Sunday, February 9, 2020
But the socialism that reduced the United Kingdom from world power to intermittently pre-industrial backwater in the post-war era was thoroughly democratic. The policies that turned the lights out in London were not imposed on the British people by a repressive junta. And that is part of the problem with democratic socialism even as notionally presented by Sanders et al.: It is both of those things. In the United States, we use the word “democratic” as though it were a synonym for “decent” or “accountable,” but 51 percent of the people can wreck a country just as easily and as thoroughly as 10 percent of them. That is why the United States has a Bill of Rights and other limitations on democratic power.
I lived in the UK from 1979 to 1981, at the very end of its socialist era and the beginning of Thatcher. I was a confused lefty back then, but mostly I just couldn't believe how utterly shabby old England was. That's what finally drove me away. The awful food. The cold rooms. Oxford was endurable, but the rest of the country was sometimes not. True, at least you didn't take your life into your hands exploring London on foot as you did in NYC. I remember breaking into a cold sweat in the Big Apple of a late, late evening when I realized, yeah, people did sometimes get kilt in the 14th Street Subway Station. By comparison now, it's positively civilized.
It's very different in the UK now, booming by comparison. A different world. I went back to Oxford a few years ago, and found a much smaller place than I remembered. The past is always larger for some reason. When I got back to the good ol' USA in 1981, I found New Haven was no bargain either, but at least Reagan was president.
Things would be so much better if people would just be sensible and elect more guys like the Gipper, but it was not to be. It's been two steps forward and one step back, and sometimes two or three steps back, ever since.