THE MORAL IMPLICATIONS OF CENTRALISED POWER
An address by Eric D. Butler. 1970
I wish to say,
as a type of preface in discussing the subject, "The Moral Implications
of Centralised Power" and also to put forward what I hope will
be some constructive suggestions concerning how we are going to
find our way out of the darkness which is surrounding us; I am
going to make liberal reference to the importance of Christian
Truth. And I wish to state at the outset that my concept here may
be slightly different to some, in the sense that I am one of those
who believe that the truths presented to us by Christ and through
the historical development of Christianity, belong to all time
and need constantly, as it were, relating to the situation as it
is today. To put it another way, I am what you might describe as
a supporter of classical Christian theology which has always claimed
that God is unknowable apart from His revelation in history and
these revelations come through the influence of God beyond history.
The eminent British historian Mr. Christopher
Dawson (dead for some time now), has expressed the view that all
the greatest civilisations have admitted the existence of a higher
law, above that of tribe and nation. And as a result have subordinated
national interests and political power to the higher spiritual values
which are derived from this source. At this point, says Dawson, there
is a consensus of principle which unites all the world religions
and all the great civilisations of the past, alike, in the east and
Those of you who make some effort to study history will
be familiar with the collapse of the Roman civilisation, and the
warnings which were uttered by what we might describe as the prophets
of that time. Men like the great Cicero who, even in the pre-Christian
era was drawing attention to the subordination or the 'necessity for
the subordination' of man's political, economic and secular activities,
to the higher law .. what some philosophers would call Natural Law.
Cicero put it as follows:
The law is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens but it
is eternal and immutable, valid for all nations and for all time. God,
is the Author of it, it's promulgator and it's enforcing judge. Whoever
is disobedient to it is abandoning his true self and denying his own
And I think we still see striking evidence
of the fact that today, as during that period of collapse of the
Roman Empire, man is abandoning his own nature by denying the ultimate
source of all law .. which is God's.
In his famous classic "Man the Unknown",
Dr. Alexis Carroll wrote that "man has been the victim of a disastrous
illusion ... the illusion of our ability to emancipate ourselves
from natural laws. We have forgotten that nature never forgives
Something that we have referred to today, pollution, is
the price we are paying for policies that run contrary to the natural
law. And as we continue to attempt to defy that natural law then
the price we have to pay is continually going to become greater.
That is one of those absolutes which I believe is inescapable, even
if by saying so, one runs the risk of being described as an extremist.
"In order to endure" says Carroll, "society
as well as individuals should conform to the laws of life". And society
is an association of individuals. And so it is to these laws we must
look at, understand, and see of we can't apply help for some. This
is where I believe we must look if we are going to offer any ray
of hope whatever in the present situation.
Dawson makes the important point and I quote
him "the changes in the condition of war and world power (and remember
this was written a few years ago) make it more important than ever
to re-establish the traditional religion: the traditional moral limits
in man's social activities and to make the nations conscious of their
responsibilities to God and to their neighbour.
You will note that Dawson in referring to our responsibilities correctly
states first our responsibility to God, and then our responsibility
to our neighbour. And, as I hope to show later, we cannot discharge
our proper responsibilities to our neighbours until first we have discharged
our responsibilities to God.
"Belief is the law of nature and the law of
God" continues Dawson "is an act ancient and so universal that it
has been taken for granted and dismissed, sometimes as a platitude.
Or else it has been misrepresented in accordance with the philosophical
fashions of the moment, and thus denied. Today, however, it has become
the vital principle on which the survival of civilisation and indeed
humanity depends and all events which have occurred since those words
were penned have only vividly demonstrated the truth of them, because
the plight of civilisation as we have learned today has deteriorated
Since Mr. Dawson drew attention to the vital principle of how we are
going to curb power by reference to proper authority....this is the
major question we have to face ... the curbing of power by the use or
reference to proper authority.
Subordination of power and it's use means of course that it must be
subordinate to an authority external to itself.
One of the most dangerous delusions afflicting
the minds of many who have grasped some aspects of the problem is
to suggest that we can appeal to power in an attempt to curb power.
That, I believe to be a fatal philosophy. We can only curb power
by an appeal to that which is outside power, and make power subordinate
to it ... proper authority.
In St. Mathew we read the following "And the devil taketh Him up
into an exceeding high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of
the world, and the glory of them. And saith unto Him "All these things
will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Now, surely that dramatic incident was not something that merely happened
2000 years ago, lost in antiquity of time, without any relevance to
what is happening in the world today. Surely we have a clear revelation
of the rejection of world dominion by the Son of God. A rejection of
the temptation of complete power, because as we will see, Christ's
message was not concerned with solving the problem of the world through
the imposition of power, but by an appeal to another law much higher
and much more constructive
the law of love.
