Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Can we turn Britain into a Scandinavian country?

I work in the social care sector, hold slightly progressive views and read the Guardian online. People like me seem to have a desire to turn Britain into a Scandinavian country- more relaxed yet efficent, clean and healthy and with less inequality and social disorder.

Can Britain become a Scandinavian country? Why not? We have a lot in common. We are a north European nation speaking a Germanic language. Plenty of British people are descended from Viking settlers from the time that we were part of the long-forgotten Danish empire. We have a welfare state, a monarchy, a cross in our flag and we are Protestant.

Of course if Britain were to become a progressive liberal Scandinavian country, we will all have to adopt the progressive custom of removing shoes at the door. In my opinion, however wonderful the Swedish welfare state might be, the most wonderful thing about Norway and Sweden is the fact that people take their shoes off when entering homes. Scandinavia is clean and healthy.

30 comments:

jazzycat said...

Welfare state? I am confused, I have heard you refer to yourself as a conservative. Do you favor a welfare state?

Big brother mandated shoes off at the door would be ok with you?

Celestial Fundie said...

"Do you favor a welfare state?"

Yes, of course. Every single western government has some form of social security.

"Big brother mandated shoes off at the door would be ok with you?"

Of course not.

jazzycat said...

Social security in America could have been a wonderful plan if it had been set up and run by private corporations.

Social security will eventually (probably sooner than later) become means tested and become only for what the government considers as the poor! This will be the only political solution. Freedom will continue to be lost by inept and wasteful government policies. The producers will be asked to support more and more of the non-producers who will vote for those who will provide more and more entitlements!

I see a further decline into socialism for my country unless something really drastic happens.....

Celestial Fundie said...

I think the best system of social security would be an Individual Basic Income.

jazzycat said...

It seems the IBI is a form of socialism. Since the government must take money from citizen A to give to citizen B this results in a loss of freedom. If the basic principle is good, then why not go all the way and have the government take everything and give each an equal portion?

Celestial Fundie said...

"It seems the IBI is a form of socialism. Since the government must take money from citizen A to give to citizen B this results in a loss of freedom."

I am guessing that by your own definition you are a socialist.

You surely believe that the government should take money from citizen A to pay members of the armed services and police, which results in a loss of freedom.

God Bless

Matthew

jazzycat said...

Faulty comparison. The armed services and police are needed services provided for citizens rather than just giving party B money. I will give you a mulligan to give a better example. ;)

Celestial Fundie said...

Ah, but you did not mention anything about whether a public service is provided or not.

So what is your definition of socialism?

jazzycat said...

Socialism is the government mandated transfer of wealth and property from producers to non-producers! Social security is well named in America as that is exactly how it operates here.

Celestial Fundie said...

"Socialism is the government mandated transfer of wealth and property from producers to non-producers!"

In other words, every single government in the world is socialist.

Are you being serious?

jazzycat said...

To some extent you are probably right. But in the US the freedom to obtain economic rewards are still possible. However, our social security system is a wealth transfer from producers to non-producers and is in no way a retirement program.

Nationalized health care would be another socialist program that many in America want. How do you like the health system in the U.K?

At some point it is inevitable that socialism will collapse and fail! I hate the loss of freedom that goes with socialism as nothing produces prospertity like economic freedom. Without incentive to better one's economic situtation, prosperity will without question suffer!

Are you arguing for socialist solutions?

Celestial Fundie said...

I think you are chucking the word 'socialist' around like a term of abuse. The idea that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher presided over 'socialist' governments is absurd.

"How do you like the health system in the U.K?"

There are problems with our healthcare system, but you will find very few British people who would want to see the end of free healtcare.

The Conservative party aims to make the NHS more efficent, not abolish it.

Any party that wanted to privatize healthcare would be in opposition forever.

"At some point it is inevitable that socialism will collapse and fail!"

If you take a good look at a number of European countries, you will find that economic growth is perfectly compatible with generous provision of welfare.

You would also find that many European welfare states have much less crime, poverty, mental health problems and healthier populations.

"Are you arguing for socialist solutions?"

I look for solutions that make a difference, instead of hurling abusive names at any idea that does not fit a very narrow ideology.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

jazzycat said...

I look for solutions that make a difference, instead of hurling abusive names at any idea that does not fit a very narrow ideology.

Ronald Reagan once said, “when a society is willing to trade their freedom for security, they will end up with neither.”

There are problems with our healthcare system, but you will find very few British people who would want to see the end of free healtcare.

You don’t really believe you have free healthcare, do you? What is your tax rate? I imagine the problems with your healthcare system would be improved greatly if it were free’d up from government involvment.

