not a rational thing. It’s like having a special emotional relationship to your blood kin – as opposed to those to whom you’re not related. It’s biologically-rooted – our whispering genes making sure that they – or copies of them – have the best chance for replication.

From a purely rational standpoint, in fact, it’s a bad thing: why should you be any more supportive of Country X, just because you have legal citizenship in it, than of Country Y? And in fact it’s easy to find situations where one should not be – the classic case being a German democrat (small d) 1933-1945. Not only should that person have been ‘critical’ of his government, he should have been a traitor to it.

And in a world where all humans had advanced to the same level of social understanding and economic well-being, where we were acquiring a truly universal, human culture … patriotism would be a thing of the past, nothing more than the sort of regional sentimality you find among Americans regarding their native states. We would move towards a genuine world government.

However, we don’t live in such a world yet and won’t for many generations, if ever… And a purely instrumental allegiance to a country – a purely self-interested one – is not going to make people willing to make the terrible sacrifices that may be necessary in the future.

Very few Americans or Australians or British or even Russian young men fought in WWII to ‘defeat fascism’ or ‘defend democracy’ – although that was the objective result of their actions. They fought for their country. It wasn’t a rational act of self-interest to charge a German machine gun nest.

Today’s progressives don’t love America, and they don’t seek only to correct a few of its flaws. It’s quite clear that they loathe the place, and have utter disdain, contempt, for its working class. (Okay, not all of them. Michael Lind is an exception. But the general trend is clear.) Critical Race Theory is the current concrete manifestation of the idea that America is especially wicked.

Some of the current ‘progressives’ pretend to a faux patriotism, as when they condemn the men who fought for the Confederacy as ‘traitors’, while simultaneously honoring the Soviet spy Ethyl Rosenberg.

Countries that are genuine nation-states – where the vast majority of the population share the same genetic heritage – find patriotism easy. It’s an extension of biologically-driven family loyality. But a country like the US, with its diversity, has to work at it: and in fact, American patriotism – irrational, as is all patriotism – is the only social glue holding the place together. " … untune that string,
And, hark, what discord follows!"

Norway is one of the richer countries, partly because of their oil and gas operations in the north sea. Given the fact that you guys hate carbon creating fuels, that should give you cause to question your admiration.

As for labeling my response as “a tangent,” more moderate liberals should wake up to the fact that a lot of the people you associate with are communists who are looking to bring the Chinese style government here.

Agreed, but it also has to be criticism that comes from a place of gratitude; that’s the key.

Like criticizing a mentor who wasn’t perfect, but who gave you abilities you wouldn’t otherwise have, and thus you’re endeared to them.

Or say criticizing yourself, which must come with a moticom of love & appreciation, if it’s to be functional criticism, not just a put down.

If it’s simply criticism in a vacuum, if it’s unable to analyze in context, or put our flaws in relative contrast to countries around us, it simply becomes a feedback loop where everything becomes wrong, and everything wrong becomes an unforgivable blight.

This kind of criticism can & does become an excuse to decry patriotism, which is wrong, as patriotism is highly important as a societal function. Countries with low patriotic or nationalist feeling tend to become corrupt, for the very reason no one feels they live in a society that is valuable.

That’s not where I want to live.

To which I enjoin, how can you enact positive change if you don’t first love yourselves?

If it’s not coming from a place of love or appreciation, it just becomes a bottomless pit where the point is to criticize, rather than to improve.

Which is a high economically free nation (freer than us) so no surprise they’re high performing.

From their (less) regulations, to their low corporate taxes (relative to most of the EU, and even us pre-2017), to their high resource extraction, to their 30+ free trade agreements, they are a model to follow in many respects.

Same to using their Sovereign fund (and having one), rather than debt, to finance public improvements.

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Norway is predominantly white.

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True, but they only have that type of situation due to robust collective bargaining units. In the name of reducing regulations, we should also get rid of union busting regulations such as the Right-to-work laws and in general making unionization more accessible.

They have generally high wages and high taxes to help pay for their robust social welfare programs.