Remember this, because today we have
many who would have us believe if only governments had sufficient
power what good they could do for us in spite of the mess which centralisation
has produced, the very people who have in fact produced it, or helped
to produce it would have us believe that if we had still more of
it something at long last of great benefit will come out of it.
Power has been defined as the capacity to act
to exert influence, control, to impose one's will. Power is exerted
by human beings over other human beings. Power is the capacity to
impose a line of action upon individuals. Centralised power is the
capacity to impose from one focal point a desired line of action
upon all other individuals. Centralised power requires the sanctions
of administration; the pressure of administration is probably the
greatest in the field of finance, with all it's manifestations -
debt taxation, the control of the issue of finance, the terms on
which we get it, and the conditions under which it is taken away.
Once we grasp this in essence, the subject of power is the central
question concerning man in the world and living together in society.
It is essential if we briefly examine the historical
growth at least in the English speaking world, of the attempt to
modify the use of power, to curb power by the balance of authority.
Now let us be realistic. The word power cannot be eradicated from
human beings. It is in the nature of reality. Only the idealists
believe it can be eradicated and perhaps the idealist and the Utopian
have been the greatest godsend of all the major power-lusters of
the world. These are the people who in many cases sincerely believe
that because they have a fixed ideal of how man should live together
if only they had sufficient power they could compel man to live quite
harmoniously like that.
It has been observed that right throughout history
the will to power has been expressed through those who impose their
concept of Utopia upon their fellow men. The Americans were the first
to coin that most descriptive statement "the do-gooder". He is very
prevalent in the world today. They are constantly wanting to do good
to their fellow men, whether their fellow men wants good done to
him or not. They know of course that his fellow man does not love
his children, is completely ignorant of the value of pouring sodium
fluoride in to the public water supply. And while he would not go
quite so far as to forcibly enter his neighbour's home, and daily
dose his neighbour's children, nevertheless protected by the anonymity
of the public water supply, he in essence does exactly that. He is not prepared to rely on converting his fellow man to his points
of view, he is determined to impose it on him.
There are many manifestations of this today,
not only inside our own nation. Much of what we describe as foreign
aid is simply international do goodism. We seem to have
a self opinionated view of ourselves to the point that having progressively
destroyed our own environment with our gadget civilisation, we are
convinced that this is the best civilisation to impose on benign
Hottentots, the New Guinea natives or any other people we believe
also need the value of our do goodism. And so of course if you are
going to do good to people that don't want good done to them you
have to have the necessary power to do it. And this is one of the
manifestations of the problem that confronts us today.
Behind the do gooder, the idealist,
the Utopian, we have the real power lusters who understand the technique
of manipulating what the communists describe as the useful innocents.
Civilisation is the incarnation of underlying
values. Those values find expression in growth. That growth sometimes
takes a long period. The growth of what is called western civilisation
has taken a long period. And the great tragedy is that so many other
fields of man's achievements, what in many cases has been so painfully,
sometimes so lovingly, built up over a period of years, can be destroyed
in a moment by the ignorance of those who unfortunately possess excessive
power. A man's lifetime of work can be destroyed in this manner.
We are concerned at the moment with the destruction of rural life
which has taken centuries to build up. It has been obliterated in
some areas overnight. And if some of the planners can only impose
their way with enough power, the obliteration will continue at an
even greater rate.
So it is with our civilisation, and in particular
I am referring to that part of it in the English speaking world,
is a civilisation decisively influenced by the truths of Christianity,
not only the truths, but the application of those truths in accordance
with time and circumstances.
There are those of course who attempt
to minimise this influence of Christianity in the history of Europe
from which we have sprung and to correctly point to the legacy we
owe to both Greek and Rome. Both civilisations did of course make
a tremendous contribution. But the one thing they did lack was the
Christian concept of freedom and the sovereignty of the individual.
And it is this context which has been the great creative force in
the development of a completely different type of civilisation.
Most of you have heard quoted the famous law
concerning power by the great Lord Acton. Not only a traditional
Christian, but a great historian and a real philosopher. Someone
wrote "the voice, the vice of the classic state of Greece and
Rome was that it was both Church and state in one." Morality
was undistinguished from religion and politics from morals. And in
religion, morality and politics, there was only one legislator and
one authority. And because there was no division between power and
authority, not even the theories of the famous philosophers like
Aristotle and Socrates, which certainly postulated the necessity
of balancing power in order to prevent excesses could achieve genuine
liberty for the individual.
