John Adams, a great US “founding father”, legal defender of “redcoats”, and the nation’s second President, knew that for a democratic nation to function the people must think of the greater good of the nation. Adams warned against a “tyranny of the majority” saying: “If a majority are capable of preferring their own private interest…to that of the nation collectively…And that the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority, is demonstrated by every page of history… In popular governments minorities constantly run much greater risk of suffering from arbitrary power than in absolute monarchies.” Lord Action in Great Britain offered similar sentiments in the 19th century, warning: “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.” Democratic rule is clearly a fantastic system, but as Acton and Adams argue, it does have flaws.
200 years after the presidency of Adams and over 100 years after the death of Lord Acton, democratic rule has fundamentally changed in our two nations. In many ways, it has changed for the positive. Women can now vote and hold office, an advantage shown in many ways, very notably Margaret Thatcher; being probably the best peace time leader of the last century. In America, racial minorities, in many places previously disenfranchised, now have full and equal political rights. But often the mindset of the modern voter has cheapened the democratic process and government.
Since the advent of the welfare state, whether the full-blown socialism of the era of Attlee, to the “softer” socialism-lite of the American Democrat party since Franklin Delano Roosevelt or of New Labour, the role and expectations of government has dramatically altered. Government, instead of being seen as largely a provider of national defence and enforcer of the rule of law, undertook a new job in the anglosphere; the task of provider. Instead of a stern Victorian father, government could now be a caring loving nanny, taking care of all of its citizens, in all of their needs. And who spread this idea that government could and should change in our two nations? Why, the American Democratic party and the British Labour party of course.
Labour and the Democrats have a long grand tradition of getting elected by promising the world. Labour after World War II literally promised the “New Jerusalem” of a just, fair, prosperous, and equal society. It nationalised whole industries, raised taxes exponentially on the “wealthy” (hey they can pay for everybody and everything right?) and created a “safety net” where the traditional role of charity would be replaced by the cheques of government offices. In the spirit of New Jerusalem, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s promised a “Great Society” of free government designed project housing, welfare benefits with no requirement of work, and government bureaucracies to make just laws less sophisticated congressmen could not comprehend. And of course, this was paid for through obscenely high taxes on the “rich” and if they didn’t pay for it all, they would simply add it to the nation’s national debt. These leaders even thought energy prices could be controlled (including Republicans like Nixon or Conservatives like Heath) through the swoop of a magical government wand. The government was magic! It could solve all societal ills, all poverty, all injustice, all the traditional plagues on humanity could go away through the power of almighty government.
Or so they told the people…………..then the 1970s happened. Social unrest, strikes, shortages, crushing inflation, high unemployment, family units disappearing, city centres rotting, communities on the dole, malaise and poverty. Spirits crushed, two formerly proud and great nations were weak and no longer respected globally. The proud and great British and American people however did not accept defeat. In the 1980s America to a certain extent, but especially Britain, turned back much of the excesses of the socialist era. They lowered taxes to a more reasonable rate, cutting many onerous regulations and Britain privatised all but a small few of major industries. Government, while still large, was no longer recognised as being the magical fairy of Utopian wonder. The fall of the ultimate statist Utopian promise nation, the Soviet Union, and the 1970s still lingered as an embarrassment for the left. The left even appeared to change. Bill Clinton signed welfare reform given to him by a Republican congress and declared “the era of big government over”. Tony Blair ditched Labour’s long held policy of government control of industry, even continuing privatisation with regards to the Bank of England and keeping top tax rates below 50%. It seemed at the turn of the century that we had learned our lesson.
With Barrack Obama’s Democrats and Ed Miliband’s Labour we have now learned, however, that the leopard of the left never truly changed its spots. It was just waiting in the wings. It still lies and tells voters they can everything they want by just voting for them.
Barrack Obama told everybody “hope” and “change” would come magically to make everything wonderful if he was elected. He offered no solutions besides blaming boogieman aka the “killer B’s” of bankers, businessmen and Bush. He did not tell the American people that it was government through HUD, the FHA, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and mandated mortgage requirements which forced banks to take up loans. That it was governmental social engineering that caused the housing bubble and bust. The US government’s powerful, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, “the only developed country with a significant government role in housing policy” during the late 1990s and 2000s, crashed the the US and world economy out of a Utopian dream of housing for even those who could not afford to be homeowners. They forced banks into the red out of their sense of justice and righting past social wrongs. And Barrack Obama then benefited politically.
Barack Obama has ruled by a policy of constant deceitfulness that a lazy and slavish media has indulged. Barrack Obama claimed to be friend of the “little guy” and against corporations but he has allowed companies that conform to his green agenda and give him campaign donations, such as GE to pay no taxes or companies like Solyndra to take the taxpayers money, get wealthy and go bankrupt. He told us we could spend our way out of our economic troubles, yet five years later our economy is stagnate, our national debt has nearly doubled to over 100% of GDP and workforce participation is at an all time low. However, his biggest and most famous deceit came over health-care. He passed through a law called the “Affordable Care Act” colloquially “Obamacare” that promised wonderful sunshine, roses, and daffodils. It promised lower rates for all, universal health care coverage and if you liked your current plan, he assured us, “you can keep it”. The best of all worlds! Unfortunately, the plan has resulted in higher premiums, very little enrolment of the uninsured (I am currently uninsured and instead will just take the IRS fine for having no insurance) and people being unable to keep their plan.
Ed Miliband, a man who once predicted Britain would lose one million jobs and the economy would be crushed under the evil weight of austerity, (oops Britain has gained over 1 million jobs and is the fastest growing of G7 nations) has turned to a new sweet little lie, the prospect of magically freezing energy prices. Now, I won’t go into energy prices again, I spent my last blog on that issue. But besides this policy being an economic impossibility, the move is totally incredulous. He was the energy secretary who increased green taxes that rose energy bill across the country, and opposes curtailing them today. (Luckily the previously “vote blue get green” Conservatives seen the error of their previous ways on this issue). He is the one who introduced an absurd carbon emissions target for 2030. He is the one who was part of a government that’s policies increased corporatisation and monopolisation of British energy companies, and yet, he like Obama is using them as a political punching bag for an attempt at political gain. Their about faces and lies are so numerous that I must put a link for you to read them all. Lie, after lie, after lie, from Labour. The party who almost drove Great Britain into bankruptcy with their 13 year wild spending spree now wants to have power back by promising magical market controlling powers. Great Britain hopefully will not be stupid enough to give that party another governing chance.
So how is it people keep falling for the fairy tales of the Democrats and Labour? Why does Socialism continue to thrive long after there have been multiple examples of its failure and unworkability? Because despite the past warnings of the likes of John Adams and Lord Acton, people have bought into the seductive lie that the government can use its power to give people whatever they desire. Like the Roman bread and circuses of antiquity, the people have discovered the government can be a vehicle to take what they desire from the minority of people who have it, a vehicle to provide for their welfare. This policy of redistribution has never resulted in economic prosperity, and in the end it achieves an even smaller elite, centred in the seat of government and a weak dependent people. This socialist policy cannot be allowed to overwhelm our nations. For the best policy I will leave you with a final quote by John Adams: “Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.”