In connection with the assertion by several recent correspondents who have warned that America is fast descending into the hell of socialism, I would like to pass on this observation made by an historian 99 years ago who was discussing the passage of England’s 1832 Reform Act which extended the right to vote to a few wealthy merchants and industrialists:
“The word Democracy occupied in 1831 the position which the word Socialism holds today (1914) in a similar connection. It was understood to mean something vaguely terrible — something cataclysmic and all-pervading, which might ‘come’ and would ‘come’ if respectable classes did not stand together. If democracy came, King and (the House of) Lords would disappear, and old landmarks of all descriptions would be swept away.”
Of course, not only can wealthy industrialists and merchants vote today in England, there is universal suffrage, and socialism, and the queen sits on the throne, the Lords remain, and the planets have not fallen out of their orbits.
Yet if we had true democracy in both America and England, never mind socialism, we would have elected officials who were not beholden to and so afraid to prosecute the Wall Street and Fleet Street bankers who committed the crimes that precipitated the current recession.
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