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How we got to our present pass

“I think that one of the narrative themes of the progressive era that spawned our modern state is the deliberate smashing of the poor and, in particular, of the “petty capitalism” that sustained them. One of the things I get from reading through the hugely influential London Labour And The London Poor by the reformist activist Henry Mayhew is a horror of the poor, as he describes the costermongers and hawkers and small underclass production businesses which sustained them. The poor had to be done away with and replaced with something more acceptable to higher class tastes and, by all kinds of social activism and regulation they were, to a large extent, done away with as, their petty capitalism squeezed out by the State, they were dragooned into a compliant workforce for factories run by bewhiskered, interfering philanthropists who voted for Victorian Nick Cleggs. And in the end, they all got their council flats and a better wage, and all they had to give in return was their spirit.”

IanB, who has happily resurfaced over at Counting Cats after a period away from the blogging gig.

I’d add my two cents to this article by arguing that although some people want things like council houses, rent controls and minimum wage laws out of a naive but sincere belief that these are good, it has always struck me that part of the reformist zeal to do away with things like “cheap labour” is a sort of “yuck” factor. I sense a lot of this whenever I watch a programme about the downtrodden, poor workers of distant lands. It never seems to cross the minds of the do-gooders here that such folk face far worse alternatives to working for a relatively low wage to a Western one – not working at all. The poor child labourers of Asia do not have the alternative of spending much of their teens in a school and then off to college. And in any event, their best hope of escaping their plight is to have as much vulgar capitalism as possible.

IanB identifies puritanism – both of the religious and the secularised versions – as a key driver of the reformists’ zeal. I’d also add in a sort of aesthetic dislike, even hatred, for industry and trade. The Fabian movement that has had such a baleful effect on the past 100 years or so was inspired not just by the Evangelical “Great Awakening” of the 19th Century, but by the back-to-the-land movements inspired by the likes of John Ruskin and William Morris.

Read the whole article.

Update: It might be objected (and indeed it was, predictably, by an incredibly rude and now banned commenter) that religious puritanism has anything to do with the nanny statist trends of our time. But while there are some who argue, with Max Weber, that the “Protestant Work Ethic” was in some ways pro-market, the fact is that that ethic was double-sided. Sure, there was a striving, pro-enterprise side of it, but there was also a strong, anti-materialist side and a side that scorned pleasure, which provided some of the intellectual fuel for groups such as the “Christian socialists” of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The teetotal movement, for example, found ready adherents. And consider the intellectual backgrounds of folk like RH Tawney, Arnold Toynbee, and so on. To deny that they had religious inspiration for their views is obtuse.

38 comments to How we got to our present pass

  • Richard Garner

    The same sort of “fear of the poor” surely motivated (or motivates) so called “slum clearance” – the process of governments smashing down cheap, affordable, but grotty housing that poor people live in, and errecting fancy housing that looks much nicer to middle class people that can afford it, but is out of reach to the poor people who lived in the slums demolished.

  • Well, if I were a cartoon character, I would have one of those proverbial light bulbs pop right above my head right now. I disagree with Ian on some very basic issues, but this is nothing short of profound.

  • Great point about the aesthetics JP.

    An interesting footnote to WWI was the postcards sent from the front. These were distributed by the great and good for the Tommys to write home. They tended towards a theme of the Green and Pleasant land that the blokes at the sharp-end were fighting for – hay meadows, jolly ploughmen, thatched cottages… Worlds away from where most of the troops hailed from in Salford or Swansea or Southwark.

    And it’s down – I always thought – to the Arts & Crafts mob et al and the conception of rural idyll that only occurs to the well off seperated by a considerable chunk of time from a rural past.

    Interestingly, Germany that heavily industrialised a bit later than us caught a similar Land und Volk disease rather later…

  • Ian B

    Thanks Johnathan, I agree with everything you say above. History is comperlex, and there’s never a “single cause”. We have to understand an intricate web. I tend to focus on the religious element as I believe it was the “kick start” but I wouldn’t pretend it is a kind of Grand Unified Theory. It put in place IMV, or revived, a puritan aesthetic that also can be seen in back-to-the-land and greenies and so on. And Nick has pointed out in the Cats comments about the appeal to industrialists and so on. It’s a big history we need, as a movement, to write.

