March 7, 2014


Our rightward drift goes beyond politics : Thatcher and Blair have seeped into our social and cultural lives as well (GEOFFREY HEPTONSTALL, 6 March 2014, Open Democracy)

In British terms it was Blair, not only Blair but especially Blair, crushing Clause Four before marching to war. Yes, there was relief for the worst effects of the market. No, there was no suggestion that the market might be the root of the problem, that people are not prosperous and are in debt. Credit, a euphemism for debt, is a certain recipe for disaster. The economy was, and remains, fragile, dependent on the fantasy that putative money actually exists.

It was bound to crash. The crash duly came. And whose fault was it? It was someone else's fault. It was idle scroungers and bogus refugees. It was big government spending too much on the undeserving. It was the fault of wasteful bureaucracy. It was too much red tape. It was lazy teachers and crazy social workers. It was fancy ideas in the universities and the media. It wasn't the fault of the financial system. It can't have been. The market creates wealth and then distributes it when regulations don't impede its natural course.

We are free and we are prosperous. That is the future course of history into an indefinite future. There are impediments, but these will be removed. Common sense will prevail. The only debate is how this will be achieved. Will the accent be Etonian or metromedia? The agonizing choice.

The choice is not about policies. People vote for values rather than specific legislative programmes. Values are generated by voices of persuasion within the fabric of general feeling. Once an idea is taken up it acquires a momentum that is not willed. The internal dynamics force the issue. It overflows into the forum of public conversation even, or especially, at a trivial level. This is the case even where the facts, readily available, are evidently contrary to the accepted view.

The convention (you hear it everywhere) is that the alternative has been tried, and has failed so obviously and spectacularly that the only viable system is the free market. So the ultimate choice is between Las Vegas or North Korea.

While it is certainly true that there are no longer any serious advocates of socialism and communism--both having failed as economic systems--neither are there any serious advocates of a return to naked capitalism--it having failed as a social system.  Instead, what all the leading politicians in the Anglosphere advocate is putting the social welfare system of the Second Way on a sounder financial footing via the mechanisms of the First Way. Our drift is thus rightward on the left and leftward on the right and we're meeting in the middle.

Posted by at March 7, 2014 10:13 AM

blog comments powered by Disqus