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The Local World by Geoffrey Dobbs
Forty years and more ago I wrote a series of essays under the title "On Planning the Earth" which appeared serially in a weekly paper, though they were not brought out as a book until 1951. At the time they constituted the sole published criticism of and opposition on fundamental grounds to the massively urged policy of large-scale, centralised land-planning, as represented particularly by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and propagandised by some 3500 hooks and pamphlets, of which the best-known was TVA-Democracy on the March, by David Lilienthal, the Chairman of the Authority - a Penguin Special with 208 pages of advocacy, 8 pages of photographs, for 9d (=3.75p).
I remember that this somewhat inverted assault upon a David turned-Goliath was greeted by the Daily Mail with an unexpected, if jeering headline. The book sold a few hundred copies which soon descended to a trickle and about half the edition was remaindered. Twenty-five years later when events had rubbed in its message with quite appalling force, it attracted the award of a Senior Visiting Scholarship at an Institute in Menlo Park. California, with residence on Stanford University campus, coinciding with the visit of Professor von Hayek and his School of 'Austrian' economists to the same institute; which is quite another story.
The first Part of "On Planning the Earth," was written and published in 1944 and was concerned with defending the soil against wholesale interference by remote financial and political agencies.
The Second Part was written after a delay of five years, during which the Tennessee Valley with its huge hydro-electric power had produced the first Atom Bomb, and its Chairman had become the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and a key member of the committee which made the decision to produce the H-Bomb. So much, then, for all that splendid and heavily financed ecological 'jargon about grass-roots democracy and conservation which was used to 'sell' the TVA in the 1930s and has now become so innocently fashionable among the 'Greens.'
The book, as it stands, has a message for today in that it puts on contemporary record the origins of the major menace to our lives and our planet which now arouses such passionate protest. It puts the case for 'smallness' and the dangers of ' 'bigness' twenty years before E. F. Schumacher coined that luminous phrase Small is Beautiful. It puts forward an ecologist's and soil microbiologist's defence of the integrity of the soil more than a decade before Rachel Carson's Silent Spring shook the world and initiated the 'Green' movement. It is a voice crying in what was then a wilderness, which had something to say that was rejected then, and is now ever, more urgently needed if this now fashionable and growing movement is not to follow the path of all previous movements for human advancement which have grown too great and felt the temptations of power.
For some years now, I have been urged to write a sequel, or a Third Part to bring it up to date and readable by the young of today. But when I contemplate the task, the gap between my age and their youth appals me. It is like the gap in technology between a man of the Bronze Age and of the late Nineteenth Century. I have to start again where I was born, in a London with horse buses, gas lighting and gold and silver coinage.
* * * * *
It is not surprising that what is known as the generation gap has widened almost beyond bridging during the twentieth century. Even apart from the shattering effect of two World Wars, both resulting in a State dictatorship over the lives of the people, plus the immense power of the centralised media penetrating into every home, the staggering rush of physical and mental change was bound to disrupt the normal process of cultural growth and its handing on from one generation to the next. In view of what has happened it is perhaps surprising that the disruption is not even more complete.
My first enthusiasm as a schoolboy was divided between poetry and astronomy. It was Sir Oliver Lodge's book "Pioneers of Science," (1895) which was largely responsible for making me change from the Classical to the Science side at school, followed by Sir Robert Ball's "Story of the Heavens," (1905) added to my grandfather's 12 inch Newtonian reflecting telescope in its garden observatory, which I hastened to copy, with much avuncular help in grinding my 6½ inch mirror. With this I discovered such objects as the Great Nebula in Andromeda (as it was known then) and even a strange oval which wouldn't focus until it suddenly leapt into recognition as the planet Saturn. What a thrill!
But what a vast expansion in our picture of the Universe has happened since then when the nebulae of space were still classified as 'galactic' and 'extra-galactic,' though the similarity of some of the latter, especially the nearest one in Andromeda, to our Milky Way, had long been a matter for speculation! Now we know that our Milky Way is but one in a local cluster of galaxies among innumerable others of many different sorts -- as great a discovery as was the earlier one that our Sun is one star among innumerable others, which in turn was as great a revolution as was the discovery that the Sun, not the earth, was the centre of the Universe.
The Visited Moon
The most magnificent object in the Heavens to be seen in a small telescope is, of course the Moon, which is also notoriously, an object of poetic inspiration. Hence, a sonnet by the young astronomer -one of three verses which won the Milton Prize at Milton's school, and began:
Behold a planet barren, gaunt and cold,
Later there was another verse which started:
How was I to know that forty years later I should hold a speck of Moon in my hand brought from the Moon itself by men who had been there, and look at it under the microscope, or that all those dreams and fantasies about life on our neighbours in the solar system would have to die? We now know that all the planets are lifeless except one. But the same 1930's poem went on:
All the World's a-dreaming,
Is it not true that the greatest discovery of Man's entry into Space has not been the revolutionary expansion of our knowledge of the other planets but the discovery of the unique glory of the living Earth, our home? I wonder whether the younger generations who by now are familiar with the picture of our lovely, gleaming, blue and white planet, poised in space (if only in photographs) can quite realise the gasp of wonder with which it burst upon those of us for whom the vision of the whole earth had previously existed only in our imagination.
The vision splendid
Though I am never likely to forget the television pictures of the Apollo Missions, and the photographs of the hitherto invisible side of the Moon, and of Mars Venus, Jupiter and the multiple rings of Saturn and the ring of Uranus, and Halley's Comet, and many other wonders yet I cannot help thinking that a great opportunity has so far been lost for making and letting everyone see, the most magnificent and moving colour film ever made of planet Earth as she is approached from space, first as a little disc scarcely more than a star and then gradually growing into her true beauty.
It is all very well using the data from these immensely expensive missions for scientific purposes and to increase our knowledge of the solar system, but the public who have had to pay for them in one way or another are entitled to something better than blurred TV pictures, mainly inviting a brief gawp of admiration at the few men concerned rather than the vision they were so privileged to be given.
There is now (since 1988) a splendid volume of still photographs entitled The Home Planet edited by Kelvin W. Kelley for the Association of Space Explorers which gives a strong indication of what might have been, and still may be done, to allow the common people of the world to see their home whole, and also in its infinite variety as seen in part: its oceans, lands, mountains, forests, grasslands, deserts, shores, polar regions and its glorious and fantastic air. Such a film (or series of films) could certainly be the most valuable ever made and would enjoy a perpetual popularity. Alone it would be worth far more than any amount of 'ecological' propaganda about saving the Earth, Let the earth speak for itself, and put us in our place!
Whose work is worthy of the Sun?
From time immemorial men have thought of the earth as their Mother, from whose womb they are forced, squalling, into the cold world outside, from whose deep bosom they feed throughout 'life, until tired out and unable to face it longer they crawl back again into her capacious womb; perhaps to be born again.
But the word 'earth' has two meanings: the soil or surface of the land wherever we may live and from which we get our sustenance; and more recently, the whole planetary globe, the third from the Sun, of which we have had our first glimpse, as seen from space, less than a generation ago.
This last vision, long anticipated in imagination, possesses an unexpected quality of delicacy and vulnerability, arousing feelings not only of awe at the immensity of this huge ball on which we live, but also of almost paternal tenderness and concern, as of a parent viewing a lovely daughter at a vulnerable age. Mostly it is her gleaming skin of air which so entrances us, long as we have known it from beneath. It is so much in contrast with the ancient images of the old, brown, wrinkled Mother Earth, and even with the haughty and dominant White Goddess of the poets, the Queen and Mistress who destroys men after using them.
Not many of the poets have yet escaped from these traditional images. Robert Graves never escaped from the White Goddess, and the feminist movement is reverting to her. Some indeed have now seen a vision of:
The green World, gleaming, glimmering, poised between Sun and stars,
But when the World was actually seen from space, its greenness was much less apparent than the blue of the sea and the white of the clouds. It was brought home to us that this is a planet covered with water and air more than with land, and even the land is not green with vegetation except in favoured areas. On much of it the brown shows through the scattered plants where they are visible at all, or the ground is covered with snow or ice. Moreover, the sea has an interface with the atmosphere in its turbulent surface, and the soil also is as much part of the atmosphere as it is of the land, which enables it to bear within it so great a variety of invisible life, as well as that which is visible upon its surface.
It is not surprising that this actual sight of the whole Earth from space should have accompanied and should have further stimulated, a reversion to the worship of Nature as the Mother Goddess, or that J.E. Lovelock should have named his hypothesis that the physical and chemical condition of the Earth's surface and atmosphere is maintained homeostatically in a condition capable of maintaining life by the presence of life itself - the GAIA Hypothesis. By so naming it he has deliberately linked what started as a scientific hypothesis with the Earth-Mother-Goddess of Greek Myth - Gaia, Gaea or Ge. The theory itself, however, though far from generally accepted as yet, is a logical extension of current ecological ideas and is bound to exert a powerful influence on thought in the future.
Most major developments in human thought have started off condemned as wild or absurd fantasies, until pinned down to reality by detailed observations; after which they become glimpses of the obvious and taken-for-granted truisms. 'Natural selection' is now such a truism, but it could scarcely have become so without Darwin's lengthy and laborious observations The radical discontinuity which it was used to make in the old-age concept of Creation was quite unnecessary and disastrous in that it helped to destroy not only the idea of Creation but of creativity, substituting a crude, automatic probability-process-idol for the Creator.
The first half of the Twentieth Century has been dominated by the mathematical physicists, whose esoteric and eerie symbolo-cerebral computer model-building, bound back to reality only, for the most part, by observations made by technicians on a few immensely expensive and inaccessible machines, have transiently and confusedly changed our view of the Universe and of time, space and matter, and let loose upon us a monstrous spectre of fearful energy.
Everything is relative, and Space, they say, is round,
Even when it came to the public practical demonstrations of that mystical formula E = mc2 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these, frightful as they were, were but minor items in the huge holocaust of the War as compared with the permanent shadow they have cast over mankind as a whole.
Modern Science, however, has long ceased to be mainly a matter for individual initiative and curiosity. It requires external financing, not only to provide the scientists with a living, but to pay for their apparatus; and the more expensive the apparatus, the more massive and remote the financial control, which can come only from Governments or large financial institutions. This tendency has reached its limit in nuclear physics, and has distorted the development of science, so that, instead of a balanced investigation of the universe as directed by the spontaneous curiosity of scientists, or in the service of their neighbours, we have had an abnormally deep penetration in certain directions which serve the purposes of centralised power - a penetration which has not been balanced in other directions, so that we are constantly faced with insoluble problems.