Socrates of course, was compelled to
drink the hemlock, he became a victim of the superstition of the
While of course both Aristotle and Plato could
not conceive of liberty as an end, but only as a type of expediency.
Good government and public administration were put ahead of liberty.
While of course the Christian concept is, if we have genuine freedom,
then we will automatically produce the type of administration and
the type of government which will serve freedom .. an important distinction.
It is true, as I referred to earlier, Cicero
and others refer to the natural law, but it was only the Christian
concept of freedom, individual rights and individual responsibility
which introduced this completely new factor into the growth of civilisation.
There are those who refer to that famous incident in the life of
Christ when He was proffered a coin, and when He made His famous
"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and render unto
God the things that are Gods."
Some have suggested that this was
some kind of a trick answer. But the early pioneers of the growth of
Christian civilisation didn't quite see it that way. They felt that
there was a fundamental truth. And the inference, in essence the truth
was, we must have the State because men have got to live together in
society. We must have Caesar, yes, but Caesar must not have sufficient
power that nothing is left to the individual to render unto God.
And right throughout the growth of what we call constitutional development,
is the English speaking world, this has been the central question.
How do you have Caesar? How do you get the advantages of Caesar, without
Caesar completely dominating, taking all the power with the result
that there is no power left to serve God.
Lets be clear about this, Ladies and Gentlemen
because we've got some strange voices raised today. We have got perversion
of Christianity itself. We have even reached the stage where we have
ministers of the Christian religion who can stand on the same platform
with the most extreme and brutal exponents of the worship of Caesar
namely the Marxists, and claim that there is some, perhaps association,
which can be established. Instead of striving tirelessly to limit
the power of the State, the power of Caesar, they are in fact appealing
from God to Caesar.
And again without suggesting that I am any type
of theologian, I would suggest that this seems to me to be some major
form of heresy. Because every increase in the power of the State,
in fact every increase in the power of the monopolistic groups whether
it is in the big city, or big business, or big finance apart from
big government, irrespective of the plausible arguments used to try
and justify the increase, must inevitably take from the individual
his right, his divine right, to personalise his life in the only
way possible .. through exercising of free will.
Every retreat from freedom is a retreat from
practical Christianity. And yet this retreat does not seem to concern
large numbers of our clergy and fellow Christians. Real Christianity
says one theologian (Dr. Carpenter) believes in complete freedom
for everyone. A freedom for everyone to take his place in a free
society. A freedom which brings the utmost happiness to everyone
on this single condition, that his happiness shall not mean the unhappiness
of others. And moreover, freedom to choose whether he will do this
or that; there must be no compulsion, not even any social pressure.
Dr. Carpenter says "If I could convert a man to my way of thinking
by pressing a button on his waistcoat, I ought not to do it".
A fundamental truth .. I ask you to consider
it. If the essence of freedom is freedom of choice, that power to
accept or reject one thing at a time, not some of those false package
deals which the modern political parties present to you where you
agree with one proposition out of ten and completely disagree with
the nine others. It means in rejecting the nine you also reject the
one you want. But real freedom is the freedom to accept or reject
one thing at a time, one proposition at a time. That is, I suggest,
something very important to think about as we work through this discussion,
to some type of realistic political action.
This will of course be rejected by many
who talk about the doctrine of something called inevitable progress.
And that word progress with a capital P has been well overworked
these days. Because we can get from point A to B in four hours less
time than we previously could, that is automatically stated to be
progress. But surely the real question is not that we have saved
four hours in what we call time. The important thing is what we have
done or what we are going to do, or what we are free to do with the
time we have saved.
If primitive man in a primitive society invents
a wheelbarrow one of the first developments in an elementary economy,
so that instead of spending eight hours per day getting the basic
requirements of life you can now obtain them in half that time, the
fundamental question is "is he free to use the time he has saved
to make the only real progress, which is moral progress", or has someone
else got the power to say to him "I am going to dictate how you are
going to use the time that has been saved"?
In our economic arrangements today, instead
of gaining access to the free time potential from our industrial
progress, we increasingly see ourselves robbed of that freedom and
the increased knowledge is simply used to increase our enslavement
by compelling us to engage in the type of activity which has produced
pollution and other problems.
