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Red Tory: How the Left and Right Have Broken Britain and How We Can Fix It Paperback – May 1, 2010
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Basically, like the Right, they uphold family, traditional values but also seek true social justice.
The only real power today is in the State and the Market, but Red Tories say both ought to be subservient to the community.
So, like the Right, it seeks to decentralize the Sate; but like the Left, it tries to counter the tyranny of the Market.
Instead of a welfare state or a market state it promotes strengthening local communities with local economies.
It draws on an old conservative tradition with the goal of an egalitarian distribution of private property with participatory economics; shared assets and modernized mutualism coupled with genuinely free markets.
Red Tories are against monopoly capitalism but believe in a true free market; capitalism with a small 'c'.
They think the market should be subservient to the communities needs.
Red Tories prescription is to `recapitalise the poor' and share the capitalist means of wealth production so there's "no proletariat upon the one side, and no monopolising capitalist upon the other," as Belloc says in The Servile State, which inspires much of what Blond has to say.
Blond clearly lays out his program with down to earth practical solutions using real world examples.
He is an Anglican theologian and the Red Tory movement is causing quite a bit of excitement in the Christian communities.
Although Blond aims much of this book specifically at the UK, it is coupled with American politics as well, so he talks about Thatcher/Regean, Bush/Blair.
Also included is a very erudite chapter on the economic collapse, its deep rooted causes, and a real paradigm shift for evaluating what needs to be done.
I never do reviews, but this book is the future of politics. No kidding, highly recommended!
Many American Anglophiles do not realize what a Clockwork Orange landscape much of modern Britain has become. After a survey of his "shattered society," Phillip Blond then argues for an older and radical conservatism in this manifesto packed with striking formulations and insights that inspire the dispirited American reader.
The wholesale collapse of British culture and the disappearance of its civil society over the last two generations is due to a fearful combination, Blond argues: that of a failed welfare state on the one hand and a failed "market state" on the other, both of them hollowed out by an implicit libertarianism. (Echoes of Chesterton and Belloc here.) The result is an extreme degree of social isolation and disconnectedness with neighbors and community. (Remember "Bowling Alone"?)
His vision is that of a renewed civil society, a remoralized market and a recapitalized poor--notions that are wholly absent from what passes for "conservative" (and much "liberal") thought today. By harnessing our forgotten powers of mutualism and association, Blond believes that a politics of virtue can be rebuilt from the ground up--largely free both from statism and from the monopoly capitalism which has made the market unfreer than ever.
Unlike most philosophers, Blond is in the extraordinary position of watching his ideas become reality, as in the case of the UK's recently passed Localism Bill.
Moreover, David Brooks' enthusiastic NY Times column about Blond's Red Toryism last year sparked a flurry of interest that now has a US version of his ResPublica thinktank, called ResPublica America, in the works and launching in the fall 2011. A radical--and necessary--vision.
The odd designation Red Tory stands for a (supposed) combination of social egalitarianism and anti-capitalism on the one hand, and traditional moral values on the other. The claim that Blond stands for egalitarianism is something of a stretch, since he explicitly sees Benjamin Disraeli, the Primrose League and various High Tories such as John Ruskin as his ideological forebears. Less visible, but always lurking in the background, is the Distributism of “Chesterbelloc”. Now, Hilaire Belloc wasn't what anyone would call an egalitarian! Indeed, Blond explicitly says in “Red Tory” that society needs a hierarchy based on virtue, and opposes high taxes on inheritance, making it possible for property-owners to pass on their property through the family line. He even says that such people need certain privileges…
That being said, “Red Tory” is nevertheless an interesting read, since Blond attempts – with varied degrees of success, to be sure – to apply a Distributist and communitarian form of conservatism to contemporary British conditions. Being equally critical of both the welfare state and the neo-liberal market (which, paradoxically, also breeds a strong state), Blond proposes to remake Britain in a more Distributist image by decentralization, the scrapping of repressive laws, a public sector controlled by the employees and users, more employee-owned businesses (“John Lewis” is his favorite), and various government-sponsored schemes to increase the savings of the poor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I did learn a lot about Britain from this book but it tended to wander. It was not really clear how the problems he described could be fixed. Read morePublished 23 months ago by toni