Germany is having a second regional election this Sunday and the Social Democrats (the party of Gerhard Schroeder) are projected to loose Lower Saxony for the first time in twelve years. Lower Saxony is Schroeder's home state, province, what-ever they call it. Criticizing Schroeder has become a tertiary hobby for folks in the Anglo world, especially when the German's have an opinion contradicting US interests. And while Schroeder deserves all the sniggering and condescension he gets thrown at him, I would like to point out that the German voters elected the chump. Schroeder's contribution to the German economy's anemic growth rate is generally overstated. After all Schroeder is just one man and despite the considerable mental handicap of being a socialist he alone does not have the control over German institutions to inflict 0.2% GDP
growth stagnation. The German work-ethic is no longer a national characteristic. They have decided that less work and more free-time is what they want. Its one thing when I decide to goof off and another when I decide that everybody must goof off. But the simple fact is, if the Germans are happy with the standard of living they have achieved they are welcome to kick back and relax. But there are more than 3 billion other people that are not happy with their standard of living and will continue striving. Technology is converting Germany's current advantage to a disadvantage in a relatively short time. At some point in the future what will the German's offer their fellow human beings? And while they may maintain their current standard of living, their standard of living relative to the rest of the world is dropping. As a practical matter, what will the German's produce in the future that will pay for all the sitting about?
People define socialism in different ways. American Heritage Dictionary says socialism is "a system of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy." Who am I to argue with American Heritage. To me Socialism is institutionalized mediocrity. And where ever in the world you cast your eye and see "socialism" you will also see mediocrity. Socialized medicine is mediocre, socialized labor is mediocre, socialized food production is mediocre (and sometimes starvation), etc.. The German people have cast their votes for mediocrity and unfortunately Gerhard is the poor sap that has to resolve the German voter's craving for economic security without risk. The concept of achieving economic security without risk is as far from the world as the virgins jihadists look forward to, but it does not prevent people from falling for that siren song. The lure of gain without risk is potent, but the consequences of abdicating responsibility for your own well being and the well being of others to a bureaucracy are well known. The voters deserve what they get.
Am I picking on the German's unfairly? No, nothing I have said is innuendo. But this willingness to grasp mediocrity can be seen in varying degrees in all industrialized nations, Japan, US, Canada, Australia, etc.. To the extent that the gibberish of socialism/mediocrity overwhelms the desire to enrich yourself (and family) and your fellow man, our human society's woes become greater. To be free to produce, to work, is to be constantly engaged in the question of "how to better the human race".