English constitutionalism was concerned with
developing a framework of law, of government, which while enabling
the individual to associate freely with his fellows to gain advantages
which he could otherwise not have obtained. Nevertheless government
(Caesar) was constitutionally so restricted that he was always kept
in his correct position in relation to authority. In our so called
educational system today, I find little or no reference to that fundamental
truth that what we call English common law. The whole of our constitutional
heritage, was in fact a heritage from our Christian past. It grew
out of the climate of opinion created by Christianity.
We have the tireless efforts to ensure that the authority of God made
its impact in society.
Government itself was limited. Government was
a good servant but an extremely bad master. Today I think they still
refer in passing to the Magna Carta. But how few grasp the significance
of this great constitutional landmark! At the little island of Runnymede,
here we had the exercising of proper authority to curb the threat
of untrammelled power in the form of King John. The voice of authority
was that of the great Stephen Langton, the man who claimed that John
himself must obey those English customs and traditions which had
grown out of the Christian concept of how Christian men and women
should live together in society.
Mr. Chairman, we desperately need a modern Stephen
Langton. We need the voice of authority to challenge Caesar today.
But as I have said, so far from challenging Caesar, in many cases
they are suggesting we can practice co-existence with him. And so
the voice of authority is rather dimmed at the present time, and
power has little to check it. But we must turn back and learn something
from the Magna Carta.
Then we come down to that other famous incident
in modern history when the British colonists from the North American
continent revolted. They revolted again on the same question ...
the excessive use of power. They claimed they were denied these rights,
those liberties to which free born Englishmen and Scots were entitled
as a right to enjoy. Read the American Constitution: What is this
but an attempt by a group of men who understood the necessity of
curbing power, attempting to frame a constitution that would do exactly
that. And so of course in the opening words, who do they appeal to?
There is no reference to any appeal to that modern, amorphous thing
called the majority. There is no reference to the state. They appeal
to God. God was the source of higher power, that higher law. And as
both that of those who evolve a society which was to be satisfactory,
then that was to be the source. And I regret to say that in the U.S.A.
today, we see the collapse of this great republic because it's turned
it's back to a great extent upon those fundamental truths which the
founding fathers used as their guide. They are paying the price of
denying the authority of God and God's laws.
If I might just interrupt the major theme of
this paper, it is historically of tremendous significance that only
a few short years later, the British in the case of the founding
provinces of that nation we today call Canada, reversed the policy
which had produced such disaster in the U.S. Now they saw the necessity
of decentralising power, providing those on the spot with the opportunity
to govern themselves in accordance with their constitutional heritage.
I suppose one of the great classics in the history of the British
colonialism is the report of Lord Durham, sent out to Quebec and
Lower Canada. He prepared his great report on what could be done.
As you read through that report, you are reading the views of a man
whose mind was steeped in an understanding of these fundamental truths
I am discussing. He said "so far, from the limited local sovereignty,
which has been granted to the locals likely to produce any problems,
my opinion is they should have an even greater local power, self
government, and more freedom."
This was a turning point in British colonialism, with the result that
a new type of Empire grew. Not an Empire based on force, not an Empire
based on centralised power, but an Empire based upon the concept if
power was decentralised, and if free men and women understanding their
own historical heritage were to take that wherever they went, there
you would find the growth of society in which freedom and security
This in my opinion has been the great contribution of the British to
Western civilisation. And we in this country are heirs to it.
Wherever it has been taken this has produced
the most satisfactory types of society we find at this very moment,
when the example of this type of association is required, we are
tempted with the modern threat of once again appealing to Caesar.
We are told we have the Soviet Union, the centralised power we have
the U.S., the western colossus. Now we need a third power, the power
of the United States of Europe. And the temptation to the British
is they should turn their backs on their heritage, on their very
soul and surrender to this temptation of Caesar. Whereas, of course,
in fact what we require more than ever in the world today, where
the philosophy of bigness is being preached with such fervour, we
need a revitalisation of the old truths upon which the old British
world was based. Because, this is the contribution which the world
so desperately needs today.
As I have said, the worship is of bigness. In
this worship of bigness certain inevitable doubts take place. Power
is drained from the individual and it is invested in the institution
over which the individual progressively can exercise less control.
As the institutions get bigger, and they are in turn amalgamated
so the individual possesses even less power. Real freedom is impossible
in this situation, and here we get to the moral implications. Because,
if only true progress can take place through moral growth, this means
free individuals, not only making choices, but individuals who must
accept personal responsibility for the choices they make. This is
one of those fundamental truths that are being lost sight of today.
It is the only way we grow in moral statute. By using our free will,
by making choices, and standing by the choices we make. That is what
differentiates the real free man from the slave.
