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Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:00 PM

Social Democracy

I think that many Americans have an aversion to the term "socialism", but not to actual social programs. The older generation has Social Security and Medicare, and they love those programs. It could be argued that those two well-loved programs are socialist programs. It depends on your terminology. I personally would rather refer to them as "progressive" programs.

The term "socialism" has been demonized in American politics for decades and decades. They called FDR a socialist when he implemented Social Security. They called Social Security a "socialist" program to demonize it. They did the same with LBJ and Medicare later on.

These types of programs are no different from Sander's Medicare For All. They are social welfare programs that a majority of people want. They just do not like to call them "socialist", as that term has been demonized. Maybe better to use the term "progressive" for programs that people love and want, like Social Security, like Medicare. And those programs are overwhelmingly liked by the older generation as well as many younger demographics. For example, my Step-father is a Republican, but God forbid that you try to take his Social Security away.

Also, I have seen some people compare Democratic Socialism to Communism. This is a smear campaign against Social Democracy. Social Democracy and Communism are two entirely different things. Republicans continue to equate them, but it is a false equivalency. China and Russia in the 20th Century were not Socialist Countries- they were Communist Dictatorships. They are nothing like Social Democracies. Social Democracies are countries like Denmark and Norway which have democracy and strong private sectors that pay taxes to support a strong social safety net. Universal Health Care, Child Care, Free University, Good Pay, Long Vacations, etc.

This is what Social Democracy proposes. Comparing that to Totalitarian Communist Dictatorships shows a profound misunderstanding of what Socialism/Social Democracy is. Communism has no democracy and no private sector. Social Democracy has both a strong private sector and a democracy with a strong social safety net. Social Democracy and Communism are night and day, no matter how much propaganda says that they are the same. They are nothing alike.

So, Social Democracy and Communism are night and day and are not the same thing. To put forward that false equivalency is to help the Republicans, who like to smear any social program as some form of communism. Universal Health Care and Free University are socialist ideas, not communist ones. Socialist societies are democracies with private sectors and safety nets. Communist societies are totalitarian societies with no democracy, no private sector, and no freedom. Do not confuse the two.

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Social Democracy (Original post)
Progressive2020 Feb 2020 OP
Shermann Feb 2020 #1
OnDoutside Feb 2020 #4
Progressive2020 Feb 2020 #6
OnDoutside Feb 2020 #2
mjvpi Feb 2020 #5
OnDoutside Feb 2020 #7
Progressive2020 Mar 2020 #19
OnDoutside Mar 2020 #27
mjvpi Feb 2020 #3
Progressive2020 Feb 2020 #8
mjvpi Mar 2020 #15
Progressive2020 Mar 2020 #25
Hortensis Feb 2020 #9
Progressive2020 Feb 2020 #10
Hortensis Feb 2020 #11
Progressive2020 Feb 2020 #13
Hortensis Feb 2020 #14
Progressive2020 Mar 2020 #17
Hortensis Mar 2020 #18
Progressive2020 Mar 2020 #20
Hortensis Mar 2020 #21
Progressive2020 Mar 2020 #22
Hortensis Mar 2020 #23
Progressive2020 Mar 2020 #26
brush Feb 2020 #12
EndlessWire Mar 2020 #16
Progressive2020 Mar 2020 #24

Response to Progressive2020 (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:06 PM

1. European-Style Democracy

This is probably the most accurate term, but even this is a pejorative in this country. So even when the hype is cast off, there is still a problem selling our progressive platforms.

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Response to Shermann (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:08 PM

4. There's a major difference between Social Democrats and Democratic Socialists, within Europe.

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Response to Shermann (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:15 PM

6. Yes

It is actually about terminology and a marketing problem. I think the term "progressive" works well in America. I think Bernie makes a mistake using the term "socialism". It has too much baggage and negative connotations in America. It is an older and outmoded term. "Progressive Democracy" or something like that might be better language.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:07 PM

2. Democratic Socialism is Bernie's little in-joke, it's Socialism, most likely of a Trotskyist nature.

Social Democrats have a long understood history and acceptance throughout Europe. Socialists have largely tried to change their public facing image, but little has changed underneath that.

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Response to OnDoutside (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:12 PM

5. What basis do you have for saying that?

Bernie is not my pick. He and his supporters are going to be needed to beat Trump. Misrepresentation won’t help us come together.

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Response to mjvpi (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:22 PM

7. Because I am European, live in Europe and have grown up watching the evolution of hard line

Socialists since the fall of the Berlin Wall, from old style far left reactionary politics to putting on this softer, slicker public face (especially since the 2008 crash), using social media the same way Putin does. But their core values have remained unchanged.

