In America, “liberal” has been a dirty word for decades and thanks to nice-but-dim Tony Blair, in the UK, the word “socialist” has joined it. Which is stupid, since Liberal-Socialism COULD be this World’s SAVIOUR.
But I’m talking about SOCIALISM – not Communism. Communism had its chance and it DOESN’T WORK. Thanks to its policy of failing to reward individual effort, it produces societies that are technologically BACKWARD.
Thus while Cuba and North Korea struggle on with it – following its collapse in Russia, China and just about everywhere else, it can no longer be seen as viable. At least, not without some MAJOR concessions.
No, I’m talking about the noble system of government that ruled Europe during the second half of the last century – tempered with a pinch of liberalism. Its guiding principle is government-run PUBLIC SERVICES, paid for by taxation, which is FREE to ALL.
Health. It is IMMORAL for health-care needs to be tied to one’s ability to PAY. If you discovered a cure for cancer, how would YOU feel if you knew it would only be made available to the RICH?
Education. As health-care should be based on NEED, education should be based on ABILITY TO USE. I.e., if you work hard and pass your EXAMS, you move on to the next level.
Transport. It is impossible to run a comprehensive, SAFE and affordable service for profit. And making it free cuts down on costs.
Traffic. Public transport cannot meet ALL needs (try taking a bass fiddle onto a bus) thus roads, street-lighting, etc., must be kept up to a safe standard. And motoring needs to be affordable too.
After the war, Britain began a system that became the envy of the World. It was called the Welfare State. And while it had its issues, for the most part it WORKED. But after 18 years of the Tories and another dozen of the most right-wing left-wing party ever, it is in disarray.
“Privatisation” (COMMERCIALISATION) of the above services – and more – has pushed up prices, cut safety standards and KILLED people. And the survivors live in a climate of FEAR.
I’ve heard all the arguments against a return to Socialism…
“Today’s technology and high cost of labour makes health-care, education, etc., way more EXPENSIVE now than it was in 1947 – the taxation levels required to finance it would be sky-high”. True – but that’s the cost of living in a caring society.
“The high taxation would drive away the experts needed to maintain our companies.” Like Bernie Madoff?
“If the government controlled everything, there would be no healthy competition – no inducement to excel. Technological advancement would stall.” This is where the LIBERAL aspect would come in. A system of performance rewards would be incorporated into all government-run services. And we are only talking about PUBLIC services. The private sector would still thrive – in some cases, serving the public sector.
“If a person is successful, they should be able to reap the rewards of that success.” And they WOULD. If they wanted to enjoy a big seat on the plane, be chauffeured in a Rolls, live in a big house and when necessary, enjoy a private room in hospital – they could. And if they preferred private health-care and private schooling for their kids, like-wise. All of these things were available under Socialism.
The problem with right-wing ideals is they are based on SUCCESS. Only the successful can enjoy life and society’s facilities – the rest can eat sh*t. However, that viewpoint fails to take two things into account.
One: you can’t run a society on “all chiefs and no indians”. A supermarket manager may be successful, but without check-out staff, shelf-fillers, cleaners, electricians, warehouse staff and drivers – he will be left managing AN EMPTY STORE.
He NEEDS those “unsuccessful” people. But if he wants to KEEP them, he must pay them a living wage, with fair working conditions – and show them some RESPECT.
And two: you can only push people so far. Inner-city rioting and demos against Capitalism are only the tip of the iceberg. Eventually, there comes a point where the Great Unwashed get ticked off by the Beautiful People to the point where they finally elect to DO something about it.
I direct your attention to the French Revolution…