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Mar 19, 201411:08 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Socialism is dead; so is Tony Benn of Britain

(page 1 of 2)

They are burying Tony Benn. Had to; dead, y’know.

By all accounts, Anthony Wedgewood Benn, age 88, was that British specialty: the well-born eccentric, aspiring to commonality rather than greatness. As the longest-serving Labour member of Parliament, he was Britain’s Fred Risser — only more so. He renounced his inherited viscountcy so that he could continue using the levers of government to force socialism well past its expiration date.

As an unreformed, hardline socialist, the old man takes pride of place in John Nichols’ pantheon of heroes. My comrade in advocacy journalism writes that Benn

… championed cooperatives and worker ownership as Britain’s minister of industry in the 1970s, battled not just Margaret Thatcher but the compromising leaders of his own Labour Party [i.e., Tony Blair] on behalf of the working class … Benn was a proud radical, an anti-colonialist, a socialist without apology.

In other words, as a columnist for The Sunday Times of London called him, “that twinkling, old, poisonous irrelevance.” (“Farewell, Tony Benn.” Paywall)

Have we forgotten the misery that socialism visited upon Britain? Unlike the U.S., the U.K. elected full-bore socialist governments immediately after World War II. By 1981, uncollected garbage was rotting on the streets. Just as Margaret Thatcher was settling in as prime minister, Christopher Hitchens could write, for Mother Jones magazine:

Britain, the first mature capitalist system and the one on which Marx and Engels cut their teeth, is gradually ceasing to become a producing country. It has become the world’s first moribund industrial society. … Unemployment stands at nearly three million: there is war in Ireland; the cities are on fire; the pound sterling has become a joke: productivity is at prewar levels …

Winston Churchill saw through socialism’s big lie right away. In 1948, when American citizens were sending care packages to Brits, Churchill reflected that, in the previous 10 years, “Two disasters have come upon us: the Second World War and the first Socialist Government.”

“What the German U-boats could never do to us has been achieved by our own misguided fellow countrymen through their incompetence, their arrogance, their hordes of officials, their thousands of regulations and their gross mismanagement of our affairs, large and small.”

Socialism cannot survive without coercion. Today’s Wall Street Journal excerpts a snippet from Milton and Rose Friedman’s joyous gospel of freedom, Free to Choose:

A society that puts equality — in the sense of equality of outcome — ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests. On the other hand, a society that puts freedom first will, as a happy by-product, end up with both greater freedom and greater equality.

Did I say that socialism is dead? Or is it hiding under an assumed name? Look under “Progressivism.” See: Barack Obama. Get tenure with the UW’s Havens Center. Visit Detroit. Occupy Wall Street. Watch MSNBC. Subscribe to The Nation. Or maybe both dead AND hiding. That’s it! They’re zombies!

To hell with Fred Hayek. Got to get this book for the untold story:


Old to new | New to old
Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Mar 19, 2014 11:37 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Dear Leader Comrade Obama's City Of The Future? Detroit!

The bread ration lines start on the Left, naturally.

Mar 19, 2014 12:24 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

With 118 million people killed by their own governments in the name of Marxism/Socialism during the 20th Century, shouldn't we just give it one more chance here? I mean, sure... not everyone was dispatched with a bullet to the head. Some got to starve slowly in a labor camp or die from some disease in a frozen Siberian gulag. Why wouldn't we want the benefits of a political system that is serious about keeping people in line?

Mar 20, 2014 05:41 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

It is sad how so many college educated idiots can't see how they've been indoctrinated rather than educated. They claim to have an open mind. Too bad their brains used that opening to escape. I sure hope no one reads The Nation and the Cap Times and believes anything they read there. Ignorance of logic and critical thinking must be a prerequisite to get a job at either of those two institutions. Dave likes to call them corporations. I prefer to think of them as institutions. Hopefully they have padded walls and barred doors so no one can escape.

Mar 20, 2014 04:07 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Whoever said a woman's reproductive system is "our responsibility?" Certainly not a reproductive rights advocate. That's idiocy masquerading as wit. But then, I see you got it from Facebook and didn't attribute it. So, I repeat myself.

Mar 20, 2014 07:24 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I love the way you guys see no difference between Tony Benn and Stalin. (Snork.)

Mar 20, 2014 07:40 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Hey Dave, while I'm here, how about commenting on Jim Villa being a finalist for the UW job. "The Corrupt Walker Cancer Metastasizes to the UW," to quote my prescient UW alum wife. You'd think they'd want a candidate who wasn't so prominently featured in 28,000 emails.

Mar 21, 2014 08:27 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

Question from Anonymous at 4:07 p.m.: "Whoever said a woman's reproductive system is "our responsibility?"

Answer: a) Sandra Fluke, featured speaker at the 2012 National Democratic Convention. b) The Democrat(ic) Party.

Question from Annoying Bob: "How about commenting on Jim Villa ..."
Response: Is Mr. Villa accused of a crime? What, exactly, is his sin -- other than being an ally of Scott Walker, of course.

Mar 21, 2014 04:02 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

To the ethics-excusing Blaska,
Has Villa been accused of a crime? Not yet, but be patient; investigations aren't complete. Walker seems to surround himself with plenty of sinners. Convicted sinners. And really, you set the bar for a UW System job that low - hasn't been accused of a crime? The whole crew REEKS of campaign sleaze and corruption. Just not convict-able, yet. Sheesh. High standards you have. I weep for the declining state of Wisconsin and it's crown jewel, the UW system.

Mar 22, 2014 09:57 am
 Posted by  David Blaska

That's it? Villa has been "mentioned" in e-mails? Tailgunner Joe McCarthy lives!

Mar 23, 2014 09:48 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

That illustration reminds me of a question. Are the Zombies on the Hillary side of the Democrat Party and the Nazis on the Obama side? Or is it vice versa?

I always get those two mixed up.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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