Feb 8, 2010

The British Guide to National Ruin

Many are the instances where adult children pointedly eschew the profligate ways of their of their drunken and wayward parents. In his fascinating analysis, The Decline of Britain: A Cautionary Tale for America,” Dr. Robin Harris, former policy advisor to Prime Minister to Margaret Thatcher and Director of the Conservative Party Research Department, urges America to do just that: observe and reject the socialism which has rendered old Mother England an economic, political, and social basket case.

“Consanguinity,” (common ancestry for those who are NOT George Will) “works both ways,” advises Dr. Harris. “What works in one of our countries has been shown to work in the other. But what fails in one country also fails in the other, and in crucial respects Britain is now failing. The country’s palpable decline from its prosperity and security of just two decades ago constitutes an awful but, if intelligently observed, timely and useful warning to America.

Harris traces the “remarkable, but also indisputable” parallels of American and British economic and political cycles over the past forty years: regulation and taxation under Nixon and Heath; near bankruptcy under Carter and Callaghan; rebirth and prosperity with Reagan and Thatcher; the watered-down Conservatism of Bush and Major; the triangulation of Clinton and Blair, the War on Terror vigor of Bush and Blair; and now the lunge toward Marxism under Obama and Brown.

What has catapulted Britain into the lead in terms of economic disaster is her legacy of socialism, the roots of which Dr. Harris traces to World War Two.

“The Second World War was arguably the decisive event in the history of British collectivism. It increased public expenditure, taxation, and controls to previously unimaginable levels. The Left argued that total planning, which allegedly had won the war, could also secure universal prosperity. Churchill’s coalition wartime government, bowing to the prevailing ethos, laid foundations for the massive economic and social interventions that were later implemented by the postwar Labour government.”

Presaging Mr. Rahm Emanuel, Clement Attlee and crew let not the very good crisis of the war go to waste. They promised their shell-shocked and war-weary nation heaven on Earth and, having won a landslide victory as a result, implemented a welfare state agenda that nationalized the majority of the economy and made the citizenry dependent on government forever more. Bemused, alienated, and himself more than exhausted, Sir Winston could only watch from the back benches as his beloved Britain succumbed to the siren song of socialism. Later he, and even Lady Thatcher, could steer Britain toward free-market prosperity and credible self-defense, only within the confines of a thoroughly entrenched welfare state.

“Even the Thatcher years—again, despite Mrs. Thatcher’s own objections to the consensus—hardly shook the assumptions established at this time (1945) about what government was about.”

And herein lies the core of Harris’s warning to America: DO NOT let socialism into your home. It is a guest that will never leave!

“Britain’s experience offers a serious long-term warning because it shows how difficult it is for another Anglo–Saxon country to escape the legacy of socialism once that ideology becomes entrenched in attitudes and institutions.”

Harris observes that the Tea party movement is a distinctly and delightfully American phenomenon, which indicates the unlikelihood of socialism becoming entrenched in American attitudes. This is happy reaffirmation for those of us who nearly despaired one year ago that the Americans too had become inextricably infatuated by the wiles of the Nanny State. Where America is most vulnerable, however, is in her lack of focus and vigilance in ensuring that collectivist policies do not overwhelm her institutions.

“For the British, the danger is that they revert to collectivism by historically conditioned reflex,” writes Harris. “For Americans, the risk is different but real: It is, as Tocqueville warned, that they may gently and unwittingly slip into it.”

Alas, many of the Americans now crying out against the direction their nation is heading were the very same who voted-in the current occupants of the Executive and Legislative branches of their government. What were they thinking? They were not thinking. This is a dangerous game, for socialism has, in fact, made significant inroads into American institutions. Colleges and Universities, churches and synagogues, the news media, the entertainment industry, philanthropic foundations, even corporations are infested with collectivist thought, expressed through sham programs and initiatives bearing the banners of “diversity”, “sustainability”, and “social justice.”

Only now is the average American awakening to the malevolence these seemingly innocuous niceties possess. We must hasten this awakening. As more and more institutions surrender to collectivist pressure, the nearer to impossible it becomes to effectively oppose the trend, socially as well as politically.

“Conservative timidity is also understandable in straightforward electoral terms because of the sheer size of the public sector and the number of individual voters who are dependent in one way or another on public spending,” explains Harris. In other words, eventually the national motto becomes, if you can’t beat them, join them. Witness Britain’s “Conservative” Party.

The excesses of British government ignited the American Revolution, galvanizing the principles of limited government, no taxation without representation, and the rule of law in the hearts and minds of the American people. We join Dr. Harris and many others who continue to see the United States as the last best hope of mankind in hopes that, by her tragic example, Britain may do so once again.

Cheers,

Charlie

5 comments:

Storm'n Norm'n said...

Somehow I think you are reading my mind...but I don't have the intellectual ability to transcribe from my gray matter as you so eloquently do...

Norm

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