Classical liberalism and libertarianism are very difficult concepts to explain to post war generations to whom the government often seems a benevolent if grossly incompetent structure for delivering services to them and their families. Most of these services were unknown to Western European or North American citizens even one hundred years ago, but after three post war generations everyone has come to believe no other way of life is consistant with a ‘compassionate’ society. Somehow if a citizen does not support welfarism he is without sympathy for his fellow man. Yet the concept operated by most industrial western social democracies would have been inconceivable, immoral and suicidal by any civilisation in the past 2000 years and probably much longer. Philanthropic and religious institutions have existed for hundreds of years perhaps the most practical system were the monasteries of the Middle Ages where Christian charity was on offer for those who needed it, albeit those institutions were fairly conscious of the deserving and undeserving poor, something not recognised today by the welfarism of modern governments. In Victorian England the growth of mutuals rather than welfarism was developed alongside the industrialisation of Great Britain. The extraordinary expansion of friendly societies gave people a safety net against ill health and poverty provided for and administered by themselves. This movement continued for over 150 years only to be eclipsed by a mix of state welfare and demutualisation. This movement was funded by small subscriptions over long periods to provide a form of security for working class people particularly in the industrial North of England. To remind you of what were household names, Trustee Savings Bank, Provident Mutual, Halifax Building Society, National Provident Institution, Equitable Life the list is endless. Gone now thanks to a mixture of fractional reserve banking, regulation and stock market listings.
The self help movement was undermined by the commitment of the Lloyd George administration in 1911 to state sponsorship of pensions, albeit by current standards very modest. But politicians can change the rules of the game as it progresses which they do frequently for short term electoral advantage; the next big step to state dependency was the 1943 Beveridge Report on social welfare, a further implicit guarantee by the state to the electorate.
The post war Attlee Labour government dispensed with the contribution commitment envisaged by Beveridge in the form of a National Insurance Stamp now a misnomer of the most dishonest kind. You don’t have to subscribe, just hold out your hand. All this is provided with borrowed money. Seventy years of peace and prosperity in Europe which now carries the highest debt in history and growing.
Not only does this system impoverish future generations, it degrades, demotivates and demoralises the recipients. It is the cancer in a nation’s soul now 65 years old. The youngster in school cannot conceive any alternative, poor people to them are some sort of act of God. No one, least of all public service broadcasting ever makes the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor. If you are a single mum with four children from four different fathers, long gone and struggle to support them this is somehow the fault of government, the responsibility of someone else. In spite of the most fruitful and peaceful 70 years in history for Western Europe some folk reach old age with nothing, no life savings or pension? The state remains totally non judgemental. Like modern divorce it is a no blame game, it is simply fate, diligence, commitment and hard work it appears play no part.
This mantra naturally breeds more welfare addiction, families are locked in to a dependency culture for generations, no motivation, no hope, abandoned in school catchment ghettos which condemn them to the same twilight world. This trap also captures immigrants who come to work yet see no apparent advantage in so doing when their families reach a certain size. The extraordinary anomaly motivates the poor to breed and the wealth creating classes to keep families small as educational expenses rise. The very reverse of what a modern economy needs.
Young healthy people must work if they are to keep their self respect or even their sanity. Work ethic must become part of the educational curriculum linked to some form of moral guidance, long since abandoned by the onset of the secular state. How can it be possible to have 22% youth unemployment in the North of England when thousands of East Europeans, many of whom speak no English can find jobs immediately? How can litter, filth and graffiti still even exist when healthy youngsters lie abed? [the poorer the town the dirtier] How is it the armed forces, particularly the Territorial Army is under recruited? Many charities are short of young manpower, especially to help the elderly, skill developing evening classes are under subscribed. Overseas recruitment is essential to many basic services especially nursing. can the UK really not train enough nurses?
Any hint of reform is viciously attacked by the usual suspects, paradoxically the left. Yet borrowing money to the extent western democracies do to fund this system of institutional idleness is immoral. Socialism, Facism, Communism and Laissez-faire capitalism do not accept this abuse of state support yet crony capitalistic social democracies fuel this suicidal nonsense.
Political correctness must become a thing of the past. Tax payers and wealth creators are not just entitled to ask but have a duty to ask ‘you are here in this hospital seeking treatment from the National Health System, where are your stamps? Have you contributed?’ If not they must make their way to such philanthropic institutions of yesteryear, such as The London Free Hospital, Guy’s, St.Barts and others funded by the great, the good and the incredibly wealthy vociferous celebrity. Oh, yes and be grateful it is charity and you are lucky to get it. If you reach old age and your food and lodging is by courtesy of your fellow citizen it is not a right, there is no ‘right’ to your neighbour’s money.
The status quo is not an option, sooner or later the money will simply run out and our grandchildren will rightly ask what the hell were we thinking of.