We really need to be conscious of the words we use to describe things. "Socialism" has come to be used more as a pejorative than a name for a specific economic system. This makes debate difficult when the very words used to describe the subject are laden with value judgments.
Socialism in the strict sense of the word is an economic system where the means of production (e.g. business and industry) are owned, operated, and managed through democratic control; typically through government. While the European social democracies (by and large capitalist) in the OP have some state-run programs, they are hardly socialist economies like Cuba, North Korea, the old Soviet Union, etc.
I am no fan of welfare statism, but I think to call countries like Holland "socialist" smacks of ignorance and prejudice that we need to avoid in order to have the kind of honest discussion that can eventually change minds on the left.
Our opponents on the left - most of them - are not arguing for socialism. While some of their positions have been informed by socialist theory, they are by and large arguing for state-managed capitalism. What we often call corporatism or crony-capitalism is really what the left in this country believes in, and I think we can make a much stronger argument against these practices than arguing past each other about elements of Marxism and such. Only a handful of people in the left are arguing from such an extreme perspective.
In their criticism of the common use of the word socialism those on the left are correct, and we should be more careful in the words we choose.
Just my two cents.
“Wasting a vote is sometimes voting for somebody that you don't really believe in."
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