Thus when Harry Truman succeeded Roosevelt as President he was presented with this appalling device and had little choice but to use it to end the war with a demonstration of its frightfulness, which undoubtedly saved the millions of lives which would have been lost had it gone on. But the decision which launched the age of the remote-controlled threat of radiation and of nuclear massacre was made before the USA was at war, and was carried through to its next stage after the war was over, notably, in part, by Edward Teller -- known to the Press as 'The Father of the H-Bomb'-- a man whose presence seemed to me to exude a cold arrogance, unlike anyone else I have encountered.
While many of the scientists who had worked on 'The Bomb' in ignorance were horrified when they discovered for what purpose they had been used, some of those who were well aware of what they were doing justified it by adopting an 'ideal' of a World at Peace cowering under a World Government armed with a monopoly of nuclear punishment. As the late Colin Hurry put it, in his Song for A.D.A. (Atomic Development Association):
It's nearly in the bag boys; it's nearly in the bag.
Unfortunately, the ability of idealists to dress up the remotely centralised fear-and-bureaucratic control of vast masses of mankind with hypnotic words like 'unity,' 'democracy,' 'world order' and above all 'peace' appears to be unlimited; and every increase in centralised power is justified by the amount of 'good' it will allegedly enable the power-wielders to administer, de haut en has to the masses. Quite often this 'good' is real and requires some degree of centralisation (such as a piped water, drainage or electricity system) but always it inculcates habits of dependence which, beyond the appropriate level of centralisation, must necessarily become unilateral and slavish.
In the 1950's the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule which inaugurated the science of molecular biology shifted the dominating influence of science somewhat from nuclear physics towards biology, or rather, in effect, biochemistry, which in turn owed its abnormal advance to the advances of physics. But here again we have a science and a technology which centralises power over human beings and all other forms of life. In fact, as Francis Crick, one of the scientists awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery, has made it clear, in his view, it is the development of physics and thence of chemistry, which have given a firm foundation for biology, the chief aim of which is to explain all biology in physico-chemical terms.1 He even goes so far as to suggest the substitution of the teaching of natural selection acting upon the DNA mechanism for the teaching or religion in schools, thus erecting his 'evolutionism' into a religion alternative to Christianity, which he regards as intellectually contemptible 2
1. Of Molecules and Men, By Francis Crick- Univ. of Washington. Press 1966.
It is one of those manifest truisms which may on no account be acknowledged by anyone in the career-structure of science, that these far-reaching and heavily financed investigations 'into the building-blocks of the matter and energy of the universe and of life itself, however fascinating and magnificent in themselves, are grossly unbalanced and premature, in that they confer a degree of power upon some men which is blatantly beyond their capacity to handle without disaster, It is like handing over the piloting of an air-liner to a five-year-old.
Beyond Human Competence
No man ought ever to have been placed in the position, as Was President Truman, and still, potentially, are several national leaders of deciding whether to order the nuclear destruction of cities to avert an even worse catastrophe. No one is competent to decide whether or not to condemn future generations to the disposal of an increasing amount of nuclear waste on a basis of speculative arguments, pro and con. No men have the necessary mental and moral stature to enable them to manipulate the genetic structure of other organisms, let alone of fellow men. All such decisions as are now being made have to be made on a basis of immediate or short-term considerations and ephemeral, contemporary knowledge which will probably be shown to be erroneous in a few years' time.
That the elucidation of the structure of DNA can be used, and has been used, to increase our respectful understanding of living organism is very true, but its chief attraction to many lies in the power it offers even more crudely and suddenly than heretofore to manipulate and mould life into forms which happen to suit our trivial, short-term purposes. Those who press forward with the exploitation of such power are characterised by a certain arrogance. They have a power-fever exceeding the gold-fever of the mine field, and it shows in their contempt for those who retain the humbler attitude to nature which was engendered by the Christian religion-the matrix from which modern science grew, but from which it has been increasingly cut off ; until, perhaps, recent years when there have been signs of some reversal of this trend.
Two scientists, Drs. Virginia Huszagh and Juan Infante, of the Institute for Theoretical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Ithaca, New York, writing in Nature in April 1989 gave a somewhat crude example of the superiority-complex of the physicist and chemist towards the biologist, although in fact they are described as ' biologists,' presumably because they apply these elemental sciences to material derived from the living.
They describe biologists as fundamentally uneducated people who do not understand how science works; few of whom can appreciate the need for revolutionary hypotheses and fewer still can generate them. Biologists, they say, write innumerable papers presenting excruciatingly boring collections of data, in contrast with physicists, in whom speculation is encouraged. Physics, they say, grew out of philosophy, while biology grew from medicine and bird-watching!
Now of course there is a good deal of truth in this, though it applies at least as much to chemists and physicists that precious few papers have anything 'revolutionary,' to offer. But these attitudes show how far these prestigious power-sciences have departed from the very essence of that science which grew out of the Christian's reverent approach to the Creation, which was differentiated from 'philosophy' in that it strove to align the human mind to reality rather than to impose its speculation upon the nature of things.
This whole trend towards speculation with the minimum of data,' as indeed in the most advanced mathematical physics, but also in every school where the teaching of 'facts' is derided, and children are encouraged to form opinions based upon ignorance, is dragging us increasingly away from the reality of the actual world in which we live, into a never-never land of mental images which can be brought down to earth only by the most brutal collision with the real. That collision is perhaps fortunately beginning to occur in the impact of a misdirected humanity on its environment, and more particularly on the immeasurable variety of living beings with which we share the planet, and their complex behaviour and inter-relationships. A pity if the study of these should be 'excruciatingly boring' to the sort of scientific speculator who hates to be tied down to mere facts.
Life's Multiple Universes.
What the 'elemental' scientists with their speculative striving after some simple unifying theory do not scorn to realise is that in biology we have a multitude of universes some of which we have scarcely started to study, because most of the money and careerism was channelled elsewhere. For instance, the soil beneath our feet is one such universe of a complexity exceeding the astronomical. The lichens, those remarkable examples of successful symbiosis to be seen on almost every rock and tree, were, except by a few pioneers, scarcely studied seriously until 1958, when the first (the British) Lichen Society was launched. There is indeed a vast mass of detail to be apprehended before we can make sense of it, but there is as much scope for imaginative speculation in each one of the numerous major branches of biology as in the whole of inorganic science.
The changes which have occurred in the biological outlook during this century have been quite as sweeping as those in physical science. The whole picture of the development of life on this planet has been altered almost as radically as Copernicus and Galileo upset the Ptolemaic System, or as Darwin and Huxley upset Archbishop Usher's biblical chronology. No doubt in his day the Archbishop's mathematical dating of the Creation at 4004 B.C. was considered extremely accurate and 'scientific.'
In my student days it was taken for granted that the first life on the earth must have been photosynthetic. How else could it have survived? Since photosynthesis is the basis of life hero all non-green organisms are dependent upon the green plant, and must have evolved later. Hence it followed, among other things, that the fungi, which resemble the algae in many respects except for their lack of chlorophyll, must have originated as degenerate algae-a view which crippled and distorted the development of mycology for generations.
Now the whole picture is reversed, since it is believed that the earth's primitive atmosphere contained no oxygen but was probably dominated by carbon dioxide. The early organisms cannot have been green. They must have obtained their energy and nutrition from their chemical environment. Chlorophyll must have come later, and gradually, during the ages, have transformed the air into its present oxygenated state. Thus, our present atmosphere can be seen, not as the pre-condition which determined the development of the green plant, but very largely as itself the product of the green plant.
Meanwhile the fungi, liberated from the need to be regarded as 'degenerate algae' could be studied for themselves and found to be an unique group of organisms, by many regarded as a Third Kingdom, neither plants nor animals, but possessed in their more advanced forms of a quite extraordinary life-history, including a dicaryophase, in which the two nuclei which ultimately fuse, remain associated-a strange variant upon the familiar processes of sexual reproduction. It was Reginald Duller who was largely responsible for this rehabilitation of mycology - a great and original scientist, but who has heard of him outside mycological circles? And how many physicists have any idea of the importance of fungi as symbionts with green plants, as compared with non-physicists who have at least tried to grapple with the physicists' much publicised speculative ideas? No doubt also, something similar could be written about many other branches of biology.
The Quantity Illusion
It is high time scientists emerged from the fashionable illusion that biology, the study of the living, is 'nothing but' the application of physics and chemistry to parts of living or dead organisms or their products, or that if the organisms themselves and their relationships are to be studied, then it must be by methods of mathematical symbolism which have been so influential in physics, but which tend to impose a crude, subjective uniformity upon the essential diversity of the living.
The idea that 'respectable science' is almost synonymous with quantification is responsible for much hypocritical rubbish in the form of the publication in biological papers of statistics or statistical appendices based upon taken-for-granted routine formulae which might as well be magical cantrips so far as the author's understanding goes.
But of course they are essential to secure the acceptance of the work in the more prestigious journals, which in turn is essential to secure promotion and even a livelihood.
Perhaps it is inevitable that, since the scientists themselves are largely controlled by a sort of statistics, commonly called money, the direction and purpose of their work should likewise similarly he controlled. Probably this will be denounced as an exaggeration, but it is scarcely possible nowadays to exaggerate the influence of remote-controlled funds upon scientists and their work, particularly on what may be called power-science as distinct from exploratory science.
This distinction goes somewhat deeper than the more commonplace one between 'pure' and 'applied' science. Every increase in knowledge even in the most obscure or specialised field may confer some sort of power, somewhen, somewhere on somebody, but the exploration of the very structure of the universe, of matter and of life, offers such prizes in the form of centralised and unilateral control and manipulation to those who already possess excessive powers over the rest of mankind that they automatically attract an unbalanced financial and political support.
No doubt it has always been true that the wealthy and powerful have made more use of the power which knowledge brings than those with fewer resources to exploit it, and in doing so have helped to spread its advantages throughout society; but we are now confronted with the acceleration in knowledge and technology so widespread and so violent, yet along such narrow lines, as to constitute a new and unprecedented threat to our whole culture and perhaps even our physical survival.