    Rothbard did a lot on the American/Yankee equivalent and it tends to get a bit overlooked I think. There’s also the vital “crossover” where God gets replaced with Science and (for a period) Marx. Lots of fertile ground for the historically interested to dig over, from a libertarian perspective. So I’m not trying to say “this is the answer, it’s all the answer you need”. It’s one thread in the tapestry, but IMV a very important one.

  • Ian B

    PS I did mention tangentially mention the aesthetics, with Mayhew’s attitude to the poor in his writing.

  • Gabriel

    Yup, it’s puritanism that doomed this country. That’s why since the 1960s cultural revolution, and with it the almost total collapse of English religion – especially protestant nonconformity – and triumph of anti-puritan social mores throughout the public sphere, everything has got progressively better.

    Delusional rubbish, almost unworthy of ridicule and a perfect example of Libertarians are totally useless at resisting the credit bubble welfare state, or retarding its inevitable destination of national insolvency and breakdown, or even identifying the force that propels it (HINT: it ain’t puritanism). Ian B’s ravings about circumcision make more sense.

  • Gabriel

    Also, let’s be clear the Fabians were not ‘not just’ inspired by the Great Awakening. They were not inspired by the Great Awakening. Not at all. Not one bit. This is a bit like the time, JP, when you got Jacobins and Jacobites confused. Leave history well alone would be my advice.

  • Not trying to argue with historical motivation part, I just wanted to add that now in architecture/design industry there is a perfectly wide-accepted, already conventional idea that “design doesn’t need to be expensive”.
    It is very likely that it evolved from all the previous transformation and counter-balances from Arts&Crafts, from Bauhaus to biomorphism of the 60s.
    In practice, it means that to every Moss(Link) out there there is an IKEA store, and to every meticulously manicured executive conference room, in high-grade leather and polished zebra wood there is a cool low-cost cafeteria populated with tables on aluminum extrusion-legs.

    Even poor can live well and enjoy beautiful surrounding. Poverty should not be synonymous with ugliness and squalor. Industrialism and capitalism are big helpers – in elevating beasts from a pigsty to a human level.

  • Ian B

    You really should get round to reading another book some time, Gabriel. It would expand your horizons no end.

  • Gabriel

    Comment deleted by the management.

    Gabriel, you are a smart guy and more than capable of arguing your case but now you are descending into simple abuse and for that I bestow upon you the Illustrious Samizdata Order of the Boot. Further comments by you will be deleted

    Consider this an ex cathedra statement: Get lost.

  • Ian B

    Yes, Gabriel, we all know you’re an arrogant, myopic caricature who attempts to explain away his profound character defects with the “I’m above petty politeness, that is for the lesser mortals” defence. There’s no need to keep proving it. We’re all on the same hymn sheet here in that regard.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Gabriel, the puritanism that we are talking about can be seen in the obsession with things like pollution, health, diet, etc. The whole Green thing is a form of secularised puritanism, with its hatred of material wealth, fun, etc.

    Also, let’s be clear the Fabians were not ‘not just’ inspired by the Great Awakening. They were not inspired by the Great Awakening. Not at all. Not one bit. This is a bit like the time, JP, when you got Jacobins and Jacobites confused. Leave history well alone would be my advice.

    As far as I can tell, there is a clear, moralising aspect to Fabianism and the folk like Beatrice Webb. There was a degree of messianism in their project; their lives were infused with it.

    This link(Link) is worth looking at.

    As for my understanding of history, just because we disagree about a subject or I make the occasional error in a spelling (like Jacobins vs Jacobites) does not mean you have to be so appallingly rude or in telling me to shut up about a subject. Learn some basic manners, or leave.

  • Gabriel

    Comment deleted by the management.

  • Ian B

    It’s no use Johnathan. Gabriel is a religious conservative, and he thinks I’m attacking religious conservatism, rather than trying to demonstrate how a particular religious movement kicked off a social and political cascade. You won’t get through to him. Well, you know that.

  • “Modesty is not a trait I have gone to any great lengths to cultivate, so I will simply point out that I have without any doubt whasoever read a great deal more in History than you or anyone else who frequents this forum, with the exception perhaps of Paul Marks”

    Wow, Gabriel! That’s quite a claim. And totally unfounded because I bet ya there are certain areas of history that I could best you on. Yes, me!

