Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Cult of Welfarism

Brendan O'Neill over at Spiked has some things to say about the ideology of welfarism in Britain and elsewhere:

It makes sense that the Tory Party, which has always been a paternalistic outfit that doubted the ability of oiks to do good or flourish, should support a system which seeks to cater to the lower orders’ perceived economic, therapeutic and moral needs. But why is the left, which traditionally had more faith in those orders, even more fulsome in its love of welfarism, to the extent that all it fights for today is the preservation and expansion of the welfare state? Once, the left demanded full employment, growth, plenty, prosperity, a new world, a new era, the abolition of poverty, ‘abundance for all’, in the words of Sylvia Pankhurst. Now it campaigns, solely and relentlessly, for the ‘right’ of the poor to be looked after, ad infinitum, by the state. Far from demanding the abolition of poverty, it effectively supports the institutionalisation of poverty in the form of a welfarism which provides people with the bare essentials of life while often simultaneously telling them they are ‘incapable’ of work and should therefore stay home, stay put, forever. The welfarist turn on the left speaks to its loss of faith in growth and abundance, and more starkly its collapse of faith in the ability of ordinary people to exist without constant support and stroking from their betters in the vast machine that the welfare state has become.

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