Capitalist bureaucracy; Mailbag.
BILL Armer, in attacking Dylan Murphy, seeks to discredit him by the age old tactic of guilt by association (Mailbag, November 11).
He describes the eminent historian Eric Hobsbawm as an apologist for Stalinism as if, by so doing, he has destroyed the arguments of both Hobsbawm and Dylan Murphy at a stroke.
However, modesty probably forbids Dylan from making the fact known that he himself has a doctorate in history. The subject of his PhD dissertation was the Communist Party in West Yorkshire in the 1930s.
Dylan therefore is probably more aware than Bill Armer of the crimes of Stalinism and of Prof Hobsbawm's reliability as a historian.
By tarring him as a Stalinist, Bill Armer obviously thinks that the whole concept of the welfare state which Dr Murphy defends can be dismissed as a crypto-Stalinist concept or at least a system which leads to Stalinism.
This is a rehash of Herbert Spencer's view that socialism inevitably leads to the 'servile state'. The irony of history is that we do have a well-developed 'servile state' in which individual freedom and initiative is crushed.
But this is not the result of socialism or the welfare state, rather that of a bureaucracy created to maintain the capitalist free enterprise system Bill Armer so stoutly defends.
This bureaucracy extends all the way from local government, through national government to the grotesque bloated bureaucracy of the European Union.
It is the cost of maintaining this, not the unemployed, that is one of the main burdens on the taxpayer.
The problem of the welfare state is not that it provides a system to support the vulnerable from the cradle to the grave according to need, but that it is so expensive due to the vast and unduly complex machine created to administer it.
Bureaucracy has a way of proliferating and reprodu-cing itself at all levels of life. Stalin created a monstrous bureaucracy that reinforced its rule by the use of terror against its own citizens. Today's capitalist bureaucracy hides behind the faade of elected politicians and relies on people being duped into compliance. This bureaucracy will not allow the government to erode its privileges in any way. Consequently any meaningful cuts by the state must be passed on to the poorest and weakest in society. A fundamental redistribution of both wealth and political power is the only way that a truly fair society can be achieved.
ALAN BROOKE Honley