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James Delingpole

James Delingpole is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything. He is the author of numerous fantastically entertaining books, including his most recent work Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children's Future, also available in the US, and in Australia as Killing the Earth to Save It. His website is

The most important book of 2010?

Apologists for Karl Marx love 'The Spirit Level'

Apologists for Karl Marx just love 'The Spirit Level'

My final post of the year is not about Global Warming. Or rather, it is, but only in the most tangential way. As the sharper among you will long since have recognised, the reason I bang on about AGW is not because I'm obsessed with "Climate Change" but because I recognise it as a strategically vital campaign in a much broader global culture war. On the outcome of this war depends not only the future of Western civilisation but also more immediately concerning things like whether or not our children and grandchildren have jobs, and whether or not we live in a state of liberty or tyranny.

This is why I believe this year's most important publication is not any of the superb crop of books on AGW – eg Andrew Montford's The Hockey Stick Illusion; Bob Carter's Climate Change: The Counter Consensus; Slaying The Sky Dragon; Steve Goreham's Climatism!; Steven Mosher and Thomas Fuller's Climategate: The CRUtape Letters – but the book that goes closest to the heart of this great ideological struggle, Christopher Snowdon's The Spirit Level Delusion.

Ed West has already raved about this book and rightly so. The reason that Snowdon's book is so important is because the book it comprehensively debunks – Richard Wilson's and Kate Pickett's The Spirit Level – is so dangerous. I'll let Snowdon himself explain why:

Apologists for Marxism have made myriad excuses for their ideology's failure to provide the same standard of living and liberty as was enjoyed in capitalist nations. Until recently, few have been so brazen as to claim that lowering living standards and curtailing freedom were the intended consequences, let alone that people would be happier with less of either. In that sense, books like The Spirit Level represent a departure for the left. Limiting choice, reducing wealth and lowering aspirations are now openly advocated as desirable ends in themselves.

Indeed, The Spirit Level is in many ways the liberal-Left's equivalent of the Philosopher's Stone: the magical artefact which makes their noxious ideology of envy and control seem somehow decent and caring. After all, if the creation of "equality" can be scientifically proven to be the noblest political goal, then no end of taxing and regulating and busybodying and meddling can suddenly be justified.

I'm grateful to Snowdon not just for demonstrating through careful analysis  how embarrassingly flawed The Spirit Level is, but also for introducing me to two fascinating quotations from the 19th century French philosopher Alexis De Tocqueville, who saw it all coming as long ago as the 1840s. A distorted definition of equality, De Tocqueville argued, would one day lead to despotism. Liberties would not be lost overnight but would fade away incrementally:

The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

Welcome to the suck, everyone! And may 2011 be the year we finally decide that enough is enough and resist this sly, soft, pernicious tyranny of the liberal-Left with all our power and might.

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