Wednesday, February 3, 2016
RAW on 'Scandinavian socialism'
As John Higgs points out in the introduction to the new "Cosmic Trigger," American libertarians and British socialists both like this guy
On Facebook, Olga Struthio asks,
"Wondering what Bob would think of Bernie Sanders: an old interview gives a clue . . .
Are there any existing political systems you admire?
Scandinavian socialism. I found the Scandinavians to be about the most admirable people in Europe. clean streets, a low crime rate, a general air of high civilization - luxuries for all and a total absence of slums, poverty, and ugliness. They seem very happy and productive, with one of the most way out futurist movements in the world. They're the California of Europe.
I hate to sound like a Marxist, which I'm not, but the reason you haven't heard about Scandinavian Socialism is because the media of this country is controlled by rich people who are scared shitless of socialism. They want Americans to think there's only one type of socialism, Soviet Communism, which is the kind of place where dissident scientists get thrown in lunatic asylums, all of which is true. Americans are paranoid about Russians but Scandinavians regard them with amusement; they're those backwards people who think that you can only have socialism by putting all the poets and painters in jail. The Scandinavians reward their poets and they don't put anyone in jail for dissident political opinions."
This ties in nicely with Michael Johnson's observation, in a comment to Monday's post, "RAW did emphasize individualist anarchists and Crowley and individualist ideas in general, but I suspect he'd - were he alive today - see the 2008 bankster-driven collapse and growing inequality as a reason to emphasize social well-being as complementary to our personal projects." (Read all of Michael's comments, and all of the other comments. There's some pretty good discussion.)
Leftists tend naturally to emphasize RAW's "left" side while libertarians tend to play up the "libertarian" ideas. (Conservatives don't have much in RAW's work they can point to for inspiration.) It seems to me that RAW was better at posing questions than coming up with ways to successfully reconcile his conflicting impulses. I personally want a strong safety net with maximum individual liberty, which is why I tend to gravitate to policy proposals such as the basic income guarantee.