“For in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. And they knew not until the flood came and took them all away” – JESUS CHRIST (Matthew 24:38-39).
What happened to England in the aftermath of the 1923 election?
The Socialist had begun to make progress in convincing the voters that the capitalist system was bankrupt. It was true that the British capitalistic system was in chaos. There were two reasons for this.
First, England’s economy had been built upon the expansion of her empire and her foreign trade. World War I had shaken her foundations. But it was not England who had fallen short; what had failed was the world in which England traded. Her foreign policy had imposed on her a burden she could no longer support. It had plunged her into a great war which left her weighed down under a destructive national debt.
The second causes of her difficulties were caused by the contributions of her Socialist detractors. They had imposed on her a suppressing burden of social services that was impoverishing the government. In 1924-25 the government spent £792 million, of which 45% was consumed by her debt. England spent an additional £111 million on defense £178 million on social services. The ordinary expense of running the government totaled £148 million Social services, debt, and defense consumed £646 million. It does not take a financial wizard to predict the fate of the beloved England under this circumstance. It was, therefore, not capitalism that failed; it was the British kind of capitalism, crushed under the weight of her crumbling imperialism. Her “victorious” wars and her Socialist spenders ran this great country into the ground. America has taken this same path.
During the next election cycle of 1929 the Labour Party secured for the first time the largest number of seats in the House of Commons, though short of a majority. The English people were now convinced that socialism was not a threat to them. The terrors they heard of Marxian revolution and the fear of property confiscation had vanished. The Labour Party made it clear it had no intention of seizing their farms, their stores or their factories. Instead, Labour took over the great industries – steel, coal, and railways. These industries belonged to the rich and greedy. The Labour Party guaranteed the workers more pay, shorter hours, free medicine, pensions, and every conceivable type of benefit. The plan took on the illusion of benevolence which allayed fears and captivated the loyalty of the entire working class.
By this time the great depression had already spread its pinions over the whole world. Three million Britons were out of work. The Socialists did what they could to blame the Conservatives for the entire disaster. Labour leader, Herbert Morrison, said gleefully, “…Capitalism has its limitations.” He might have said more truthfully that reform of capitalism by Socialists not only has its limitations, but is impossible. It was one of the gravest maladies of all Europe. So-called Capitalist nations were being run by Socialist leaders who did not believe in capitalism. To make matters worse, there were Capitalists pretending to be Socialists in order to win votes so they could stay in power – we would call them RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) in our country. Then in 1935 when Hitler was in full career, England and all Europe began to rearm, with the usual luminous bubble of armament prosperity and, we might add, the inevitable climax of every such period in human history – war.
The First World War had hit Britain a smashing blow from which she never recovered, despite an outward appearance of restoration. The Second World War struck a thunderbolt of epic violence. Her commonwealth remained but her empire was washed away. Her foreign trade disappeared. Her once great economic system lay in ruins. England requested (and received) billions of handouts from America.
The Capitalists government was perceived by the masses to offer nothing but sweat and short rations. Meanwhile, the Socialist had its radiant rainbow ready: the promise of the good life, jobs for all, security for all from cradle to the grave. Of course the inevitable happened. The Labour Party saw the happy climax of its long years of scheming built on lavish promises and pious deception. It won 394 seats in the House of Commons against 216 for the Conservatives and only 11 for the pathetic remnant of the Liberal Party, which had made the Labour Party’s rise possible.
But even in this climax the people as a whole did not comprehend the full meaning or consequence of their decision. They were, after all, not voting as they saw it for socialism with its whole cargo of social and economic doctrines. They did not envision all the harsh and inevitable implications of the grim socialist state. They were voting for hope and change.
But the hour soon arrived when socialist promises were no longer acceptable. The stern day of performance was at hand. For the next four years the Socialist prophets of abundance struggled to make good on their contract. Suddenly it had begun to dawn on the people of England that the realities of the Socialist paradise did not correspond with the dream. The dream had turned into a nightmare.
When the course of civilization takes an unexpected turn for the worse we naturally blame anything but ourselves. – FRIEDRICH VON HAYEK (8 May 1899 – 23 March 1992)
(End of Series)