One of the candidates in the recent tussle for the leadership turned up last week to my daughter's school to talk to the senior girls. This is the second time the school has invited a Labour MP in the last twelve months and it has not extended the invitation to anyone from any other party, so it is pretty obvious where the political inclinations of the teachers lie. The majority of them are raving left-wingers who take every opportunity to ram their facile political beliefs into the impressionable minds of their students and I have blogged about this before. However, I am grateful for this propagandising visit because it gave me the opportunity to discuss the MP's Socialist philosophy with my daughter and to use it as the theme of this blog.
The MP, according to my daughter's account of his speech, made three main points to the students:
- You should live your life for the benefit of others
- Government needs to be bigger to deliver more benefits to those in need
- He will support you if you have good ideas just so long as they are consistent with his philosophy.
Let us deal with each of these in turn.
In saying that you should live your life for the benefit of others, Socialists not only believe that people should be charitable, but that everyone should be forced to be altruistic. They believe the state should use its legal monopoly on violence to force you to live a proportion of your working life for the benefit of others by taking the product of your work through taxation. You are forced to pay your taxes under the threat of imprisonment or worse.
Once the Socialist has decided that you should work some of your life in slavery for others, there is no logical or moral limit to how much of your life he should take - thirty percent, fifty percent or ninety-eighty percent - the only limit is a pragmatic one, i.e. how much can he take without undermining your will to work at all? There is no limit to the demands on behalf of "those in need" and Socialists differ from Communists only in where they draw the line.
Whenever Socialists advocate enforced sacrifice in favour of those in need there is an unspoken question that always has an obvious answer. The question is, who gets to decide? Who determines who is needy, and who defines what needy really means? The answer, of course, is the Socialist proposing the sacrifice.
The Labour MP's last point is telling. He is making it clear it should be he that determines what is a "good idea" and who deserves to receive the product of work confiscated by the state. His philosophy is not so much "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need", as "- to each according to what I determine." It is no surprise that Socialist parties have brutal leadership contests - the lure of being the one who decides is too great for well-mannered successions.
In his novel, Animal Farm, George Orwell showed that enforced equality requires an enforcer. This is the fatal flaw with all collectivist philosophy, whether it is modern, milk-toast democratic Socialism or hard-line Marxist-Leninism. You cannot have an Animal Farm without a Napoleon the Pig. Scratch the surface of any Socialist and you will find a Napoleon trying to get out.