Friday, February 10, 2006
Simple on Socialism
1955: [Best read accompanied by a CD of Noel Coward songs, particularly the one about the Duchess whose son went red.]
Babes in the bath
You may see Socialism as a great road, stretching to infinity across a barren, waterless waste. Along it trudge half the peoples of the world, bowed, manacled, parched, exhausted. By the verges lie the gaunt wrecks of crashed and burnt-out nations; and skeletons picked clean by vultures and bleached by the pitiless sun.
Appalled by the prospect before them, certain Socialists, fainter in heart or stronger in head than the rest, have hesitated, halted or even turned back. These are now rebuked by Prof. G.D. H. Cole, who still steps stoutly ahead, undeterred, undeterrable, invincibly blind and cheerful.
Be of good courage, he bids his wavering comrades. "Much has been done bacdly amiss in the Soviet Union," he concedes but the Soviet worker enjoys "in most matters...an immensely enlarged freedom." To throw away Socialism because it can be "perverted" to serve totalitarian ends is "to throw out the baby with the dirty bath-water."
This is familiar [indeed, I heard it from my very modern and freethinking English grandfather, so Mr. Simple isn't making it up, it was the popular train of thought with early 20th c. upper-middle class English socialists. ed.] and most m anifest nonsense. What has gone "amiss" in Socialist countries is not mere chance disfigurement, like a false moustache scrawled by a madman on a masterpiece. It is Socialism itself, taken to its logical conclusion.
The death of freedom, the enslavement of the masses, the withering of art and culture, the restless, ruthless hunt for scapegoats, the aggressive folie de grandeur of Socialist dictators - these are no mere "perversions" of Socialistm. They are Socialism unperverted, an integral and predictable part of any truly Socialist system.
We are not faced here with so much dirty bath-water surrounding a perfectly healthy, wholesome Socialist baby. The dirty bathwater is Socialism, and the baby was drowned in it at birth."