Sunday, 6 March 2011

Two to Tango

"I'm not going to condemn him (Gadhafi) ... I'd be a coward to condemn someone who has been my friend."
Hugo Chavez on recent events in Libya

Socialism has always held an emotive appeal for people. Rational thought is never used, instead phrases such as 'Progressive', 'its the right thing to do', 'justice' and 'equality' are spoke of in order to emotionally blackmail large segments of society. Throughout my life I have seeked rational answers be it through science or history. Socialism never made sense to me. History taught me this initially, then through economic theory and reasoning I was able to see the flaws in placing ultimate power to a centralised state. I would like to add that I am not rich and never have been. I went to state schools. I have predominately 'working class' relatives, with only my father, myself and my brother attending University. Yet I know Socialism impoverishes all members of society, from all types of backgrounds.  

Western nations who run true democracies have no place for it. It is dead. Any so called Socialist movements in Europe are just as free market orientated as the 'right wing parties'. To be honest I can barely tell the difference between Labour and the Conservatives here in Britain. They are both as free market orientated as one another, with each one having similar ideas of what should be done by the state. The only way Socialism, in its true form can exist is as a dictatorship. The left conveniently ignore all this. They use their emotive language ignoring lessons of history.

Generations of Western Socialists have supported terrible regimes across the globe. It may be hard to think now but Stalin's rule during the 1920's and 30's was supported by many left wing thinkers at the time. History showed it to be of great suffering to the Russian people, millions died and tortured, oppression from the state, no freedom for peoples rights. But back then Socialists were more than happy to support Stalin. From Mao, Castro, Mugabe and Chavez - all have endured popular support from Socialist leaders in the West. All have proved to be tyrants, degrading peoples living standards. Now we have revolution in the Middle East, with another iconic leader who was endorsed by many Socialists, Gaddafi, now in trouble.

Gaddafi was held up by the left as a role model. He opposed the West on many fronts (until recently) and was seen to give the ordinary person in Libya a better standard of living. Roll forward to now and subsequent generations of Socialists are condemning his actions against his people. They conveniently ignore that for decades he was an enemy of the West and that they supported his rule.  

On the contrary the left pervert current events in the way they have throughout the previous century. All of this is not a failure in central planning or Statism - no its a failure of Capitalism. The very system that such thinkers live under with far better living standards than the Socialist dictatorships they endorse. A failure of 'neo-liberal' policies. Neo-Liberal? What is that? Its a trendy word the left use to label other forms of Socialism, forms they disagree with. If they were appointed to dictate the people it would be different - they would do the 'right' thing. When others do it, its Neo-liberalism. To keep it simple all political parties, States, Governments they all amount to the same thing. Loss of individual freedoms and liberties. There is no debate. 

When all these revolutions occur, how do the people of these countries get their message out? The Internet. Wasn't that a platform that the free market adopted to be used by anyone? Wasn't Facebook, Twitter, Wikileaks and Youtube all creations from the evil capitalist system. The system that creates the tools that didn't exist 10 years ago to shake out the tyranny around the world and to oust various governments for what they are.

The left has collective amnesia of such facts, tweeting on their microblogs or uploading their videos to youtube - for free, with open access to all. Quick to blame and throw their toys out the pram, but never ones to offer solutions. I, like most people, want hard, rational solutions to problems. Free markets and individual liberty enables economic problems to be solved and provides answers. Socialism just creates chaos and further problems for everyone. It takes two to tango. Fortunately people aren't dancing with Socialism any more as seen by the decline of the left all around the West for the past few decades. In short bursts maybe. But over the long run, the 21st Century will mark greater freedoms for everyone. Gaddafi is the same as Chavez, Castro, Mugabe, Mao or Stalin, each to his own but all grab power and abuse it. Abolish this, and everyone across the globe can have access to true equality - freedom. Money is not freedom.  True wealth comes from the freedom a person is given.


  1. You seem to make an unbridgable distinction between state and individual which leads you to propose an ideological conflict between authoritarian and libertarian perspectives.

    Yet you say the current parties of right and left in this country are barely different - at least on this scale.

    I'd argue a slightly different point, namely that party definition is in flux as the basis of political identity shifts between collective vs individual and authoritarian vs libertarian.

    Formerly liberty was defended by the collective, as it was attacked on the authority of an individual. This allignment is reversing, so liberty is now defended by the individual, while collective authority is used to attack threats.

    This means that there is currently a greater battle going on among those who choose to make partisan affiliations between those who do so for ideological reasons and those who do so for pragmatic reasons.

    This battle is most clearly seen in the battle for the heart of the LibDem party where the pragmatists won the upper hand to form a coalition with their long-term enemies, and outspoken ideologues like Ms Gore felt too marginalised to remain despite paradoxically finding herself on what many commentators would describe as the right of the debate according to previous terms where she'd have be expected to be a happy bedfellow with tories.

    So my argument is two-fold.

    Firstly I'm in agreement that it must be about freedom.

    But secondly I disagree that any coherent debate about freedom can be about desired outcomes (ie being anti-socialist, anti-racist etc), but instead it must be about methods (pointing out the brittleness of adherence to any fixed ideology, be that socialist, racist or otherwise).

    In it's essence freedom must be free, which means being able to pick up good ideas wherever they can be found and staying open-minded about the potential of all viewpoints to contribute value.

    So I won't oppose dictators for the colour of their politics, but because they dictate.

    I might also oppose the effect of their policies, but that depends on the choices available.

    Inability to compromise always leads to violence while over-enthusiasm for compromise eventually leads to oblivion.

    Finally, I'd say you're identification of Gadaffi with socialism is questionable. He rose to power through the army as a trend to praetorianism and was initially supported by the west as a bulwark against rising socialism. He then bolstered his internal position by stimulating islamic feeling, and then reversed his position again after 9/11, personally profiting from oil and gas revenues.

    If you want to analyse Gadaffi's politics he is incoherent, corrupt, ruthless and selfish. He will use whatever is at hand to gain a short-term advantage.

    This makes him very dangerous.

  2. Gadaffi liked to affiliate himself with Socialism as it is a phrase that is associated with power to the people, a sort of smoke screen for state dictatorships. Whether he was is not the point. Point is many Western Socialists supported his rule and actions at the time.

    You hit the nail on the head with "If you want to analyse Gadaffi's politics he is incoherent" - sums up socialism, its incoherent with many contradictions.

  3. Sorry Phill, my critique of socialism isn't that it is incoherent but that it is unstable.

    Socialism is a coherent set of ideas, but as a utopian ideology it cannot ever be effectively implemented as a system of government (it is a destination, rather than the journey).

    The consequence of socialism is that reactionary elements fight over ever more extreme interventions to reach the ideal, or the eventual complete reversal.

    So Gadaffi encompasses some elements of socialism, but the political scientist in me says this doesn't amount to socialism itself.

    Populist sloganeering must also be balanced against analysis of policy, but in Gadaffis example words did not match actions so claims of ideology against him are misplaced.