You’re not wrong, but I don’t think that fairly characterizes the modern left. It’s not pure criticism, it comes with ideas for change or goals to move towards. We’ve been asking for healthcare reform, wall street reform, police reform for years. Though the ideas may not come across as eloquent in the passion of protest signage, even the most heated protests (police reform) are filled with signs calling for ends to qualified immunity, demilitarization of the police, and the like. The left is frustrated with America, but not for the sake of itself, policy proposals to make things better are mixed in.

What are you getting at?

They don’t have the racial problems that we do because their population is almost all White. The same applies to some other countries you probably admire, like Sweden.

Since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the court cases that have defined how it is to be applied, conditions have gotten much better for African-Americans. If you willing to get an education and work hard, you can do very well in this country regardless of your race. If you are lazy and raise hell in school, you often fail. That applies to all races. If you become a criminal, your problems are multiplied.

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The Scandanavian countries are actually ones that both conservatives and libeals should study closely. Their experience contradicts the assertions of the dogmatists on both sides.

They have free enterprise economies, but substantial welfare states. The key question is: to what extent is their experience reproducable elsewhere? That is, how much does ‘culture’ (I won’t try to define it) play a significant role in their success?

Here’s a thought experiment: take all of Norway’s, or Sweden’s, laws, social welfare measures, etc … and implement them in Somalia. Would we expect it to turn into an African Sweden?

A really good book to read about Sweden is Fishing In Utopia. It was written by a young Englishman, Andrew Brown, of vaguely leftish sympathies, who went there to work in the early 1970s, got married, lived there a long time, left, then returned.

It’s interesting to read, for example, the contrast between the unions he left behind in the UK, and the unions in Sweden, with respect to their attitudes towards their employers.

This was written ten years ago, just as Sweden was deciding to commit national suicide, but it’s still full of insights.

And Scandinavian counties don’t have to worry about curbing Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and rest of enemies of freedom. Of course the left would like to avoid all of that since they think those countries have got it right, and we should step out of the way or join them.

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Gonna toss some other non-nordic countries into the ring here too:

South Korea

Accessibility isn’t the problem, it’s the structure where Unions don’t have to compete with each other.

And rather than Union-busting regs, I would point you to the law that created Right-to-work as an opt-out to the compulsory Union framework. The Wagner Act.

Right-to-work isn’t a modern reaction, it was added to the Wagner Act in the 1940s. And I admit fully that it’s too ham-fisted.

Kleptocratic tendencies by Unions, shouldn’t be answered with outlawing them. We should answer why they’ve become kleptocratic.

And the answer to that, is compulsory membership tied with a lack of competition. When a Union only needs to answer a small plurality of their members to get by, with no risk that they’ll go to the Union next door (by force of law), the leadership becomes complacent.

The asymmetry in this relationship was bound to cause moral hazards, and we’ve seen that play out in a variety of ways, the most disturbing being zombie Unions.

They largely don’t have this problem in Germany, Denmark, or Norway, they have Union competition, and there is nothing in their laws saying “1 company, 1 union”.

Because of that, the culture in their Unions is different, they act in ways according to company needs.
They can & will sign off on pay cuts if a company is in trouble, something Unions here would never do. They’d rather just fire people.

High taxes on the middle class. They don’t try to couch themselves in thinking just the 1% will pay for it. It’s a tax to everyone, or it doesn’t work.

It does though, I see frequent articles from leftist commentators insinuating that if you waive a flag, or have one mounted on a vehicle, you’re just a deplorable.

I’m sure most of those people, if engaged directly, could admit in theory waive flagging is not a problem. In practice, there’s little to nothing they’ll sign off on.

Default state should be that you’re ashamed of America. Anything else is “dangerous” divisive, or insensitive behavior.

It is though. They’re not taking moments to say “here’s why America is great”, or “why patriotism is important”, it’s only criticism they offer, and I’m sure in their minds it’s because “We don’t want to feed American Exceptionalism hoisters”.

And I can see the point; the 80’s narrative on American Exceptionalism is pretty much invented from whole cloth, and not historical to what Tocqueville meant when he wrote it.

