Corbynism is an Intellectual Con-trick

Radical Socialism has for many years been trying to pull-off an intellectual fraud by dressing up its ideology of state power as an ideology of liberation.

The hard left like to present themselves as rebels fighting for the freedom of ordinary people from the iniquities imposed upon them by governments and corporations. In reality, whenever the radical left has actually gained control they have established even more powerful governments and corporations.

The reason is simple: radical socialists perform an intellectual con on themselves and the public by repeatedly conflating the state with a nation’s population. It’s a sleight of hand that runs throughout Jeremy Corbyn’s policy programme.

We are told that the railways and the energy companies should be run in the interests of its employees and customers not their shareholders. Solution: place those companies under the monopoly control of the state.

Monetary policy should serve the people not the banks. Solution: print billions of pounds for politicians and civil servants to spend.

Austerity is damaging the lives of millions of ordinary Britons. Solution: not a single cut to the bureaucratic monolith of our state that already spends funds equivalent to over 40% of the total economy.

Of course, many on the hard left would deny this. They would argue they favour democratisation of public services so that workers and users get to say how they are run. Newly nationalised public services would have representatives on their Boards elected by employees and customers. The money printed as part of QE would be spent by democratically elected local authorities.

As history shows repeatedly, however, these commitments to radical democracy are only skin-deep, whereas the love of the state is bred in the bone. The reason is that radical socialists of the Corbyn type are ideologues: they believe they know better than anyone what is best for the country. In fact, they think they know what is best for the whole of human civilisation.

So their commitment to democratic control of public services or utilities only stretches as far as the boundaries of their world view. What would Prime Minister Corbyn make of a decision by the people of Birmingham, say, to outsource services across the City? What if the elected Board of the new British Rail decided after all that it was better to return to the franchising system for the network? These things would not be allowed to happen in the first place and, if they did, they would be reversed by government edict no doubt under severe pressure from the unions who are the organisations that benefit most from state monopoly and central control.

By aligning himself with the anti-Westminster mood, Corbyn only compounds this intellectual dishonesty. He claims to want to hand power back to the people, to destroy the “Establishment” as his cheerleader Owen Jones would say. But that claim only makes sense if you think that the people will use that power to enact the policies that Corbyn himself desires. Nigel Farage pulls exactly the same trick although strangely he thinks the people will spontaneously support his small state, anti-immigrant policies rather than the hard left’s polar opposite solutions. They can’t both be right. So one or other or, more likely, both are fooling their supporters.

Fortunately, the great majority of the public got wise to the hard left con years ago. Look at what was jettisoned and what was kept after the social revolution of the 1960s. The greater sexual freedom, the equalities enjoyed by women and minorities, a more classless culture have all remained and deepened over the years. The demands for a revolution against capitalism and the installation of a workers state that mobilised so many young people at the time have withered and died.

Hard data shows why. Vast studies like the World Values Survey reveal conclusively that populations across the advanced economies increasingly desire individual self-determination, self-expression and free choice. While other studies, like the International Social Survey Programme, show that the same populations increasingly see the state’s role as limited to providing decent healthcare and pensions and not to running the economy or guaranteeing full employment. It is a shift that is, in fact, particularly pronounced in the UK.

So while Corbyn’s con may be infuriating for those of us who follow politics and care about deepening democracy and freedom, we can at least comfort ourselves that the British public are extremely unlikely to fall for it.

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