Churchill was no socialist if by socialist we mean someone who favors government control of all means of production. He instead promoted what he called a "Minimum Standard" to address the legitimate needs of the citizen without compromising constitutional liberties. That is a fine line to walk, but his aim was to forestall socialism, and thus to avoid its evils: the stifling of initiative, the concentration of power out of the hands of the people.
This quotation is now going around the web, broadly attributed to Churchill. Is it accurate? “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” —M.S. via email.
It is more or less correct, but it’s a truncated version of two separate comments, run together to make them more interesting (in the eye of the drafter).
“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” —Perth, Scotland, 28 May 1948, in Churchill, Europe Unite: Speeches 1947 & 1948 (London: Cassell, 1950), 347.…
"A question Churchill had to face in his time was: if you are for the social safety net, including health care, how do you prevent that from building a society of "drones" (his word), ultimately dominated by a bureaucratic elite? Churchill answered that question in many ways: the social safety net is simple justice, he said; without it the 'people will set their faces like flint against the money power' A constitution should protect the people against this tendency."
N.B.: If Mr. Olbermann had done more research, he would know what Churchill did say about national healthcare, which is more to the point: see Churchill and Healthcare.
MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann is for the proposed American healthcare reform bill, which is neither here nor there.
What is interesting to Churchillians is his use of Winston Churchill’s words to support it—from both 1945 (when Churchill was campaigning against socialism), and 1936 (when Churchill was urging rearmament in the face of Nazi Germany).
In 1945, Olbermann says, Churchill
equated his opponents, the party that sought to introduce “The National Health,” to the Gestapo of the Germans that he and we had just beaten just as those opposing reform now have invoked Nazis as frequently and falsely as if they were invoking Zombies.…