Indeed, the problem with discussing politics in the US, is that pretty much none of their labels make any sense.

Concepts such as conservative, liberal, socialist, social democrat etc have really odd poorly defined meaning in the US.

Indeed Americans will even insist they don't live in a democracy but a republic. They use these kind of archaic definitions from the 1700s when democracy referred to Greek style direct democracy.

Because they styled themselves on the Roman Republic, they favor the word Republic.

Never mind that political developments in modern times has required more proper categorizations.

Socialist in America seems to mean almost anything depending on context. If you want to slam an opponent who wants higher taxes, you call him a socialist in America

Or it may mean something like Cuba, the USSR or China, if it can be used in a negative context. Typically socialism in the US is used as a way refer to oppressive state power.

I got so tired of getting bogged down in these discussions that I wrote this story on modern Scandinavian Socialism:

In particular Americans will always try to lecture me on what the Scandinavian system is like. Hence I have had to point to actual political programs, development and statements by Norwegian democratic socialists themselves, as well as quote their party programs and goals.

There tends to be a binary view in America. That unless the whole country is run by the state, there is no socialism going on. Obviously Nordic countries are not socialist, but they have all been heavily influenced by socialist policies and numerous social democratic parties.

But social democracy itself it confusing since social demcorats have changed a lot over the years. Not sure how it is in Germany, but in Nordic countries until abou the mid 1980s, then social democrats was pretty much the same as democratic socialists. They had in their party programs an explicit goal of transition to a socialist society.

Social democracy is really just the result of an abandoned transition process from capitalism towards socialism.

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Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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