    I’ll give you one thing as to your historical erudition – as far as the blogosphere is concerned Ian’s “rant” about circumcision was quite a long time ago…

    This is not about religion per se but a very specific application of religion. You seem extraordinarily thin-skinned over any critique of anything even vaguely related to religion. Being that thin-skinned hardly enables debate does it. Certainly not when you retreat to the high fortress of, “I know more than you, nah nah nah nah!!!”

    And the “It all went to hell in a handcart when the Beetles released ‘Love Me Do’ and Mary Quant invented the miniskirt” schtick is dismal and tired.

    You want a cause for the decline in the UK – post war paternalism that has been antithetical to freedom of any decription – whether moral, social or economic fits the bill for me. The pill, falling church attendence and the Devil’s music doesn’t.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    IanB, quite.

    Gabriel, the Fabians were in some or many cases, Christian socialists, and CS got a lot of its impetus from the revival in religion in the 19th Century. I hardly regard that as a particularly controversial statement. In the early 19th Century, Evangelists were involved in many of the social reforms of the time. This book (Link)is an excellent and entertaining read, and if you haven’t read it, then I strongly recommend it.

    And remember what the historian EP Thompson said about the Labour movement getting more oooomph from Methodism than Marxism. And so forth.

    As for the Green point and puritanism, I stand by what I wrote. It is a feature of our culture and although the commercial one remains pretty strong (but not nearly strong enough in my view), the constant calls for bans, taxes and regulations on certain things in the name of the environment/etc has been relentless in recent years. Some of it may of course be the purest humbug and cant, a point that we often point out around these parts. But this stuff is not a figment of our imagination.

  • Back on point for a minute.

    Walter Williams in his book “The State Against Blacks” described how regulations forced blacks out of the taxi business in New York in the 1960s-1970s. The phenomena endures.

    Frankly I’m not fond of the street hawkers in New York, but they are licensed and regulated and in spite of their sales of fake Gucci-LV etc etc. they should have as much right to sell stuff as anyone else.

  • Laird

    “Frankly I’m not fond of the street hawkers in New York, but they are licensed and regulated and in spite of their sales of fake Gucci-LV etc etc. they should have as much right to sell stuff as anyone else.”

    Delete the words “they are licensed and regulated, and”, and I agree with you.

  • Laird

    Our gracious Editors seem to be taking rather personally Gabriel’s comments, perhaps understandable given his history here. Still, I tend to find him simultaneously infuriating and entertaining, as well as occasionally thought-provoking. Sort of like when the avowed communist Alexander Cockburn had a regular column in the Wall Street Journal. So I hope you will reconsider his summary banishment, or at least limit it to this one thread.

    Editor: not personally… complaints…and after that stream of insults, probably not. A pity perhaps but there you have it.

  • OK , but how do we privatize the sidewalks ? If the sidewalk owners were able to charge rent to the street hawkers then all would be for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

    Otherwise ???

  • RAB

    Sorry Taylor but your statements appear contradictory to me.

    First you say that regulations forced blacks out of the taxi business, and by implication a bad thing, next you say you don’t like street hawkers, but at least they are licensed and regulated, so ok.

    And as for privatising the sidewalks, well they are kinda aren’t they? The State owns them. What do you think the licensing and regulation shtick is all about? Sounds like a plain ‘ol tax to me!

    Gabriel, I often wonder why you keep coming around seeing as you disagree so strongly with almost everything said round here.

    I grew up in S Wales, which if you are as clued up on history as you claim to be, you will know that Wales was the crucible of the Socialist movements in Britain as a whole. The impetus for this was married to the Religious revival of Wesley and onwards through the 19th century, via the Chartist Movement, the Rebecca Riots, even the Temperance movement (voting for pubs being open or closed on sunday only just stopped happening very recently in Wales).

    The first labour MP was Kier Hardie, MP for Merthyr Tydvil. Viscount Tonapandy was a Sunday school teacher (also gay, but he didn’t like being one as it conflicted with his religious beliefs).
    Non conformist Methodism has always been the handmaiden of prodnosed Socialist progressivism. Get over it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It was a shame that the editors had to act, but regardless of whether I agree with a commenter or not – and Gabriel was certainly not someone I always disagreed with, even very strongly, his manner was consistently rude, insulting and patronising towards myself and a good many other commenters here. In particular, he consistently sought to misrepresent the opinions of libertarians as being “social liberals” (by which he meant not just tolerance of different lifestyles, but active approval of said), and no matter how much we tried to disabuse him, he went on his merry way, accusing us of all manner of ills.

