“The idea that a capitalist economy can support a socialist welfare state is collapsing before our eyes.”
I agree very much with Janet Daley’s analysis in today’s Telegraph (LINK), but it doesn’t go deep enough.
Socialist ideals (notwithstanding their opportunistic exploitation by socialist politicians and welfare scroungers) are based ultimately on the state’s claim to representing our NATION, which as an extension of our original TRIBE, has an obligation of care towards all its members.
When Britain’s welfare state was founded in the aftermath of WW2, there was a strong sense of national identity and a huge amount of social solidarity to base it on. Apart from a few rouge individuals, my parents’ generation wouldn’t have dreamed of exploiting it inappropriately, as in the meantime millions – in fact, the vast majority – have become accustomed to doing.
The question is, why is the welfare state now seen as something to be exploited, rather than used responsibly? It’s because the sense of national identity (except in sport and war) and of social solidarity, on which it was originally based, are long gone, although we –especially our politicians – are obliged to maintain the pretence.
Why, notwithstanding that many still cling to its symbols and as an abstraction, did we lose our sense of national identity and social solidarity?
The madness of mass immigration (into our already, natively and unsustainably, overpopulated country) and multi-ethnic society is partly to blame, but there is a much older and more fundamental reason than this, which is the example set by society’s wealthy and ruling elites, who have always considered it their God given right to
exploit the rest of society to their own advantage. What the welfare state did, was give those at the other end of the social hierarchy the opportunity to do the same, not in the same style as those at the top, but nevertheless.
We need to stop going round in circles (in fact a rapidly descending spiral) blaming each other (the Left the Right, and the Right the Left) and develop a much deeper understanding of our situation, which is essentially, believe it or not (and it’s high time that we did!), DARWINIAN.
Human nature is a product of Darwinian evolution and adapted to an environment which existed long before any kind, let alone modern industrial, civilization arose. We can’t help but see “society” as an environment to be exploited to our own advantage (i.e. that of our own little tribe or family). And this, in fact, is what the STATE (and the economy) developed over the centuries to facilitate (while posing as our TRIBE or NATION), to the advantage, of course, of those in a position to shape the power structures of its institutions. Initially, these were just members of the aristocracy and clergy, but over the centuries others (bankers, merchants, industrialists, and numerous professions) got in on the act (of exploitation), creating favourable niches for themselves. Until, with advent of universal suffrage, even the poor and disadvantage were able to exert influence as the clients of politicians in need of their votes.