Thursday, April 01, 2010


I've been pestering the conservative Twitterati ranting about Socialism and how it means the end of Freedom(tm) for exactly what freedoms we have that the socialist Swedes don't have. First, they say "well, socialism is the first step to Communism!" and I say "but Sweden has been socialist for over sixty years now. When do they go Communist?" Then they sort of stammer and stutter and go away. Except finally, finally one of the teabaggers came up with a freedom American parents have that Swedish parents don't have: The freedom to place their hand firmly on their child's firm, nubile young buttocks, in a most loving manner of course, to provide parently discipline to the disobedient little shit. Sort of like with the bondage lesbian night club that the GOP took their Young Republican donors to, except kinkier because the little darlings are actually related to you, but hey, Freedom(tm)!

Of course, Swedes might retort that Swedish children have a freedom that American children don't have -- the freedom to grow up without having the shit beat out of them by repressed pedophiles pretending that their "discipline" has nothing to do with sexual urgings on their part. Oh those firm, nubile young buttocks, so enticing... the child made him do it by being a naughty little boy, don't you see? Nothing to do with sexual urgings! Yay, Freedom(tm)!

-- Badtux the Snarky Penguin

Bringing Freedom!(tm) to the Internets for over six straight years and 4,000+ posts now!

Update: So now we know what the Pope and teabaggers have in common... a liking for touching the buttocks of children. Whoa!

Update#2: This post did not, did not I repeat, have anything to do with the Lucinda Williams video below it, which was queued up over two weeks ago. Still, the subject matter of both is eerily similar...


  1. Well, that clears up the Church, too. Yes, I think you found the unifying theory.



  2. A brutal assessment that may be closer to the truth.

  3. I am such a bad penguin, aren't I? Just wait for my response if any teabugger comes by and objects ;).

    - Badtux the Naughty Penguin

  4. I have to say, I'm finding some of your posts rather emotionally charged. How can anyone but your like-minded followers be persuaded by these insulting posts?

    Sweden is a relatively free country as the world goes (#21 in the economic freedom index ) This means that they have all the freedoms we have, but economically dampened in an opportunity-cost way. Is it marginally harder to start a business, and marginally easier to get by on state welfare. This leads to a less dynamic economy then it could have otherwise been. Sweden is a great country by all means. But why is Sweden engaged in a process of deregulation and moving toward less taxes? I think they found they can in fact do even better with more economic freedom. And there are social costs that euro-socialism incurs such as dampening charity and increasing dependence. And the U.S. is a socialist country as well. You know that. So we can't possibly measure the value of freedom through comparison of the U.S. to Sweden.

    The worries of conservatives are completely valid, as we aren't talking about whether some other country like Sweden is well off under socialism. We're talking about America and whether our particular set of traditional values based on the Constitution have any meaning from not just an economic stand point but a cultural one. So you could say that American freedom is dying, but dependence-based freedom is on the rise. I'd say dependence based freedom is not freedom at all.

    The way you twist everything into an insult against conservatives is really uncivil and I'd would have hoped more of your readers would have defended them.

  5. Nathan, you're relatively sane, so you assume that the majority of your fellow conservatives are fairly sane too. And indeed, many of them are -- but they've largely defected to the Democratic Party recently (e.g., Jim Webb, John Cole, Andrew Sullivan) because the Republican Party has become, well, batshit crazy. Like all those old folks on Medicare shouting, "keep your government hands off my healthcare!", or that teabagger farmer in Kentucky who says "keep your government hands off my crop subsidies!". That's just batshit fucking crazy, guy. Sorry, I ain't one to be politically correct, you ought to have figured that one out by now.

    Believe it or not, I'm actually a fairly conservative penguin. I don't like radical social experimentation or the government intruding unnecessarily into people's private lives. I want government to provide services that the free market has proven unable to provide in a safe or effective manner, such as law enforcement, fire protection, or health insurance, but I don't want government providing services that the private market has proven quite capable of handling thank you very much. We need government, but should be careful about what we let it do because it's not the right tool for all tasks. My biggest problem with the modern Republican party is that they appear to be the world's biggest hypocrites about this topic -- they want their Medicare, they want their crop subsidies, but they want government to butt out of their government-provided benefits. That's just plain fucking nuts, dude. Admit it. That's crazy.