A Thin Crust of Technology
In the face of the 'electronic revolution' the younger generation is learning new skills of computerisation and symbol-handling hut is losing the basic skills for dealing with that reality which sustains our lives and which constitutes our tremendous cultural inheritance. I wonder what would happen, for instance, in any big city if the electricity supply were to be cut off completely and permanently. We live. as it were, sustained upon a thin crust of recent technology which is progressively replacing our inherited capacities for living. All our basic needs for food, water, clothing and heating are now centrally and remotely controlled in ways which are, to most of us, inaccessible and inexplicable, though our lives depend upon them.
All this is so commonplace as to be taken for granted as a mere culmination of a normal and even desirable process which has brought us the comforts of civilisation; but the change is no longer quantitative, it has now become qualitative. Never before has there been such total dependence on so vast a scale of the many upon the few, both upon the relatively few technicians who operate and maintain the machinery of production, distribution and information, and even more upon those who create and direct the flow of credit which determines what shall be produced.
Debt-money - the Greed and Money Trap
It is so easy to thrust this aside with thoughts or remarks such as "Money isn't everything. Of course it has always exerted great influence, but it is human greed which is the trouble and always will be!" All quite true, but it is used to divert attention from the changed nature of money which now is virtually synonymous with loan-credit - that is, debt - an arithmetical trap that carries with it an irresistible mass-pressure of fear and greed.
Probably I shall be accused of trying to limit the freedom of mankind to explore the Universe in any direction. But it is not mankind which does the exploring, but those men who are given the financial power to do it in certain directions by other men. I am not trying to say that this distortion by remote and centralised finance is something peculiar to science. On the contrary, this tendency is manifest and increasing in all human activities, and scientific research is no exception.
Virtually all activities involve a draft upon the social credit - that is the labour and skills of innumerable unknown other people, past and present-but with the more advanced sciences such as nuclear physics and molecular biology this draft is relatively enormous. Their whole set-up of laboratories and apparatus depends upon the employment and labour of many people who know nothing of the research for which they are used but are involved through the usual need to earn a living yet their work has been directed along those particular lines by those who control the flow of credit.
It must not be forgotten that the original 'atom bombs' were the product of 'compartmentalised' research in which only a very few at the top had any idea what they were working on, and nowadays the industrial hierarchy is so massive and ever-changing that a great many workers are quite ignorant of what the ultimate product of their work may be, or even for whose purposes, ultimately, they are devoting their working lives.
This is not an argument against normal accumulation of wealth, including, for instance, well-endowed laboratories, universities and research institutions, or against that centralisation of administration which is essential for the efficient planning and carrying out of any major project, or against the natural expansion of science along any lines which attract the necessary support without offending against human nature.
It is the separation of money from reality implicit in its creation as loan-credit -- an autonomous accountancy unrelated to real wealth but limiting, wasting and directing it largely through the employment system -- which is distorting the whole economy and with it the balanced growth of science. It is a common claim that economics is the study of efficient use of scarce resources, but in so far as debt-free money is the scarcest resource and has to be increasingly supplemented by borrowing, it becomes the limiting factor to which all real resources have to be sacrificed.
Hence the quite fantastic waste of human and physical energy and materials to save or to get money, and the power implicit in the creation and subsequent direction of credit to determine also those major enterprises which shall be favoured with the means for pursuit and development. That this patronage is usually exercised by scientists themselves, as nominees of Governments or Big Business, does not alter the fact that the power which they are using is the power of finance, that is, ultimately, of loan-credit, of which the other name is debt.
I am devoting most of this chapter to James Lovelock and his GAIA Hypothesis, which is already exerting a major influence on what is called the Green Movement. He is a remarkable man, an independent scientist who does not depend upon a salaried post and a career in any university research laboratory or commercial corporation, but supports himself and his family by the income from his own inventions, the best-known of which is the electron-capture detector. This, a development from gas chromatography has enabled people to detect extremely minute traces of substances, such as pesticides, in the atmosphere and elsewhere, and has been a major factor in the discovery, from Rachel Carson onwards, of the widespread pollution of the environment.
Such financial independence, when combined with a scientific reputation of sufficient magnitude to secure election as a Fellow of the Royal Society, and some participation in the American Space Programme, confers the freedom of mind which enabled him to launch an hypothesis so far-fetched and imaginative that it was bound to be rejected at the outset by the Scientific Establishment and by the major journals.
Not that the idea of the Earth as a living entity was anything new. It was not unknown in space fiction, and Lovelock himself pays tribute to some of his scientific predecessors, e g. the Scottish scientist James Hutton in 1785, and the Ukrainians Korolenko and Vernadskv. But when Lovelock took it up he transformed it into a serious scientific hypothesis for which he adduced much evidence, though by its nature absolute proof must be impossible.
The concept as applied to the Earth appears to have originated with his involvement in designing instruments for the detection of life on Mars. It seemed to him that the direct attempt to find organisms or their products similar to those on Earth was the wrong approach. If Mars has a biosphere it must affect its atmosphere and therefore the sensitive analysis of the planet's air would provide the best evidence. Failing such evidence the search for living organisms in a few samples of its surface must be useless.
The concept of the biosphere - the surface zone of the Earth inhabited by living organisms - had to precede that of Gaia, the whole living planet including its rocks, its air and its oceans as a self- regulating organism, maintained by the active feedback processes of its biota, the total collection of life-forms in the biosphere. While this might seem an obvious extension of thought to the ecologist (but not till after it had been made!) it was in fact a great leap of the imagination, challenging the established view of the Earth as a mass of inorganic material which happened to have provided a home for living organisms.
It is its unique, shining atmosphere with its high oxygen content which gives away the secret of life on the third planet from the Sun. But is it just on it; or is life an essential property of the whole planet, transforming and distinguishing it from all the others ?
The Earth's Control System
The presence of oxygen has commonly been accounted for by the loss of hydrogen to space from water in the outer atmosphere under the influence of solar radiation, leaving the heavier oxygen behind; but this, perhaps once a major factor, is considered to be so no longer.
How then does the Earth's atmospheric content of oxygen remain so constantly at 21 % - about the maximum which will allow vegetation to grow without being eliminated by fires ? What is the control system ? The answer suggested is that it is the production of methane in the anaerobic muds of marshes, lake and river sides, coastal sea-beds, estuaries, etc. This gas would take up oxygen by being oxidised to CO2 and water, while some of the carbon which does not form methane is buried in these anaerobic layers, thus leaving more oxygen free. This could provide a method of cybernetic control over the amount of oxygen in the air.
In his first hook (GAIA, 1979, and 1982, 1987 as Oxford Paperback) Lovelock gives a diagram illustrating this oxygen and carbon cycle. He also suggests a somewhat similar control mechanism which maintains the salt concentration in the sea at a level compatible with life. With the run-off from the land pouring into the sea continually, its salt content should have risen far above present levels were it not for the deposit of salt by evaporation in land-locked bays and lagoons.
These are but two examples of the many control systems at work in the planet. It is one of the virtues of the GAIA hypothesis that it constantly suggests these questions concerning homeostatic systems which we expect to find in living organisms, often with most revealing results.
In his second book : The Ages of Gaia (Oxford 1988) Lovelock gives us a speculative history of the Earth that starts off according to current theory. This requires a supernova explosion to provide the heavier elements found in the planets for which the Sun's hydrogen fusion process is inadequate. The early years of planetary existence are very largely unknown, but an atmosphere rich in CO2 with methane and with some hydrogen present, is now thought probable. (It used to be mostly ammonia). The oceans would have been laden with iron and other elements and compounds which could exist only in the absence of oxygen. In this anoxic environment the raw materials of life, compounds such as amino acids, nucleosides and sugars, described as 'organic' because they were formerly imagined to be exclusively the products of life, are thought to have accumulated, until one day a living, reproducing organism appeared.
The Current Genesis Story
This primaeval molecular soup which arose under the action of solar radiation and perhaps also Earth's own heat and residual radioactivity, is now an established part of the current Genesis myth of science. The next great leap to the living cell is taken for granted, and once this has occurred natural selection can be held responsible for its survival and rapid spread. Only when the new form of microbial life had spread all over the planet's surface could Gaia be said to have been born.
Lovelock passes rather easily over these early stages, while admitting that they are all speculative. Being himself primarily a physical scientist rather than a biologist he relies largely upon the writings of others, especially on Professor Lynn Margulis's picture of early life on the planet. Plausible explanations as to how the molecular 'protolife' might have arisen are not lacking, and after that it is considered 'reasonable' that "life started from the molecular chemical equivalent of eddies and whirlpools."
At first these living cells must have fed upon 'the abundant organic chemicals lying around," but at some early time some organisms must have "discovered how to tap the abundant and inexhaustible energy of sunlight" by the process of photosynthesis. This liberates oxygen, which at first would have been instantly absorbed by the anoxic environment, but at some time must have begun to accumulate in the air until it reached its present proportion of 21% of the atmosphere, at which level it is maintained by the homeostatic processes of the biosphere.
We are invited to visualise the Archaean as an age of anaerobic bacterial domination of the biosphere, ending with an Ice Age which may have marked the appearance of free oxygen in the atmosphere, attributed to the growing activities of photosynthesisers. It is suggested that the remnants of this Archaean biosphere survive to-day in the muds, swamps, oozes and sediments, wherever oxygen is excluded, and even in our own guts, playing an important part in the feedback processes which maintain the Earth in viable equilibrium.
The invention and use of the electron microscope revealed a new world of fine structure which also revolutionised our classification of living organisms. It confirmed that the bacteria (now classed as prokaryotes) have a simpler cell structure than the other organisms (eukaryotes). In prokaryotes the genetic material, now known as the DNA, is diffused in the cell, not contained in a nucleus or other organelle bounded by a membrane as in eukaryotes.
But it also was found that the blue-green algae (Cyanophyceae) differed from all the other algae in being prokaryotes like the bacteria, as well as containing chlorophyll and thus being able to photosynthesise as do all the other, enkaryotic algae. In fact, Lovelock refers to them as Cyanobacteria. He asserts that they must have been the first photosynthesisers to arise on Earth and to have been responsible for the first stage in oxygenating the atmosphere.
This next step, from the less-organised cell of the prokaryote to the more complex and organised cell of the eukaryote, opened the way for the development of all the organisms known to us, large and small, above the bacterial level : though it is still true that the bacteria play a much greater part in the ecology of the planet than is realised by those who think of them mainly as pathogens. The question as to how this great advance, from pro- to eu-karyote, can have taken place is an intriguing one, to which J. E. Lovelock's associate, Professor Lynn Margulis has suggested a most imaginative and stimulating answer in the form of the endo-symbiosis hypothesis.
