When I emigrated to the US five ago I did so under the assumption that the gist of anti-American propaganda was true, meaning I would find myself in an unfettered capitalist society. Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that the good old US of A is just as leftwing as the Old World, in some respects even more so.
Her is an incomplete list of American institutions and some facts of everyday life which to me smack of pure, even bolshie-style socialism:
The Post Office. To be more precise: the fact that it was not privatized 17 years ago. (That is when Germany privatized its own postal services. Germany! And Lenin wanted to organize the Soviet Union according to the principles by which the Deutsche Reichspost was run!) Also, the fact that mailing a letter to New Jersey costs me the same ridiculous 45 cents as mailing a letter to Alaska.
High School. As everybody knows, the American high school is a Gesamtschule: it is not taken as a given that the smart kids go to gymnasium until they are 18 or 19 whereas the dumb kids get kicked out at 14 or 15 and then start an apprenticeship.
Furthermore, America believes in the rabid Bolshevik proposition that there can be a higher education without Latin and Classic Greek. AND there are no crucifixes in the classrooms! In Austria, where I grew up, removing those tokens of Catholic frumness from public school rooms would have been unthinkable under any given circumstance, barring a Soviet invasion.
When I buy my gas and my electricity I have the choice between (a) Con Ed, (b) Con Ed and (c) Con Ed. There is no competition between five or six companies trying to outbid each other. No, sir! It is a monopoly pure and simple.
And when I want cable TV I can have Time Warner in the city (Manhattan) and Cablevision in the boroughs and that’s it, folks.
The IRS. A Soviet-style bureaucracy run mostly by grumpy old ladies. Canada has outsourced the service section of its Treasury Department to private contractors long ago: as reported by reliable witnesses the service in Canada is friendly, competent and prompt.
Potholes in the streets (eerily reminiscent of East Germany). Places with no cell phone reception. (They don’t have those in China anymore, I’m told.) JFK Airport. (It’s huge, it’s ugly and they charge you to exit the bloody thing.)
Medicare. Here in the US of A, old geezers get their health care for free! They don’t have to buy themselves insurance after the age of 65! And the most radical Tea Partiers wouldn’t even dream of „outphasing“ (ie, abolishing) this irresponsible entitlement program! Un-be-lievable.