And, ladies and gentlemen, you don't have to have iron bands on your
wrists to be a slave. Those are but the physical manifestations of
one form of slavery. You can have an even more deadly form, the form
you have got today.
Many years ago, there was a very famous Englishman,
a predecessor of the present Lord Salisbury, who said "the great
danger as I see it (he was referring of course to the British people)
is not that we will move into despotism through violence. The great
danger is that slowly but surely there will be a decay of understanding
of these principles. We will be so concerned about something we believe
is security, that we will be prepared to surrender freedom, and we
may well finish as a nation like a well kept zoo".
there are to ensure we are protected, no one to come and fire at us,
to take us away. Oh no. Well protected, well fed. Free to do anything
we like except to make choices for ourselves, the decay of freedom
and with it the breakdown of personal responsibility.
The growth of large scale economic activities
has produced the break between that period when an individual was
more responsible, for his production, his activity. Even today, if
you will discuss the question with those who operate small scale
enterprises, they will agree I am sure, that there is a greater degree
of personal responsibility for the quality of the work they turn
out. But the bigger the organisation, the less personal responsibility
there is. And so today, as we see those great monopolistic empires
becoming bigger and bigger, what sense of personal responsibility
can the individual feel? He is but a number on their backs. They
are referred to as number so and so.
In the field of finance we see almost the complete
breakdown of men divorced from the results of their policies. Figures
take on a reality of their own. They are more important than human
beings. And we see this coming through time and time again. We have
big government and I wonder if we realise how big government has
become in this country, because the bigger it becomes, the bigger
percentage of people who are directly and indirectly involved with
In this young country of ours, already one third of the
population is involved in working for the government. And there is
nothing more destructive, particularly in certain government departments,
nothing more destructive of the environment upon the personality
of the individual, where the main thing is never to accept any responsibility
for anything. Pass the buck, shuffle responsibility. And of course,
this has a poisoning influence on the whole of our society. We see
it, and I ask again, do we realise what is taking place?
Let's have a look at a few facts. In 1949,
the then Mr. Menzies had something to say about the problem. Of course,
he was echoing the famous words of Sir Winston Churchill, who warned
we could all finish up in a society where the official has all the
power, makes all the decisions, and the individual does as he is
told. The then Mr. Menzies said the burden of government had to be
reduced. But slowly but surely the burden has increased. And the
disturbing fact is, the growth has not been a steady one, which would
be bad enough. But it is at an accelerating rate.
During the first half of the sixties, the annual average rate increase
of the Federal bureaucracy was 3.4%. During the five years from 1965
we saw an average of 6% in size. The total bureaucracy is now one third
bigger than it was in 1965.
The average salary being paid to the bureaucracy
do, I believe, reflect the reality of power, the influence of the
bureaucracy. Last year, 1969, the Australian average was, in monetary
terms, his wages increased approximately 8%. But in the bureaucracy
they increased by 10.5%. I don't know, Mr. Chairman, if politicians
should be correctly described as part of the bureaucracy. But I also
think that we might draw attention to the fact that their salary
increases in the past 16 years have been approximately 300%, far
greater than the rate of inflation, the result of the policies they
Perhaps it is appropriate that the taxation
department is on the top league of the expanding bureaucracy, and
now employs an army of nearly 11,000 to impose the destructive Marxist
taxation policies upon the Australian community. Give this department
a few more years, and it will certainly reach 20,000, the equivalent
of one army infantry division, but with vastly greater and more destructive
powers than an infantry division.
In 1965, the financial cost of running the Federal
bureaucracy was just half of what it is today. Last year the increase
was 17%. Reduced to a personal level, so that you will all understand
it a little more clearly even if more painfully, the equivalent output
per head for last year had increased to $33.96 per head. That is
an advance from $22 per head in 1965/66. This means that the average
family of Australians is now paying approximately $125 per year,
merely to pay the bureaucratic army of occupation.
In the four years of the Holt and Gorton government
there have been just on double the number of public servants added
to the taxpayers burden, compared with the increase during the 16
years of the Menzies government. We might make special note of the
fact that the Prime Ministers department is leading easily in the
rate of the growth of the Federal Bureaucracy.
It is true that the
bureaucracy is doing very, well with an impressive increase of 19.5%
last year, and education and science which we might remember was
given it's major impetus to start intruding more and more into the
sphere of the states by Mr. John Gorton, maintained its momentum
with an increase of 15.2% last year. But the Prime Ministers Department
increased 25.8% last year, and 24.2% the year before.
