Thursday, June 11, 2009

Neither Social Nor Democratic

The folks at the British Spectator are having a grand old time this week in the aftermath of the Labour Party's wipeout in local and European elections. People are even talking about the end of the Labour Party.

We've heard that one before, of course. Pundits are always prophesying the end of political parties when they suffer at the polls.

Maybe this really is the end of the Labour Party. But probably not. Anyway, every nation has its Gimme-stuff-for-free Party. If Labour fades away then another social democratic party will appear to take its place.

But that won't change the fact that social democratic parties are a lie. They are neither social nor democratic.

The word "social" comes from the Latin "socius." It means "companion, ally, associate" according to Online Webster. But that is exactly what a social democratic party is not. It is not social, but statist, with the natural cooperative instincts of mankind brutally chopped down by overweening state power. Democratic? Well, the only way the people would get to rule is by minimizing the power of government so that they could rule themselves in their private families, churches, and associations. Otherwise democracy is the rule of the politicians.

But we don't get that, do we? And the reason we don't get it is the power hunger of the progressive educated elite. They want a political system where they rule, benevolently of course, through vast national bureaucratic administrative structures staffed by their tame experts. But when you get a gigantic hierarchy like that you cannot have a "social" system, characterized by companions, allies, associates. You have a top-down oppressive system obsessed with rule-making and control.

In Britain, this has reached parody, where people openly laugh and sneer at the "target culture" of the Labour government. The target culture is the hopelessly ineffective attempt to force some kind of accountability downwards from the top onto the people actually delivering public services. But it always ends up being a system to make the chaps on top look good, rather than actually direct the people at the bottom to deliver effective social services.

The real joke, or the tragedy, is that we don't need all this government power and oppression. We already have an workable system of social democracy, the system of voluntary cooperation we call capitalism. It forces powerful people to work for the benefits of the consumers. It controls economic power by the system of profit and loss. Screw up enough, and you go out of business.

But that is the last thing that the social democrats in the Labour Party or the US Democratic Party would ever think of supporting.

You can understand their point of view. What would happen if The People just didn't know enough, or care enough, to make the right decision? And what would the progressive educated elite do if it didn't have the power to boss people around--in their own best interest, of course?

Here's another question. What happens if The Progressive Educated Elite doesn't know enough, or care enough, to make the right decision?

The sad thing is that, when the whole system crashes down, it will be the supporters of the social democratic parties that will suffer most. The skilled middle class will do fine, because it has the talent and the skills to thrive whatever happens. But the folk who put their trust in politicians will pay a terrible price.

And that is a crying shame.

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