Some visible differences were on display in the videos of a debate in a Oxford Union debate in December on whether or not socialism “works”. As someone committed to conservative principles, I was interested to see what the socialists would say in defense of a system that is running out of time and running out of other peoples’ money.
What struck me most, though, were the differences in demeanor. I was tempted to suggest a private charity might offer the socialists some scholarships to a charm school.
Do you ever fall into a You Tube hole? You watch one and then an hour later you look up and realize you’ve been sucked in again. I started watching these displays because someone sent us a video of Daniel Hannan speaking to an Israeli marketing group. Like many of our readers, I enjoy watching Hannan for reasons beyond content; sometimes I don’t agree with him but mostly he gets it right about, say, America. The disagreements are minor; that he has attempted to understand what makes America tick makes him unusual.
Thus it was that after the first video, I looked on the sidebar to see what else was on offer by Mr. Hannan and so came across these December debates, with both ‘for’ and ‘against’ well-represented. And among those speaking “against” was Mr. Hannan, so I watched him explain why socialism is essentially unworkable.
See for yourself:
In the comments, one fellow said:
This was a compelling argument. The other side such as Robert Griffiths didn’t seem to be able to counter this. His ending especially the portion where someone asked “What about the right to be fed, to go to a good school, to get a job” and he responded “And where do you think you’d find the best opportunity for that in North Korea or in South Korea?” was pretty on point.
Definitely, Mr. Hannan is a disciple of Frederic Bastiat. Britain is fortunate to have him.
To be fair – we’re dealing with the question of socialism after all, so things must always be “fair” – there is equal time for a proponent of socialism below the fold. And what a self-righteous prig he is. I chose him because throughout the presentations of the “aginners”, who were having fun with their subject, his face and body language was the very picture of someone being tortured.
Be sure to notice the red-headed fellow sitting near the prune. The former was a bowlful of sour socialist jelly. His face seemed to get increasingly red and apoplectic as the Hannans and Dalrymples spoke. I take it back: the redheaded dude doesn’t need charm school. He needs to see one of those free doctors about his blood pressure.
This man, Jeremy Corbyn, is what I think of as the quintessential socialist. He sat through the arguments of the “socialism does not work” side of the debate with a sour look. Their light-hearted approach to the subject seemed to cause him deep pain. They were having fun – it was a debate for heaven’s sake – but he was far too gone in self-righteousness to appreciate their levity.
And now, here is Jeremy “Dead Ernest” Corbyn:
His real argument for universal health care, which he doesn’t voice until the end, is that if the law had not been enacted Britain would be suffering from lack of medical care in the same way it did during Victorian times. Uh huh…does anyone seriously believe that Britain’s form of healthcare would not have evolved over time, just as working conditions did? Is this the only alternative to the mess we have in the U.S.? I’ll take the Australian version – common sense and practical – any day to the expensive chaos and scandal descending on the NHS.
When Theodore Dalrymple rises to differ with Mr. Corbyn by mentioning the ever-rising costs of universal health care in the U.K. – and he ought to know, having been a provider of same for over thirty years – Mr. Corbyn doesn’t offer any refutation beyond saying he “doubted” what Dalrymple said. A polite way of saying, “liar, liar”…
Mr. Corbyn doesn’t need facts and figures. He just knows how things make him feel. His speech was the hallmark of a true believer. He’d have been a great preacher in the old days since he bases his reasons for socialism on how it ought to make Britons feel about themselves – proud, superior, etc. He refutes none of the arguments of the other side – e.g., the fact that there are no truly socialist nations that have been prosperous, or that having the state in charge of everything eventually leads to despair.
With Mr. Corbyn it certainly leads to a bad case of prune-face. If socialism is so wonderful why does his demeanor seem so at odds with his victories? A sore winner? Could socialism’s ills lie at the root of his dyspepsia?
As I said the other day, quoting Billy Joel, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints”. Definitely, libertarians have more fun.