"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Monday, February 6, 2012

FAILED JERUSALEMS


By

ROBERT HARKINS

Winston Churchill, author, artist, Prime Minister and prophet of his century warned a pacifist parliament against the specter of Adolph Hitler’s burgeoning national socialist state. His warning failed. The British Parliamentarians turned their backs and looked away; and dreamed pipe dreams of a cheap and easy peace.

Until at last, as Europe lay broken in the blood and ashes of defeat and victory the British people triumphant in war under the sure leadership of Winston Churchill promptly voted him out of office. An ascendant socialist party under Prime Minister Clement Attlee promised its people a utopian state conceived out of the fire and rhetoric of Marxist philosophy.

Under the Marshall Plan America invested enormous sums of money in the rebuilding of Europe and Britain who was its greatest and most deserving beneficiary. Clement Attlee should have spent these funds on the rebuilding of an infrastructure and economy devastated by war. Instead, he decided to bring real change to Britain, to reinvent its government, to spread the wealth around, to fulfill nearly every human need. He did not therefore spend the Marshal plan money on anything so boring as infrastructure; instead, writes British historian Andrew Roberts,

Attlee effectively wasted it on trying to build the utopian society which socialists in those heady days called ‘the New Jerusalem’. Instead of copying Germany and investing Marshall Aid in the critical tasks of rebuilding infrastructure and modernizing industry… Attlee instead spent much of it on the Welfare State…. Atlee nationalized coalmines, railways, gas, electricity, civil aviation, road haulage, steel, cable and radio services, as well as the Bank of England… ensuring that management in these vital industries became almost completely inured to the danger that they might lose their jobs through inefficiency or incompetence. [1]

Europe, particularly Germany, its once proud cities leveled by tanks, phosphorus bombs, and firestorms, spent the Marshall Plan monies on infrastructure. Consequently, European economies quickly outpaced the economy of socialist Britain.

British socialism suffered from an economic determinism common to all failed Jerusalems. Its bureaucracies became moribund, inefficient, self-serving and incompetent. Its industries, increasingly more dependant on government made the same argument to the British government that American industries make today to D.C. Washington, that as they are too big to fail they must have subsidies. The economic consequences of British socialism were catastrophic.

When nationalized industries turned into lame ducks, as almost all of them did over the following decades they were subsidized by the taxpayers, often through the sale of long-term bonds. The last of these Attlee bonds was finally paid off by Gordon Brown in June 2002; the twenty-first century British taxpayer had thus been shouldering half a century later the debts blithely taken on by Attlee in his offer of a New Jerusalem.”

Americans will overcome the current cultural and economic crisis despite its leviathan government. They are after all a people of courage, faith, and ingenuity. Still, like all peoples, as a nation Americans sometimes make mistakes— really big mistakes. Even so, they have good reason to hope that their most serious mistake, the election of President Obama to office nearly four years ago will in November be made right.

Whatever the outcome, however, Americans, as did the British, will have a shameful story to tell their grand children, and great-grand children, a story about collapsing infrastructure and outrageous deficits, a story about pathetic Chevy Volts, and bio-fuels more expensive than table wine, a story about silent, broken and abandoned windmills, about a myth of green jobs, global warming and failed Jerusalems.

My new book Renegades, Their Betrayal of America. Her Revolution and Renaissance, endorsed by our own Jeff Crank, is now available at Amazon.com. Type in my name and “Renegades” to purchase.



[1] Andrew Roberts, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900, (Harper Perennial, 2008).

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