Muck, Magic, Mutualism and Money
Symbiosis is a word which means simply 'living together,' but in practice and long usage it has come to refer to the intimate association of dissimilar organisms to their mutual advantage and interdependence : and thereby has arisen much argument. For a long time the biological Establishment considered the idea of mutual benefit between organisms as in some way 'soft,' sentimental and 'unscientific,' and, indeed, to be ranked with the same sort of 'crankiness' as composting and organic farming - generally derided (especially at Rothamsted, the pioneers in chemical-industry farming) as 'muck and magic.' One might retaliate by saying that the Establishment was non compost mentis before the present artificial vogue for every sort of 'green' thinking turned the tables on it (or them) !
Ironically, it is the same Big-Money Business which was responsible for the dominance of chemical farming which is now finding that it pays to back 'environmentalism' (including muck, magic and oriental mysticism), having discovered that 'muck,' in the form of battery or factory farm slurry, can be made as damaging as, and even more offensive than inorganic fertilizers and pesticides, if produced centrally on a big enough scale !
Here again, it has been money and careers which have distorted the general attitude, more particularly to the vast and vital role which micro-organisms, especially the fungi and bacteria, play in the life of the planet. There were always jobs and careers to be had in pathology - in human and animal pathology mainly for bacteriologists, in plant pathology mainly for mycologists - which is why pathology, parasitism, predation, were thought of as the major phenomena, and it was fashionable to refer to symbiosis as 'controlled parasitism.'
Even now, 'microbes' and 'germs' are still thought of mainly as disease organisms, and fungi as nasty poisonous things or plant pests. As a result our whole culture is disease-orientated. Hence also the distortion of popular Darwinism as expressed in the quotation : "Nature red in tooth and claw" and the current emphasis on everything perverse, lethal, fearful, criminal, violent or catastrophic.
Comparatively few people yet realise the true situation : namely that symbiosis and innumerable less intimate forms of intricate mutualism and association, including commensalism (feeding together) and successionalism (one form following another) constitute the main basis of the biosphere, while parasitism and predation, are marginal and secondary phenomena, though important as limiting and eliminating factors. You cannot have a parasite without a host, but you can have a 'host' without a parasite, and a 'disease' has no existence except as an abnormal condition of an organism.
Endo-symbiosis for all ?
But to return to Professor Lynn Margulis and her endosymbiosis theory of how the more complex eukaryotes could have arisen from the simpler prokaryotes. Every cell of a eukaryote contains a number of distinct small bodies known as 'organelIes,' some of them not unlike bacteria, with their own definite walls and DNA resembling in some cases that in bacteria. Examples are the 'mitochondria,' energy-giving bodies found in all eukaryote cells including our own, and the chloroplasts which contain the chlorophyll which enables green plants to photosynthesise and obtain energy from sunlight and restore oxygen to the atmosphere - both now quite vital to life on this planet.
The suggestion is that these organelles originated as bacteria which had been taken into the larger cells some time during the period of prokaryote dominance of the biosphere, and instead of being swallowed, or parasitising their hosts, they had become symbionts (inside or endo-symbionts) so intimate that they had become essential components of the cell. This theory, like the Gaia hypothesis itself, was once regarded as far-fetched, but is now treated with respect as the widespread nature of symbiosis is increasingly realised, though still subject to criticism.
For a long time the heavy use of fertilizers in nurseries and many experimental plots suppressed and obscured the almost universal presence of mycorrhizas (fungus-roots) on the roots of most green plants growing in natural soils, to the mutual advantage (as many studies have now shown) of both plant and fungus. The example of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the roots of leguminous plants is well known; but the supreme example of a symbiotic association so intimate and permanent that the product behaves like an autonomous organism has long been known as a lichen.
Indeed, throughout human history up to the late nineteenth century lichens have been known and studied simply as a sort of plants, and the discovery of their dual nature : a fungus thallus incorporating cells of green (or blue-green) algae, usually in a distinct layer, was at first rejected with withering scorn. There are innumerable cases also of symbiosis involving bacteria (for instance those in the rumen of cattle which enable them to digest cellulose), but how widespread bacterial symbiosis with larger organisms, may be is so far little known or studied. Similarly with the small, unicellular green algae, such as for instance, those which inhabit the bodies of some small animals, e.g. the common polyp Hydra viridis, thus giving them the benefits of photo-synthesis while sharing in their other food intake.
Hypothesis into Religion
No doubt these discoveries had to await the development of the light microscope to a point where the green cells, formerly known in lichens as 'gonidia,' could be recognised as algae. In the same way, Margulis's hypothesis had to await the development of the electron microscope to the point where the fine structure of bacteria and of organelles could be studied in the light of our knowledge of the structure of DNA. But if we accept the current evolutionary genesis story of the creation of life on this planet, including its early prokaryotic Age, it is hard to see how otherwise the eukaryotic cell with its vital organelles, which is now the basis of all larger life-forms, including ourselves, could have arisen. And in that event every living thing above the bacterial level is not a simple organism but a co-operative far more ancient and intimate than the lichens.
As with the Gaia hypothesis itself, we are here still dealing with a hypothesis, not with something which can be proven, now or perhaps ever. But it fits in well with most of the known facts, is mentally stimulating and suggestive of further lines of enquiry, and has all the signs of a constructive and valuable advance in thinking. Moreover, no equally convincing alternative has so far been suggested.
A belief in creation and a Creator has been the normal and almost universal basis of human reason and understanding of the Universe for as long as we have any record. Though it came to a realistic and practical point with the Christian faith in the Incarnation from which arose the inspiration of modern science, in all the major religions including those which worshipped many gods or innumerable local spirits, there was nearly always, behind and beyond them all, the great and ultimate Creator; and it was not until the Greek philosophers had cast aside the gods of Olympus for the one God who created and maintains the Universe that they could begin to make sense of it.
But in the mid-nineteenth century an extraordinary aberration occurred. As some men, under the influence of Darwinism, began to get a glimpse of some of the simpler modes of operation of the Creator, under the name of evolution by natural selection, they became so fascinated by their discovery that they substituted the word 'evolution' for the word 'creation,' and with it substituted a belief in an automatic and impersonal process for the Act of Creation, with its enormous implications for human living, thinking and behaviour.
Even so, despite the adaptation of 'reason' to accept the automatic, witless, purposeless construction of complex beings by a tautological process of happening because they happened, and non-survival owing to their inability to survive, it is to be noted that the believers in physical automatism as the creator of the Universe seldom use an impersonal and mechanistic description of their religion but are always using the language of purpose and design.
The Adaptation of Reason
'Natural selection' itself implies personal choice, and 'Nature' is simply substituted for 'God.' Otherwise why not just call it 'differential survival'? Indeed, many of them go much further than Christian theologians nowadays dare in respect of God, in attributing active intervention with purpose, design, intelligence, ingenuity, even femininity, to 'Nature.'
Instance Dr. Francis Crick of DNA fame in his book Of Molecules and Men, mentioned in the last Chapter. He frequently personified Nature : "She knows the rules more precisely than we do -" "Nature has been at the job so long." "The trick used by nature is to store the instructions" etc. The copying process is "exceptionally well designed," the control has "an ingenious feature" and so on. He makes it quite clear that he wants to propagate, not so much science, but the scientistic religion of faith in physical automatism which he equates with science - more particularly in the place of Christianity.
Men who are outstandingly clever in one specialised direction are often quite obtuse in others, and it is apparent that Dr. Crick and many of his co-religionists are unaware that they are driven to thinking, writing and talking in personal terms which contradict their belief in impersonal automatism because the language they use was developed under the influence of Christianity; of which faith, indeed, it was, and still is largely, a tool of expression. This is why, when it is used for purposes alien or hostile to that religion, the result is confusion.
On the other hand, the true language of physical science, namely mathematics, though capable of indefinite expansion on the one plane of number and quantity, is totally incapable of dealing with the personal, with will, purpose, mind, love, or God.
My father (a Cambridge wrangler) used, in his humble way, to describe mathematics as "the handmaid of the sciences," with the implication that even the best servant becomes a tyrant 'when he (or she) ruleth.' But that is just what happened. When the mathematical aspect directs the research and is applied to matters other than those naturally quantitative, it becomes a religion which inevitably eliminates belief in all things personal.
Even so, the most rabid mathematical automatist cannot live by maths alone. Being human he is bound to use a verbal language which can no more avoid the personal than mathematics can handle it, and this is bound to have its effect. Indeed, life is impossible without some sort of belief in personal qualities. In the end many of them find it necessary to seek refuge in a sort of pantheism in which Nature has indeed become their God (or their Goddess).
Viewing the Planet as a whole
This brings us back to James Lovelock and his Gaia - a concept based largely upon physical and chemical studies of the atmosphere and the oceans, the most fluid and continuous parts of the Earth's surface. It gives us a more comprehensive view than before of the planet and its biosphere which if rightly interpreted can be of immense value, and if wrongly, can be disastrous.
It has been said that the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth, and 'viewing the planet as a whole' can well increase the already excessive tendency to evade tackling every awkward problem by enlarging it to global size, and then looking for global action by a global power to 'solve' it - ignoring the fact that it is mainly centrally imposed activities on a global scale which are the chief threat to human life on the planet.
Lovelock's description of the Earth as 'living' is quite consistent with his belief that it is maintained in a state suitable for life by the homeostatic processes of the living organisms of the biosphere. But his description of it as an 'organism' is carrying an analogy too far.
An ecological association is not an organism, though it shares some of the properties of life with the organisms of which it consists. But these are not analogous with the cells of an organism, which possesses a unity derived from the identity of the DNA in every cell brought about by sexual fusion followed by cell division, as well as the contact of every cell membrane with its neighbours, through which a controlled exchange occurs throughout the body. In contrast, the constituents of an association are all different, by no means always in continuous contact, but are moulded together into a living entity by mutuality, the whole being defined by the eliminating factors of the environment, and of competition, death and disease.
A Mutuality, not an Organism or a God
Gaia if we must call it that, is an incredibly complex association of associations of living beings. It survives by its immense variety, its homeostatic properties, its mutuality, and complementarity. Any attempt at central control by one kind of its constituent organisms is contrary to its nature, and is simply asking for the offender to be eliminated. But how many of the people who now call themselves 'ecologists' and talk about 'saving the planet' understand this ?
