Friday, April 16, 2010

Morality, Not Money, is the Social Glue that Holds Society Together

Ed West has some extremely lucid comments on the failures of New Labour in his blog post today with the intriguing title: "I can see the attraction of Old Labour. At least they built nukes and believed in Britain." After writing about the evaporation of the social conservatism that characterized the post-war Labour Party, he writes:
"The fatal weakness of today’s Left – both New Labour and the Liberal Democrats – is that they want both personal freedom and solidarity. They want the freedom to have no-fault divorces and stigma-free children out of wedlock, to drink and take drugs at will, swear, misbehave, and be at liberty to spend and consume as much as they want without judgment – it is their “right” after all – without accepting the accompanying social pathologies.

A bohemian lifestyle is generally harmless for the wealthy, educated and mentally strong, but it’s devastating for the poor. Lifestyle freedom, the European Left’s core philosophy, creates perhaps even more inequality than economic freedom, the European Right’s core idea. Which is why, without the social solidarity which social conservatism brings, you cannot just buy equality through welfare spending or, as Nick Clegg suggested last night, extra school tuition for the poorest.

We already spend a fortune on trying to educate the underclass, on top of various other social leveling projects, to no effect. Gordon Brown has spent enormous amounts of other people’s money on the poorest 10 per cent, and yet inequality is greater than ever. You can’t fix a broken society like that because society is glued together by morality, not money."

Read the rest here.

Lifestyle freedom (aka the sexual revolution) is a corrosive acid that is incompatible with just about any social philosophy, be it capitalist, socialist, Fabian, communitarian or whatever. The attempt to staunch the bleeding with welfare checks fails miserably and yet New Labour types in the UK, the NDP in Canada and the (currently dominant) left-wing of the Democratic Party in the US, have no other solution.

The whole "let us raise taxes one more time and institute one more entitlement program, just one more, and there will be no more poor among us" meme is getting so old. Time and time again the weflare state advocates have tried to prove our Lord wrong, yet his words have been true for 2000 years and will be true for 2000 more: "The poor you will have with you always."

It is like trying to fill a tub of water with a drain at one end and a spout at the other. The drain at one end is wide open (the lifestyle freedom drain) and the spout (welfare programs) at the other end is turned on. New Labour's policy is to turn the spout on higher and faster. The problem is that if the drain is not ever going to be plugged, the money will eventually run out. It has run out for Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland and it is quickly running out for the UK and the European Union as a whole.

Barack Obama got elected on the platform of a centrist, pragmatic approach to governing a center-right country because the voters were so mesmerized by the opportunity to elect an African American that they didn't notice his social welfare bias. Gordon Brown is running on opening the spout even further and partying until the Repro Man comes, while pretending that there will never be a day of reckoning.

Those who want equality will have to face up sooner or later that, without morality, their dreams are unrealizable.

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