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When the blast of war blows in our ears
For some, the prospect of war is exciting. The film 1915 graphically depicted that excitement among the young bloods of country Victoria when Australia declared war on Germany. They couldn't get into it quick enough! Released from all those dull, repetitive chores - milking, hay making, washing up, and so on. Or serving day after day behind the counter of a bank, or the haberdashery of a department store. Here was danger, change, camaraderie, and the chance to experience some really big bangs!
The phenomenon is not so prevalent among the older generation, of course, who have seen it and been there, suffered loss, seen the horribleness and, above all, realised the pointlessness. Nevertheless it is surprising how many people, even the elderly, feel that the military equivalent of a bloodied nose for the adversary will somehow clear the air and solve all the problems, and at the same time provide a great opportunity for big boys to play with some fascinatingly large toys.
Nowadays there is so much easily available, independent
information that few people are convinced by official propaganda on
the reason for planned conflict, and that must pose quite a problem
for those in the armed forces, faced with the obligation to unquestioningly
"do and die". They're damned if they do and damned if they don't; a
demoralizing situation. On previous occasions when Australia has been
involved in conflict, it has always been in defense of an ally, or to
The peace movement is growing massively right
across the world, as more and more people come to understand that, as
Senator Hiram Johnson said in a speech to the US Senate in 1917:
This magazine is dedicated to upholding our heritage,
and our heritage is Christian. Christians have never been afraid to
die for king and country, and have usually done so believing they were
serving God at the same time.
". . . if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good", (Romans 12:19-21), and:
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles". (Matthew 5:38-41).
A Catholic group in Queensland recently held a working bee on the steps of their city cathedral, to package rice to be made available to the Prime Minister of Australia, with the request that he send it to Iraq, on the premise that war never solved anything. Do we have to experience all the horrors of nuclear and chemical war before we have enough humility to actually give Christ's advice a try? Do we also have to sell our souls as well as all we own and most of what our descendents should inherit, before we take His advice on finance?
BALANCE IN SOCIAL CREDIT
Now Social Credit has also been defined as "applied Christianity", and it has been made clear that if the Policy is correctly called social Credit, the Philosophy is the conception of reality which we find in the New Testament.
The word 'Administration' is of wider application than the word 'Politics', but it is convenient here to consider this aspect of it, in relation to 'Economics.' These basic relationships of social Credit may therefore be considered in the following form:
New Testament Philosophy
SOCIAL CREDIT POLICY
New Politics :
|: New Economics|
In contrast to the Policy which at present dominates the World, viz
Old Testament Philosophy
Old Politics :
|: Old Economics|
A tripod is the 'first structure which will stand, and it is not possible to ignore, or to mix and change the nature of any one, or more, of these three components of policy without either overthrowing, or changing the nature of the policy. At the present time, a great many people are quite improperly applying the name social Credit to a policy which has this sort of structure:
Old-and-New Testament Compromise Philosophy
Social-Credit-Monopolist Mixed Policy
Old Politics :
|: New Economics|
There is a law, called Gresham's Law, which applies to money and credit; it applies also to policies. When they are mixed the bad drives out the good. This is very obviously happening with Compromised Social Credit; the Old Politics have completely neutralized the New Economics.
* * * *
THE 'ECONOMIC' DISPROPORTION
Two clearly defined stages can be distinguished in the development of the Social Credit Movement under the direction of Douglas. In the first from 1918 to 1934, the emphasis was on economics; in the second, from the Buxton speech The Nature of Democracy (June, 1934) to Realistic Constitutionalism (May, 1947) on politics. Running through everything that he wrote or said on Social Credit was a gradually increasing strand of 'philosophy'; better, perhaps, referred to as religion, for it was specifically Christian, and never expressed in theoretical form without being 'bound back' to practice in economics and politics, so that the three threads were always intertwined.
With this important qualification, however, it is true to say that, during the last few years of Douglas's life, this 'philosophic' element, as represented for instance, by The Realistic Position of the Church of England, came more into prominence, so that at the end the structure of Social Credit - philosophy, economics, politics, - had acquired that massive equilibrium and symmetry which was a part of his character.
No more than Shakespeare does he need
The labour of an age in piled stones,
Or that his hallowed relics should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid.
Social Credit is his 'star-ypointing pyramid.'
It is tri-podal; it stands firmly upon the earth; and it points to Heaven.
Si monumentum requiris, circumspice!
It is sad, therefore, to 'look around' and see some of the one-legged and two-legged monstrosities dedicated to Douglas by their creators.
The great heresy of the age is the 'economic' heresy, the Marxist-materialist heresy, the idea that history is determined solely or primarily by 'economic' forces, that man lives by bread alone. To describe Social Credit as merely another name for 'The New Economics,' to describe Douglas as an 'economist' or a 'monetary reformer' is to describe him as a crank, as a man who had got something out of proportion.
