If you really want to shock leftists, tell them that Europe does not have, and has never had, socialized medicine or, indeed, socialized anything. European nations certainly had government-controlled medicine. They also boasted short work weeks, long vacations, year-long maternity leaves, early retirement, fully-paid-for old-age care, all sorts of other things that made them feel superior to Americans.
However, contrary to Europeans’ self-satisfied faux-socialist vision of themselves, Europeans didn’t fund their so-called “soft socialism.” Instead, for the most part, Americans did. During the Cold War, government collected taxes from Americans to pay Europe’s defense costs, allowing Europeans to spend their tax money on all those little socialist luxuries. Americans, meanwhile, worked 60 hour weeks, got short vacations, and paid for their own medical care, old-age care, and maternity leave.
Meanwhile, even as the Europeans were luxuriating in the lap of America-funded social welfare programs, they constantly criticized America for seeking to have a bigger say in world affairs. As has been the case since WWI, which was the first time America rode to Europe’s rescue, Europeans complained that Americans were unsophisticated bullies lacking in nuance. The general attitude was “pay the money, man the guns, and shut up.”
With the Cold War’s end, American spending dropped in Europe – a drop that coincided Europeans beginning to have problems funding their social services. Trump, however, has taken things to the next level by demanding that Europeans start helping to pay for their own defense. (Indeed, Europeans have long promised to pay for that defense but they consistently failed to fulfill those promises.)
It turns out that Europeans are not pleased to be called out to make good on their promises. In addition, they’re discovering that those gauche, bullying Americans were, in fact, a very useful bulwark against evil in the world
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