I’m interested what people make of this quote by Winston Churchill:
I don’t consider myself a communitarian, not a socialist. That means I’m not allergic to the idea of private property. I think people who work hard deserve to profit from their work, and I’m not that opposed to the idea that some people just lucked out and were born with potential society wants to reward (or were born into families that had the resources to encourage said potential). To an extent, I’m okay with that. I definitely think that by living in a certain society I take up certain obligations to look after my other community-members, and it’s wrong for me to indulge in luxury while the guy who delivers my pizza can’t even afford healthcare or whatever. But that doesn’t mean you have to go whole-hog socialist. It just means you recognize you have certain obligations you have to meet, just like you have to pay for the roads you drive on.
But even so, I find these thoughts… interesting. Socialism may come out of a certain ignorance about human nature, I’ll give you that, but the gospel of envy? As I understand it, it’s not about being jealous of the rich – it’s about recognizing that private property encourages some of the nastier quirks of our psychology. I don’t find socialism per se particularly immoral or anything, and on a small scale I can even see it working. It’s the whole national project where things break down.
I’m more interested in what other people make of this quote, though. Do you agree? Does it surprise you that Winston Churchill would say this? (Given the times, I can see him having no love of socialism.) Do you know any more of the context than I do?
(P.S. – I know I owe comments to people. I haven’t forgotten. I’ve got some time this afternoon when I plan on doing that.)