I recall an extraordinary character named Konni Zilliacus. He was always being expelled, or about to be expelled, from the Labour Party. For a time he was the MP for Gorton in Manchester and, though I didn’t share his views, I liked him. He’d met Lenin and was forever wedded to a Socialist Utopia. One evening tears trickled down his cheeks as he explained to me the beautiful vision that American capitalism had destroyed.
“Nobody should want possessions,” he said. “Whatever their faults, Lenin and Stalin never had any money. The Socialist dream was to produce a new man who loved society and was loved by society. Capitalism, in general, was no threat. It worked badly. But this Yankee capitalism has corrupted everybody. People want cars, clothes and gadgets. America has destroyed mankind’s future.”