The Weekly Winston: IRS Scandal Edition

The revelations of the IRS investigations of conservative groups, and the incredible explanations of why this should be regarded as an “innocent” mistake, summons to mind Churchill’s campaign speech of June 1945, attacking the socialist platform of the Labour Party in that hard fought campaign (which Churchill’s Tory party lost in a landslide).  Some of this description may not fit Obamaworld perfectly, but the third paragraph sounds like an accurate parallel to both Obamacare and the IRS scandal:

My friends, I must tell you that a Socialist policy is abhorrent to the British ideas of freedom.  Although it is now put forward in the main by people who have a good grounding in the Liberalism and Radicalism of the early part of this century, there can be no doubt that Socialism is inseparably interwoven with Totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State.  It is not alone that property, in all its forms, is struck at, but that liberty, in all its forms, is challenged by the fundamental conceptions of Socialism.

Look how even today they hunger for controls of every kind, as if these were delectable foods instead of wartime inflictions and monstrosities.  There is to be one State to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives.  The State is to be the arch-employer, the arch-planner, and arch-administrator and ruler and the arch-caucus-boss. . .

A Socialist State once thoroughly completed in all its details and its aspects—and that is what I am speaking of—could not afford to suffer opposition. . .  Socialism is, in its essence, an attack not only upon British enterprise, but upon the right of the ordinary man or woman to breathe freely without having a harsh, clumsy, tyrannical hand clapped across their mouths and nostrils. . .  Have we not heard Mr Herbert Morrison descant upon his plans to curtail Parlimentary procedure and pass laws simply by resolution of broad principle in the House of Commons, afterward to be left by Parliament to the executive and to the bureaucrats to elaborate and enforce by departmental regulations? . . .

But I will go farther.  I declare to you, from the bottom of my heart, that no Socialist system can be established without a political police.  Many of those who are advocating Socialism or voting Socialist today will be horrified at this idea.  That is because they are short-sighted, that is because they don not see where their theories are leading them.

No Socialist Government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, and violently worded expressions of public discontent.  They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance.  And this would nip opinion in the bud; it would stop criticism as it reared its head, and it would gather all the power to the supreme party and the party leaders, rising like stately pinnacles over their vast bureaucracies of Civil servants, no longer servants, and no longer civil.  And where would the ordinary simple folk—the common people, as they like to call them in America—where would they be, once this mighty organism had got them in its grip?

Where indeed.  Footnote: Churchill’s thoughts in this speech were inspired in part by Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.

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