In my book L: A Novel History, revolution sweeps Louis Zander, a charismatic philosopher of art and politics known as L, into power as a Marxist dictator of England.
It is available in hardback, paperback and kindle editions here.
These are quotations from L: A Novel History illustrating themes of the book which, though set in a fictitious England in the 1980s, are applicable to the United States under President Obama.
1. Analogies to The Occupy Wall Street Movement:
There was no use in protest marches and demonstrations now. For now there was real deprivation, real tyranny, real hunger. And that was precisely what L had promised them. They were no longer rich in many poor things, as once protestors had so angrily complained to governments and authorities. Now they were poor in all things. It was those who had freedom and decried it, pretending they were oppressed; those who had material plenty and despised it, pretending they were poor; those who thus secreted a worm in their own hearts, and so at the heart of civilization – envy: the amazing unforeseen and unforeseeable envy, by the free and comfortable, of the unfree and wretched of the earth: it was these self-deceiving, would-be lovers of mankind … the affluent children who squatted in the communes and protested against freedom calling it “repressive tolerance”, and those they elected … who were caught in the trap of their own lies, and brought an end to liberty in the name of liberation; an end to plenty in the name of humanitarianism; and an end to the impersonality of the law before which all were equal, and the impersonality of the market in which all were equal, and created legal discrimination and class elitism, in the name of equality.
2. Dependency on the state:
The people had become unaccustomed to self-reliance. They did not after all want a government that would leave them to do the best they could for themselves, and only remove obstacles and restrictions. They wanted a government with paternal responsibilities: to house the citizens, educate them, inoculate them against diseases, cure them when they were ill, keep them warm, tell them to fasten their safety-harnesses in their cars, warn them against smoking tobacco, “counsel” them when they quarreled with their spouses or beat their children or drank too much … and even spend as much of their money as possible on what government considered good for them rather than let them spend it themselves! If the educated and well-off did not need all this for themselves, they believed that “the vast majority of the people of this country” did need it. … The tragedy of Britain was that a self-reliant, self-disciplined, industrious people who had valued freedom, justice, goodwill, commonsense, and had grown strong and prospered because they had the character to embrace those values, had been turned into dependants, dissatisfied and envious, demanding that the state provide what they were no longer willing to provide for themselves.
L wrote: “I look towards a time when none shall have peace, when all feel insecure, and can look only to the Party, manifestly whimsical, for any reward and any punishment, without any reason to expect justice. For there and there only authority will reside, and it will be total and incomprehensible. No aspect of their lives will be too big or too small for the Party to deal with. It will reach into the heart and mind of every man, and his person, his life, will belong not to him but to the Party. The Party will hold the monopoly of life and death. Whatever anyone has will be dispensed to him by the Party, whether it is a material thing, like food and drink, or dignity, self-respect, his mate, the company of his own children. And there will be no escape. For the power of the Party must be planetary. That is why there can be no refuge for individualism; why anyone who expresses thoughts the Party has not allowed him, or who even thinks them to himself, must be stopped.”
L wrote: “You and I know perfectly well that a redistribution of wealth does not make everybody wealthy. In fact, it makes everybody poor.”
4. Social justice:
Increasingly it was the case that the victims of crime were less the object of concern than were the criminals who were excused on the grounds that they were the “real victims” of something called “social injustice”. Tax-payers’ money was spent lavishly on providing them with “therapy”, shelter, comfort, and rehabilitation.
5. Central planning:
The oligarchs occupied themselves with the laborious business of trying “to plan society”. Laws, rules and regulations proliferated, all emanating from the Council of Ministers. Local government was “suspended” when the Council took its “emergency powers”. Administrators were appointed in their stead: Party officials with unlimited powers over persons and property in their districts.
“It is in our interest to boost inflation … the unions which have power in the state-monopolized vital services – electricity and gas, mining, transport, shipping, the health service – must use it to keep public expenditure high. Easy enough, since members are unlikely to object to using their collective power to get wages as high as the union can squeeze out of the government for them … The more public money paid out to failing industries the better for us … High unemployment is in our long-term interest, but it is not to our short-term advantage. … Workers are less likely to strike, bring private firms to bankruptcy and generally disrupt the economy if they have real reason to fear the loss of jobs through employment reduction or closure of a business. … There is also the extreme danger that they will start selling their services privately for payment they do not declare – in other words the free ‘black’ economy might gain in strength, and far too many rediscover the personal advantages of self-employment.”
L knew that continuous inflation of the value of money was inimical not only to prosperity, but to security and hopes for the future. He knew that the most responsible, the most self-reliant, the most thrifty, would be the most cheated, because to save money was to lose money. He knew that as money bought less, demands for higher wages would be made more frequently and more exorbitantly; and that those demands could only be met by the printing of ever more paper money, worth ever less and less. And as the Conservative government tried to bring down inflation, tried to make the country live within its means, produce more to earn more real money, L’s legions howled against their efforts. .L-ite economists urged that the government print more money. Their recommendations were given wide and persistent publicity by the BBC, independent television and radio, and most – though not quite all – of the national daily newspapers.
7. The politics of envy:
Private ownership of land could be ended forever; private education could be made illegal; private medicine entirely abolished; all the known needs of the underprivileged supplied in perfect measure, the poor made collectively rich, and – best of all – the rich made poor.
8. Freedom as a burden:
The Left feared: “The Conservatives will impose freedom on everybody, even those least able to bear it.”
9. Judging according to empathy rather than evidence:
What judges were expected to do was “manifest heart”. The important thing in what had once been called a criminal case was to “arrive at an understanding of the quality of the man” they were judging.
10. Back to the simple life:
[The citizen’s] experience of the revolution was of the decay of everything. He was poor. He was cold. Quite soon he was worse fed that he had ever imagined would be possible in England. Soon the scope of his activities became severely curtailed, and life became monotonous in its misery, unless it was suddenly made appalling and agonizing for this or that individual.
L wrote that they must feel not just cold and hunger, but terror, loneliness, despair. Only then will they understand that the Party is their savior, and that it alone can redeem them from their most terrible spiritual torment – isolation. They will give up their little selfish desires, the pathetic shallow satisfactions they have been deceived into imagining are their real needs. They will begin to understand their role in history. They will thank the power that whips them with tears in their eyes, the mastering Party, giver of bread and purposes.
11. Making the country ungovernable – on the lines of the Cloward-Piven strategy:
The assault on the “commanding heights of power” was to be done by the disruption of civil order, the stirring up of violence in the streets, to the point of serious insurrection and even civil war if possible. Hence the importance of the emotional issue of race. The idea was that liberal democratic government was to be seen not to work. Then an extreme left-dominated Party would take extraordinary powers to restore order.
12. “We all belong to the government” – as per the 2012 Democratic National Convention:
“Everyone will have the pleasure of knowing that he is being used. That what he does is what he must do. That therefore he is necessary, and has purpose. He will belong to the state and the state to him. He will be attached to the state as a babe to its mother’s breast.”
“The state must put them in houses, bring them to school, tempt them with pensions, lure them with kindness. When all have been received inside the shelter of the state, then they will be redeemable. What a harvest will then be promised of men and women for the new age, the third millennium and beyond. But the process of redemption will not be as easy as the gathering-in. They have yet to learn that beyond their material needs there are others, which they have first to discover and then to understand and then to satisfy before they are fit for the absolute community of the human spirit wherein no individual shall have an existence outside of the community, and each will joyfully give up his life at any moment for the preservation of the Greater Life of Universal Man.”
L: A Novel History may turn out to be prophetic if the new leader of the British Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, comes to power.
Jillian Becker November 29, 2015