Margaret Thatcher once famously (or infamously, depending on your political views) quipped that the problem with socialism is that eventually, you run out of other people’s money. There are a number of other major problems with socialism, but Thatcher’s observation is the most salient in these times.
The slow-motion train wrecks of the EU, and the so-called “green movement”, are the result of socialists finally running out of other people’s money.
European Union and climate change are the great failed socialist experiments of the last 100 years. Each began as communists in Europe co-opted movements that had existed in Europe since before the Second World War.
In the case of EU, the communists inserted themselves in what remained of the failed League of Nations, pre-cursor to the ineffectual UN, and a primary catalyst of the Second World War. The people behind the League of Nations believed in “supra-national” system for Europe with a strong, Soviet-style central government, command-and-control-style economic and fiscal policy and the inevitable dismantling of democratic nation states that is required to implement their plan. Any objective review of EU policy and activities will illustrate that this is exactly where Europe is today.
In the case of climate change, the worthwhile environmental/naturalist movement that raised consumer and political awareness of serious pollution and ecological concerns as early as the 1930s, was taken over by communists formerly distracted in the Soviet directed “peace movement”. Peace movements dropped from sight when the USSR collapsed as a result of the Reagan/Thatcher policies of the late 1980s. With no impending nuclear holocaust as a result of Russia’s demise, and the 1970s’ green movement having achieved the goal of raising awareness of the pollution and ecological concerns, the greens were ripe for takeover by the communist peaceniks.
No better vessel could have existed for the communists in Europe than the green movement. Fundraising ability, political influence and the threat of imminent man-caused ecological disaster — all wrapped up in message of saving children and polar bears. All that was needed was organization and some marketing, skills the peacenik communists picked up from the Russians in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Once in charge, the peace movement shape-shifted into the green movement, jumped aboard the UN’s climate change gravy train and brought us global warming.
The EU communists were able to rely on good economic conditions during the Bush years. They were determined to redistribute the wealth Europe built over decades of enterprise and trade between national economies that functioned in relation to their capacities to produce. The EU looked like a good bet for a while.
At the same time, greens were able to sell the notion that only massive redistribution of wealth could “save” the planet. This requires central planning, draconian policies and the suspension of individual freedoms. The fraud, corruption and lack of evidence supporting the green claims of disaster, and the threat to property rights have turned most people away from the “green”. The green veil has been revealed as red.
In Greece and Italy, the EU has installed unelected technocrats to “run” the countries. Other EU countries are looking at the prospect of ceding sovereignty to a central, Soviet-style EU authority, and recoiling. There will be no long-term “fiscal union” in Europe. There is no more wealth to redistribute, and the people of Europe know it — the people will quite reasonably rebel — whether at the bank, the ballot or at the barricades. They want to hang on to what little hasn’t been confiscated at the behest of their EU masters.
Each group has now run out of other people’s money. Each is writhing in an effort to convince itself that success is just around the corner. Canada and other countries are withdrawing from Kyoto as climate change collapses, while the greens now champion communist China as the new eco-saviour. Greeks, Brits and Spaniards contemplate withdrawing from the EU, even while France and Germany propose the wholesale takeover of their EU partners.
In Europe, the communists and socialists have spent all of the other people’s money. In the short term, the inevitable failure of socialism will be painful. In the long run, only free markets and free people can rebuild those societies. It remains to be seen if Thatcher’s lesson is learned by the European people, and if anyone in Canada is paying attention.
Mark Walker is the publisher of the Penticton Western News.