    I also will not tolerate commenters who try to shout others down or who engage in pathetic attempts to lord it by claiming – on the basis of no evidence – that they are cleverer or better read. If anyone wants to win a debate thread by sheer knowledge, then they need to prove it.

    I had a feeling this ban was coming. It is also worth pointing out that Gabriel made several remarks to suggest that he was a racist and a religious bigot which, considering how his own Jewish religion has been treated relatively well in the UK in recent decades, demonstrates appalling hypocrisy.

    He will not be returning to this blog.

  • Sorry RAB I was unclear, I don’t like the street hawkers because they make the crowded sidewalks even more crowded than they would otherwise be. The fact that the are licensed and regulated is irrelevant to the simple problem of too many people sharing a limited bit of space.

    The over- regulated taxis are the result of an effort to limit a public good i.e. transportation. We live in an inherently imperfect world, government regulation almost always makes the imperfections worse.

  • Laird

    Again you are being inconsistent, Taylor. (1) Over-regulated taxis limit a “public good”, which is bad; (2) government regulation makes imperfections worse, and so is also bad; but (3) if street vendors were unregulated they would overcrowd the sidewalks, so regulation of them is good. WTF? You can’t see the inconsistency there? Under-regulated taxis could “overcrowd” the streets, too (which is probably the argument originally used to limit them).

    Street verdors are just as much a “public good” as taxis. The market will determine the proper number of them. Let it.

  • Laird

    Taylor, I didn’t see your last post before I posted mine. I’m still confused, though. Are you saying that, while you don’t like the overcrowding caused by street vendors, you’ll nonetheless live with it rather than accept regulation of them?

  • RAB

    Right got you now Taylor.
    Talking of regulations, I was all set to go to a public meeting tonight. Small fry stuff I’m sure most will think, but I walk my dog in St Andrews park about 5 minutes from my house, and some banstibator had proposed a motion to keep dogs on leads at all times.

    Now quite what imagined problem he thought he was going to solve with this measure I’m not sure. Presumably that if your dog is on a lead you will automatically scoop the poop. Utterly wrong of course!
    People who do not scoop the poop are unlikely to keep their dogs on leads either.
    It is probably the cleanest park in Bristol as far as dogshit is concerned, we owners are religious about it. It is a very middle class neighbourhood that Up your Street describes as well heeled trendy and bohemian.

    Besides my bonkers Springer Spaniel needs a lot of exercise. She loves playing frisbee and people, especially young kids, get a lot of enjoyment out of watching her catching them in the air.

    But I visited the Friends of St Andrews Park website earlier and find that the “dog lover” has withdrawn his motion in the face of overwhelming email opposition. So I didn’t have to go and give them both barrels of verbals. I used to be a committee member once upon a time, until I lost the will to live, with all the loopy schemes some folk used to come up with!
    And the Council has just spent £100,000 on refurbishing the kids play area when there was nothing wrong with the old one, and the bins still get emptied fortnightly and mess left all over the road.

    I have no idea why I launched into that except that I see Come blow his own Horn, Gabe is in the Sin Bin then. Not something I would have done, but that’s just me. We can debate the obdurately opinionated cant we? We have done it hundreds of times before?
    Yes he is a rude pain in the ass but not any real bother surely?
    But also like we have said a million times before, your site, your property, your rules…

  • SBM

    Puritanism was a 17th century religeous movement. Hard to see what that might have to do with any modern leftism. But I guess the term is being used in the modern vulgar sense meaning the opposite of libertinism or something.

  • Alice

    RAB: “I walk my dog in St Andrews park about 5 minutes from my house, and some banstibator had proposed a motion to keep dogs on leads at all times.”

    RAB, this is off topic. Or maybe not.

    Last time I was in Houston (Texas), I happened upon signs for the neighborhood “Bark Park”. Turned out to be a park specifically designed for dogs to run free. 6 foot high fences and double gate system to keep them in. Lots of space to run & jump & sniff. Water-filled shallow concrete basins for dogs to run through on a warm evening. Dog-compatible drinking fountains. Lots of trees for the needful. Close to a freeway, so no-one would complain about the noise of happy dogs. And a 4 foot high sign at the entrance with all the Dos & Don’ts, for the dogs to read on their way in.