As for his supporters, those who are interested in defeating Trump, will vote Dem, those who voted against Hillary in 2016 (even voting for Trump and Stein) will do so, but the bigger "get" in 2020 are the moderate Republicans disgusted with Trump/GOP and Independents who will also come over. They're the bigger group, who DO vote.

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Response to OnDoutside (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 07:36 PM

19. Yeah

But Sanders is not a "hard line socialist". He just wants Universal Health Care like the UK, Denmark, and Canada have. Does that make the UK, Denmark, and Canada "hard line socialist" countries? No.

People are trying to paint Sanders as some sort of radical communist, when he is just proposing what most industrial nations have- Universal Health Care. And this is not Europe, it is America. We tend not to have "hard line socialists" here.

We just have some people that want a few benefits from their governments, like Health Care and a decent, affordable Education. None of that is particularly radical, and it is a Straw Man Argument to paint Sanders as some sort of radical, hard line socialist.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Reply #19)

Mon Mar 2, 2020, 07:24 AM

27. In US terms, definitely he is a hard line socialist, as the GOP will paint from wall to wall.

In fact, within a European context he would also be viewed as a far left socialist.

Unless there's a small EU country of which i am not aware, ALL EU countries (certainly all the major EU countries) have private healthcare, alongside its public healthcare option. Sanders' policy is to get rid private healthcare and replace it with M4A. That's some radical stuff there.

Some would call Sanders a left wing populist, which I disagree with. If there's one thing that you could say about Bernie, is that his beliefs have not changed in 40 years, as a populist would. Except he's no longer so harsh on millionaires, now he has joined their ranks.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:08 PM

3. Thank you.

It boils down to what kind of country you want to live in. After 40 years of The Reagan Revolution I know what I would like my country to look like.

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Response to mjvpi (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:30 PM

8. Reagan Revolution

The Reagan Revolution was largely a conservative response to the counter-culture and politics of the sixties. We have been living with the effects of the Reagan Revolution for a long time, many decades, as you point out. Part of the Democratic response to that was the Clintonian Neo-Liberalism. Instead of digging in and doubling down on the progressive side, the Clinton people moved to the center and captured more moderate voters. I was one of those Democratic Moderates.

As I have gotten older, I have come to the conclusion that moderation and incrementalism is not enough, at least for me personally. I would like to see more large scale change and help for Working People and the Middle Class. So, unlike some people, I have gotten less moderate and more progressive as I have gotten older. Incremental change is not enough when you are dealing with challenges like Climate Change and Income Inequality. We need large scale change and big action.

So, a counter-weight to the Reagan Revolution is more Progressivism. Sanders has brought this idea forward. Even if Sanders loses the nomination, he has changed the conversation for a new generation. 10 years ago, we were not talking about Medicare For All, Free University, and $15 Dollar/Living Wages. Now we are, and Sanders can be credited for that.

So again, even if Sanders loses, he has created a genuine change and a new political movement that will continue on. I guarantee that you will see many more politicians like AOC who are Progressives and who were inspired by Bernie Sanders and his politics. This fight is far from over. In fact it has just begun, as more and more young people join in the fight for a more just and progressive society.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 01:49 AM

15. My party in the guise of moving to the middle has helped the right take over.

The right wing villains of my youth look like moderate to liberal Dems today. Senator Sanders is trying to break the paradigm. He has been a progressive beacon for a long time. He and his supporters are going to be major players at the Democratic convention. If not the nominee, he will help write our platform. The vitriol that exists towards Sanders and supporters scares me. We can’t beat Trump without all of us coming together. I think that there are posters at DU who post for and against Saunders who gotta’ be working for Russia, or who are just as bad as because they are losing all perspective of what our party has to look like coming out of our convention

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Response to mjvpi (Reply #15)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 08:26 PM

25. I Agree

I agree with your comments. Thanks for posting.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:34 PM

9. Society Security is NOT the slightest bit socialist and to say so

is profoundly deluded or dishonest. Any more than roads and schools are socialism because they're government products.

The European states are CAPITALIST democracies that have socialized some government services. EXACTLY like the U.S., except that currently our ONLY large socialized program is the VA. (That began in the mid 1800s as an extension of military structure.) Anyone who claims they're socialist states is lying.

Socialism MEANS seizure of production for communal ownership. Without communal ownership it's not socialism. Sanders is a long-avowed democratic socialist with strong commitment to the socialist part. As for communism not being a strong form of socialism, tell that to the founders of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

What European nations are doing has a real name of its own: they are social democracies. When Sanders claims his democratic socialism is what European nations have and really the same as what we already have, he's lying.

Most Democrats would go for much of what Europe has, and if that was what Sanders actually intended, he could be honest about it. But it's not, and Sanders apparently feels he has a better chance by trying to sell a bait-and-switch.

