It’s often said by critics of Barack Obama that the president seeks to turn the United States into Europe. In Europe, everyone is taken care off from cradle to grave with welfare, leaving no incentive to have children, work or do much of anything necessary to keep their society on a productive self-replicating path.
There are partial truths there, but there’s also another phenomenon. Europe, and most of the Anglosphere aside from the United States, have been drifting rightward after years of socialism. The Conservative Party in the United Kingdom is enjoying high hopes, Canadian Conservative PM Stephen Harper is in his second term and France and Germany now have their most center-right leadership in recent memory.
What have been the fruits of European center right policy? You’d be surprised.
School choice - Just as the Washington D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program has been dismantled by Democrats, Sweden has enjoyed a successful program. From the Washington Times:
No, I don’t make these things up. All children throughout Sweden get education vouchers. It seems that the citadel of socialism can teach our Congress and teachers unions quite a bit about education choice.
Sweden introduced school vouchers throughout the country in 1992 to deal with exactly the same quality problems we face in our public schools.
Under the program, enacted by a center-right coalition government, children can use a voucher to go to either public schools or one of the growing number of private schools.
Private schools include religious schools and even for-profit schools. One of the largest for-profits - Kunskapsskolan (or “Knowledge School”) - runs 32 schools with about 10,000 students ages 12-18.
These independent schools, like the public schools, get a voucher payment for each child. They compete vigorously with one other because the money follows the child to the school of his or her choice. Schools must satisfy their customers … or lose them.
Nuclear power - In France, meanwhile, energy has made more homegrown and independent of the Middle East through nuclear power. According to the World Nuclear Association:
- France derives over 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy. This is due to a long-standing policy based on energy security.
- France is the world’s largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation, and gains over EUR 3 billion per year from this.
- France has been very active in developing nuclear technology. Reactors and fuel products and services are a major export.
- It is building its first Generation III reactor and planning a second.
Great Britain, Finland, New Zealand and Sweden, for example, have given up on the government-enforced monopoly on mail delivery and have exposed their former monopoly mail providers to competition.
Germany and the Netherlands, meanwhile, have privatized their main postal companies, which have subsequently expanded into foreign markets and diversified their businesses.
And the 27 member nations of the European Union have agreed to end their mail monopolies in the near future.