Capitalist democracy: control your own destiny

Photo: Jim Rice.

Hunter S. Thompson once grumbled that Horatio Alger?s fondness for rags-to-riches stories had bequeathed to the collective American psyche an unrealistic ideal of how good poor folk could make it, in the good old U.S. of A.

Thompson had something of a point: hardly any son of an impoverished immigrant would ever actually be a billionaire, but the simple fact is that capitalist democracies like America offered unprecedented opportunity to millions. Despite Soviet propaganda about their ?worker?s paradise?, the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow stunned the Communists with its displays of the luxuries afforded to the most everyday Americans.

Similarly, Peter Cruddas might be the exception, as a billionaire made good from the council estate slums, but his story does serve to show the empowerment that private enterprise brings, as opposed to the stultifying learned helplessness of the welfare state. Quote:

Peter Cruddas lives the lifestyle you would expect of a financier branded the City of London’s richest man?It is a life that couldn’t be more different to his upbringing in Hackney, east London. Despite being in the 1 per cent of the population to have achieved the highest possible score on a Mensa test with an IQ of 155, Cruddas left Shoreditch comprehensive at the age of 15 with no qualifications. He grew up on a council estate in East London, where his alcoholic father would drink up to 25 pints of Guinness and a bottle of rum per day, pouring “any money we had down the pub”. End of quote.

Despite its well-meaning intentions, the welfare state was honeyed poison for the white working-classes of Britain, every bit as much as Johnson?s ?Great Society? turned out to be for American blacks. Quote:

“If you’re brought up in a dysfunctional household, you have no control over anything – you’re dreading your dad coming home, you’re dreading not having any money, and then when you go to work and get your own money, you realise you can start to do things?I realised very early on that if I wanted something, I couldn’t ask my parents. My mum supported us as best she could but if you wanted anything in our household you had to go to work to get it.”

For the first 18 months of his career, a teenage Cruddas would give the wages from his 14-hour night shifts as a telex operator at Western Union to his mother, who worked in the City of London as an office cleaner. He remembers some days working through the night, then meeting her on her way to work at 6am to help with her cleaning shift.

“From office cleaner to billionaire isn’t bad, is it?” says the 65-year-old entrepreneur, knowing what a rare story his is.

“Overnight the dynamics changed – instead of being a taker of money I was a giver of money. Next year I celebrate an anniversary which is 50 years of uninterrupted working.” End of quote.

Unlike most of Britain?s elite, Cruddas is an unashamed Leaver. Quote:

Cruddas is a key Brexit campaigner who donated ?1.5 million to the official Vote Leave campaign. He says he stands by his decision. “We’ve got a concerted effort by the Government and the whole Westminster machinery that want to dilute and confuse the exit from the EU?the bottom line is people still voted to take that risk. When any politician starts to dilute and ignore the will of the people they are on that rocky road to disaster.” End of quote.

Cradle-to-grave welfare inculcates what psychologists call ?learned helplessness?. People who perceive events as beyond their control give up trying. Instead, they surrender to passivity and a hopeless cycle that gets passed down through the generations.

Socialism, despite its grand proclamations of utopia, similarly saps the will of the people by binding them in an inescapable trap of state control. Quote:

What really keeps him up at night is the thought of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. End of quote.