Both 'economics' and 'finance' are techniques. Techniques, of course, have their importance, but to form a World Movement, and to argue and advocate and oppose techniques, without reference to the policies they are used to promote, is insane. But if policies are to be upheld or opposed, that is politics, and the assessment of policies is only possible on a basis of philosophy; so that all the components of Social Credit are immediately brought in unless sanity and a sense of proportion are abandoned.
These facts are so inescapable that every group of people making pretensions of any sort to the pursuit of 'social credit' has always acknowledged some sort of philosophy and adopted some sort of politics. What those of them who insist on restricting 'social credit' to economics and finance presumably mean is that the philosophy which finds expression in Douglas's economic proposals is not at variance with the prevailing mechanisms of 'politics' which, to anyone who has followed Douglas at all during the last twenty years, can be seen quite obviously to be a part of the structure of the opposing pyramid of centralized power.
It is significant that every reference to social credit in the national or other antagonistic press treats it as an 'economic' theory or 'heresy,' and every reference to Major Douglas, including his newspaper obituaries, treated him as some sort of an 'economist'. The aiding and abetting of this misrepresentation by people claiming to be social crediters, and even 'followers of Douglas,' has an extremely mischievous effect; and in fact a recent damaging attempt to mislead Catholics about the nature of social credit in such a way as to alienate their sympathies can be traced to such a case.
It is a sad, but understandable, fact that many of the pioneers of the movement, the earliest followers of Douglas, to whom we who came later owe a debt of gratitude, have suffered this arrested development. We are sometimes prone to forget our origins; that the social credit movement was the sole victorious and surviving issue of all that turmoil of intense mental activity and discussion which centred around Orage and the New Age in the early years of the century - a turmoil of socialists dissatisfied and repelled by the centralizing tendency which they could already see to be far advanced in socialism.*
* "Our origins" - Historically. Dr. Dobbs is right. Why it was that the Guild Socialists lent an ear to Douglas before anyone else comprised by a group label is not clear. Evidently they were "looking for something." If so, it must not be inferred that what they found was the policy of their philosophy (i.e. that Social Credit policy is the policy of Socialism). It isn't. (Editor, The Social Crediter).
Doulgas's radically different approach to economics was altogether too much for most of these people, and great credit is due to those whose integrity and mental energy enabled them to overcome the prejudices instilled by their socialist background. Even so, 'economic' prejudices are seldom so deep seated as are those occasioned by politics or religion.
It is not surprising that as the full implications
of the philosophy which found expression first in the economic proposals
emerged in the fields of politics and religion, many of those who had
made the tremendous effort required to overcome their prejudices in
the first place found that further, and even greater, efforts were too
much for them. As a result, since 'economics' cannot exist in a vacuum,
they have slipped back into the old rut of their 'social-democracy,'
within which the incongruous 'New Economics,' if retained at all, survives
as a foreign body, sealed off from all practical influence by relegation
to some hypothetical future time when the successful pursuit of 'social-democratic'
politics on a World scale will 'bring in Social Credit.'
That is to say, they continue through force of habit, the habit which has been the downfall of all libertarian efforts within the body of socialism,# to look to the politics which centralize power to bring about its decentralization; so that this arrested 'Social Credit,' which finds its inspiration rather in the successful pursuit of power by the methods of ballot-box democracy in Western Canada than in the new methods and new hope provided by Douglas, is merely giving one more demonstration of the hopelessness of trying to escape from the trend of socialism without making a clean break with it. The effect of this is, of course, that, through the continual practice of the 'Old Economics,' even such grasp of the 'New Economics' as has been obtained is progressively weakened.
# See previous note. But, just as the philosophy of Social Credit is not socialism, neither is it Liberalism. Mr. Charles Morgan was probably right in saying that the modern dispute is a dispute concerning the Nature of Man. The man who works to establish his order of society has nothing in common with those who work towards the Right Order. (Editor, T.S.C.)
It is impossible to stop moving against the trend without being carried backwards by it. At every step forward a number of people have dropped out and some of them have turned against Douglas rather than change their opinions; while others have been encouraged and have turned towards him. This is inevitable, for social credit is antidotal to the social disease of the age, and therefore must stress precisely those truths which constitute a denial of the most strongly held prejudices. It is not lightly held and easily surrendered opinions which are responsible for the prevailing 'trend' towards disaster: it is precisely those prejudices which are so widespread and strongly held that people are afraid to oppose or expose them. In fact, the courage required to join issue with a false opinion is a measure of the necessity for doing so.
The tremendous adventure and advance in which the Social Credit Movement in Great Britain is, and has been, engaged, under the leadership of Douglas as transmitted through the Secretariat since 1934, had not been fully realized by anyone abroad who has not visited this country; nor indeed, by many in this country who would call themselves social crediters but have remained out of contact, and sometimes in complete ignorance of what the center and spearhead of the movement was doing.