Identifying the living planet with the ancient Earth-Goddess first of all suggests it is a single organism, secondly invites the conversion of a scientific theory into a primitive pagan cult - an aspect indeed, of the nature cult, and thirdly endows the Earth with feminine gender.
The name Gaia, Lovelock tells us, was not of his invention but was suggested for his thesis by William Golding the novelist noted for his writings about man's proclivities for evil. As a name for our beautiful Earth it will appeal to many of us as a mildly poetic touch, like referring to a ship as 'she,' but it is evident from his chapter on God and Gaia (The Ages of Gaia, 1988) that it has a somewhat deeper significance.
He in no way sees Gaia as "a sentient being, a surrogate God," in fact, according to Stephen R. L. Clark (Times Lit. Sup. Oct. 20-26, 1989) he has since wished he had not used the capital G. Nevertheless he finds the Gaia concept, both as loving Mother and terrifying destroyer (like the Hindu Goddess Kali) more 'manageable' than God (as indeed it is) even though Gaia is the name of a biological cybernetic system. Yet he can still ask : "What if Mary is another name for Gaia ?" and "How can we use the concept of Gaia as a way to understanding God ?"
But he does not ask : What is Mary, and what is Gaia, without that Incarnation on this Earth which makes them a part of reality, and not human fancies like characters in a book. This has been the core of that religion which brought reality into science and created our culture and that lovely mutualism with nature which may be seen in what remains of the English countryside before it was invaded by the money-culture.
Everything is now being done to destroy that Christian culture, and to alienate the young from it by confusing it with the products of the monopolistic World Debt-culture, from which, without identifying it, they seek escape into almost any form of nature-cult provided it is not Christian and trinitarian.
Among these is the assault on the feminine under the ironic name of femin which in its current form seeks to drive women out of the decentralised home, where their work is essentially life-promoting and benign, into the 'labour market,' i.e. the power-hierarchy remotely controlled by centralised power, whether financial, political, or both.
However unintendedly, the name of the Earth-Goddess transforms a scientific hypothesis into a source of direct power over people, and must inevitably encourage the illusion that those qualities in which the female can excel, of love, gentleness, non -aggression and mutuality, will escape being reduced and corrupted by centralised power over others, with its positive feed-back to more such power. This is an effective way of reducing those qualities which are most needed.
Love - and the Chisel of God
It is the popular myths which are forged out of major scientific hypotheses which matter even more than the hypotheses themselves. The myth of " Nature red in tooth and claw" which was derived from the idea of natural selection had much to do with shifting the prevailing emphasis away from life on to death and disease, predation and parasitism, and thence onto crime, violence and corruption in human society. In fact Tennyson's original use of the phrase was to contrast it with "love Creation's final law" (In Memoriam xv). Even so, though love, expressed as mutualism, is the law of Creation, this does not deny that death and disease may function as the chisel of the Creator in defining the living, which has nothing in common with the image of mankind as battling with Nature for control of the world.
While very much 'on their side' he is highly critical of some of their scare-mongering and the exaggeration of some aspects of pollution which, as he points out, is a necessary accompaniment of life. Also he has a wide knowledge of natural effects which can occur without human intervention. For instance, sulphur emissions from marine algae may be a major contributor to acid rain over Scandinavia, and he can be very caustic about the Greens' obsession about nuclear radiation, which may be trivial compared with that emitted by some rocks. (But if there is already so much surely that makes a good case for not having more !)
On the other hand, he takes seriously the greenhouse effect, the destruction of tropical rainforests, and the growth of human population, but is well aware of our lack of sufficient knowledge to place these into the time-scale of the Earth's natural, astronomical and atmospheric changes. Nevertheless, Lovelock has some of the limitations of his mathematical-physical-chemical view of life. One of his somewhat maverick suggestions (New Scientist 23-9-89) is that : "We should get industry to synthesise foodstuffs so that we can give back the land, keeping ourselves in cities."
This seems quite inconsistent both with his life-style and with his main thesis in the Gaia books, namely that we ourselves are a part of the living Earth, not an alien life upon it, and having our vital part to play as members of the biosphere, we cannot cut ourselves off from it. But if that inconsistency strikes me as a distinctly naughty hobgoblin, at least it is not the hobgoblin of a little mind !
Rachel Carson is generally credited with having started the worldwide popular environmental movement now known as the Green Movement with her famous book "Silent Spring", first published in 1962. It is relevant to quote my contemporary review in Forestry 36 (2) l963:
This truly remarkable book has exerted a greater influence, both in America and in Britain, than any other on a comparable theme which can be remembered. . .To some extent the book is a plea that disease and pest control should be regarded as branches of a general ecology, rather than presenting a number of isolated problems to be solved, in each case, by finding a chemical which will, at a suitable dosage, destroy a particular pest without obvious damage to the host plant, or to other organisms, or to the human operators.
From the President down, "Silent Spring" rocked the U.S.A. in the year following its publication, which explains the spread of its influence to Europe and thence through the world. But by the following year the great chemical firms which produce pesticides had got around to debunking it, especially at scientific conferences, as 'an unscientific work of advocacy.' Unscientific it is not. It is thoroughly researched and referenced. A work of advocacy it is, but no more so than much of the 'orthodox' scientific literature implicitly supporting the accepted use of pesticides on economic grounds.
One result, when combined with the enormous publicity the book has received ever since, has been largely to obliterate the memory of the early pioneers in constructive ecology. Even the great Sir Albert Howard, the father of the 'organic' movement, is scarcely remembered or known to the younger generation to-day, or Sir Robert McCarrison ("Nutrition and Health") or Dr. M. C. Rayner on mycorrhiza, G. V. Jacks and R. O. Whyte ("The Rape of the Earth"), The Earl of Portsmouth ("Alternative to Death"), H. L. Massingham ("The English Countryman") and many others whose pioneer works are now forgotten in the euphoria of 'Green' politics.
When a powerful emphasis on pesticides and pollution was added to the aftermath of World War II with its 'Atomic' ending, it was not, perhaps, surprising that fear, doom and gloom should have dominated the scene for a while rather than the courage and creative energy which are required for effective remedial action, of which there are now hopeful signs.
Academic Economist in Real World
An important influence towards balance and constructiveness has been E. F. Schumacher's book "Small is Beautiful" (A Study of Economics as if People Mattered) which appeared in 1973, and which summed up and pulled together with common sense and a deeper philosophy based upon religion much of that spate of literature on man and his environment which appeared in the 1960's and early '70's. Nowadays it might be described as the 'Bible' of the sane core of the Green Movement - i.e. that part of it which has not been seduced into party politics. It is something approaching a miracle that an academic economist of such distinction should have been able to enter the real world to the extent that Dr. Schumacher did, but then it is reported of him that he found theorising without practical experience unsatisfying, so he went into business and farming to gain it, and was later President of the Soil Association.
Even so, his 'economics' background placed certain limitations on his distinctive vision of reality. In his first chapter he attributed our evil predicament largely to the universal error in the illusion that "the problem of production has been solved," and that what we need now is " education for leisure" in the "rich" countries, with the transfer of technology to the "poor" countries. He denied that the problem of production has been solved, on the grounds that it is being solved by the expenditure of real capital, such as the fossil fuels, coal and oil, and even more by the destructive expenditure of the living nature around us, and of human lives and energies in doing these destructive things.
It is this thinking in terms of economic reality by an economist which makes me marvel. In the course of a lifetime I have tried to present this viewpoint to economists of the Left (when resident at Toynbee Hall) of the Right (when a Liberty Scholar in California) and of the Centre (among University colleagues): but entirely in vain.
Not even Schumacher realised this; though like many others he blamed the seeking of money and money profits as the major cause of the evils he denounced, but did not explain why money must be sought so desperately. Yet he rendered a great service in drawing the distinction between the Earth's real capital and real income, and by initiating the concept of Intermediate Technology (in contrast to High-Tech especially for the Third World). Nevertheless, it is not an illusion that human invention in science and technology has very largely solved the problem of production of almost anything, be it nuclear bombs, space probes, or improved crops.
It has been solved, but wrongly. We do have this enormous inheritance of power which has enabled men by its misuse to squander the earth's capital in the ways he rightly deplores, just as it could, if properly used, enable mankind to abolish unsought penury and live a creative life in harmony with nature.
A Pressure that Induces Destruction
That in the broad sense this misuse of our technological powers is due to the wickedness of man, or as the theologians put it, to his fallen nature, and especially as Schumacher points out, to the sins of greed and envy, can scarcely be denied; but that does not take us very far when we are considering .the collective rather than the individual. It is simply not true that most normal men or women, if free to follow their own way, instinctively destroy the environment that sustains them. If it were so the human race could not have survived. There must be, and manifestly is, a universal pressure inducing them so to behave, and it is not far to seek, though never identified by economists, not even by Schumacher.
Now, however, the nature of money has changed radically, but because the change has taken several centuries to reach completion its full implications have never been assimilated into economics. The subtitle to Schumacher's book A Study of Economics as if People Mattered (my emphasis) gives the game away. Why was the 'as if' needed? Why did people not matter, except as numbers, to Economics before Schumacher, and for the most part even more after him, since Big, though not Beautiful, is money-powerful?
Surely because Economics is now entirely dominated by money and is detached from reality. Because money is now no more than a system of book-keeping, of figures representing 'credit,' i.e. debt repayable with interest, and because no such figures reach the public as new spending power without having somewhere originated as such debt. Debt involves spending and consuming in advance of earning and producing, and hence the crime of debasing the currency is now permanently built-in to our monetary system under the name of inflation. This in turn imposes a moral strain upon the whole population - mathematically caught as it is in a trap of collapsing incomes and savings from which it struggles to escape by demanding, whining for, howling for, quarrelling, striking and picketing for, more and more and more money-figures in a futile attempt to make up .the deficiency, or even to get ahead of it.
Debit-Finance Necessitates Waste
At the same time, on the management side, debt-finance rules completely. Everything must give way to it. Money-profit must be made at all costs of real waste and squandering of energy, materials, truth, honesty, common sense, courtesy, even simple, basic, normal human efficiency. We have become so accustomed to the wild, insane, sub-human inefficiency of all large, computerised businesses which, from the human point of view, have not the practical intelligence of a mentally deficient five-year-old child that we now take it for granted. Only the elderly, who can remember when this was very much less so, are still aware of it.
