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Opioid or heroin overdose is a popular form of death; and men in the street threaten women wearing hijab.
Sanders said that he was all for small business, too, but that meant nothing “if all of the new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent.” (As George Carlin said, “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.”) In that debate, no more was heard of Denmark, Sweden or Norway. Later, in a speech at Georgetown University, Sanders tried to clarify his identity as a Democratic socialist.
He said he’s not the kind of Socialist (with a capital S) who favors state ownership of anything like the means of production.
That path was contested — by socialist-inspired workers on the one hand and capitalist owners and their elite cronies on the other — but it led in the end to a mixed economy.
Thanks largely to the solidarity and savvy of organized labor and the political parties it backed, the long struggle produced a system that makes capitalism more or less cooperative, and then redistributes equitably the wealth it helps to produce.
But Hillary Clinton quickly countered, “We are not Denmark.” Smiling, she said, “I love Denmark,” and then delivered a patriotic punch line: “We are the United States of America.” Well, there’s no denying that.
She praised capitalism and “all the small businesses that were started because we have the opportunity and the freedom in our country for people to do that and to make a good living for themselves and their families.” She didn’t seem to know that Danes, Swedes and Norwegians do that, too, and with much higher rates of success.
In addition, Norway ranked first on the UN Development Program’s Human Development Index for 12 of the last 15 years, and it consistently tops international comparisons of such matters as democracy, civil and political rights, and freedom of expression and the press.
What is it, though, that makes the Scandinavians so different?
It felt quite a lot like stepping back into that other violent, impoverished world, where anxiety runs high and people are quarrelsome.
I had, in fact, come back to the flip side of Afghanistan and Iraq: to what America’s wars have done to America.