One wonders how any honest person can argue in the face of these and
associated facts that the present administration at Canberra is not
pursuing policies of increasingly centralising power.
One of the inevitable results of it drawing
more and more citizens into the employ of government departments,
in which as personalities they are increasingly afflicted with that
deadly disease which affects all human beings whose activities can
be divorced from personal responsibilities. We might say that the
present administration at Canberra is not really pursuing centralist
policies, it is merely presiding over them.
We have arguments on this question, but of course
one of the causes is that people are demanding more and more services.
And if they are going to demand more and more services, well then
of course the government will require more power in the form of adequate
finance to provide the services. This is a blatant form of dishonesty.
If the individual were left with his own power, particularly money
power, to do things for himself whether through private institutions
or through his local institutions, he certainly would not even think
of wasting his time in attempting to get increased services from
a central bureaucracy.
If there are no limits, as we are apparently
expected to believe, to the beneficent protection and welfare, allegedly
now provided by Big Brother, then I think we have got to face the
inescapable truth there can be no limit to his power and no limit
to his anything. If all rights are derived only from the State, then
that which the State grants, obviously the State can take away.
Welfarism is the most deadly poisoning of the
whole concept of personal responsibility and Christian freedom. Deadly
because the individual is bribed with his own substance and made
to feel grateful. But on terms he can get a little of his own substance
back. The truth is, if you make any group so dependent upon you that
they must come to you for their very substance, then you can eventually
persuade them to sacrifice their very freedom for the welfare handout.
I think there is a lot of truth in both those stories, and you can
see the direction in which we are moving.
I think most of you have heard of Bismark.
He was one of the great pioneer centralists. Although best known
as a militant, he was also a great patron of the early German socialists
who made such a vital contribution to the plight of the world today
because it was from the German socialists that the English socialists
drew so heavily upon, particularly for their early social welfare
plans. Bismark was the patron of the socialists. He made that famous
statement "we march separately, but we march together". The famous
French writer in his book "The Idea of the State" and this
was written in 1898, said this "In tending welfare of the individual,
or to the individual, State socialism works above all for the State".
The great political realist, that was Bismark,
who officially patronised and enthroned socialism knew what he was
about. He saw that the State, by accustoming the citizens could turn
it into the precedent of law of statutory power, binds into itself
in bonds of independence and subjection. He saw clearly that the
State, as the State strengthens its hold by what looks like concessions.
A fundamental truth in that the political form may change with
time, but the same total of authority and constraint which the old
form bequeathed to the new continues to grow.
Centralised Germany as we know, was
an instrument that was so handy to those power lusters who have convulsed
this century. How different was the centralised Germany of Bismark
and the socialists, to the decentralised Germany of the great poet
Goethe and the flowering of the culture associated with decentralisation.
These then are the questions which we have got
to look at, and realise that power divorced from responsibility,
which means centralised power, not only corrupts absolutely (as Lord
Acton said) those who exercise it; it also corrupts those who permit
others to exercise power over them.
I was always taught that the traditional Christian
objection to drunkenness was not from a health point of view, and
we know that man does many other things worse than consuming alcohol.
The Christian objection was he surrenders control of his individual
purpose. And the Christian teaching has always been that the individual
must not surrender control, because this was something given to him
by God to exercise and therefore if we surrender control of our purpose
to those who exercise power over us, we are denying God's purpose
for man, which was freedom.
And as we look around today, we see this
erosion. We see the problems. They are so vast, we hardly know where
to start so I want to move on to some consideration of this.
In his famous classic "The Road to Serfdom",
Hayek observes "we are not going to rebuild civilisation on the
large scale. Least of all shall we preserve democracy or foster its
growth if all the power and most of the important decisions rest
with an organisation too big for the common man to survey or comprehend."
Nowhere has democracy ever worked well without
a great measure of local self government, providing a school for
political training, for the use of people at large, as much as for
their future relief. Now I believe that this could be a text which
we could take with us as we look for a starting point to reverse
the direction in which we are moving at the present time.
course will tell us, well, its human nature that is at fault. A completely
negative and not very helpful viewpoint, because its the prostitution
really of human nature to what might be described as a lower order
of evolution - the surrender of the individual to the group and the
domination by the group which is today fostering the worst features
in human nature.
We cannot alter human nature, it is part of
man. But what we can do is alter man's environment, so instead of
encouraging the worst features of that nature we are encouraging
the development of the best.
The Lord's Prayer asks us to pray ... lead
us not into temptation. We accept the fact that man can be tempted.
