The Democratic Party is currently riding a wave of support from its left, brought about by the agenda of the party’s new defacto spiritual leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The S word once associated with being run out of politics entirely in the United States during the early years of the Cold War is now on the tip of everyone’s tongue, Socialism is back.
This “new” brand of “American Democratic Socialism” seeks to emulate the policies of countries where socialist policies have in fact been successful and relatively sustainable. Examples of that include Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to name a few.
Australia for example is considered a “socialist nation” (which it isn’t) by some Democrats because of its strong commitment to universal healthcare and the welfare state across most of the political spectrum.
However, neither of Australia’s major parties would even consider implementing some of the policies that are fast becoming the foundation of the Democratic Party’s platform heading into November’s Mid Term elections.
For example here a few comparisons between Australia and the Democrats plan for their utopian America.
Abolishing ICE – Australia has some of the toughest border enforcement legislation in the world and also heavily punishes illegal immigration. Illegal arrivals are sent to offshore immigration detention centres on Pacific islands like Nauru or Manus Island until such time as their applications for asylum can be properly assessed.
For example here is an example of advertisement run by the Australian government to dissuade illegal entry to Australia by boat.
A guaranteed job for everyone – No mainstream Australian party would consider something that economically reckless, that flies in the face of all conventional economic and social wisdom. Political parties on the fringe have considered programs like a universal basic income (UBI), but even the majority of them would not seek to interfere so blatantly in how companies choose to run their businesses.
Housing as a human right – Australia has some of the most expensive housing in the entire developed world, with both Melbourne and Sydney ranking as more unaffordable than San Francisco when compared by price to income ratios. Implementing this kind of policy would be even more expensive per capita than it would be in the United States.
There seems to be a prevailing idea amongst Democrats in favour of Democratic socialism, that somehow they can do better than countries where socialist policies have been in place for decades and the general public overwhelmingly supports them.
There is certain hubris in that idea, that the Democrats can simply superimpose the successful socialist policies of other nations on the United States.
But it goes even further than that, they believe they can somehow go even further in the promises of their version of a utopia, where there are no borders, no homeless and no unemployed.
Ben Shapiro made the argument in a recent article in the National review that cultural factors must be taken into account before simply imposing the successful socialist policies of the Nordic nations on to the political and social landscape of the United States.
Shapiro is of course absolutely correct, what works for one country with its own cultural idiosyncrasies and singular national viewpoint isn’t necessarily going to work for another.
Making socialist policies work is not the piece of cake many on the left believe it to be, finding an equilibrium between what is economically, politically and socially possible can be an at times impossible balancing act.
Numerous countries have gone down a socialist path before, many of them unsuccessfully because they failed to find an adequate balance between all the different factors that socialist policies face.
If the Democrats do indeed implement their entire wish list of Democratic Socialist policies in the United States, they will be attempting to implement a level of socialism that has never succeeded anywhere in the world.
Attempting to enact socialist policies is a bit like handling a loaded firearm, it is a weapon that can be an effective tool in the battle against poverty. But only when they are used in moderation, carefully targeted and used properly by experienced professionals.
What the Democratic Socialists seem to be currently proposing is the usage of socialist policies to completely transform American society. With those who would be enacting the policies having no real prior experience on the implementation and sustainability of large scale socialist legislation.
Socialist policies are a potent piece of policy firepower, wildly waving it around at everything that ails a nation like the Democratic Socialists are now, is a recipe for legislative missteps and policy mistakes that will have serious long term consequences on a national scale.