True! the correction of our inflationary debt-system would not change human nature, nor result in a Utopia, nor solve all our problems, but it would cast aside an intolerable moral burden, and render their solution possible, which at present is simply, mathematically, impossible. To blame the staggering and retrograde steps of a man trying to climb a hill dragging a useless ton-weight entirely on his weakness, is not the best way to help him recover his strength and will-power.
The tremendous publicity for Green ideas has achieved something in the field of economics. We now have a vogue for 'environmental' or 'ecological' economics which is trying to include money-estimates of the environmental cost of projected schemes in the general financial costing. Perhaps this is better than nothing. At the time of writing the proposal to privatize the power industry has proved impracticable for the nuclear part of it because of the huge, but quite incalculable and open-ended costs and uncertainties of nuclear safety and of waste disposal. When these are included, nuclear power, it seems, becomes quite 'uneconomic'.
It never was in real terms ; but it is characteristic of our 'economics' that there is no realisation of this until an attempt is made to put it in terms of entirely unpredictable ever-inflating credit-figures. Ironically, this is contemporaneous with much advertising of the cleanness and safety of nuclear power as compared with power from fossil fuels, since it produces no Greenhouse gases, So how now do we calculate the cost in imaginary future interest on imaginary future debt of the emission of such gases and their problematical effect on planetary warning?
Economics From the Bottom Up
What is needed now is not an attempt to graft the personal quality of caring for people as individuals onto an impersonal, numerical power-system as seen from the credit-creator's and usurer's point of view, but to invert the whole thing, and create an economics from the point of view of the producer and consumer who live in the real world, producing and consuming real things or services, and are the frustrated victims of inflation and debt. Economics from the Bottom Up, it has been called, and it looks entirely different from the accepted Economics from the Top Down.
First of all, let us get our nomenclature right. What is commonly called 'credit' is the moneylender's term. To us its proper name is debt' ; but try that on the academic economist as the general term for credit-money and you will soon discover from which side he views it, and regards it, moreover, as a taken-for-granted and immutable reality !
Now what, in our experience, is the chief characteristic of debt? It is to do with time is it not? It is a time-grab. As the advertisements say : Have now, pay later ! It is buying past real production with future money income. That means that there must be a future money income and not only that which we need for a livelihood but also that which has already been spent in advance, plus its cost in usury. Under present circumstances for most people that means 'employment' by a paymaster who is under similar but larger-scale pressure to repay debt as well as keeping his business going, which means in profit.
Inflation a Mortgage on the Earth
Is it not manifest that continual inflation of costs, which is from our point of view the debasement of our money, is mathematically and inescapably built-in to our economy as it is to our experience ? That this places a vast burden upon human nature in the form of temptation to all the vices of avarice, greed and envy as well as fear, despair and puritanic condemnation, is sadly obvious, but even apart from that the imposed necessity of 'have-now-pay-later' cannot help expressing itself materially in that constant mortgaging of the planet's future of which we are at last becoming aware.
Top-Down Economics is irrevocably committed to the maintenance of a totalitarian interest-bearing credit-money (in our terms debt-money) as a means of government and control for which it is quite openly used by all governments on the advice of selected economists. The various 'devices' for 'fighting' the consequent built-in inflation such as making money-lending outrageously greedy in terms of interest, thus increasing the cost of everything bought on credit (notably houses) or limiting wage-incomes thus increasing consumers' need for more borrowing while scaring them off it, are quite insane from the Bottom-Up view-point. But from the Top-Down viewpoint they all increase the money-control which is the essence of the modern form of slavery. Since our present credit-economy with its positive feed-back would automatically proceed to hyperinflation and total breakdown unless throttled from time to time, and likewise to breakdown through recession if the throttling were too violent or prolonged, this stop-go manipulation of our economic lives has become a major part of the art of government.
One consequence of Top-Down economics is the progressive centralisation of production and supply, and so the economy becomes more and more completely 'supply-led' with money-return becoming more and more the sole consideration as to what is produced, and therefore either wasted or consumed at a price which includes the wasting.
Consumer's Interest Sacrificed
Only those with longish memories can realize the extent to which the consumer's interest, economy, convenience and time are being progressively ignored by the supplier and producer in favour of their own short-term, monetary consideration, whether as managers or wage-earners. Examples are innumerable, almost universal.
Believe it or not, once in London and other large cities a letter or post card posted in the morning would be delivered the same day. The postage stamp for the current letter rate, whatever it was, was always red, and colours were clearly distinguishable, not as now. Passenger's heavy luggage sent 'luggage in advance' by rail would be delivered at the address about when they arrived themselves.
Consider what is thought to be the 'efficiency' of large businesses which pester us in our millions with what is now known as 'the junk mail.' In what terms is it 'profitable' to send out thousands of unwanted circulars to get a tiny proportion of sales? Certainly in real terms it is a scandalous loss. Consider the trees, the felling, transporting, pulping, transporting, printing, trimming, transporting, enveloping, posting, sorting, postal delivery, opening, scanning, discarding, collecting as rubbish, dumping, with each operation itself only a pan of an endless regress of energy, effort and materials waste. Ah ! but it 'makes money' (i.e. collects it from others) and money must be 'made' or we sink into bankruptcy, i.e. irretrievable debt.
Sabotage of Lives, Energy, Resources
Every reader will have experienced the innumerable trivial wastes and interruptions of life which are imposed upon us all : each trivial perhaps in itself, but when multiplied by millions they give us a glimpse of the immense sabotage, both of our lives and of the world's energy and resources, which is being carried out in the name of money-profit, and of money-slavery called 'employment.' If the hiring of labour were required only for the work of supplying people with what they want, as efficiently as possible in real terms, the amount of employment could be reduced to a fraction - far less than half what it is now -and with it the expenditure of energy and of the earth's resources.
This is no exaggeration ; if anything an understatement. How often nowadays is a job done promptly and properly, first time off? How often does an enquiry lead us straight to someone who knows his business as most tradesmen or craftsmen used to ? Most large organisations are less than quarter-witted in dealing with the individual customer. They can deal only in standard forms and we all have ghastly stories of the waste of energy and fury necessary to batter a way through to someone who can use some intelligence and responsibility.
Consider the commercial use of the computer, which is increasingly being used, not so much to relieve the human mind of purely mechanical calculations but as a substitute for human properties of common sense, intelligence and consideration for others, so that these properties are noticeably disappearing from people in the commercial scene. They are being mentally 'pithed' by being hired for non-use of their faculties.
We are indeed slaves. Having escaped from chattel slavery which has prevailed over most of human history, we are now caught in the net of collective, numerical slavery to masters who are for the most part remote and anonymous, operating through money, media and bureaucracy.
What about the positive side of it ? What of the great advances of science and technology, the convenience and comforts of all these things : money itself, and credit cards, computers, Radio and TV, the advances in medicine and in longevity, central heating, more comfortable and faster cars, air travel and so on ? Can all these be wholly bad and disastrous ? Of course not ! Most of these things could be used properly if we were but free to do so, as many of us try. But under the constant and growing pressure of debt to mortgage the future our efforts, though not to be despised, must remain marginal while it does not pay a livelihood (except for a few in a special luxury market) to do a decent, honest, reliable job at a price which most people can pay.
Qualitative Intelligence or Quantitative Operation ?
It goes far deeper than is generally realised. Debt has always existed since money existed, but the rapid (in historical terms) transformation of money from a real metal coinage of intrinsic value to a symbolic accountancy system based entirely on interest-bearing debt - a transition which has been completed only during this century - was a necessary condition for the equally and excessively rapid revolution in those industrial arts which have replaced qualitative human intelligence, care and attention with a witless and incredibly wasteful, quantitative, mechanical operation.
It is indeed true that many of the benefits of our civilisation have been grabbed too soon and out of context through mortgaging the future by means of 'credit,' and we should now be hard put to it to do without them. It is also true that the present scale of waste and destruction would be quite impossible without 'credit,' and the monstrous scale of those orgies of massacre known as World War I would have been out of the question.
No Limit to Figures on Paper
The nature of this change from the real (if inapt) to the unreal is fundamental and quite radical. There is a natural limit to 'real money,' whether it is of gold or even paper and figuresif they correspond in amount to real wealth ; there is so much, and when that is used, there is no more. But there is no limit to figures on paper issued at will on criteria related only to the recovery of more figures on paper, let alone in a computer.
As we are learning now, there are limits to the earth's resources : but there are no limits to 'credit,' as the Wars have made clear. So what are we to think of an 'economics' which achieves its objectives of maximum employment with an export surplus for all, impossible in peace time, only under the conditions of a total World War ?
Buying goods made yesterday and the services of to-day with tomorrow's money (on top of to-day's) is of the very essence of inflation. Indeed it is inflation, better called devaluation of money. Grab and gobble and leave the paying til later is built into it ; and it may not be tomorrow or next year, or next decade, or next century we are leaving to pay for it : it may be next millenium, or, as they aptly call it, never-never, because inflation will in time look after that for us, rendering today's money-debt negligible.
The price, though, will be real (i.e. non-monetary) and cumulative, and totally outwithall monetary computation. And it is no earthly use making appeals to religion or ethics or care or reason or other human qualities to numerical units of the money-controlled mass, whether as units of money-grab or money-spend, for they are not being treated as people, but as dehumanised extracts of humanity.
Historically the transition from metal coinage to paper credit is understandable. It was becoming intolerable that the productivity of a growing technology should be limited by the availability of gold, silver or other coined metals. The substitution of paper promises to pay them was convenient, but provided no more money until the crucial step was taken with the issue of more such promises than there was 'real money' backing them - nowadays referred to as 'fractional reserve banking.' This open fraud which liberated people from the stranglehold of gold was generally welcome to those who were financially aware, but it has never been mentally accepted by the bulk of the population who simply take whatever is 'officially' given them as 'money' now that its purported promise to pay 'real money' is generations past. Now even the 'fractional reserve' itself is a matter of credit at a Central Bank, so that the whole thing has become detached from any basis in reality.
Fraudulent Claim to Ownership
The fraud here lay not in the substitution of a paper and book-keeping accountacnt system for the unsatisfactory metal one, but in basing it 'fractionally' on gold and then claimingownership by the issue of extra claims to wealth so created at small cost, an ownership not extended to the physical and capital real wealth of the debtor if unable to repay it.
