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AMERICAN POLITICS... posted 01 July 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAMERICAN POLITICS... by Randal, Auditor

Personally I do not want to hand most of my money over to the government and have them take care of me. Thomas Jefferson once stated that if the government has the power to give you food, clothing and shelter they also have the power to take it away


That's not quite what a social democracy is about...

Yes, you pay more taxes than the Americans do. But it's not "most of your money" (here in Holland at least, effective taxation would be between 30 and 40% of total income at most. Still a bloody lot.) and you are not "taken care of" by the government. You are not given food, clothing or shelter normally. And so nobody can take it away either. The richer people live in privately owned houses, have private healthcare insurance, etc.

What the system is all about is providing a safety net for those who would otherwise fall through the cracks of society. If you suffer from a chronic disease, it will be treated no matter how much money you have. If you lose your job, your children can still go to college.

Of course, the system can be (and is) abused. There are unfair rules, too. Sometimes, for example, a low-end job will pay no more than you'd get from the state if you're unemployed.

But basically the system is about reducing inequality and righting injustices. It's about making sure those who are unfortunate enough not to have highly marketable skills in the modern world will not suffer for it more than is inevitable.

Of course, you can take the line that every human gets what he/she deserves, and that the poor have either brought it onto themselves or just have "tough luck". But this has been discussed earlier in the thread, and suffice to say most people here would disagree. Hence our system of government.

And as for scary governemnt powers? Hah. In the U.S., perhaps. You have presidents with great powers which could conceivably be abused. But in Holland, I'm much more afraid of the government's incompetence and inertia than any plans to establish a dictatorship. With a dozen opposed political parties and evershifting coalitions and no rule safe by consensus, there is no such thing as "the" government which could seize power. That would require all the politicians unite towards a single common goal, and that won't happen this millennium.

(as for your examples: Stalin is a bad one, he simply inherited and consolidated Lenin's power. Russia never was a democracy. Hitler and such did seize power, but they could only succeed because most of the populace wanted a strongman to take over and set things to right.) view post


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