George Walford: On Cutting a Throat to Cure a Headache

We have had a good deal (and expect to have more) to say about the lack of evidence to the Party’s claims for what it likes to call ‘socialism;’ its statements about capitalism we have largely accepted. We do not propose now to say they are without foundation, only that they are so one-sided as to amount to falsification by unrelenting insistence upon the defects of capitalism is not given scientific impartiality by an occasional dip of the knee to its past achievements. The Party’s approach is about as valid and responsible as that of a doctor who, studying only the ends of nails and of hair, and the flakes of falling skin, pronounces the patient dead. Select your evidence carefully enough and you can “prove” anything.

Repeatedly the Party claims that capitalism wastes needed food. This is true, but by presenting it in isolation they give it a false significance. Every operating system produces waste; machines waste energy, the human body . Wastes heat, evolution wastes life, human reproduction “wastes” sperm by the million. Waste is a functional necessity, it is, for systems, the shadow side which everything real possesses. The only systems that do not produce waste are those that do not work, ‘socialism’ being the immediately relevant example.

To abolish capitalism because it produces waste would be like cutting your throat to cure a headache.

from Ideological Commentary 27, May 1987.