This is the point : not that lending and borrowing, i.e. investment, are necessarily bad in themselves ; but that the debt is generated in such a way that it can be repaid only by more debt. It is an unstable system with a positive feed-back towards breakdown. Moreover, with such a fraud at its base, its maintenance depending on public 'confidence' (i.e. credulity) that the 'real money' was there, monopolisation was built into it. In earlier days there were 'runs' on the smaller banks of depositors demanding their 'money.' Larger and remoter banks then had to take them over, until that process (but not the centralisation) ended with the 'moratorium' on the Bank of England in 1914, mentioned above, finally removing the last trace of meaning from the 'promise to pay' on the bank note, which by then had served its purpose of substituting bank paper for anything real.
The change to a total debt economy was essential for the frantic acceleration of real (non-monetary) expenditure which is now threatening the earth ; but without it there is no reason to doubt that many of the beneficial improvements in our lives which we now enjoy despite their poor quality and evil accompaniments, could have arrived more slowly, more selectively with more care and attention to real effects and with much less damage and waste. For instance, normal farming methods, now called 'organic' - a fad for the better-off - would have continued 'to pay,' as would decent, now called 'quality,' goods generally. The huge additional costs of energy, transport, fertilizers, pesticides, and for rapid replacement of shoddy goods and 'built-in obsolescence, would have ruled them out in price.
Time is the Essence
Time is the essence of this matter. It was the rate at which this grabbing from the future has been accelerated that has vastly increased the time-lag between most of the incomes paid out in production and the appearance of the product on the market, which can then be bought only by generating future debt. This, in any case, is inherent in the lengthening and complication of the processes of production, but is magnified by the grossly over-complex development of modern industry under debt-finance.
Though we still use coins and notes as 'cash' it is not widely understood that these are no longer 'money' in the old sense, but are now merely tangible units of bank-accountacy. My £1 coin or £5 note when paid in becomes a change in the shape of an arabic numeral, while the reverse takes place when the bank hands it out to someone else. Since money now has no material existence outside our minds, it is what we think it is, and can be made to serve such purposes as we wish. At present it is what the money-lenders have chosen to make it - a form of government - and its nature is as defined by the experts on finance and on debt-economics, the economists.
They are indeed the experts. They know best about this system of symbols which possesses a mathematical perfection, approaching the ideal of controlling people permanently by unrepayable debt, by requiring continual 'growth' to keep them 'employed,' by dividing and ruling them by continuous devaluation so as to keep up social conflict with continuous grievance and quarrelling for 'more money,' which requires constant striving for an 'export surplus' to pay internal debt, and which achieves its 'ideal ' of maximum central control and employment and squandering of human and non-human energy and resources in total war.
Finally, to return to that rare economist E. F. Schumacher - this sort of economics cannot be applied 'as if ' people mattered. It needs to be turned completely upside down, because, in reality, as he knew well, people do matter, as does the rest of the living world in which we live.
There is a real danger that many sensible people will reject the whole Green Movement as a hoax, because of the massive public misuse of Green propaganda and conservationist and environmental concepts by the very monetary and political agencies which are the main causes of environmental damage on a world scale. The constant mental bashing of the public with World Doom, Save the Planet, fear-propaganda, and the ruthless exploitation of Green language and images in advertising is producing its reaction.
There is indeed a monstrous hoax being practised on us, but most Greens are its victims rather than its perpetrators, although those who have become its willing agents have their responsibility. The hoax, in fact, preceded the Green Movement by at least twenty years, and was bound up with the engineering of the first World Threat (the Nuclear Holocaust) which is being replaced by the current World Eco-disaster now that the first is weakening. But most Greens are too young to remember this.
In my book "On Planning the Earth" (1951), of which this is a sequel, I gave a contemporary account of the first large-scale centralisation of power over people and the whole landscape in which they lived (the Tennessee Valley) by the financial and political use of environmentalist propaganda.
The sequence of events which has been followed ever since in one form or another, was as follows: first create a public scandal by monetary means. Then raise a great public outcry, blaming its victims as irresponsible and in need of 'taking over.' Then take over, amid tremendous propaganda about 'democracy,' conservation, the environment, etc. and perhaps carry out a few useful practices, but on a petty scale compared to the expenditure on the real purposes for which the whole project is undertaken. When this finally emerges and causes a public outcry, the whole business can start again.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (T.V.A.) was at once the proto-type, an example and a warning of the working out of this power policy, which is now fairly openly being applied to the whole world. It was an important part of the American New Deal, which was the name applied to what, elsewhere was called socialism, a name which aroused hostile feelings in the U.S.A. and therefore had to be avoided. **At the time of writing, with the breakdown of the socialist and communist style of control and surface ideologies in Eastern Europe, and a turning towards more open monetary control under the name of democracy, the example of the NEW DEAL, and the T.V.A. in particular, is especially worth studying.
** This part was written in July 1990. It was in 1991 that the Soviet System imploded.
First Bash Them, then Blame Them, then Take Over
This gave the excuse for the setting up of a centralised authority on what were described as new grounds of natural conservation, with control over the entire drainage area of the Tennessee River and its tributaries, thus over-riding State rights in no less than seven States. Conservation, flood control, and above all decentralisation, were the slogans under which the idea was 'sold' to Congress.
Vast sums of money were poured into the area, hundreds of thousands of jobs were created, colossal works of earth-moving were performed, world records in concreting, engineering and mechanisation were achieved, and so forth, and behold! unemployment was virtually abolished and prosperity descended upon the Valley. An enormous literature of propaganda and promotion was distributed, amounting to some 3,500 titles, of which the book entitled TVA - Democracy on the March, by David E. Lilienthal, the Chairman of the Authority, must be judged to have been the most widely read and influential.
What was achieved in the name of flood control was the permanent flooding of the fertile soil in all the main valleys, the drowning of villages, of houses, churches, graveyards, and the moving of the valley people (56,000 of them) to create the Great Lakes of the South, with much advertised fishing, boating, and industrial navigation. What was achieved in the name of conservation was the destruction of the valley farms, with some tree-planting, terracing, contour ploughing etc. of the valley slopes. But above all the farming population was 'educated' with a high-pressure programme on how to manage their farms in a modern way, with demonstration farms to show what big crops they could get with quick-acting, soluble super-phosphates (provided free) compared to the old, slow-acting mineral phosphates.
Since a flood-control dam needs an empty reservoir and a power-dam needs a full one, their purposes are incompatible; which meant building their 21 dams to a double height-the largest job of engineering and construction ever carried out in American history up to that time. It also involved employing tens of thousands of men, clearing more than 175,000 acres of land, relocating more than 1200 miles of roadway and 140 miles of railway, excavating some 30 million cubic yards of earth and rock and pouring and placing 113 million cubic yards of concrete and rock fill-more, it was boasted, than twelve times the bulk of the seven great pyramids of Egypt.
What then was the final product of this great organisation of 'Democracy on the March' to make the Tennessee River 'work for the people' 'by providing the second biggest source of electrical power in the U.S.A. and probably in the world? And why should a rural community need so much power? It was in fact completed barely in time for the Hitler war, and provided at one time about half the aluminium for the manufacture of American bombers, and, finally, from a vast industrial complex in the secret and heavily guarded valley of Oak Ridge, over which aircraft were forbidden to fly, the full flower of its achievement: one of the first two Atom Bombs, which inaugurated the era of Nuclear Psycho-Doom for a whole generation.
It should be mentioned also that Mr. David Lilienthal, the Chairman of the TVA and author of TVA-Democracy on the March, moved on to be Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and stayed on to be one of the four members of the Committee which recommended the manufacture of the vastly more powerful H-Bomb. So much, then, for mass-produced, passionate and persuasive verbal 'conservationism' with big money behind it.
If the people of the Tennesse Valley had been allowed a small fraction of the vast sums expended by the TVA along with some genuinely informed advice from the Soil Conservation Service where wanted, all the real improvements necessary to restore and conserve the soil could have been carried out without any of the monstrous interference with land, 'water and people which was imposed upon them by central direction. The valley lands could have been retained, and the floods restrained, mainly by afforestation and conservation of the higher terrains; where necessary by a few flood-control dams.
There was not then, and there is not now, any secret about the measures necessary to restore the land and conserve the soil; but all over the world they are beyond the powers of the debt-enslaved farmer. Tree-planting, contour ploughing, terracing, legumes, careful choice of crops to suit the soil and real needs rather than urgent cash-return, sub-soiling, and so on: they are all perfectly practicable. The world's supply of rock phosphate is strictly limited, but this plant nutrient is present in most subsoils and needs only to be circulated. The TVA produced soluble and concentrated super-phosphate using electric power at central factories and then 'sold' it to the farmers to give them sudden lush growth ; but the so-called world-wide phosphate problem can be solved only locally, in every place, by adopting the correct methods which are too slow to 'pay' even the interest, let alone the capital, of borrowed money.
Scale is What Matters
For an earlier generation of socialists it was possible to be persuaded of the idea that the perverted policies of the TVA, because they were in 'Capitalist' America, were an inescapable accompaniment of what they called 'Capitalism' ; the private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the operation of 'free' enterprise within such a system. They believed that these would disappear under 'Socialism': collective ownership as represented by control by the State. But this never was very tenable, and now the economic near-collapse of the greatest of socialist systems in the USSR has demolished that belief.
First of all, the TVA itself was a system of control by a Super-state Agency, socialist in all but name and claimed as such by the socialists in the USA. There is no evidence that free enterprise in farming-free, that is, from control by debt-agencies, is unable to treat the land properly and maintain its fertility. On the contrary, the evidence is all the other way. And now that almost complete central control of information by State Agencies in some Socialist States has broken down, it is manifest that the misuse of the land and the soil in them has been even grosser than in the so-called 'Capitalist' States. The USSR has, in fact, behaved like a Super-TVA, in which mass-propaganda, and the carrot of money and career-control, has been supplemented by the whip of secret police and the gulags.
Democracy-on the March
In the first rush of revolutionary enthusiasm in the USSR enormous collective State-farms of the size of a British County (e.g. one named G 'ant) were imposed upon the farming communities. They were of course a complete failure, and collective farming itself has been a disaster which has transformed the 'granary of Europe,' as Russia used to be called, into a net importer of grain to feed its people, and that at a miserable level despite the control of the greatest area of potentially fertile soil in the world.
Here again, as in the TVA, it was all done under slogans of 'Democracy on the March.' The land was first distributed to the peasants, then followed the liquidation of all the not quite so poor farmers (kulaks) the consequent famine and the 'democratic' herding of the rural population into the collective farms. Even so it was eventually found to be desperately necessary to allow the collective workers to cultivate and sell any surplus from their own little domestic plots.