Of course he can be tempted ... by the will to power. The temptation
of justifying the search for power is a very subtle one. I mentioned
the do-gooders. (There are) many other arguments. There are those
who suggest that the end justifies the means, so therefore let us
have centralised power. Let us try and beat centralised power with
centralised power. We have the old saying "Lets play them at their
own game". If we start to play the game as dictated by those who
have accepted the philosophy of power, then we ourselves become corrupted
Then we are told we should have a mass movement.
Mass movements again mean movements in which the individual is subordinated
to the mass. Who is going to control the mass movement? Only those
with sufficient power to do so. Once again we attempt to justify
the means by the ends and will inevitably pay the price. And I am
sure we have all seen so many examples of the type of futile effort;
by using the weapons which the enemy has chosen.
We require other weapons, more formidable weapons.
And weapons which, when we learn to master, I believe, that we can
beat this threat and change the whole course of this human drama
in which we are involved.
There are those who come to us and ask "When
is the League of Rights going to form a new party"? How many new
parties have we seen formed in the last 20 or 30 years? All over
the world we see this, completely futile. Again, attempting to compete
with the devil on the very ground which the devil has selected to
fight, and with the very weapons at which the devil is much more
expert at using than we are ever likely to be expert in using. We
must be defeated if we attempt to handle the problem that way.
The starting point Mr. Chairman is, I believe,
quite fundamentally this.
We have got to start by rejecting the philosophy
of power and we have got to replace it by the philosophy of Christian
One could quote many texts. but surely those who are going
to engage in realistic political action have got sufficient faith
in the Christian philosophy which they believe. It has a greater
reality than the philosophy of evil. He who would be the greatest
among ye must be the servant of them all ... the philosophy of
We could of course take this back ultimately
to those fundamental laws which stem from the ultimate authority
A study of the rise and fall of man's civilisation
produces a feeling of pessimism in the minds of many. They feel that
the collapse of western civilisation is as inevitable as the death
of a human being who grows through a period of childhood, flowers
into full maturity of manhood and then declines into old age and
death. But to compare civilisation to mortal man is a very false
As I have already said, a civilisation is the incarnation,
it's the substance of things unseen, it is the concrete manifestation
of transcendental values. It is not merely a mechanical contrivance,
but a complex form of human association, enabling individuals by
their diverse attributes to enrich and enlarge one another's lives.
The physical death of the individual does not
necessarily mean the death of the values which governed his private,
personal and social activities. These values can, and are, passed
from generation to generation. And so long as this is achieved and
these values find expression, civilisation continues. It can continue
indefinitely, constantly making it possible for man to continue to
spiritualise his life through self development if we hold fast to
these underlying truths. Therefore the regeneration of our collapsing
civilisation must start with individuals. There is no where else
But individuals must have access to a source
of power of a different type, if they are going to effectively influence
events. St. Paul said there is no power but God. The powers that
be are ordained by God.
If God is the source of all power then we
can see most stimulating significance perhaps in Christ's statement
that the kingdom of God is within the individual. The individual
has access to a source of power which if applied in accordance to
the laws of the universe, could change the course of events. And
this ultimate source of all power can only be tapped by those with
a faith based upon understanding that ultimate reality is more than
matter in motion. This sort of faith is not a blind belief, a mere
man-made superstition but is based upon a grasp of truth which is
demonstrable by results.
The basic difference between a mechanical thing
and something organic is that one is a manipulation from without,
the other has a life of its own. There is such a thing as a life
force ...a dynamic we call it. Dynamics is defined as the science
of force. But it is interesting, in spite of all our knowledge, we
are really ignorant about force. But through experience, we have
discovered that things of various kinds react in a certain way when
certain relationships are established. It also applies to the relationships
Christ's commandment that the individual should love
his neighbour as himself is not just an example of sloppy sentimentalism.
The realistic application of the Christian law of love completely
changes relations between individuals, producing a force of tremendous
It is important to stress that many overlook that the
law of faith, as I said earlier, that the love the individual extends
to his neighbour, must be based upon an assessment of himself.
The law of love is enunciated after the statement of the basic
law concerning the love of God. The logic, I believe, is inescapable,
that the individual must first establish correct relations with
God before he can establish correct relations with his fellow individual.
The social force emanating from individuals
in association will therefore be a reflection of the understanding
and truth and faith of those associating. The regeneration of civilisation must start
with those individuals whose faith is nourished by a knowledge of
truth which is being constantly increased by visions which require
reflection upon the lesson of man's history and his experience.
superficial view of the world can easily lead to the conclusion that
the future belongs to those who have fostered bigness through centralising
power. But power used for domination always makes harmonious and
creative human relations impossible. The greater the use of centralised
power in an attempt to make a social structure hold together, the
greater the collapse when it comes.
