But our outgoing coalition, made up of two parties each with a strong tendency towards statism, and with such a huge majority, dispensed with debate. Its preferred method was to railroad legislation through without proper consultation with the Oireachtais.
Social democracy is based on a socialist model for the economy. In other words, tax the rich, high taxes all round, high public expenditure and, thus, a high degree of government control of the economy.
But, aside from the moral problem involved in excessive taxation, there are some major flaws in the socialist model, making it unsustainable.
To start with, the public expenditure envisioned in the social democratic model could only be paid for with a birth rate that is well above replacement rate. Ours, although the highest in Europe, is still below replacement rate (replacement fertility rate is 2.1; our rate is 2.01).
And it doesn’t help when almost all of these winners for social democracy support policies in favour of contraception, abortion and same-sex “marriage,” all of which contribute to the aging of our population.
There just won’t be enough young people entering the workforce to sustain the future cost of pensions. On top of that there is the enormous cost of social welfare. Who will pay for that?
Of course – just tax the rich.
But one of the other fallacies of the social democratic model is that everybody should be equal. If everyone is equal, there will be no rich to tax. If everyone is equal there would be no need to redistribute wealth through taxation.
In such a world the state would play a much more limited role than socialists and social democrats tend to like.
The reality is that in order to raise taxes you need a thriving private sector. And the problem is that the private sector, burdened with excessive taxes and state control, is not able to reach its full potential within the context of a socialist economic model.
Even the Chinese Communist Party (much admired by Mr O’Toole) has figured that out. They came to the realisation that even a socialist economy can’t survive without some capitalism. That is one of the reasons the party has lasted so long.
Fianna Fáil and even Fine Gael are broadly social democratic in their outlook – perhaps a bit watered down compared to the more leftist parties, but still there is nothing in either party to really distinguish themselves from the social democratic idea.
Social democracy is unsustainable. In other words, the social democratic state has no future.
If Ireland is to have a future, we need to find alternative solutions – an alternative model, not just for the economy, but for society.