The idea that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher presided over 'socialist' governments is absurd.

In America we have creeping socialism and the loss of freedom that goes with it. As I have pointed out, our social security system is without a doubt a socialist program.

In America, liberals like Obama look to Europe as a shinning example of a city on a hill, but I assure you that American conservatives want nothing to do with their big government ideas. I was amazed at the car burnings that were allowed in France a couple of years ago. That would not have happened where I live as we have the right to protect ourselves and our property.

I do believe the model for a free society comes straight from the Bible and that socialism and socialistic policies go against Biblical principles.

Celestial Fundie said...

So is it socialism for the government to provide a means of support for people who are disable so they don't have to beg on the streets?

jazzycat said...

I have one question about your healthcare system that is based on a true case of an American in England that I heard about. Are there certain medical procedures that are not permitted past a certain age?

Celestial Fundie said...

"Are there certain medical procedures that are not permitted past a certain age?"

No. And the government is bringing in legislation to ensure that the elderly are not discriminated against in the provision of public services.

jazzycat said...

Your question requires more information and a long answer. However, I would say that families have a responsibility to care for their members ahead of the government. I have a handicapped sister that my other sister and I see after. Also rather than social security, I would envision a private disability insurance program and I would not be against a law that required a worker to have it. It would be better run, cheaper and more efficient it the private sector handled it.

Celestial Fundie said...

Wayne, did you know that some people have no living relatives? There are also some people whose relatives hate their guts.

Disability insurance?

How are you supposed to contribute to that if you have been born blind?

jazzycat said...

If there is no age discrimination, why is new law needed? And if that law passes, what is to prevent the law from being changed 20-30 years from now?

Celestial Fundie said...

"If there is no age discrimination, why is new law needed?"

Good question. There certainly should not be in discrimination in the public services. However, things can go wrong in any big organisation. And new medical technology may cause some issues.

Any new rules will apply just as much to the private health sector.

I have not followed the bill, so I do not know if it has been passed yet or the full implications.

The short answer to your earlier question is still 'no.'

jazzycat said...

Matthew,
Because public funds are needed in special cases like you cite, does not mean that a whole comphrehensive system should be set up to in effect take over family responsibilities. That is one reason that family bonds are deteriorating in America. This is not a good thing when people look to government instead of families.

Certainly, a person born blind without a family should be cared for but that is no argument for a massive nanny state.........

Celestial Fundie said...

So in principle, you accept that in some cases the state is justified in using taxes to provide support to people.

Now you may think those are exceptional cases.

However, if you are allowing that there is not absolute moral objection to the government providing support to people in some cases, one can then argue a case that it would be better to provide support in other cases as well.

You need to move away from shrieking "Its socialism if you do that" towards asking questions like:

"Is this a need which can be more effectively met by the state or by private means?"

"Would there be any detrimental effect in the government providing this benefit?"

That way one can have a debate about social security without paranoia of socialism.

God Bless

Matthew

jazzycat said...

When a society has no Christian foundation or moral base then all these government programs will be subject to being changed by the voters. Europe is already without a majority Christian foundation and America is fast getting there.

When freedom is lost in any area in favor of a nanny state, then the rules not only can change, they will change to meet changing conditions. Already in America we have liberals (democrats) who favor and appoint judges who render personal policy preferences rather than abide by the law as written by duly elected representatives.

I am suprised you don't see the danger with socialist solutions!

jazzycat said...

That way one can have a debate about social security without paranoia of socialism.

No paranoia as the jury is in on marxism and socialism. Freedom and Biblical principles are far better than less freedom and government solutions. When people look to government instead of God and themselves, freedom will inevitably be lost. Look to God and not princes (Psa 118:9).

Celestial Fundie said...

Wayne, funnily enough these 'socialist' welfare states that you despise are amongst the most democratic nations on earth.

In European welfare states the right to free and fair elections, the right to freedom of speech, the right to freedom of religion and the right to privacy of family life are all guaranteed by the European convention of human rights.

It is true that the gun laws in Britain are very illiberal and I would love to see them abolished.

However, this has nothing to do with Socialism or Marxism.

It is actually some of the nations of Europe with stronger welfare states that have more liberal gun laws, such as Finland.

Your use of the word 'socialism' is utterly misleading historically.

Welfare ans socialism are too completely different issues.

Advocates of welfare generally believe in a free market, advocates of socialism do not.

Please learn some basic political knowledge.

Adam Smith accepted the notion of social security. Milton Friedman advocated a negative tax, which is highly similar to the Individual Basic Income scheme that I favour.

Were these men socialists? If you say yes, then I say you are talking utter nonsense.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

jazzycat said...

