I know you've been there — you're tabling on campus when suddenly a flannel-draped wide-brimmed-glasses-wearing condescending liberal hipster walks up to your group and asks this exact question (or some variation):
"If Sweden can have such a successful welfare state, then why can't we do the same thing in the United States?"
Often times young libertarians are not entirely sure how to respond to these questions simply because — let's face it — most of us are a little rusty on our knowledge of Sweden. So here's five basic things to know about Sweden before having such a conversation. (Away from your table, of course).
#1 Sweden is much, much smaller than the United States
Sweden's population in 2012 was 9.5 million — roughly the same as North Carolina's -- and roughly a tenth of its people live in or around Stockholm. This population is dispersed over an area that is less than one-twentieth the size of the United States (and that's generously assuming that the Swedes aren't largely concentrated in the country's southern half).
I definitely consider a more centralized government to be a bad thing, but the reality is that the smaller a state is in population and size, the more effective central planning can be.