Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Well, he did it ...

... so I'm going to do it, too:

Peripatetic commenter, and noted graphic novelist, Ian B comments here, but his comment, as happens so often, is a post in itself. So, without seeking his agreement, here it is, promoted from the letters section to the front page.

The “presbyterian conscience” is more significant than perhaps many give credit for. As I keep banging on, the anglosphere form of socialism is distinct, and is descended from religiously motivated social reformism- literally methodism, not marxism. It absorbed and adopted much of marxism in the early 20th century, but that was always a secondary thing. In fact, the Labour party- the methodist party- spent most of the 20th century in a fierce internal struggle between the anglosocialists and the communists, until the discrediting (and “fall”) of communism cleared the way for the anglosocialists to gain total control.

This is what “New” Labour was. It is why the vicarish Blair was its perfect leader, and why we have Gordon “Son Of the Manse” Broon now. These people are not, as is believed by some, tepid marxists or conservatives pretending to be socialists, they are perfect exemplars of the anglosocialist tradition- “puritanical” social reformists for whom command economics is merely a means to that end, rather than the primary focus, as for communists. These are the descendents of the temperance movement, sabbatarians, vicars storming into the local pub to lecture the happy drinkers about the Demon Rum; their aim is not a workers state (they distrust and despise “workers”) but Port Sunlight on a mammoth scale. They don’t mind businessmen, so long as they are wise, socially responsible philanthropic ones who don’t enjoy their money too much- or at least don’t look like they are.

Anglosocialism. It was born out of the non-conformist religious revivalism of the late 18th, and 19th centuries, that gave us “Victorian Values”, social reform and missionaries and huge political charities and the consequent plunge into statism. It is what americans call “liberalism”, this distinct anglosphere, social gospel socialism. It is why we have the “nanny” state, the war on drugs, on drink, on tobacco, on “obscenity”, on fat people and tasty food, on the comforts provided by capitalism which the green hope to bring to an end. It is the enemy now, not communism. Communism really did fall. What was left was just as bad, but different.

It certainly "feels" right.


David Hadley said...

As someone who grew up surrounded by both Methodists and the Left, I can see the truth of this. So, yes I would broadly agree.

But there is also the broader Left which grew out of Romanticism, with Rousseau's noble savage and anti-scientific world-view (hence the mutation of some of the left into greens and eco-loons), championing of an idealised (Romanticised even) working class and all that too.

Stan said...

True enough in as far as it goes, but I'd argue that the Labour party abandoned the principles of Wesley in favour of Gramsci long before the fall of the Soviet Union. The two are not incompatible once you remove the subject of relgion from the equation which was Gramsci's intent.

RayD said...

I like the Port Sunlight analogy, but where does spending like a drunken sailor fit in? Surely all those exemplars were very keen on the lass Prudence?

Cheshire Cat said...

As an unrepentant Old Labourite brought up with Methodism and Nonconformism, I sort of agree, but don't see the connection with either Statism or that phony cunt Blair.

Most of the original Old Labour / Methodist projects were small scale, community based initiatives - a miners hospital here, a benevolent society there, the Workers Education movement all over, etc.

The centralising and moralising tendencies of Blair and his cronies owe far more to Trotsky than Wesley, and even to Stalin in the case of Brown.

There is no party that speaks for me - a BNP without the racism might just do it, but that will never happen, so I'm doomed to never be represented in Parliament by anyone I could even respect, let alone agree with.

Cunts, the lot of them.

WV: "vales" - should have been "valleys" given the nature of the thread ;o)

Ian B said...

Hey ma, I'm nearly famous! :)

The picture I presented here isn't complete, it's a rough, er, narrative as our leftie friends would call it. I only posted it in a comment box, as per usual, so it's not what one would call a carefully written article.

I think the picture I am trying to present is that this anglosphere form of statism/socialism is quite distinct from marxism, and is concerned with moral reform rather than the kind of worker's state stuff of communism. It has mutated a lot since the post-Wesleyan religious era, dropping some policies and accreting others like a snowball, such as noble savage-ism or the whole gay rights thing which I doubt Wesleyan methodists would ahve been wildly keen on. And of course it has been significantly influenced by marxist economic ideas.

But the central idea remains, which is that of moralist social reform, rather than revolutionary class struggle and we see that particularly in the powerful resurgence of the Temperance Movement driven by anglosphere nations, particularly the USA and UK (and the USA's religious history that formed their variant anglosocialism is a story in itself).

Look at who is driving temperance, the drugs war, the war on food, greenism, the abuse narrative, the sex slave narrative, all the enabling narratives of the mammoth intrusive state. It's the anglosphere. I'm trying to offer an explanation as to why.