Failure of the Nordic Model: What the world needs to learn from America

The best argument against the Nordic Model type of socialism so advocated today by progressives, Democrats and socialists—like Bernie Sanders is not necessarily the quality of living which can be argued as whether or not it is good—it’s the type of people the cultures produce under those heavily taxed, and controlled societies. Advocates for the Nordic Model declare, which is appealing to an American society currently drowning in college debt–which is likely the perpetual strategy of the progressive political class—just as it is behind every public school levy—is that the education is free, average median income is high, and lifestyles are good—there’s parks, lots of government services, and the trappings of an otherwise utopian society that seems wonderful to those who find the challenges of capitalism to be ominous. Nordic societies have given up on the gifts provided by brilliant and ambitious citizens in favor of collective comfort and the cost to their society is a mundane culture of generally happy people just content to live and die like in the movie Soylent Green.

I once had a friend who was a Penthouse model from Sweden who was so in love with American life that she oozed it in every aspect of her life. Her reason was that Sweden was so encumbered with socialism that she found that society stifling. As a beautiful woman she had an advantage over the average Swedish female, yet that society didn’t give her many options to take advantage of her exceptional good looks. So she came to America, posed for a men’s magazine, found herself a very rich husband and lived a generally good life shrouded by the trappings of capitalism, and she loved it. I learned a lot about Swedish society through her, and the conclusion was that I would feel choked by it—it was far too limiting for me.

Now becoming a nude model for a soft porn magazine is hardly a noble profession, nor is marrying a sugar daddy husband the result of enormous skill. But in America that was an option for her which was not an option in Sweden. There weren’t that many rich guys looking for a beautiful woman to pamper—because everybody pretty much had the same level of income. For a girl like the model, there was certainly a glass ceiling limiting her ability to the collective opinion of the masses—so she came to America. Her story is just a microcosm of the type of people who come from other places to take advantage of the gifts of capitalism to make their lives better, and overall enrich the level of life for everyone in the overall culture. Arnold Schwarzenegger could have told a similar story as my model friend. In their home cultures they would have just been average every day people, but in American society, the limits to their lives went as far as they were willing to take it.

These are examples of entertainment personalities who found success in America and it should be considered as a representation of American culture the kind of entertainment that is exported—such as the motion picture industry. What great Nordic films are breaking box office records around the world these days……………………………..(crickets). What great companies besides IKEA are spreading across the world as a result of Nordic Model economies……………………..(still crickets)…………………anybody? What great sports stars, musical influence, new computer technology have emerged from Nordic Model society? How about novelists? Who are the great writers who are shaping philosophy coming out of Sweden, Finland or Norway? (still crickets) That is the problem with Nordic Model societies. They may have a nice standard of living for the average person, but their culture ends up being happy to just be happy leaving their exceptional people with no place to go but to regulate themselves into mediocrity. And the mediocre do not advance human civilization. They never have, and they never will.

In America mediocrity is acceptable. People are free to ride on the coat tails of the exceptional all the time. Last week during the NFL draft many exceptional young men received the opportunity toward fortune and glory by being drafted into an NFL team. For me the excitement centered around Jameis Winston who was drafted by my favorite team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Given all the headaches centering on the young man from the rape allegations, and the theft of crab legs, the organization took a chance on the 21-year-old quarterback out of Florida State because they were looking for an exceptional leader for their football team. They deemed his talent as so exceptional that they bent over backwards to get him, and had a signed contract within 24 hours of drafting him. When Jameis arrived in Tampa the day after the draft the hungry city treated him like a king reborn pampering him like he was a god. It was quite extraordinary, and was evidence of the recognition that they saw in the young man a chance to win once again. Winston would not have had an opportunity like that as a 6’-4” man of color in Sweden. He might get a chance to play soccer, but that’s about it. In America Winston had the opportunity to play football, baseball, maybe even basketball and to become a multi-millionaire well before the age of 30. Life is good for Jameis Winston and for fans in Tampa Bay; they are free to ride on his coat tails to future victory—or at least the chance of it. The reason that ownership, the coaches, the fans, players and much of Tampa Bay showed up at the training facility to welcome Winston to Tampa as a savor of the franchise was not because of some ridiculous notion of team, or a collective recognition of the common enhanced by a quality player—it was because Jameis Winston as an individual is a great football player and there are parades of people willing to fall into his wake to benefit from his individual heroics.

