Tuesday, December 10, 2019

These are the Questions You Should Ask a US Democratic Socialist the Next Time You Hear One Say in Your Presence That Scandinavian Type Socialism is the Ideal

Sweden, the land of billionaires
We have all heard it before.

The minute you point out that communism has been a failure in the Soviet Union, Mao's China, etc., the retort comes from a budding democratic socialist that those regions did not have true socialism and that it is the Scandinavian countries that have true socialism.

Since deep thought and research are not a prime feature of socialists you can smash this notion of their's pretty quickly.

Start with this question: "So you are in favor of the class structure/distribution of wealth that they have in Sweden?"

The budding socialist will answer: "Yes."

Then drop bomb one:

"How is this not the ultimate in a free market-type class structure/distribution of wealth?"

The dim wit will babble here because he really won't know what you are talking about or where you are headed.

It doesn't matter what is said. You will reply, "But, Sweden is probably the easiest place in the world to become a billionaire and has one of the world's highest unequal distributions of wealth in the world. How is that not the mark of a very free-market-oriented economy?"

More dim wit babbling.

Then you hit them with this:

"Sweden has one of the highest rates of billionaires in the world. One in every 250,000 people is a billionaire."

And then you close: "Sweeden may be a welfare state but it is far from socialist with so many billionaires."

You can also hit them with this, and although it is technically true, it is mixing assets with income flow. You can use this point but someone who knows the difference (unlikely to be a socialist) may incorrectly challenge you on the point. This is not improper just complex. It will score points against the weak thinking socialist, but a clever person who knows the difference between assets and income flows may attempt to dirty the water because of the mixing of assets and income flow. The dirtying of the water is incorrect here but it is complex to explain why so only use this against someone who you are confident has no clue rather than a half clue:
An estimate from The Economist finds that the value of Swedish billionaires’ fortunes is equivalent to a quarter of the country’s annual gdp. Only in tax havens such as Cyprus or Monaco, or captured economies such as Russia or Georgia, are plutocrats more dominant.
A few notes:

You might get challenged on the accuracy of your claims. If you are in a bar, this is the time to make a bet.

Here is the link from Economist magazine with the supporting facts, store it on your cellphone: https://www.economist.com/briefing/2019/11/28/in-sweden-billionaires-are-surprisingly-popular

A further note:

In the US there is roughly one billionaire for every 550,000 people.



  1. My old argument was to bring up that they are welfare states but the USA is a welfare-warfare state. I make the point that losing the warfare half is a vast improvement. This is often where the discussion ends because now they don't know what to do. If it does not I then challenge them to convert the US military spending to the welfare spending they are asking for. Which then gets to the heart of the matter because they won't.

    The socialism is so often driven by laziness, jealousy, and controlling others that the idea of stripping the military of funding to get what they want is simply not acceptable to them. First it would be hard political work, doing so doesn't allow them to tax people more, and since they can't tax people more the control is limited to those who become dependents on the new welfare willingly. Then of course there is the biggest issue of all, it's hard to force people to do something without well equipped armed forces.

  2. This approach will bounce off socialists like bullets off superman. You're trying to win the intellectual game, but they're not even playing that game. They are operating based on sentiments, impressions and symbols. Libertarians don't fail to convert socialists for lack of sound arguments. We fail because we refuse to attune our arguments to their sentiments. A quarter of a way through the above discussion the socialist will identify you as apologist for billionaires and every word that subsequently comes out of your mouth will be treated as deception. To them it's just sounds like you think rich people screwing over poor people. That's all they will hear.

    100% of the socialists' complaints about wealth distribution should be met with, "Yes! Wealth distribution is messed up. The billionaires are screwing us all over. Do you know how the Federal Reserve works?"

    We cannot change their sentiments. If they want to bash billionaires, point them to the Fed.

    The statists win because they present their ideas in forms people can digest. Libertarians lose because we sound like a bunch of dorks arguing over the rules to Dungeons and Dragons. People don't want to be dorks. They want to be cool.

    If you want to take the girl home, stop trying to talk to her and learn how to dance.

  3. Socialists and paleo-libertarians have different goals: They want equality of outcome, we want liberty i.e. freedom from government control, coercion and rule. So I doubt any amount of argument or persuasion will make a difference, when the ends differ so drastically.
    Of course, I haven't entirely given up yet, but it seems not too distant...