Socialism and the Left: Accidentally wrong? or less good than the best? or just plain deliberate wickedness and evil? Updated slightly 2nd March 2008.


David Davis

I have been wondering about this problem for some years. It is utterly obvious that human beings naturally want to interact by co-operation in a very large way, immeasurably outstripping even the most social animals observable. 

Co-operation?

Insects? Bah, humbug! They are just robots; you could write a programme called “bee.com” or “termite.exe”……

Animals? …… even “fruitbat.bat” (you could even run all of these in DOS 2.0, a great prog for geeks who like us to not have Windows and stuff, saying that other stuff is better, OK you go try write something else and earn 150 billion in 30 years then) inside about 16Kb of ROM.

A subroutine of “tropicalfish.bat” might fetch a library called “vbruncloseswarm400.dll” which only runs when another bit of schmutter called “get_temp.dll” searches for the datalogger and responds to readings greater than 25deg C – this whole outfit of code might be as much as 180Kb, but not really more. (All this is crap, as I’m not a software geek at all, I know jack-shit about writing it, and I just pick up audible snippets from professionals who are publicly showing off. You know – the ones who “don’t change lightbulbs, as that’s a hardware problem…..”) Man however would need rather more disk space than that. 

Simple observation of history, the News Papers and the Wireless Tele Vision “News” programs (which on the BBC are a sort of light local magazine of ephemeral public sensation, and of individual tragedies which are properly the matters only for the families concerned) makes one want to believe the following things about leftism:-

There are two types of lefty, I think. 

Firstly, the infantile ranting student variety of socialist, such as Peter Hain used to be, which seems to execrate everything that is good because it is old (and which has therefore survived.) This type holds onto student-activist behaviour late into life, like “signing on” in the vacations when in your univ town, or being caught with your hand in the Student Union Till (you were only using the funds to further The Cause, honest Guv) or in your (posher) girlfriend’s wallet. 

Secondly, you have the grown-up sort that dispenses with student niceties of shiftiness based on ancestral middle-class shame at doing wrong, and now extorts money with menaces – such as dictocrasts on “Local Councils” and Ken Livingstone……or who deliberately destroys institutions that he thinks are in its way or which supposedly support and represent his enemies, such as Tony Blair, and also the anti-hunting dudes……and/or who also kills defined groups of people such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Castro or Che (and no, your T-shirt is STILL not cool.) These latter type are positioned by their adherents as a necessary and ground-breaking tool for “improving” “society”.

The latest attack for example on Private Schooling (for the benefit of newer American readers, we call them “Public Schools” here in the UK, for they are NOT anything to do with the State but were originally founded to make education “public”) is a case in point. These schools are charities. That is to say, they perform services for those children otherwise unable to pay the full fees through providing assisted or even free places, financed out of their own resources or via donations or legacies from (increasingly often) wealthy former pupils; in return, the British State, even under actual socialist guvmints as opposed to pretend (Tory) ones, has given them relief from some of the more bizarre taxations and imposts.

The British State’s problem is that its own schools, run nationally and financed through taxation, are mostly shit. Sorry, but it’s true. They are, especially in the most rotten Labour boroughs and constituencies, which tend to contain the worst ones financec by the highest State spending, merely rather-poor state-child-minding-centres. The State curriculum, that is to say the politically-agreed nationalised body of “knowledge” which the apparatchiks forced to work there are authorised to transmit, is regularly degraded so as to achieve an ever-increasing rate of “success”, year-on-year. This is, each time, attributed by whoever is the minister in charge of this nonsense, as “yet another vindication of the highest-ever-level of dedication by our fantastic teachers, and becuase their stuidents have worked harder than ever before”.

“Five Year Plans” do not even come close, as exercises in “It’s a Square World“-type self-parodying irony….George Orwell could not make it up.

Unfortunately for the British State, the Universities, especially the best ones, still seem to think that they ought to admit students who are best placed to benefit most from such education. This irritates the left profoundly, and means that more and more State spending on “education” produces less and less result. Public Schools still provide about two-thirds of students at the top 20-odd universities, despite educating only 7%  of pupils (the State’s own figures!) In my day 40 years ago it was about half, with many able chaps coming from “secondary moderns” (abolished since then) – so the Public schools are winning and the state is losing.

