Analogies between L’s England and the vision of the American Left

1. L-ism and the Occupy Wall Street Movement:

There was no use in protest marches and demonstrations now. For now there was real deprivation, real tyranny, real hunger. And that was precisely what L had promised them. They were no longer rich in many poor things, as once protestors had so angrily complained to governments and authorities. Now they were poor in all things.  It was those who had freedom and decried it, pretending they were oppressed; those who had material plenty and despised it, pretending they were poor; those who thus secreted a worm in their own hearts, and so at the heart of civilization – envy: the amazing unforeseen and unforeseeable envy, by the free and comfortable, of the unfree and wretched of the earth: it was these self-deceiving, would-be lovers of mankind … the affluent children who squatted in the communes and protested against freedom calling it “repressive tolerance”, and those they elected … who were caught in the trap of their own lies, and brought an end to liberty in the name of liberation; and end to plenty in the name of humanitarianism; and an end to the impersonality of the law before which all were equal, and the impersonality of the market in which all were equal, and created legal discrimination and class elitism, in the name of equality.

 

2.  Dependency on the state:

The people had become unaccustomed to self-reliance. They did not after all want a government that would leave them to do the best they could for themselves, and only remove obstacles and restrictions. They wanted a government with paternal responsibilities: to house the citizens, educate them, inoculate them against diseases, cure them when they were ill, keep the warm, tell them to fasten their safety-harnesses in their cars, warn them against smoking tobacco, “counsel” them when they quarreled with their spouses or beat their children or drank too much … and even spend as much of their money as possible on what government considered good for them rather than let them spend it themselves! If the educated and well-off did not need all this for themselves, they believed that “the vast majority of the people of this country” did need it. … The tragedy of Britain was that a self-reliant, self-disciplined, industrious people who had valued freedom, justice, goodwill, commonsense, and had grown strong and prospered because they had the character to embrace those values, had been turned into dependents, dissatisfied and envious, demanding that the state provide what they were no longer willing to provide for themselves. 

L wrote: “I look towards a time when none shall have peace, when all feel insecure, and can look only to a Party, manifestly whimsical, for any reward and any punishment, without any reason to expect justice. For there and there only authority  will reside, and it will be total and as incomprehensible. No aspect of their lives will be too big or too small for the Party to deal with. It will reach into the heart and mind of every man, and his person, his life, will belong not to him but to the Party. The Party will hold the monopoly of life and death. Whatever anyone has will be dispensed to him by the Party, whether it is a material thing, like food and drink, or dignity, self-respect, his mate, the company of his own children. And there will be no escape. For the power of the Party must be planetary. That is why there can be no refuge for individualism; why anyone who expresses thoughts the Party has not allowed him, or who even thinks them to himself, must be stopped.”

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