But that means we’re playing by twitter logic, where you can’t say anything that gives ground to the Other. Which as a mindset, invites long-term degradation of both our national conversation, and how we relate to each other.

You got healthcare reform with the ACA. The conversation has now moved to Medicare for All, which would ban private plans, which is divisive, because it’s a terrible idea.

Wall Street reform was the Dodd-Frank act.

So two out of three. Police reform stagnated because, War on Drugs. Which I fully admit was a bad idea. Problems were further compounded by counter-terrorism funding and military hardware given away to departments whenever asked, with not much discernment of need or “why”.

Confusing the line between Police and soldiers is terrible policy. So is qualified immunity. So is abuse of civil forfeiture. So is broken windows and much of what came from it.

And so is the spreading of Police Unions, who insulate the force from reform.

… Why? France is broke, has a ridiculous youth unemployment rate (even before COVID), and everyone their knows that their healthcare system is heading for a cliff.

Comparing them to Germany shows they’ve made a long list of bad decisions, owing to their complacency and protectionism.

They also pretty much **** the hell out of their former African Colonies through their currency union, which is also one of the few things keeping France itself going. They are the example Lenin could point to of actual export exploitation.

About the only useful, not-evil economic decision they made in the last 30 years was embracement of nuclear power.

1 Agreed.
2 Not to me.

Having said that, the ones on the left who are pushing the LGBT agenda, taking a knee to the national anthem (they should take a knee to groin; if they don’t like what the U.S. represents they should express it in a mature manner instead of a childish in-your-face gimmick), screaming “racism” at anything and everything are trying to turn the U.S. into something it never was. That is pretty much dismissing the whole thing as crap.

Yeah that.

I don’t know the specifics of the right-to-work laws that you find objectionable, but I don’t think a person should have a gun to his head to join a union if he wants a job. And as AS noted there’s plenty of corruption in many of the unions.

Japan is economically strong (although not like it used to be), but it’s corrupt. And it’s a hotspot for sex trafficking.

As AS noted, France is a not-funny joke; I would cite the fact that they’re decrying the consequences of their worldview, as well as the fact that a lot of area in their big cities have become no-go zones because of Islam.

I don’t know enough about Austria to offer comment.

North Korea I don’t know much about, but like most non-western nations, it has a serious problem with uncared-for orphans. That tends not to be the case in predominantly Christian nations (although leftist policies forcing Christian adoption agencies to choose between acting against their faith (placing kids with homosexual couples, primarily) or closing their doors hasn’t helped).

It is encouraging to note that @Gene has not included one despotic socialist regime on his “best nations” list. That is indeed encouraging. Among the leftists who post here, @Gene is the most objective, and the only one with whom one might find some room for negotiation.

Among the countries on @Gene’s list, I find South Korea the most admirable. Despite the fact that it has been engaged in a cold war with an aggressive neighbor, it has eleventh largest economy in the world and is the seventh largest exporter. Brands like Hyundai, Kia and Samsung are household names.

South Korea stands in sharp contrast to North Korea which is an economic basket case. All it can export is stray rockets, bellicose statements and blackmail.

Given my age, I can remember a time when South Korea was run as a dictatorship, and there was little to admire about it, except that it opposed North Korea. This does show that a nation can change for the better given proper leadership.

The theme of the list is “countries that take care of their people better than we do”

Yes France in particular has many problems, nowhere is a utopia, but they do have universal healthcare, childcare, housing assistance, and in general one of the strongest social safety nets. No doubt stronger when compared to that of the United States.

This is a very important point. American taxpayers equipped the world’s best military, theirs bought a welfare state, under our protection.

Now… the question is … do we still need the military we have created – I don’t mean in terms of raw strength, but in terms of its worldwide commitments: do we really need to spend hundreds of milions of dollars on ‘Africa Command’, when we cannot even command South Chicago? Do we really need to send billions of dollars to Pakistan?

France has nuclear weapons. Britain has nuclear weapons. The Germans have shown themselves to be pretty good at war-fighting, as I recall, and have the wealth to equip a modern army.

So why is it up to us to do the heavy lifting, even assuming Mr Putin is slavering to invade Europe? Would they do it for us, if conditions changed?

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