That's understandable since he hasn't been able to even give his socialism away in the 50 years he's been trying. That's because socialism requires great sacrifice of individual freedoms. Also because all experiments at socialist states have failed dreadfully, destroyed prosperity, and caused great suffering.

Btw, I also strongly doubt Sanders' adherence to the democratic part, judging by his attempt to illicitly take the 2016 nomination away from the voters. And also by his current well-documented explanation that as president he will create citizen uprisings to threaten and force congress to do what the president wants. Sounds to me like a continuation of the Republicans' attacks on our three-branch balance of power in favor of an out-of-control imperial presidency, only with Sanders at the top instead of Trump.

And that Sanders believes that only in that way can he achieve his revolution should be most enlightening of all.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 07:56 PM

10. Definitions

That would all be true if all of the definitions that you use are accurate, but different people use different terms for the same thing. The truth is that in America we have a mixed economy- a mix of private sector and public programs. Social Democracy is just like that- a mix of private sector and public programs. That is, public education, roads, bridges and infrastructure, health care, fire emergency, police, and military.

All of these are publicly funded, and the taxes come from the private sector- income tax, corporate tax, wealth tax. You can call it something other than mixed economy or democratic socialism, but that is basically what it is and what is being proposed. To compare a mixed economy to communism is either misunderstanding or propaganda. We can have democracy, a healthy private sector, and a strong social safety net. That is what Social Democracy is, whatever else you might call it.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 08:06 PM

11. Trump defines Democrats as a wacko unhinged mob.

Is that correct because he "uses a different definition"? Maybe cast your mind back to school? Learning proper definitions is hugely necessary to understanding. As a wise man said, we're entitled to our own opinions but not our own facts.

This takeaway should be a big clue to reality:

None of the European nations whose capitalism-embracing solutions Sanders rejects needed to overthrow their governments to socialize some government services. The people just voted to have them within their existing systems.

But Sanders believes that only by lying and smashing our democracy can he achieve his socialist goals. He's right. Because it destroys many of the individual freedoms democracy was created to protect, socialism has always required destructive, and usually violent, socialist revolutions to impose it on those unfortunate nations.

NEVER support a leader who lies to you. He has reasons you wouldn't like or he wouldn't do it.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 10:25 PM

13. I Disagree

Sanders is not proposing a change other than by democratic means. The key term is "Democrat" in Democratic Socialism. Sanders says he wants a system like Denmark. They are a Democracy with a good private sector and a strong social safety net. Anyway, there is more that can be said, but it is late and I will address this Thread in more detail tomorrow.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 11:02 PM

14. Insistence on following a leader who lies

is a secular version of religious faith, without the moral lessons.

If Sanders really wanted a Denmark type system, he wouldn’t call himself a socialist of any type. Denmark is not a socialist nation. It’s a capitalist nation.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #14)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 07:30 PM

17. Definitions Again

It is how some terms are defined. A mixed economy is a combination of private sector and government programs. That is what we have and what Denmark has. We just have less health care than they do. Bernie is proposing more government programs like Medicare For All/Universal Health Care like Denmark and other European nations. He has not proposed Nationalizing the steel industry or something like that. So Denmark is a mixed economy and we are a mixed economy. Bernie just wants to provide Universal Health Care. The idea that he is some sort of communist trying to outlaw the private sector in America is a right wing talking point.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Reply #17)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 07:34 PM

18. Nonsense. Seriously. Some definitions are truth, some are lies

developed to trick people. Con men have been doing that for thousands of years. You don't get to pick and choose what's true any more than Trump's self-created nutcakes do. Truth is truth.

Some European nations did try forms of Sanders' social democracy over a half century ago, but THEY ALL FAILED. Bet he didn't tell you THAT, right? Since then, they're returned to capitalism based economies and no longer bear any resistance to the democratic socialism Sanders believes in.

Btw, national sales taxes in those nations are about 25% (!!!) -- EXTREMELY regressive and falling most heavily on the poorest. The U.S. is FAR more progressive at 7%. That and extremely high personal income taxes hit their poor and middle classes far more than their affluent classes and far more than us here in the U.S. That's how they're paying for those great public services we all want: mostly through the noses of their lower-income people.

Sanders didn't tell you that either, right? He may be right that you can live your life very happily without ever wasting money you should be paying into the communal kitty on a Starbucks chai latte, but in our democracy we the people should make those decisions. Reality is, those nations should be copying the U.S. in those respects where we're more advanced than them, not just vice versa.

But you COULD have found this and much more out for yourself. And with that you would have realized their version of our current predatory capitalism is not really what Sanders wants to implement at all. He's still locked into old-fashioned notions of the democratic socialism that's failed everywhere it's been tried.

