Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Socialism died in 1989 - now we must destroy its shadow


Socialism died at the end of the 1980s. For sure, its corpse twitched and jerked for a few years but there's no doubt that it died. And that it won't be missed. Here's Dan Hodges reminding us:

She won. Hers was not a superficial victory, but a final settlement. In the 1980s the Left framed the battle with Thatcherism as a final reckoning. And they were right, it was. And it was Thatcher who emerged victorious.

In truth it wasn't just Margaret Thatcher or even her and Ronald Reagan. It was a catalogue of great men and women - Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Helmut Kohl, even Gorbachev from the evil empire.

Socialism died. The trouble is so many didn't get the news. They didn't see how free enterprise, free trade, privatisation and free capital movement - that lovely neoliberalism - was making the world a better place. Wealthier, happier, more equal - all the things those socialists claimed for their failed creed. Except for the actually working bit.

It beggars belief that intelligent people continue to delude themselves that we can plan, organise and direct all the economy. That clever men can make better choices for you and me than we can make for ourselves. Eastern Europe - all those Poles, Slovaks, Romanians and Bulgars we fear will flock to England - is poor because of socialism. It really is that simple.

The next generation has to destroy the shadow of this dead creed. Or else we will watch as other places - places we once pitied as starving basket cases - start to catch us up. Watch as we squander the inheritance of our past success on a make believe economy - one where public spending, the modern equivalent of taking in each others washing, creeps ever higher and where the chimera of borrowing-driven consumption eats away at wealth and prosperity.

If we don't slay socialism's shadow, we will all be poorer. And for some that may mean the relative poverty socialists bleat about becoming real poverty. A poverty created by the vainglory and hubris of the socialist.



SadButMadLad said...

When even a Guardian poll asking if Thatcher was a good PM gets 50% saying yes and only 34% saying no, then socialism must be on it's last legs.


Anonymous said...

If it were not for SOCIALISM, in a broad sense, ordinary people would still be serfs. Serfs whose reward for work would be merely food, water, basic clothing and shelter of a sort.

I am not talking about the middle ages - I am talking about all periods prior to about 1950. Only around 1950 did wealth start to percolate down to ordinary people.

My father was a miner. All our family could afford, on his wage, was the basic needs of life - simple food, one best suit, no central heating and not even a bathroom. The 'cazie' at the bottom of the back yard.

I do not doubt that Capitalism drove the creation of the wealth, but the more widespread sharing of that wealth was due to the widespread realisation that workers deserve to be rewarded for their labour more equitably. That realisation came through Socialism.

Things have changed. There is a new aristocracy which is bleeding our country and its people, and is bleeding all the countries of Europe.

I like the idea of the EU, but I do not like the way in which it originated. It is 'top down'. That is, it is totalitarian in the sense of 'one size fits all'. How else can you understand the snus ban, when Sweden, where lots of people use snus rather than smoking tobacco, has the lowest lung cancer rate in Europe? How else can you understand the proposed draconian regulation of ecigs, other than in totalitarian terms?

European union should have been a 'slowly, slowly' integration of 'trading standards' (which was the common market) and then, slowly, slowly, integration of criminal law, then integration of energy resources and development, etc - in any order as seen fit. What SHOULD NOT have occurred is the common currency, before the economies of States had syncronised themselves. By all means have a common RESERVE currency, freely exchangeable so that a holiday-maker can go from one country to another carrying only Euros and spend as he sees fit. For example, there are lots of shops in Mallorca which accept Pound Notes and convert the value into Euros.

Is there any possibility that the people who created the Euro-zone will apologise and admit that they 'jumped the gun'? Of course not! That is what totalitarian means - imposed equality.

There is a very, very simple answer to the Euro crisis, which is that any particular Country, eg Spain, to re-introduce its peseta and make rules that Euros can be accepted and exchanged into pesetas, but not the other way round.

Would it not be great if one could go to a pub/restaurant/shop and pay for your goods in the Euros which you have not used on your holidays?

I apologise for the length of this comment. Unfortunately, these things cannot be discussed in terms of pithy comments.


Surreptitious Evil said...

"If it were not for SOCIALISM, in a broad sense, ordinary people would still be serfs. Serfs whose reward for work would be merely food, water, basic clothing and shelter of a sort."

Not in the slightest. The great improvement in living standards throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries have been due to entrepreneurial capitalism, not to state ownership of the means of production (i.e. socialism). You can see this not in the least from the abject failure of those economies where state ownership was widespread and, in others where it played a part, by the abject failure of the state-owned companies.

People have been dragging themselves out of peasantry since the Black Plague. Once there are more productive (and better paid) jobs to go to, then the pay for the existing jobs rises (as we are currently seeing in China.)

Anonymous said...

Socialism has not died, it has just changed its clothes. Newly attired in Common Purpose, it now marches in corridors where it used to be anathema, striding through halls where it used to cower in the shadows, it bellows its demands that the State Knows All; submit to the State, and all your cares will end; prostrate yourself at the feet of the State, and your life will be forever, and forever good.

One of Socialisms common themes was banning – we now live in a world where things that once were considered to be simple treats and pleasures are being seriously discussed for removal from the clutches of the unthinking populace. It started with tobacco, has moved to alcohol, and now has salt, sugar and food in its sights.

Socialism is about control of the individual by the State; look around you, Simon, when next at a Party meeting, and see how many want to enforce their view of safety upon us. Never, NEVER relax your guard against its evil.

Radical Rodent

Anonymous said...

Humble apologies for the errors (apostrophic and tensive) in my previous post; the excuse that I was distracted is a poor one, but one that I will cling to.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Cook

I am searching for a model of the way forward for anyone to take, which leaves the state and all its abominations far behind.

There must be a way: perhaps it is only the realisation that things do not need to be driven by the state, that forty million people just making up their own minds is far better than waiting to be told what to do and what to think.

It happened for the former communist slaves when the Wall came down in 1989. We have many smaller Walls, which is perhaps why we do not focus on them as much.

Forty million people making up their own minds is called a free market. We do not need a state to make one for us.


Amie said...

This is cool!