Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Churchill and Welfare

Over at the American Scholar, George Watson makes an attempt to take Winston Churchill and hold him up as a darling of the Left and the founder of the British welfare state. This "forgotten Churchill" ought to be remembered not just for his war leadership and stubborn defiance of Hitler and Nazism, argues Watson, but for his creation of the National Health Service and fighting sweatshops. While it is true that Churchill engaged in creating social insurances as a young politician, his reasons for doing so were far, far different than the Left's-- he wanted to prop up some welfare programs in order to stem the advance of socialism, which is why most socialists in the United Kingdom fought against his measures (as Watson rightfully points out). As Steven Hayward draws attention to at Power Line, Churchill did not support social engineering and never thought that government central planning could be smarter than the marketplace. He acknowledged the fact that higher taxes are not the road to prosperity, embraced a pre-Hayekian opposition to central economic planning, and thought that socialism and all its ilk was dangerous and immoral.

Churchill spent his entire life seeking to fight what he saw as a war for the very character and existence of all that is great in Western civilization, from Nazism to communism to their parent socialism. For that he will never, ever be forgotten. That supporters of an expansive welfare state would reach to take the memory of Winston Churchill and twist it to try support their purposes speaks both to the greatness of the man and their desperation to bulk up their increasingly unjustified positions. As Hayward says, "I'm glad Obama sent the Oval Office Churchill bust back to London. It would soil the memory of the great man if Obama kept it around."
Categories > History

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