Who are the Steve Jobs types in Nordic society, or the Elon Musk types? What about Bill Gates–who is the equivalent of those billionaire inventors in Sweden?   I’m sure they have a few, but per capita how many creative types are inventing a new means of wealth in the Nordic Model? The answer is that there are far more people per capita under a capitalist society that have great success than those in a socialist country who manages to leverage their interests with the government in charge to become one of the rare elite. There is no reason for anybody to work to do anything great in the Nordic Model because everyone is comfortable just being average. It pays in a Nordic Model society to be average, so nobody does anything exceptional. That is the terrible cost of socialism under any guise.

A classroom of well-behaved children is not necessarily a good thing if what’s snuffed out is their individuality and the imaginations of their specific gifts. In America if a person has developed something that they can do better than anybody else, they can have a shot at the American dream—at riches and a lifestyle typically reserved for kings and nobility in European cultures—and it galls the world to no end that Americans have little respect for the ways of the past, where a select few ruled the many. Even if a person is physically ugly, they may do something so much better than someone else that they can have a shot at wealth. Socialism simply takes the monarchy of thought into government rule as opposed to a heredity rule. It is still the rule of a minority of the majority in trade for safety and security.

Ohio Senator Shannon Jones, who I used to like when she showed a willingness to take on labor unions—has now lost my support forever. Why, because she proposed a bill that says children should have to ride a bicycle with a helmet. Give me a break! What an utterly stupid rule! Government telling little kids that they have to wear a helmet to ride a bicycle—those helmets are hot, and stifling to the impulse of jumping on a bike and riding over to a friend’s house as needed. Helmets are a ridiculous imposition created by that panic driven mom class who think their children are so precious that every bump on the head is a life or death situation. Then when those overly coddled children do have a major crises in their life, like they end up in a car wreck where they bleed a lot, or end up in some other catastrophe, they end up dying because they have not been trained to withstand physical punishment, and then the mothers really lose their children just because they allowed their lives to be governed by panic and a drive for safety at any cost. The product of such children are a kind of limited life stuck in a bottle living their entire lives slightly detached from reality—which is ironically the kind of people produced by the Nordic Model. Shannon Jones belongs in the Nordic Model socialism that wants government imposed bicycle helmets at the cost of individual liberty and the potential evolution exceptional people. I never rode with a helmet and I had lots of wrecks. I learned exceptionally well how to roll out of trouble and protect my head from trauma. To this day I ride motorcycles every day often without a helmet and I’ve been in crashes at well over 100 mph. Because of my childhood I developed an ability to survive that is exceptional—something I wouldn’t have developed if I would have been forced to wear a helmet as a kid. If that was how it was when I was a kid, I likely would have just stayed inside and done something else—and said heck with riding a bicycle.

America is great because it creates the path for the exceptional to move away from the control of overly coddling government types like Shannon Jones. Sure people like the Penthouse model, Jameis Winston, or Elon Musk are the exception, but in a Nordic Model society, they would be stuffed into a jar for the common good. Their entire society would miss the gifts of their exceptionalism even if the benefits are as small as a nude woman in a magazine, or the wonderful technology coming out of Space X. The cost of the socialist society even if everything seems comfortable on the surface is that people live half dead lives in a kind of haze because there is no purpose to their life, no dreams to reach for, no fantasies to pursue. They just live and die guided quietly by the state toward an inevitable end comfortably put down to rest in service to the great collective.  Only the collective isn’t so great when compared to individuals produced by a capitalist society. Of course the masses will always have the bottom feeders. Those types will happily cheer on Jameis Winston with godlike reverence and dream of sleeping with women like the Penthouse model. And they’ll love the products of Apple and Tesla. And they may even dream of being one of those people one day. The opportunity of having that dream is worth more than the comfort of the Nordic Model. Sure kids with helmets on a bicycle may live if they fall down and bump their head. But the cost in using the helmet often slowly kills their minds in other ways. And those ways are the difference between the Nordic Model and a capitalist society. The evidence of which is the best method can be measured directly by which one produces better people for the society at large. And the winner of that race is obvious. Just go to the movies and see which culture tells their story best on the silver screen.

Rich Hoffman


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