Fabian Socialist View of Democracy vs Public School Elitism


Peter Archer in his chapter on ‘The Constitution’ in Pimlott’s collection of Fabian Essays, stresses the importance of democracy for Socialism, and gives a few brief descriptions of its opponents, one of which sounds eerily familiar.

For Socialists, it is fundamental that every issue is decided ultimately by the wishes of the majority. For any other method of resolution entails that an elite has allocated to itself the right to pronounce the majority wrong. For the High Tory, convinced that some are born to rule; for the Platonist, proclaiming that distinguishing good from evil is a question of knowledge; for the meritocrat, persuaded that only some are intellectually fit to be entrusted with deciding the course of history, it may appear justified to exclude the many from a share in deciding the fate of all. But an essential part of the commitment to equality is the belief that the right to play a part in guiding the affairs of the community attaches to each member of that community, irrespective of the names and status of their relations, the cost and nature of their education, the size of their fortune or the letters behind their name. Even the elitism of the early Fabians, referred to by Rodney Barker, was subject to the right of the people to call the elite to account. Indeed the Fabian commitment to gradualism arises, as Shaw explained, not from satisfaction with present injustices, but from a recognition that improvement cannot come about more quickly than we succeed in persuading the people that it will really an improvement.

This doctrine continues to come under attack from two directions. First are the high priests of the classical tradition, who are prepared to concede to the masses a right to choose, provided that they choose within the frame work of beliefs established in the public schools of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

He then goes on to discuss the other source of opposition, the doctrinaire refusal of those on the Left to compromise their policies for the sake of winning elections.

But the description of the High Tories, the presumption of the moneyed elite to have the exclusive right to rule, and the limitation of democratic choice to Victorian and Edwardian Public School ideas, just about perfectly describes the attitude of Cameron, Osborne and this current government of public school toffs.

It’s time we took democracy back from them, and voted them out.

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7 Responses to “Fabian Socialist View of Democracy vs Public School Elitism”

  1. Mike Sivier Says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political.

  2. Hayfords Says:

    Labour had a Socialist manifesto, largely developed by Tony Benn, in 1983. Gerald Kaufman, the Labour MP, call it the longest suicide note in history. The potential PM, Michael Foot gave the Conservatives a majority of 144. I would have thought that would have been an indication that people in the UK do not want Socialism.

    • Boldeefett Loxx Says:

      No it is an indication that the word socialism has been sullied and made to imply something that it is not by the ruling elite in an attempt to convince people that capitalism is the only way, well we are certainly seeing the true colours of capitalism now.

      There seems to be a trend that is recognised by both Labour and the Tories that the traditional voters for both and floating voters no longer have an interest in the centre ground and would like to see a more traditional stance of left and right respectively, in Labours case maybe not the left of the 1970’s but certainly far more to the left of centre that Tony Blair took the party.

  3. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  4. stewilko Says:

    Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog.

  5. amnesiaclinic Says:

    I think this is interesting but like many I see the left/right paradigm as a distraction. The voting is rigged and whoever you vote for the agenda rolls on. The system is served by the the fact that people think they have a choice. They don’t. It is a charade,admittedly not as in-your-face as in America but still a big charade. It is the system that is rotten and I’m not sure there is any way of changing it other than by bringing it down by not voting and showing that we do not accept the system in all it’s corruption based on the military, industrial, chemical, agra-pharma based society.
    By voting you are part of this.

    • Boldeefett Loxx Says:

      I cant help but agree with the majority of what you are saying but if we go back 30-40 years although it was still rigged there was a distinction between left and right and less of the paradigm we have to day as you rightly put it, we also had MP’s with conviction and principles that really tried to make a difference even if the cards were heavy stacked against them.

      Its a real poser isn’t it, do we vote and try to influence change or do we refuse to vote for a mainstream candidate and hope it makes a difference, sadly our lack or willingness to go along with the system could be used to limit our freedoms even more,for now it is important that people become aware and wake up to the reality of the society we live in to reject the the did information we are fed on a daily basis by mainstream media.

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