There is no alternative 0

Margaret Thatcher famously said when she was Prime Minister of Great Britain that “There is no alternative”, meaning no alternative to the free market if prosperity and liberty were to be regained. Thatcherites turned the four words into a cheerful, optimistic slogan.

She was right, of course. For a few years during her premiership – a small Silver Age –  the British became a (comparatively) free, property-owning, share-holding people. Then the socialists who had been in power since the end of World War II, whether they’d called themselves Conservatives or Labour, came back into power as the Labour Party for thirteen years, and ruined the country. At last the Conservative Party under the leadership of David Cameron may be returned in the forthcoming general election, but it will make no difference.

Now the words “there is no alternative” have another, completely different meaning.

Melanie Phillips explains with this article in the Spectator:

David Cameron’s strategy is fundamentally and, we can now see, finally and irrevocably flawed. His message, as defiantly and unequivocally re-stated today, is one of radical change. The key question this provokes, however, is change from what?

The people are indeed desperate for change – but from Gordon Brown and the Labour government and what it stands for. What Cameron defiantly and unequivocally offers is radical change from conservatism to produce an agenda that, far from promising a radical change from Labour, is merely a paler version of Labour.

So when millions of natural conservatives yearn for a radical and unequivocal change from the nihilism and injustice and bullying of political correctness, for a change from the deliberate gerrymandering of the demographic and cultural identity of this country, for a change from the enslavement of frivolous and destructive ideology, for a change from the destruction of the traditional family and the appeasement of radical Islamism, for a change from the empty and mendacious promises of spin, they get instead ‘the party of the (failing) NHS’ committed to green diversity and with even a smug reference to the women candidates forced upon local constituency parties, a promise to be tough and honest and upfront in cutting spending to tackle the deficit while financing a new army no less of health visitors, a commitment to support marriage in the tax system but also (presumably) unmarried couples in the benefit system, nothing at all about Islamism, nor the destruction of the country’s powers of self government through the EU, nor the deliberate and covert destruction of its demographic and cultural identity except for a glancing reference to cutting immigration.

The political crystal balls on the western side of the Atlantic project the same message of hopelessness.

Mark Steyn, writing in Investor’s Business Daily, laments that a change from a Democratic to a Republican majority in Congress will in all probability make no difference to America’s descent into the terminal illness of socialism:

So there was President Obama giving his bazillionth speech on health care, droning yet again that “now is the hour when we must seize the moment,” the same moment he’s been seizing every day of the week for the past year, only this time his genius photo-op guys thought it would look good to have him surrounded by men in white coats.

Why is he doing this? Why let “health” “care” “reform” stagger on like the rotting husk in a low-grade creature feature who refuses to stay dead no matter how many stakes you pound through his chest?

Because it’s worth it. Big time. I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture.

It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible.

In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally “conservative” parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect.(Let’s not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a “conservative.”) The result is a kind of two-party one-party state.

Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic. …

Once the state swells to a certain size, the people available to fill the ever expanding number of government jobs will be statists — sometimes hard-core Marxist statists, sometimes social-engineering multiculti statists, sometimes fluffily “compassionate” statists, but always statists.

The short history of the postwar welfare state is that you don’t need a president-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life: The people can elect “conservatives,” as the Germans have done and the British are about to do, and the left is mostly relaxed about it because, in all but exceptional cases (Thatcher), they fulfill the same function in the system as the first-year boys at wintry English boarding schools who for tuppence-ha’penny or some such would agree to go and warm the seat in the unheated lavatories until the prefects strolled in and took their rightful place.

Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A big-time GOP consultant was on TV crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass ObamaCare because it’s so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November.

Okay, then what? You’ll roll it back — like you’ve rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago?

Like you’ve undone the Department of Education and of Energy and all the other nickel ‘n’ dime novelties of even a universally reviled one-term loser like Jimmy Carter? …

Look at it from the Dems’ point of view. You pass ObamaCare. You lose the 2010 election, which gives the GOP co-ownership of an awkward couple of years.

And you come back in 2012 to find your health care apparatus is still in place, a fetid behemoth of toxic pustules oozing all over the basement, and, simply through the natural processes of government, already bigger and more expensive and more bureaucratic than it was when you passed it two years earlier.

That’s a huge prize, and well worth a midterm timeout.

I’ve been bandying comparisons with Britain and France, but that hardly begins to convey the scale of it. ObamaCare represents the government annexation of “one-sixth of the U.S. economy” — i.e., the equivalent of the entire British or French economy, or the entire Indian economy twice over.

Nobody has ever attempted this level of centralized planning for an advanced society of 300 million people.

Even the control freaks of the European Union have never tried to impose a unitary “comprehensive” health care system from Galway to Greece. The Soviet Union did, of course, and we know how that worked out.

This “reform” is not about health care … it’s about government.

Once you look at it that way, what the Dems are doing makes perfect sense. For them.