I've been feeling rather pessimistic about politics recently, because the following occurred to me. The right have felt especially vindicated since the fall of Communism. Not only does this prove we're right, the thinking goes, but it demonstrates unequivocally to everyone that socialism doesn't work. Eventually, the attraction of socialism will fade.

I hope this is right. But what got me was the thought that it was only when Communism completely collapsed, when it absolutely fell apart, having been burrowed out from within, did it really sink in that Marxism wasn't really such a great idea after all. But why did it take such a spectacular and monumental public collapse for this fact to be obvious?

For decades it was clear that the Communist states were disaster areas, and that this was due to them being run almost totally by the State. Yet up until the 1980's there was a very strong view prevalent in the West that socialism - not just redistribution-of-wealth socialism, but some form of command-and-control socialism - was where we should be heading. So even though the insanity of this was staring us in the face, we couldn't see it. We had to be hit over the head very hard before the penny dropped.

So if we couldn't see how bad heavy-duty socialism was when it was staring us in the face - if it took the ruin of several countries before we acknowledged it - what chance do we have against the more subtle applications of socialism that are going on now?

This brings us back to blogging. Some of you will have thought while reading the above that it wasn't most of us who wanted to go socialist in the '60's and '70's, it was only the priesthood that did - Guardian journalists, academics, trade unionists, Hollywood stars - and they had bigger platforms than the rest of us. But blogging will change things, so the story goes, by reducing the power of the priesthood, particularly that possessed by the media.

I've said this myself. I hope it's true. But let's not forget one thing. Wherever the power moves to, leftists will stampede to get a seat. Wherever the platforms are set up, there you will find the leftists fighting hard to clamber up, knocking off all their opponents on the way. We've seen it time and time again.

For example, whenever the Government sets up a body that has power over people's behaviour, that body will eventually be filled with leftists. This happens even if the body was initially set up to curb the excesses of the left. For example, all the attempts at centralizing control over education in Britain to stop the left-wingers having so much power just meant that the left-wingers eventually took over these bodies as well.

And now that blogging is becoming a big thing, the left-wingers are starting to flock to it. They're perfectly entitled to, of course, but if right-wingers like Ian Duncan Smith think blogging is going to be an unalloyed right-wing triumph, they're in for some disappointment. Blogging can make a difference because it's more of a level-playing field, as IDS says. But the left is going to take to blogging in a big way too, using all the tactics that they've been so successful with beforehand.

Postscript: The thing is, left-wing activists are usually more committed than right-wing activists, and this I think is because there's an element of religiosity in left-wing politics. (No arguments for this here, just claims). For some people, to some degree (I'm not saying it's a large degree, but it's enough to make a difference), socialism functions for them as a substitute for religion. But a belief in the free-market doesn't seem to function in the same way, especially in Britain (America is perhaps more of an exception).

Hence, socialists are more likely to be out proselytizing than their opponents. They're more likely to become a journalist (and stay in it journalism, rather than selling out eventually). They're more likely to try to wangle their way onto a board which for most people would be a waste of time. And so on.

There's always going to be a stream of the sort of people who would normally be priests coming into adulthood and attending University. Because real religion is declining in Western society, these young people are all potential converts to the next best substitute, socialism, which also promises to give them the sort of power and importance that the priestly caste craves.

In fact, it's noticeable that the majority of conservative activists are either (i) people who were left-wing activists or writers in their younger days, and so have already caught the "quasi-religious-activist" bug, even if they don't accept that religion any more, or (ii) people who are genuinely religious. You don't see that many conservative activists who are atheists and who have been life-long conservatives.

And that's why I'm pessimistic - or at least not as optimistic about politics as some other right-wing bloggers (including me a month ago). If socialism really is dead, why did Spain and Portugal vote Socialist parties into power recently? Why is South America going socialist again? It's all very well saying that these countries had their own specific problems, and that they had bad right-wing governments (although Spain certainly didn't), etc. The fact is that socialism was considered a credible alternative again in these places, and that's worrying. I don't believe socialism will win in the long run, but most religious people don't just give up their religion overnight, and so it may take until such a time as the boomers and their influences are long gone before the spectre fades.

Cross-posted at Blithering Bunny.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them