Short form: In essence Sanders is LYING to you big time.

As for "definitions," politicians owe it to everyone to use official, accepted definitions so people can look them up and learn more, not make some phony ones up to keep people from knowing what they're doing. It's called transparency.

Informed voters require politicians to stay honest, though, and that's a problem for dishonest politicians. In contrast, eager suckers who obediently line up for picking encourage corruption and trickery.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #18)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 07:55 PM

20. I Disagree

There is no such thing as "official, accepted definitions" of words. Language is malleable, and terms change. There also can be multiple definitions of certain terms and words. Furthermore, you might use a word differently from how I use a word, and vice versa. This is not "lying". It is a matter of the inherent flexibility of language.

Some people use the term "socialist" in different ways. I have read definitions of a mixed economy being a combination of private sector capitalism and public sector social programs. Some call that a mix of socialism and capitalism. A mixed economy.

The Republicans that opposed FDR and the implementation of Social Security called the program "socialism". You seem averse to use the term socialism to describe a government program like that, but many people do call it that, conservative Republicans in this particular case. So are you "lying" when you oppose the use of the term "socialism" in that context, or are the conservative Republicans "lying"? The truth is neither party are lying; they are just using the term "socialist" in different ways.

Sanders is not proposing anything more than Universal Health Care like the UK, Denmark, or Canada have. Some call this socialism, some not. In either case, Sanders is not much different from FDR in terms of ideology and policy. Whatever terms you use to describe that, socialist or not.

Here is a section from the Wikipedia article on Mixed Economy. Please note the phrase "There is no single definition of a mixed economy". This proves my point that many terms can have multiple definitions and different shades of meaning.

"A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of market economies with elements of planned economies, free markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise.[1] There is no single definition of a mixed economy.[2] One definition is about a mixture of markets with state interventionism, referring specifically to capitalist market economies with strong regulatory oversight, interventionist policies and governmental provision of public services. The other definition is apolitical in nature, strictly referring to an economy containing a mixture of private enterprise with public enterprise.[3]"

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Response to Progressive2020 (Reply #20)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 07:57 PM

21. Trump and the massively corrupt Republicans disagree also.

Congrats on at least having a lot of company in your disagreement with all the most knowledgeable and honorable minds in the Democratic Party leadership, and I'm guessing with thousands of honest economists, though I haven't checked that.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 08:00 PM

22. It Is A False Equivalency

Just because someone disagrees with your argument does not mean they can be lumped in with Trump. It is a false equivalency.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Reply #22)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 08:09 PM

23. Well, aside from the others who swallow without checking

what Sanders and various scoundrels promoting him say, that's where your fellow disagree-ers with honest expert and mainstream thinking are.

I don't blame you a bit if you don't like the poor quality, immorality and lack of intellectual verity of the vast majority of those who are "dis-agreeing" with you against all the rest, but...your choice. This is a correctable situation.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #23)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 08:35 PM

26. Maybe

Maybe things would be clearer if you check out the Wikipedia definition of Social Democracy that I posted on this Thread at Post 24. It is the definition of Social Democracy that I am using here on this Thread. You might agree or disagree with it.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Original post)

Sat Feb 29, 2020, 08:30 PM

12. Face it. It's Sanders' fault that he calls himself a democratic socialist instead...

Last edited Sun Mar 1, 2020, 08:39 PM - Edit history (1)

of a social Democrat. No one's fault but his.

That socialism is compared to democratic socialism is already confusing to people so for him to try to re-label himself a social democrat at this late stage won't work, especially since there actually is a Democratic Socialist Party active in the country. And there are those many decades of oppo were he reveled in calling himself just a plain socialist.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Original post)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 12:11 PM

16. They took money out of my paycheck

so, I don't feel guilty at all about receiving Social Security, and I don't care what you call it. I look at it like a forced savings account.

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Response to Progressive2020 (Original post)

Sun Mar 1, 2020, 08:16 PM

24. Social Democracy

I thought that I would add a section of the Wikipedia article on "Social Democracy" for reference-

"Social democracy is a political, social and economic philosophy that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist-oriented economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution, regulation of the economy in the general interest and social welfare provisions.[1][2][3] Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties during the post-war consensus and their influence on socioeconomic policy in the Nordic countries, social democracy became associated with the Nordic model and Keynesianism within political circles in the late 20th century.[4][5] It has also been seen by some political commentators as a synonym for modern socialism[6][7][8] and as overlapping with democratic socialism."

Please note that Social Democracy is defined as a "liberal democratic polity" and a "capitalist-oriented economy". Anyone that equates Social Democracy with Communism is either lying or mistaken in the context of this definition. Communism has neither democracy or a capitalist economy. Social Democracy has both.

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