Over at the Tax Research Blog, having pretty much argued that the only way to make the world better is to increase government debt in order to increase the size of the state and been unable to effectively refute the opposing arguments, Richard Murphy has resorted to accusing people who don't want a massive state of being “socially violent” .
It’s an interesting piece, because it highlights what a nasty, arrogant and pessimistic creed state socialism is, particularly the version promoted by Richard Murphy. There is an unspoken belief that people are inherently evil and without the state controlling our behaviour, we’d have no consideration for each other. The unlegislated convention of queuing must be incomprehensible to the big state mentality and the existence of an institution such as the RNLI, entirely voluntarily funded, must be absolutely inconceivable.
Another aspect of state socialism, which seems to be particularly prevalent in the British approach, is the paternalism which assumes that, if the state is redistributing wealth, it must spend it too, rather than giving the recipient a choice. Contrast the approach with the education system in Sweden, a country often held up as a model social democracy. Education is state funded, but the system allows parents, if they wish, to obtain a voucher equal to the amount spent on a state school place and use it to pay for a place at a privately operated school. The desire to ensure a certain level of provision isn’t used as an excuse to centralise decision making in the same way it is in the UK; the public are treated, at least in this area, as intelligent individuals who are capable of making their own decisions.
The state socialist approach is built on a foundation of elitism. It assumes that, as an ordinary person, you are so selfish and callous that the only circumstance in which you will help your fellow human being is if you are forced to by those more caring than you. It also assumes that you are too stupid to make your own lifestyle choices and need the state to buy a whole range of goods and services on your behalf to protect you from the effects of the stupid purchases you would make if left to your own devices.
The implicit assumption is that the state socialists who will be doing the forcing and choosing don't suffer from the same flaws as us mere mortals. They have declared themselves morally and intellectually superior and therefore fit to rule over the rest of us with a rod of iron. Quite frankly, anybody with that level of arrogance is the kind of person I least want in a position of power.