Saturday, January 29, 2011

Europeans are socialists!

Europeans are socialists. At least that is the common perception among Americans if Fox News and other right-wing news outlets are believed to be somewhat representative of the American populace. Luckily they're not, but still. They're quite influential.

But are Europeans socialists? Of course not. In some European countries, the state plays a bigger part in people's lives than it does in the U.S. But it is a far cry from socialism where there is collective ownership over the means of production. It would be a mistake - most people would agree - to say that for example Great Britain is socialist. All EU - and most European - countries are liberal democracies with free and well-functioning market economies with minimal government intervention in the economy.

Not a single EU country lives up to the criteria of socialism, and for that reason alone, the EU cannot be said to be socialist. The claim reveals a fundamental ignorance of European politics and social life. That the EU should be socialist is a gross misinterpretation of the political and social structure that exists.

The misunderstanding is probably based on the fact that some EU countries are well-established welfare states where the government plays a big part in terms of health care and education. But having a strong welfare state doesn't mean the country is socialist.

Seeing how the Tea Party movement in the U.S. raves on about socialism in the U.S. is a bit bewildering when you observe it from across the Atlantic. How come no one is questioning whether or the Tea Party movement even knows what socialism entails?

The Tea Party movement's insistence on labeling the E.U. as socialist can be seen as nationalism in disguise. And questioning if President Obama is even a legitimate citizen - despite overwhelming evidence that he is - is either insane, improbably ignorant, or racist.


  1. Aha... that's the point - to the tea party anything that's not tea party is by definition socialist.