“It was Social Democracy that won the cold war ” remarked Will Hutton. With its blend of welfarism and higher taxes to mitigate inequality, it ensured that the values of freedom and trade offered something to ordinary people everywhere. Thus they were vaccinated against the deadly attractions of Soviet Communism and by 1991 the rest was History. Or so it seemed, for a few heady, wasted years.
Instead of Social Democracy, the west fell under the spell of quasi-religious market fundamentalism, whose mantra was “privatise, tax cuts ” and above all “shareholder value.” The dominant class, especially in Anglo-America, became a closed circle of bankers, media, think tankers and politicians who gleefully colluded in the looting of public value as much in places like Britain as in Russia. The plunder is stored away in various offshore islands, Mayfair apartments or Cotswold Mansions, according to taste.
How did this moral rot come about so quickly, and where shall it lead us? In a succinct and hard hitting article for Prospect magazine, Anatol Lieven traces the arc of decline from 1991 to the present, and teases out the causes of our current predicament. Like some latter day Gibbon he observes:
Looking back 30 years from the grim perspective of 2020, it is a challenge even for those who were adults at the time to remember just how triumphant the west appeared in the wake of the collapse of Soviet communism and the break-up of the USSR itself.
Today, of the rich fruits promised by that great victory, only wretched fragments remain.
We hope this extract will cause you to jump at once to the link below, where hard hitting insights are deployed in short, easily read prose. A gem.
To realise you are in decline at least offers the opportunity to do something about it. But China knows one thing the greedy social darwinists who run the West have forgotten. The State, and the duties owed to it, offers far more in return than the cost of a few taxes. Unless we re-learn that lesson, our future could be short, and grim indeed.
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