Sunday, August 07, 2005

Utopia in Finland, A New Home For Democrats

These apples to oranges comparisons are irritating. The Washington Post hails Finnish socialism as inspirational for America. The article concludes that Finnish socialism would not work in America, which begs the question, why the Hell was this piece written in the first place?

In Finland's Footsteps (Account Required)

…all the kids in Kuhmo (and throughout Finland) will have essentially identical opportunities in Finnish schools, Europe's best. There is no "elite" choice, no working-class choice; everyone is treated equally.

Is the Post promoting vouchers? Surely vouchers are the closest thing we have on the table to equalizing our education system for all. I wonder if Finland has a politically driven teachers union that drives its system into the ground.

It's a dilemma that American parents don't have a chance to confront.

It must be a plug for vouchers.

Finland is a leading example of the northern European view that a successful, competitive society should provide basic social services to all its citizens at affordable prices or at no cost at all.

Ahh, Utopia.

Finns pay considerably higher taxes -- nearly half their national income is taken in taxes.

Well, there is that. No biggie. I suppose being owned by the state is a minor inconvenience.

If we Americans are so rich and so smart, why can't we treat our citizens as well as the Finns do?

I’m sure it’s Bush’s fault. It must be. Perhaps its Big Oil.

Finns have one of the world's most generous systems of state-funded educational, medical and welfare services, from pregnancy to the end of life. They pay nothing for education at any level, including medical school or law school.

If only Stalin were alive to realize his dream.

They spend relatively little on national defense, though they still have universal male conscription, and it is popular.

Well, there’s the meat of it. Sounds like a mixture of Charlie Rangel and Hillary Clinton. They did leave out one point. The reason that Finland has historically spent little on defense is that 1) They are under the US defensive umbrella, otherwise known as NATO, and 2) The place is freakin cold! Who wants to conquer a big iceberg?

But the United States could not simply turn itself into another Finland. Too much of Finnish reality depends on uniquely Finnish circumstances.

Thus my original question. Why the big article on the wonders of Finland as compared to the US, if it wouldn’t work? Perhaps the Democrats are looking for a new home after the next election loss, since Canada didn't work out.

One fundamental Finnish value sounds a lot like an American principle -- "to provide equal opportunities in life for everyone."

No, the Finns provide for everyone at the expense of everyone. This has nothing to do with opportunity, which Americans have plenty of.

Finland has no private schools or universities, no snooty clubs, no gated communities or compounds where the rich can cut themselves off from everyday life.

And now we are to the root of it. Class envy.

Nothing achieved by Aho's reforms would be beyond the reach of American schools if we really wanted them to become good.

Yes, we really don’t want them to be good. We feel that a poor educational system is in our best interest.

The article goes on with more of this sort of drivel. Somehow the writer wraps up every leftist complaint about America and hails Finland as the savior nation. Please, if you feel this way, go to Finland. Make sure you take a large coat.

And I think we could learn from Finns' confidence that they can shape their own fate.

This entire article espoused the greatness of collectivism. In other words, no one shapes their own fate. In any case, that would contradict the meaning of fate. My fate is to be an American. I’m happy with that.

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