Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Conservative Socialism

I'm inclined to agree with Jonathan Freedland - 'Democracy has to assert itself once more - and tame this beast'.  (Well, obviously I don't agree with his use of dashes. No punctuation at that point would have improved the drama of the payoff.) As I have said before, this is the climax of the free market right's abuse of power, just as 1979 was the climax of the unionised left's abuse. Then we needed a touch more capitalism, now we need a tad more socialism - exactly what we are getting. Republican congressmen spit blood at the very mention of the word, but that's because they confuse communism and socialism. In fact, socialism, meaning the acceptance of a common good that may occasionally trump naive conceptions of freedom, is an unremarkable idea. This is elementary stuff for those not corrupted by political tribalism and it's certainly not in conflict with true conservatism, which is nothing if not pragmatic. Unfortunately, you can count the number of true conservatives in this world on the fingers of one hand.

8 comments:

  1. Conservative Socialism.

    Which as Hayek pointed out in the road to freedom was the precursor to national socialism.

    IMO, we will only get a Paradigm shift if we are prepared to take a different course as opposed to your view that we are just calibrating the engine. Thus we are not in a new world are we?

    So what would be a Paradigm shift? that would be a major rethink on how we tax ourselves, and a move from income tax to land tax in order to stop the bubble re emerging (in hope) I think the great liberal conservative Winston Churchill had a go at doing as chancellor. Land value tax.

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  2. I recall Harold MacMillan and other old schools Tories referring to themselves as socialists - in that they believed in the value of our common society. They also knew the terms of the debate had changed in 1945. The problem is as society becomes more individualistic, or 'diverse', people feel fewer obligations to their fellow citizens. With our high levels of immigration championed by many liberals in the 'rights' industry, and the fact we are on a crest of a slump, the future could get a bit fractious.

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  3. I believe most people confuse communism and socialism. if that wasn't the case then most people would support socialism.

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  4. I'd quite like socialism if it wasn't run by socialists - and for that matter, capitalism if not run by capitalists (who, as I write, have got the taxpayers to give them money so thay can give it back to us with interest).

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  5. I'd quite like socialism if it wasn't run by socialists - and for that matter, capitalism if not run by capitalists (who, as I write, have got the taxpayers to give them money so thay can give it back to us with interest).

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  6. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around, but if you think the current crisis is primarily due to inadequate regulation, you haven't been paying attention. Our quasi
    governmental (and therefore socialist) mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were duly regulated, and those regulators were as clueless as the executives as to how close to the edge these companies were. Not to mention the extortion practiced by congressional do-gooders like Barney Frank against regulated banks and lenders like Fannie and Freddie in the service of socialist projects like lifting up the poor by suspending the laws of financial gravity.

    To paraphrase another post of yours, you can't turn a cad into a gentleman by making him a regulator or electing him to government.

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  7. Y'know I was just thinking about how 'Mid-Life Crisis' by Faith No More is a realy great song. Yep. It is.

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