The point about “deliberate wickedness and evil” is that the effect of private education, in maximizing actual education while spreading it widely also, is only good. To threaten such places with “closure” (as is now the case, in new proposals) is not to act to spread good, which we have always been given to understand, by socialists, is the purpose of socialism. Instead is it to prevent good from being done at all, given that no comparable amount can be done (as is evident daily to millions of parents) in the State’s own schools.

I learn yesterday that the GCSE Geography “syllabus” is about to be changed (again.) It’s already pretty firmly Marxist in subliminal but insistent slant, being full of Al Gore, exploitation of Javanese women factory workers by “TNCs”, and studies of the “favelas”, “Mumbai”, and tourism-generated congestion problems in Cumbria. As a result, fewer and fewer students optf or it at GCSE. The remedy, we are told by the guvmint, will be “to re-engage the interest of young people” by making it “more relevant”, by “focussing more heavily on global warming and climate change issues”. (Their words not mine.) The young people already can’t find their own town (here) on a UK map, let alone Tokyo or Antarctica.

These are just two examples. You’d have thought that intelligent people (most socialists are graduates) would conclude that if going “forwards” makes the problems worse, then you should dump whatever hypothesis was driving you that was and get another. But they don’t. They never, never do. Nobody from the lefties ever said “sorry” to us, or even, say to the Czechs and Slovaks and Poles, not to mention the East Germans, about the Cold War. Ever. At least people like Reagan and Thatcher said, sort of, “sorry you had to wait so long”.

Staggering purblindness to the faults of one’s own deliberately prosecuted, fought-for, killed-for, decades-old ideology, serially-rammed down the throats of nations, and without any successful result ever, suggests not simple error or misguidedness – it suggests pure, bottomless, unfathomable evil and a black heart of darkness – the apotheosis of Hell, translated to Earth.

And then….we all die anyway.

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One response to “Socialism and the Left: Accidentally wrong? or less good than the best? or just plain deliberate wickedness and evil? Updated slightly 2nd March 2008.

  1. David:

    Yours is a good, thoughtful piece.

    Instead of trying to answer all the points you raise, I’ll try to address the most relevant.

    First: I think that State Socialism, with a centrally-planned economy and no prices, is pretty much history now. Nearly all the “Socialists” I read seem to advocate various kinds of mixed economy.

    Socialists usually take it for granted that they have a ‘magic bullet’ which will produce _extra_ resources. So — to them — it is deliberate cruelty for people to suffer deprivation.

    I think that they, you and I would actually agree on this, though we have very different ideas about what this “magic bullet” actually is and does.

    A long time ago (1980), David Ramsay Steele and I were arguing about what motivated Socialists. David had years of experience of arguing the Socialist case, and knew it backwards. He replied:

    “Tony, they want what you and I want — a world where people can — within reason — have whatever they like and do whatever they want.”

    This took me aback. I had always thought that Socialists _wanted_ the gruesome effects of attempts to put their ideas into practice. Therefore, they must be unspeakably evil.

    Many years later, I came ucross this quotation from Karl Popper:

    “It is often said that we humans are clever, perhaps too clever, but we are also rather wicked; and it is this combination of cleverness and wickedness which is at the root of most of our problems.

    As opposed to this, I would say that we are good — perhaps too good — but we are also rather ignorant; and it is this combination of goodness and ignorance which is at the root of most of our problems.

    This approach of mine has the great advantage, that we know a great deal more about enlightening ignorance than we know about eliminating wickedness.” – KRP

    I remember Tim Evans telling me that it was a great deal easier to educate a socialist on the virtues of liberalism than to convince a RWA (Right Wing Authoritarian) of the virtues of tolerance (and the impermissibility of oppression).

    Consider Murray Rothbard’s famous “Button-pushing test” (I think he got the idea from Frank Knight).

    “If there were a single button in front of you, and by pressing it you would instantly get rid of every State on Earth — would you push that button?”

    Murray replied: “I’d wear my thumb out, pushing that button!”

    To Murray, he would be unleashing Paradise.

    Whereas, to you and I, perhaps, he’d be unleashing the hounds of Hell. Staggering purblindness to the faults of his own deliberately prosecuted, fought-for, killed-for, decades-old ideology, serially-rammed down the throats of nations, and without any successful result ever, suggests not simple error or misguidedness – it suggests pure, bottomless, unfathomable evil and a black heart of darkness – the apotheosis of Hell, translated to Earth.

    Now where have I read that before? >:-}

    Best Wishes, Dave,

    Tony