Gladstone, William Ewart - Suppressing obligations - Campaign against the misuse of power - Socialism
Type of Spiritual Experience
Gladstone was almost prophetic in his understanding that many who carried the banner of ‘social reform’, many who promised all sorts of better conditions for the poor, merely sought to replace old existing power with new but no different power. They had absolutely no interest in the plight of the poor, their only interest was to use the votes of the newly enfranchised to sieze power and wealth for themselves.
Animal Farm was first published in England on 17 August 1945, over 100 years after Gladstone was starting to see and anticipate the dangers. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, thus its model is Stalinism, but its target is Socialism and Communism.
The phrase ‘working class’ [as if the middle income earners don’t work] is itself a telling reminder that considerable weasel wording was used in the process of convincing the lower paid members of society that a better deal could be had by aligning themselves with new sources of power. We all know what happened next, not only were people a great deal worse off under Communism – but over 60 million people died in Stalin’s Communist regime, and well over 50 million in China.
A description of the experience
At a speech at Blackheath on 28 October 1871, he warned his constituents against ‘social reformers’ – echoes of Animal Farm:
... they are not your friends, but they are your enemies in fact, though not in intention, who teach you to look to the Legislature for the radical removal of the evils that afflict human life.
... It is the individual mind and conscience, it is the individual character, on which mainly human happiness or misery depends. (Cheers.) The social problems that confront us are many and formidable. Let the Government labour to its utmost, let the Legislature labour days and nights in your service; but, after the very best has been attained and achieved, the question whether the English father is to be the father of a happy family and the centre of a united home is a question which must depend mainly upon himself. (Cheers.)
And those who ... promise to the dwellers in towns that every one of them shall have a house and garden in free air, with ample space; those who tell you that there shall be markets for selling at wholesale prices retail quantities—I won't say are impostors, because I have no doubt they are sincere; but I will say they are quacks (cheers).
They are deluded and beguiled by a spurious philanthropy, …. they are …. offering to you a fruit which, when you attempt to taste it, will prove to be but ashes in your mouths. (Cheers.)