    Tallking with some people who lived within walking distance of another Houston “Bark Park”, quite a lot of community activism went into getting it set up. Shows how useful those activists could be if they could ever refocus their attention away from stopping global warming.

    I am glad to be alive in that brief moment of time when a society is rich enough to create play-spaces for dogs – and not yet so controlled that there are no play-spaces for human beings.

  • RAB

    No SBM, Puritanism didn’t blow away on the wind when Cromwell died and Charles11 came to the throne, it was the continuance of Protestantism, the instinct to ban and prohibit that which it dissapproved of that became amalgamated with the burgeoning socalist, anarchist and communist movements of later centuries. You know, that sincere belief that you are doing good for all of the people, while inevitably killing them in droves and stealing their freedoms from them.
    They thought they were doing good, that they had the high moral ground, knew vice from vitue, a better eternal way to live. Doesn’t any of this ring any bells with you? You dont have to be religious to be a Puritan, Marx, Lenin and Stalin managed quite well with no God to guide them at all. Just Dogma and force.
    The Greens are just the same, they just havent got the force yet.

  • RAB

    I am glad to be alive in that brief moment of time when a society is rich enough to create play-spaces for dogs – and not yet so controlled that there are no play-spaces for human beings.

    Well so am I Alice, I just wonder what thinking lies behind Bark Parks?
    Why should my dog be separated from me? Why should it have a seperate place instead of being just part of our society that they have been since we were hunter gatherers? They are our oldest friends, smart enough to know they can live better with us than without us. There were great big wolfhounds scarfing down the leftovers of Henry V111 banquets and sitting under his table, and loving every minute, and if they occasionally they shat in the corner, no one gave a never good mind about it, they just cleared it up, like I do with mine in the Park.
    Oh and those no play spaces for human beings? They are working on it, believe me! The world is becoming risk averse in the most ridiculous of ways.

  • Ian Bennett

    Somewhat off-topic, but spurred by a couple of things Johnathan said, I thought I’d mention that today is Exploit the Earth Day.

  • llamas

    Back on the point, a little bit . . . this got me to thinking.

    It’s not just a movie, there really is an Eight Mile Road – it is the northern boundary of the city limits of Detroit. It runs – oh, it runs a long ways, but the part that interests us is the part adjacent to Detroit proper.

    Mention Eight Mile anywhere, North or South of the line it runs, and the civic and social “improvers” will form a line on the left to tell you how horrible it is. Urban blight! Decay! Poverty! Corruption and vices of every stripe! It’s a by-word for everything that’s (allegedly) wrong with Detroit.

    And there’s no denying that it’s not an attractive place to be. The landscape is Urban Tough, there’s a lot of decaying and uninspiring buildings and facilities, and it’s a place generally appreciated best in the rear-view mirror.

    And yet – drive Eight Mile some time. From Grosse Pointe in the East to Livonia in the West, it is a seething, bubbling mass of commercial activity of every sort. There are actually very few empty buildings or abandoned lots. Lots and lots and lots of people are making a living on Eight Mile. This is exactly the ‘petty capitalism’ that IanB describes so well.

    Is it pretty capitalism? No, it definitely isn’t. There’s plenty of body shops, adult movie houses, ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ (if they’re such gentlemen, why do the clubs need razor wire and bouncers?), check-cashing stores, cell-phone stores, ‘party stores’ and the like. Very few Bed, Bath and Beyond outlets, not a Harry & David or a Crate and Barrel anywhere in sight. In other words, rich, dark, earthy capitalism, in all its naked and sometimes-filthy primal state. Red, in Tooth and Claw.

    I think that’s why all of our local ‘improvers’ hate it so much. They all want to be at Somerset and Great Lakes Crossing, where their capitalism is dressed up and sugar-coated – they look down upon this more-natural and -realistic expression of that which they claim to support. And they are quite happy to destroy all that economic activity, and put all those livelihoods at risk, just to further their preferences of how things ‘ought’ to be.



  • TDK

    It’s a little more complicated than Puritanism although I accept the point.

    Let me quote George Watson on Ruskin

    When Ruskin published his autobiography Praeterita in 1885 he was a socialist of some 20 year standing… This is how he began his autobiography

    I am, and my father before me, a violent Tory of the old school – Walter Scott’s school, that it to say, and Homer’s. I name these two out of the numberless great Tory writers because they were my own two masters.