Those who boast of man's scientific achievements,
his greater knowledge, the use of natural laws, has evidenced there
is no real threat to civilisation, they overlook the fact that in
the later stages of the collapse of all civilisations there has been
a mask of feverish display of physical activity.
Let us never forget
that great knowledge used for wrong purposes is much more dangerous
than comparatively little knowledge. It enables men with vast power
to create enormous destruction.
We talk about saving time because you can travel
quicker from one place to another. But the real starting point is
this use of what I will call individual initiative. The great achievements
of man's history have been the achievements of individuals. Can anyone
visualise a government department producing the plays of Shakespeare?
Can anyone imagine any committee producing any of the great contributions
to the development of man's history? Mr. Chairman, both our first
and second speakers have provided striking and I hope frightening
examples of the swamping of the individual by the collectivity, the
dangers of the organisers, the planners, the technocrats. In the
centralist structure, he is no longer a member of that living organism,
but he is a cog in a machine. He has become an isolated slave amid
a mob of slaves.
There is a worse danger I believe today. In losing his external freedom, man
is losing not only the sense but the very taste for freedom. Slavery
has been well described as so degrading that it even brings men to
Man is becoming afraid of his own responsibilities.
And there is that constant lure of letting someone else do his thinking
for him and his acting for him. The type of vicious circle is developing.
And so, as I indicate, we proceed step by step into that society
where the individual feels more and more helpless and dependent upon
those who control his substance, and control him.
If any movement is going to change the course
of events, it has got to be a movement linked with the living truth.
In the same way that the leaves of the tree are linked with the sap
which feeds it.
The debt system which we have had discussed has got
to be rejected primarily because of its immorality. Inflation has
got to be rejected for the same reason. Primarily, it is the most
immoral of financial policies, and the fact that Caesar has blessed
this immorality only makes it even worse. Taxation ... how much more
must we render to Caesar? Is there any place where we can draw the
We were told a long time ago, we cannot worship
God and mammon. Today we are worshipping mammon. Some tell us money
is the root of all evil. That is not what it says. It's the love
of money, the worship of an abstraction. Then there is this question
of man's responsibility to God's material gifts. Surely we have a
responsibility. And then we come to politics, and surely if politics
are going to be restored to a moral basis, then they must be subordinated
to that higher authority.
The necessity as I see it is to establish the
growth of integrity in every sphere of society. In natural law anyone
who breaks the law automatically suffers the consequences. The principle
of common law and contract is that a man who offends against it suffers
definite consequences. Don't you think it significant that today
in modern politics the word "promise" has no relevance whatever?
How many believe any more the promises of politicians? Here we see
the undermining. It has no relevance.
I am going to suggest that if we are going
to reverse the (process) time, it is time that we did make it relevant,
and any movement which is going to do this has got to generate a
force which is going to make it imperative for politicians and those
who would serve at whatever level they wish to serve, are going to
accept this fundamental truth, that they must be the servant of us
Therefore, to bring this paper to a conclusion, I see the great
dynamic that is available to us is the ultimate source of all authority
... God. The establishment of a correct relationship, a correct relationship
with our fellow individuals. And in an organic way, a new growth
in our society which is going to ultimately have it's impact on our
Through small groups of individuals meeting
together, tapping that soul of social power but they themselves drawing
upon that ultimate power. Constantly feeding their faith by increasing
their knowledge. Constant education. In other words, a grass roots
movement. A movement from the bottom. Can a movement like this change
Sometimes it's a question of looking at some
simple truth in nature, gaining inspiration through observing God's
laws. Most people would be sceptical if told that a small speck of
substance they could not recognise could develop a force capable
of smashing through asphalt. The truth is that a mushroom spore,
developing under a piece of asphalt, can slowly but surely result
in the mushroom breaking its way through to the light.
Individuals with a realistic faith, I believe,
have the potential power to develop an association, organic association,
which will enable them to foster the growth of diverse activity and
unity of purpose, that out of the decay resulting from centralised
power a new civilisation will emerge. The quality of faith, not a
blind faith, but a faith that has been constantly nourished, will
be decisive in the drama unfolding.
Many battles have been lost primarily because
there has been a failure in faith. But many battles have been won
when the situation was so desperate that faith was the only justification
in continuing the battle.