Matthew,
I do not understand your hostility toward my view. I did notice in your list of freedoms that you did NOT list economic freedom. Please consider that the freedom to earn and keep the fruit of one’s labor is the most basic of all freedoms. When a government takes money from Citizen A to give it to Citizen B that is a Marxist and socialist policy. Marxist policies are Marxist policies. If I understand the negative tax correctly, that would be a Marxist policy whether or not Friedman is a socialist. Obama’s pastor is an advocate of (black) liberation theology. That is the social gospel implemented with Marxist policies. The term I used was creeping socialism. Whether or not I am correctly defining a socialist state is not the point.

Economic freedom is principle that is rooted in God’s word. The welfare of human beings should start with the family unit. When the government takes over the role of primary welfare provider, you see many bad consequences that erode the very foundations of a just society. In America I have witnessed in my lifetime the disintegration of the American family. Instead of a trend back toward promoting the family, we see liberals (who set the agenda in the US) proposing even more government involvement in what used to be matters left totally to the family.

For a little satire on the subject, please check out the latest post at Sweet Jazzy Cat 2 and check your Bible closely for the reasons that socialism/welfare state policies are not a good idea. From Romans 1:18 until the rest of the chapter would be good place to start. Then check the proverbs and then perhaps the ten commandments!

jazzycat said...

I had trouble with the link to Jazzycat 2, but it can be accessed from Jazzycat or you can read the article under best of Jazzycat called, "The Super duper great society"

Celestial Fundie said...

"Please consider that the freedom to earn and keep the fruit of one’s labor is the most basic of all freedoms."

Economic freedom is perfectly compatible with a welfare state.

Finland is a free and competitive economy.

Anybody can start a bussiness and make a profit.

That is economic freedom.

You have to pay tax, but we both agree that governments have the right to raise taxes and to make accountable decisions as to how the money is spent.

You believe that governments are justified in raising taxes for criminal justice, defence and I suspect, education.

You believe that the government should be transparent and accountable in how this money is used.

I believe that the government also ought to spend money on health and welfare.

There is no issue of freedom here. It might be that people would be paying higher taxes under the social security system I advocate (though I think a flat rate that does not penalize earnings would be best- note economic freedom is part of my beliefs), but if the population are unhappy with this they can vote for a change of government. Its called democracy.

"When a government takes money from Citizen A to give it to Citizen B that is a Marxist and socialist policy."

Wayne, have you ever actually read any books written by Marx?

Marx did not believe in governments taking money from one citizen to give to another for two reasons:

1) He did not believe money really existed- it was just a capitalist fiction.
2) He did not believe that governments would exist once the revolution had run its course. The state would wither away.

No state, no welfare or social security system.

Welfare predates Marxism (we had a system of welfare in the UK that dated back to the 17th century).

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

jazzycat said...

Have you read my JIAGRA (Super duper great society) article?

Economic freedom is perfectly compatible with a welfare state.

I don’t think so. You never answered my question about tax rates in the UK.

Finland is a free and competitive economy. Anybody can start a bussiness and make a profit. That is economic freedom.

Many businesses struggle and the tax rates can make a big difference in whether they succeed or fail. The hair that breaks the camel’s back could very well be the percentage of the tax that is levied to support the slothful and lazy. The sluggards may not be a problem in Europe, but I can assure you they are in abundance in America. At some point the people riding in the wagon will have to get out and help push! Unfortunately this will probably take a total collapse before this will happen.

Celestial Fundie said...

Wayne, here in the UK there is no single tax rate, but we have variable rates depending on income. It is a very messy system and needs reforming. I personally favour a flat rate of tax, as I said.

Economic freedom is simply the freedom to trade without restraint.

You are not exactly advocating abolishing tax all together.

Businesses do struggle as taxes go up. Other businnesses manage to succeed.

Under a lower rate of taxes, there would still be times when some bussinesses struggled.

We all agree that it is best that taxes stay as low as possible.

However, this in itself does not determine what the government should spend money on.

We could reduce taxes by closing down prisons. However, we would not do this because prisons have a clear and demonstratable public benefit. This public benefit justifies the high cost to the taxpayer of running prisons.

Likewise, if we discuss the subject of free healthcare, we have to ask whether the high cost of such a system is justified by the public benefits gained.

"Unfortunately this will probably take a total collapse before this will happen."

I guess both the Left and the Right have their prophets of doom.

I hear lots of Socialist types predicting the collapse of capitalism, just like I hear lots of conservatives talking about the breakdown of 'liberal' society.

Suffice it to say, I see no evidence that Britain is collapsing, though it is convenient for our Conservative party (of which I am a member) to claim it is.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew