For my sins, I'm currently reading a book called All Consuming by one of Gordon Brown's former advisors, Neal Lawson. In a nutshell, the author attempts to exploit the recession to persuade readers to turn against the free market.
The book is riddled with factual errors and outrageous statements, as you might expect. Here's one of each:
Even the new [railway stations] like Liverpool Street and St Pancras are just shopping malls attached to platforms and ticket offices. Everywhere and everything is an excuse to sell.Victorians, on the other hand, made stations that were more sensual and authentic. It was a joy to be in them to sit and wait. Now there are so few seats that you have to buy a coffee just to sit down.The trains are not part of a grand public service but engines for private profit.
Er... not quite. The railways were very much "engines for private profit" in Victorian times, what with them being entirely run by private companies. Britain's rail network wasn't nationalised until 1948, when British Rail was created. They then proceeded to close down hundreds of miles of track, ripping down countless "sensual and authentic" Victorian stations in the process.
That, however, is merely an hors d'oeuvre for this piece of swivel-eyed lunacy:
Totalitarianism, the accusation levelled against Communism...
That's right, "levelled". As if the jury was still out.
... is a system of control that regulates every aspect of public and private life. Consumerism and Communism are two different versions of totalitarian societies: both offer a pseudo-vision of freedom but operate to systematically refine their dominance.
Good grief. That could very easily be the most stupid thing I've ever read.
Totalitarian Communism (is there any other kind?) involves secret police, murder, torture, mass starvation, no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, no freedom of religion, a one party state, rationing, endless queueing and forced labour. Oh, and 100 million deaths.
Consumerism involves people sometimes buying things they don't really need.
I'll take the electric toothbrush over the Siberian concentration camp, if it's all the same to you.