    His programme was for a sort of Tory Greenery, ‘to keep the fields of England green and her cheeks red’… with little girls curtseying and boys doffing their hats to any dignified person that went by, including professors. Socialism meant hierarchy and Back to Basics.

    Watson goes on to quote Ruskins’ support for the suppression of a slave revolt and makes the observation that a disproptionate number of gentry support progressives (like the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks). I would note the same phenomena amongst modern progressives. George Monbiot, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Lucas spring to mind.

    At heart they know better than us. I don’t think Puritanism is a sufficient term to capture this elitism.

  • ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ (if they’re such gentlemen, why do the clubs need razor wire and bouncers?)

    Oh boy, thank god for Llamas! Can’t stop giggling…

  • Laird

    Spot on the mark, Llamas! Great post.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    TDK, you make a very good point about Ruskin, and it reminds me of what a terrible bunch of people some of these anti-industrialists were. Of course they were also quite well off, but tended to be out of touch from whence the money came.

  • TDK

    Yes, it’s surprising how many people don’t understand that wealth has to be created and not just moved around.

  • Paul Marks

    Many strongly religious people were statist – and many strongly religious people were antistatist.

    Even going down to “which Church” does not really help – as some Anglicans (or Catholics or whatever) were and are statist and some were and are anti statist.

    On puritanism – religious or athiest.

    There may be a stronger case here – both a direct one (in that the actual Puritans favoured state regulations banning X, Y, Z) and an indirect one.

    An indirect one in that as religion DECLINED among the New England elite (the Protestants who spread out from New England) so people who no longer strongly believed in traditional Christian doctrines sort a type of “relgion of humanity” or “social gospel” to replace traditional religous doctrines.

    Although, of course, this form of thinking soon infected the Roman Catholic church also.

    Talking of “Yankee statism” is largely false if one is talking about 1860 (if anything the Confereates were a lot MORE statist than the Union side), but relgion does not decline in the South as it does in New England.

    Or rather (as Church going and so on remains high in New England right till recent decades) there is not the growth of a “post religious” elite in the South.

    Indeed (for all the attacks upon it) the South (AFTER the Civil War) had less of a cultural elite than the north east came to have – and that meant less of a political elite also.

    For example the people who wrote the Constitution of Alabama in 1900 may have been racists (they were racists) – but they were also ordinary people.

    People who knew what it was like to work with their own hands and had traditionial cultural and religous attitudes – i.e. people who the northern elite (even by 1900) would have despised.

    This is strange for people who think in terms of the “aristocratic south” – but even big plantation owners who could trace their line back for a century or more, had more in common (in cultural, religous, and political attitudes) with “white trash” (or even with Southern blacks) than would have been possible between the cultural elite of of Boston and New York (etc) and people who lived less than a mile from their doors (who might as well as been a different species).

    This was true in 1900 – and to an extent it still is true.

    For example the rich Southern does not need to find a “new spirituality” – because such as person tends to have the same religous opinions as the “white trash” guy (or even the black guy) down the road .

    Nor is there any move to try and build a “heaven on Earth”.

    That was a Puritan thing – and it became much more intense when the elite of North East (and places they moved to – such as Calfornia) society lost their traditional relgious faith.

    The passionate religion of the South was just as strong (if not rather stronger) – but it was different.

    It never claimed to be building heaven on earth (even people who formally defended slavery never really believed their could be slavary in heaven) and society was understood to be corrupt – not something that could be “transformed” by political will into a perfect society.

    Make no mistake, there is a lot of statist feeling in the South (and always was – indeed it was once more statist than the north).

    But this is different also – it is about getting handout and pork (Senator Byrd style) not building a perfect collectivist society in which there will be no problems and everyone will be happy.

    The neo Marxism of the extreme wing of the Progressive movement (now replaced by actual Marxism among some of the elite) has no real strength in most of the South.

    Compare Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – both men are statists, but they are WILDLY different.

    And I am not talking about skin colour.

    For all his corruption (all the decades in the Chicago Machine) Barack Obama honestly believes himself to be building a better world – a PERFECT world.

    True he may have to commit terrible crimes to achieve this perfect world – but such a goal is a wonderful one and justifies these crimes.

    To someone like Bill Clinton (also a statist and also corrupt) such thinking is utterly alien – it is simply not part of his basic CULTURE.