A few months ago I read Road to Serfdom for the first time, and a powerful and convincing read it was too. Hayek makes the case that Nazi regime grew out of the destruction of the German middle classes, a hatred for British liberalism (specifically the ‘free trade’ economic liberalism of the day) and complete failure to understand the problems inherent to economic planning.
One of the most compelling arguments was the correlation between anti-capitalism and anti-semitism.
The argument goes that, excluded from the sort of unionised, protected jobs available to German nationals, Jewish people set up their own businesses – as, literally, the only means of making a living. They embraced capitalism and trade because it allowed them to feed themselves and their families and they were perceived as being very successful at that.
Of course the German working classes, having been through a depression and economic disaster, saw it differently – they saw Jewish people making a living and not sharing their wealth with the German people. Jealousy quickly turns to hatred, and all it then takes is the right politician to come along to threaten to use the power of the state to redress the balance and, it seems, all hell breaks loose.
I look around the town where I live and I see a disturbing parallel – a hated and despised immigrant population (mostly from Pakistan) whose main source of employment appears to be either self employment or working for other people from Pakistan. Any poverty in the Pakistani community is hidden because the only interactions most white people have with them is when they order take-away, or go into a corner shop, or order a taxi. Others live in the same area – the part of the town that has the cheapest housing – and have watched as the their streets have become increasingly ethnic in appearance. This freaks people out. They don’t like it, and they’re condemned as thought criminals if they say so. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t… but is it entirely fair or reasonable to force people to think anything through bullying, hectoring, intimidation? If there’s nothing wrong with being the only white person left on your street, why does it need saying? Why do people need to be persuaded of that?
The problem is this: What do you do about it?
Dispersing the immigrant population? How do you do that without evicting them from their homes, ripping them out of their jobs and families? Too fascist.
Preventing them from wearing ‘ethnic’ clothing? Well, how do you do that without passing laws about what is and isn’t acceptable for people to wear? Again, that’s distinctly un-British.
Deport the immigrants: Hard to imagine how that one ends well. Derisory bribes to leave are unlikely to be successful – it would require force and would quickly reduce Britain to the status of a rogue state, an international pariah. International trade would collapse, imports from Britain would be banned and we’d be utterly ruined.
The least worst option appears to be controls on immigration in the first place, it seems. There’s no acceptable, humane or even British way of dealing with immigrant populations once they’re in the country.
But then the question becomes does it really need dealing with in the first place? Apparently so, if you listen to the people who point to crime statistics from certain ethnic minority grouping as if this is the ultimate argument that, yes, immigration is a terrible thing. I’m not convinced. Other people argue that the public services and general infrastructure cannot cope with the growth in the population – which, I think, is a much more valid argument.
The growth in the population has exposed Britain’s planning system as glacial, the dependence on the state to provide infrastructure as in error, and more horrifyingly it’s shown that public services are not properly balanced – theoretically ten thousand more people paying tax should pay for the public services of ten thousand more people – but that is not the case. Public services are not paying for themselves based on the people using them thanks to ridiculous levels of centralisation and woefully inadequate five and ten year plans. More proof, as if it were needed, of the folly of economic planning.
This, I’m afraid, is the real problem. The solution of ‘get rid of the immigrants! Stop them coming in’ might temporarily relieve the stress on infrastructure and public services but it wouldn’t fix the underlying problems – that this is a country that is institutionally incapable of adapting to anything and with an over mighty state stretched far, far, far beyond what it can be reasonably expected to be able to deal with.
And yet we blame the immigrants for this, for daring to expose the limits of our creaking, broken infrastructure. The current reasons for capping immigration is to protect the public services, benefits payments, social housing and job prospects of the people who are already here. It’s socialism, you see, but just for British nationals. Hmmm…. why does that sound familiar?
But then this is the tendency of socialism – this is what happens. It’s inevitable. As the state grows and “gives” more and more to the nationals in its jurisdiction, so the pressure grows to limit who counts as ‘in’ and who counts as ‘out’.
People explode in a self-righteous fury if they believe that one group is getting something their own group isn’t – and this fury is being channelled into the growth of fascist thought rather than providing the political will to stop Governments picking favourites and taking sides.
It may be that the socialists are the most vocal anti-racists, but it is they who’ve created the economic conditions in which racism thrives. It’s they who’ve created a country with a growing obsession with stopping “foreigners” taking advantage of our welfare state, and it’s they who’ve spent the last 100 years telling everyone that Free Trade (which includes free movement of people) is a bad and terrible thing, it’s they who’ve told everyone that the job of the state is to pick sides and pick winners…. and they’re acting surprised, shocked and outraged when people who see themselves as losers in the current system want to use the state for their own purposes?
What exactly did they think would happen? I mean, really? The only way to stop National Socialism in the UK is to stop socialism.