The Corner

Socialism and Central Planning Still Can’t Defeat Human Nature

As we watch Europe’s unfolding debt drama, it’s worth asking a question: If socialism and central planning can’t succeed in Europe, where can they succeed? After all, Europe possessed tremendous advantages when it launched its slow-running experiment in cradle-to-grave welfare statism and post-national political unity many decades ago: historically dynamic economies, educated citizens, relative religious unity (around a lack of belief), a commitment (born out of sorrow and blood) to peace, and military protection provided by the world’s great superpower. The result was something resembling a social-democracy Disneyland, a virtual theme park for believers in nationalized health care, progressive social views, soft power over hard power, and carefully managed democracy.

Yet human nature still prevails, doesn’t it? It turns out that the euro couldn’t turn Greeks and Italians into Germans, that cradle-to-grave welfare benefits have the same impact on the work ethic and productivity of millions of Europeans as they had on millions of Americans, and that “post-Christian Europe” was hardly a more-rational Europe.  

We can’t just shake our heads at the Europeans, however, not when our current president looks across the Atlantic and sees not a cautionary tale but instead a model for our American future. Name one Obama administration policy goal that wouldn’t make us more European. From nationalized health care to more “progressive” taxation to state/corporate ownership models to a shrinking defense, every significant policy choice is dragging us closer to the model that is collapsing before our very eyes. Does he think that Americans are better at being French than the French?  

In reality, we’re all just people. And if there’s one thing that history’s proven and keeps proving, it’s that socialism and real people simply don’t mix.


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