U.S. v European politics

This may end up in GD. Is this a fair characterization: The European Left is further left, while the U.S. Right is further right?

Definitely fair.

It goes even further than that. For the most part, the center-right parties of Europe hold views fairly similar to the center-left party in the US.

Blair was a Bush ally in Iraq, but quite liberal domestically.

It’s hard for Americans to realise just how far to the right politically they are (or how far to the left Europe is.)

We don’t just have Socialists in some European Governments (real ones, not just names US politicians call each other), we even have some Communists. :eek:

Take a major political party here in the UK.
They stand for:

  • almost total gun control, including ‘no guns for self-defence’ and ‘unarmed beat police’
  • a National Health Service, funded by taxation
  • National Insurance e.g. for pensions, funded by taxation
  • a National TV and Radio broadcaster, funded by taxation
  • UK taxes on a gallon of petrol (= gas in US) are $3.43 basic, plus 20% extra tax, plus a vehicle usage tax - compared to $0.18 on US petrol

They don’t require any religious convictions (unlike the US Republicans.)

Well that party is the Conservatives, who are in the Coalition Government. And they are the right-wing here!

It’s true right now. It wasn’t true throughout history. It may not be true at any given time in the future.

The ‘far right’ has supposedly been on the rise in Europe with muslim immigration and the economic collapse. but evenso I don’t think they do better than 20% of the vote there.


The agendas of European far right countries are not very controversial among center right parties here. Nationalism, anti-internationalism, pro-death penalty, anti-immigrant, regressive social policy, zero tolerance, militarism, etc.

Someone like Le Pen would not be very controversial here, and he’d win at least 40% of the vote vs the 18% he got in France.

I think our overton window is moved one bracket to the right compared to europe. European far right is our center right. European center right is our center left. European center left is our far left. European far left doesn’t exist here. All my opinion of course, but that is the way I see it.

With the exception of ‘unarmed beat police’, make that country Germany and the party CDU (“Christlich Demokratische Union” = “Christian Democratic Union”), and everything applies as well. And don’t be fooled by the fact that the party is called “Christian”, that’s chiefly historical, and whereas in former times the party had a kind of Christian (well, mostly Catholic) agenda, today it’s basically non-existent. A politician’s religious conviction (or lack of) isn’t a subject for public debate at all.

Ironically, the economically most conservative party in the Bundestag are our Liberals, the FDP (Freie Demokratische Partei = “Free Democratic Party”), who on one hand stand for a small government, low taxes and laissez faire economics, but OTOH traditionally strongly support civil liberties.

Another thing to bear in mind - like religion, guns are just a non-issue in UK. The less guns the better would be the general view. It’s the USA’s bizarre fetishisation of guns that we find odd.

This is a vast oversimplification. For example France banned wearing the Burqa last year. There is no movement for such a ban in America. The tax systems in most european countries is much less progressive than in the US because of sales taxes such as the VAT, yet most of the talk of adding a VAT in the US is on the left. The corporate taxes are much lower in most of Europe than in the US.

In the US the government spends 50% of health care spending funded by taxation,
Social Security is the equivalent of a national pension and is funded by taxation.
We have PBS a national radio and TV broadcaster which is funded by taxation.
Gas taxes are almost 3 times the number you cited when you factor in state taxes, and that does not include sales tax. Most states have a personal property tax which people have to pay to own a car.
There is not as much difference as you might think, although we in America are puzzled by your willingness to put up with gun control and attendant massive crime rates.

I’m focusing on the UK (because I live here) and of course Europe does have a variety of political policies.
Nevertheless UK centre right (the Conservative party) is way to the left of anything in the US.

Apart from my list earlier in the thread, let me add:

  • capital punishment for murder abolished here in 1969 (1973 in Northern Ireland)
  • we really don’t want guns here, as shown by:

Two ringleaders of a gang which smuggled guns into the UK from the United States have each been jailed for 24 years. Mohammed Tariq, 33, and Atique Arif, 32, were sentenced at Bradford crown court along with six other men who were sent to prison for up to 12 years. The gang imported guns concealed with electrical equipment including DVD players and portable radios. Police said they smuggled 13 firearms into the UK over a 12-month period. West Yorkshire police said the investigation – Operation Lapworth – began in July last year when two parcels destined for addresses in the Bradford area were intercepted at East Midlands airport. Detectives said the conspiracy began when Tariq ordered a Taser gun from an American website.

In general the countries that have gun control have it because that it what the people want it. They do not ‘put up’ with anything. There is no call for guns by the people and very little lobbying for it. It’s a non-issue.

I will note that when these type threads happened in the past they become have frequently become a pissing match about gun control and crime rates. It would be a shame if that happened again.

It really is a non-issue over here in the counties that I’m familiar with. There may be the odd crime or instance that puts it in the news every now and then but that’s it. It’s not a item that politicans bring up because the voters in general just don’t give a shit about guns and have no need for them. That may leave us open to all types of crime but it’s still not making people care about it.

Counting Europe as a whole, we greatly exceed the US in terms of population. Add the similar policies espoused by other extra-European ‘western’ nations like Australia, Canada, NZ, and I think we can safely say it is the US that is far right compared to the norm, rather than the rest of us being far left.

I agree that simplification is taking place, but you’re mentioning one European country and comparing it to America.
If you want a comparison, wasn’t there a huge protest over building a mosque near the Twin Towers?

I thought a prominent Republican described proposals for a US National Health scheme as ‘death panels’?

When I travel in Europe, I fill out a form which gives me free medical benefits in case of emergency.
When I go to the US, my Government advises me to take out at least $500,000 worth of medical cover.

We here are puzzled why you put up with regular school shootings.
As for ‘massive crime rate’, the murder rate in the US is over 3 times higher than here.

The US homicide rate, which has declined substantially since 1991 from a rate per 100,000 persons of 9.8 to 4.8 in 2010, is still among the highest in the industrialized world.

They did, but ironically they were saying it because they were implying that Obama would cut funding for medicare and just let old people die to save money. ie, they were implying/lying that the gov would stop medicare funding of end of life treatment and just let the elderly die.

Medicare is similar to Canada’s health system, a single payer public system that uses private medical professionals. We pay 2.9% of our income in taxes split between employer and employee, then qualify for it when we turn 65 (or get kidney disease, there are a few other ways to qualify too).

So it gets complicated. Yeah there were lies about death panels. But those lies were because of fears that Obama would destroy our beloved Canadian style health care system (medicare). Even the Tea party won’t give up medicare. That is a major way the GOP won in 2010, by running on cuts to Medicare that were in the health reform act (which was cut under the health care bill, but the cuts were for private programs that were subsidized).

Of course once they run they tried to privatize it. And privatizing it is most likely just a stepping stone to abolishing it.

But like I said, it gets complicated. The right lies about death panels because they know how much people like our medicare program.

It also depends on where you live in the US. New England and the northeast in general is politically close to western Europe. However the deep south is much more regressive. The west coast is more progressive than the midwest, etc.

Slavery is a good example. The northeast abolished it voluntarily many decades before the south was forced to abolish it via the civil war. Gay marriage equality laws are being passed in the northeast, of the 6 states that have legalized gay marriage, 5 are in the northeast.

MA has a universal health care system. Vermont is building a single payer style system. etc.

(bolding mine)


Thing is, most of those who need access to firearms here have it. Although it’s only in exceptional circumstances that they’re needed for protection.

It seems that the population density in the UK & most of Europe is similar to US urban areas. And those areas are much more liberal than the rest of the USA. Voted solidly for Obama, for example.

It might be interesting to compare the UK/Europe to just the urban counties of the USA. You might find much less difference that way.