    Regarding Sweden: they've made some choices about how much of their economy they want to be run by the government, and as time goes by, have found that some of those choices weren't appropriate. Some people view that as somehow discrediting the notion that government should have *any* role in the economy. But that's nonsense, and the Swedes would be the first to call it nonsense. The Swedish economy at one time was 55% owned by the government, in the early 90's right after they nationalized their banks in the wake of a banking collapse similar to the one that caused the bailouts here. Now it's around 45% owned by the government -- still pretty high, but similar to what their neighbors are doing, and it's unlikely that they're going to go below that. See, that's the thing about government in a democracy, you can actually decide that something you had government take over really shouldn't be taken over by government, and let go of it. That sort of rejects your general theory that government never lets go of powers it seized... your theory is correct if you're talking about a tyranny, but democracies don't work like that, in a democracy We The People can decide that no, we *don't* want the car companies to be owned by the government, and elect legislators who will sell them back off to private industry. Democracy. What a great idea, huh?

    - Badtux the Democratic Penguin

  6. You'll have no argument from me about the inconsistencies you mentioned regarding farm subsidies and medicare. I totally admit it. It's crazy. I think though, that your cherry picking. Those are easy targets that aren't representative of core conservative thought. You'll never see a WSJ editorial proclaiming the virtues of farm subsidies, nor at Nor will you see them defending medicare. So you found a crackpot who is inconsistent. Now I know the Republican party hasn't come out against medicare and that makes sense too. It is a third rail in politics. In fact, it make sense that when something becomes ingrained in society, you can't threaten to change it overnight without alienating a lot of people. So don't blame Republicans for not hating medicare. But yes, hands of my medicare guy is self contradicting. I have always hated the fact the my conservative ideals aren't perfectly represented by the Republican party. But parties are coalitions. I also dislike the home mortgage deduction. One fellow Republican winced when I mentioned it (most don't) so I have educating to do.

    That even Republicans cannot touch medicare proves you wrong about undoing big government programs. Millions of conservatives have been paying into Medicare for decades. They did their financial planning around it's existence. So they are kind of stuck, even if they don't like it in principle. So sure it make sense that you'd want to keep a promise made. But that is exactly why we fear Obamacare...we know it it can become entrenched so that nothing sort of a revolution can undo it.

    I would much have preferred an expansion of medicaid, as you can undo expansions (such as Clinton and Gengrich did in the 90s) of existing welfare programs more easily than you can undo complete take-overs of every element of society including non-welfare people. Obamacare wags the entire dog to solve the problems of a few.

    You might be conservative to some degree, but like socialism, it is a loaded word that means different thing to different people. I prefer the term classical liberal which implies freedom, not paternalism.

    As I think one more time about Sweden, there are a couple of things that I don't like about having such high taxation and welfare benefits. It reduces the freedom to fail. It reduces the freedom to use your property (money is just a token of your production, or property) how you see fit. My ability to donate to charity is hampered when my take home pay is reduced by 50%. It increases dependency. Such countries will have a permanent dependent class which never has to approach their benefactors with humility and gratitude. So, even if somehow this system made for better productivity, the non-economic costs are too high. The emptiness of churches and the difficulty of missionary work in countries such as Sweden is proof to me that statism dulls the soul. Yes, my reasons for wanting to steer clear of eurosocialism have connections to religion. Sweden also lacks the freedom to enforce international goals militarily. Sure, that sort of freedom is not in vogue now, but it would have come in handy in 1939 when Sweden became a defacto vassal of Nazi Germany.

  7. Nathan, I don't have time to address all your points because I need to get on the road (it's starting to get light outside here in the west, time to go), but one thing about Medicare: It didn't happen in a vacuum. Over 50% of the elderly lacked health insurance in 1964 because insurance companies were utterly uninterested in covering old sick people. Medicare persists today not because of some conspiracy by eeeeevil soshalist tyrants, but because that situation still applies and even Republicans realize that attempting to do away with Medicare would result in so many dead bodies of elderly no longer able to obtain health care that they'd be lynched if they tried it.

    Sweden is a beautiful country and has made a decision to have a less stressful lifestyle than the U.S. lifestyle. You disagree with their democratically-arrived-at decision and claim that this means they lose the freedom to be stressed-out bankrupt wrecks. Well, yes. And police forces remove the freedom to be mugged by armed robbers on every street corner. What's your point?

    Have to go, time to hit the road...

    - Badtux the Migratory Penguin


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