Why social democracy is failing Europe

Why social democracy is failing Europe

There is a certain tension in the phrase, “social democracy,” and the description of someone as a social democrat. Social in this context is socialism by the state. A democrat supports the freedom for individual electors to express and defend personal interests in regular plebiscites. The two positions are incompatible, Eurasia Review writes in the article Why Social Democracy Is Failing Europe – OpEd.

Social democratic political parties express a belief in social justice. But social justice is a meaningless term used by the far left to attract support for more extreme forms of socialism. In Europe, social democrats advocating social justice have held sway since the Second World War. But they are becoming victims of their success at taking down capitalism, because they are losing electoral support. 

The era of social democracy appears to be coming to an end. Germany’s SPD recently suffered its worst electoral result since the Second World War, and France’s Socialist Party came fifth in the presidential election won by Emmanuel Macron, a political outsider. Other social democratic parties to have lost ground include the Netherlands’ Labour Party, Italy’s Democratic Party and Austria’s Social Democrats. In the United States there was a rejection of the Democrats in favor of President Trump, who like Macron in France started as a political outsider. 

Brexit was the rejection by the British voter of the socializing controls imposed by a remote super-state. The British parliament initially paid lip-service to the electorate’s wishes, before rallying round its socialist credentials and is now conspiring to stop Brexit. So strong is Parliament’s collective socialist instinct that May’s appeasing government is prepared to destroy its electoral base rather than stand against the socialist tide. It comes at a time when the Labour Party has been captured by a Marxist clique which appears increasingly likely to form the next government. 

Commentators attribute the decline in social democracy to events such as the great financial crisis. This and other reasons are why traditional working-class and blue-collar workers have drifted away. The philosophical conflict between socialism and democracy is at the heart of the rebellion, if only the voters themselves knew it. Instead of rejecting socialism, they are embracing extremes, and the extremes are always socialist extremes. Notably, almost none of the disillusioned social democrats support free markets.

The point missed by most analysts is that social democracy is failing because of the contradiction between personal freedom and state control.

As a form of mild socialism, it fails for the same reason as did communism. It all plays into the hands of the communists, for whom the failure of social democracy is an opportunity. 

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