Although heaven may be thanked that the monster scheme for diverting the great 'Northern-flowing rivers to the South has not so far materialised, there has been enough large-scale central Planning in the USSR to create environmental disasters, especially in the Central Asian republics. The pollution of the Caspian Sea is a case in point, and the allocation of the region around the Aral Sea to permanent cotton growing under massive irrigation from the regional rivers is converting the shrinking Aral Sea into a swampy saline bog.
'Socialism,' then, is not the answer. But neither is 'Capitalism.' Nor is the excessive consumption of the people themselves in the 'richer' countries under 'Capitalism' the prime cause of environmental disaster, since that can be worst where consumption is lowest. In every case it is remote, central control which is responsible for the major damage, and it is evident that there is one, world-wide influence, tending always towards remote control, which over-rides all others whether Socialist or Capitalist, and is so all-prevailing that people take it for granted. As indicated clearly in the last Chapter, this can only be the universal Debt-money System. Events in Eastern Europe which show a confused merging of the two ideologies, all under the general dominance of Money, surely confirm this, though it has long been obvious.
Sane People Under Insane Money Pressure
The ordinary city-dwellers' love for a garden or an allotment, for parks and woods and for 'escape' into the fresh-air and beauty of the countryside, is evidence enough of this. The ordinary, taken for granted, conservation work carried out without fuss by ordinary people has had little publicity, both before and after the label 'Green' began to be applied to it. All such work, which is the true work of the genuine 'Greens' as, indeed, it is a major part of the true work of mankind, is essentially local, as the land is local, the people who live on it are local, pollution and destruction are local.
Just as local pollution on an ever greater and more widespread scale can ultimately achieve damaging global effects, so also can local restoration and conservation, spreading here, there and everywhere, ultimately achieve global effects. There is no other way. The fantasy of starting at the Top with some wholesale Saving of the Planet by World Agencies employing super-clever scientists is just childish. Remote centralised interference can cause enormous, even global, damage ; it can never restore it. Growth is not of that nature. It is localised, not wholesale. You cannot 'grow' a tree, or a forest, in the time it takes to cut it down! The most that central governments and their agencies can do is to allow local restoration and right treatment of the land to give a reasonable living, as they should, and to discourage centralised agencies from imposing destructive practices, usually by financial means.
The Real Work, Decentralised
There is now, of course, an enormous literature generated by the Green Movement, varying from the fringes of professional ecology, concepts and fashions in land-planning and landscape architecture, to fantasy, politics, economies, philosophy and religion ; and buried among it accounts by groups and sub-groups and individuals of their practical efforts to rescue and heal the patch of land over there or down the end of the road. It is a rich and living literature, often confused by abstract verbiage and the pounding we all get from the media, but behind it is this core of practical efforts.
Their variety is as great as that of the habitats: anything from simply protecting a self-sown patch, planting it with native species, digging up concrete and asphalt, making pools, mini-gardens, mini-parks, allotments, school nature reserves and nature trails, planting city heaths and woodlands, to making actual farms with livestock and arable fields on derelict land in a city. Most of this was done with volunteer labour and funds, which drew people together and restored hope and health and neighbourly spirit. Some of the most successful efforts were made in the places where city riots had occurred, notably in Toxteth (Livepool) and Bristol.
One great virtue of these small-scale, volunteer projects is that they are very cheap since they aim to conform with the natural, self-maintaining ecosystem of plants and animals, in contrast to the need to chop, clear, mow, spray, plough up, and perhaps apply herbicides in order to establish and maintain an artificial community, whether it is an agricultural or horticultural crop, or tidy civic park. After a time, however, in many places such local enthusiasm begins to change the attitude of local government and draw from public funds. The Manpower Services Commission might supply some of the labour.
More extensive schemes might be undertaken with an ecological approach. Certain sites, also, might be beyond reclamation without careful research which would attract the ecologists at the local College or University. The Upper Swansea Valley was such a site, and many dumps of raw, acid colliery waste or quarry tip-heaps. At Liverpool University Professor Tony Bradshaw and his colleagues have developed techniques for vegetating such sites, and it is probable that, given time and study, there will be few if any sites which it will be impossible to transform into a more natural, green habitat.
Such growth, from the Bottom Up,
This is an entirely different thing from the centralised imposition of some 'ecological' theory from the Top Down by Councils or Planning committees.
The Local World Part Six by Geoffrey Dobbs
The word 'Green,' used as in 'The Green Movement,' has many meanings, 'but I propose to deal with only three of them.
First, there is the real, decentralized activity in co-operation with the environment of which I mentioned a few examples at 'the end of the last Chapter. It is carried out by innumerable people, singly, in families, in groups, mostly small but growing into larger ones. It includes everyone who lovingly and carefully cultivates a garden, or a plot or a farm or an estate along what, before the vogue for artificial fertilisers and pesticides, used to be taken for granted as normal, sensible lines.
There was no need to make a fuss about it, to call it organic, conservationist, or 'Green,' until the gross shortcomings of chemical farming under financial pressure for quantity for its cash return, reached scandalous proportions. Even to attempt to summarise such a basic activity of mankind would be impossible, and if it were not, undesirable, as it would involve reducing it to a thing seen from a single, central viewpoint.
Separate, but parallel, and ultimately converging upon the environmental movement, was the great growth of natural history societies and field clubs starting in the later part of the nineteenth century, and the detailed observations of the relationships between organisms and their environment, notably those of Darwin on earthworms and orchids, of de Bary and Schwendener on lichens, of Frank on tree mycorrhizas, and the beginnings of soil microbiology and of ecology as distinct studies about 'the turn of the century.
Haeckel, indeed, used the word 'oecology' as early as 1873, for what was called 'the oeconomy of plants and animals.' In 1879 de Bary coined the word symbiosis. But here I have moved on to the second meaning of the current word 'Green' as applied to a movement of thought and language, rather than practical activity, though of course the two are inseparable.
The direct precursor of the 'Green' movement was the movement for organic farming and gardening, notably associated with The Soil Association, formed in 1945, with its regular journals and other publications, but also its well-known research farms near Haughley in East Suffolk, England. One of these farms had been owned and farmed continuously since 1920 by Lady Eve Balfour whose book The Living Soil (1944) summarised much of the relevant practical and ecological work up to that time.
Those Practical Pioneers
India, indeed, seems to have been a great training school for the pioneers of what is now referred to as human ecology. Sir Robert McCarrison, formerly Director of Research on Nutrition there, found the great variety of peoples, of health and physique, and of agriculture and diets, immensely instructive, and found that parallel results were obtained with experimental rats fed on the same foods as those eaten by the humans. Fertile, well-farmed land, he found, produced nourishing foods and good physique; poor, run-down land produced poor foods and poor physique. Dr. G. T. Wrench, who, like McCarrison, had been an officer of the Indian Medical Service, in his book The Wheel of Health described the Hunza people whose exceptional health and vitality he attributed to their careful return of all wastes to the soil and the wholesome diet obtained from their cultivation of it.
At home, Dr. L. J. Picton drafted a Medical Testament based upon the experience of 600 family doctors in Cheshire, which was published in 1939, and declared that "our daily work brings us repeatedly to the same point: that illness results from a lifetime of wrong nutrition." At Peckham in South London, Dr. Scott Williamson and his wife Dr. Innes Pearse set up the unique Pioneer Peckham Health Centre, a club for families in which they were able to study, not the ill-health, but the health of normal people, and its relationship not only to diet but to ways of living. They defined 'health' as a process of mutual synthesis of organism and environment.
It is a sad thing that the National Health Service took little notice of the Cheshire doctors' Testament, and gave no support to the Peckham Centre, which had to be closed down. The parallel growth of the movement for Nature Cure over the same period has had a powerful but unacknowledged influence on public thinking about health and diet. A booklet by the late Ralph L. Duck, The Nature Cure of our Social Disorder, provides a link between the two fields of individual and social health.
Stifled by War and Finance
In Wales Sir George Stapledon established the ley system of temporary, deep-rooting pasture which is then ploughed in to provide the fertility for other crops until it is sown again. At Aberystwyth he also bred the grasses and clovers which were the main basis of this grassland revolution, providing us with much of the fertility that fed us during the War. He was, however, much more than our greatest grassland specialist. His last book, Human Ecology was published posthumously in 1964.
The importance for the nutrition of trees of symbiosis with fungi on their roots (mycorrhizas) was demonstrated by Dr. M. C. Rayner and her husband, Professor W. Neilson-Jones, who showed that the association was markedly encouraged by the use of compost in forest nurseries. Though somewhat derided at the time, the importance of mycorrhizas is now widely acknowledged and the subject of much research.
Most of this work and writing took place in the 1920's and 30's. The Men of the Trees goes back to 1922 when it was founded in Kenya by Richard St. Barbe Baker and Chief Josiah Njonjo. No one else can have achieved so much in the planting and preservation of trees and the reclamation of deserts as St. Barbe Baker in his long lifetime, but only recently can it be said that these activities are regarded as 'respectable' by the Forestry Establishment, if they are yet!
This brief resume of some of the pioneers of the 'organic' movement who most impressed me or with whom I had contact in the years before their viewpoint became popular, is included because, though they were often called 'cranks' or 'fanatics,' they were, in fact, exceptionally sane and balanced people, of unusual originality and moral courage, whose theories were always based upon detailed and lengthy practical experience, and were always constructive, however critical of current ideas and practices. This was in contrast to a great deal of the 'Green' literature which has followed although the best of it, and notably Schumacher's, is clearly a continuation of the same sane and practical approach.
And so we come again to Silent Spring in 1962 - another survey of human ill-use of the environment, this time by pesticides, but it ends with a constructive chapter on biological methods of control. Why did we have to wait for this before the environment became a matter of world-wide, popular concern? We have to remember that the previous half-century had been devoted to two World Wars, separated by a disastrous monetary depression. Never was there time or money to give priority to the long view, or to deeper thinking on the scale required, and the seed which the pioneers had sown was not allowed to grow to maturity.
Moreover, during all this period, the concentration of money-power, media-power, and the control of mass-mentality had been growing with acceleration. In war, central control of information and morale is a part of the process and tends to create a habit of mental dependence, though the actual experiences of war do bind people down to reality. But a generation of town-dwellers whose 'wars' consist of print-marks, radio voices, films and, later, of moving spots of light on a TV screen which make a trompe l'oeil of reality is helplessly vulnerable to mass mental and emotional control, whether about wars, money, politics, jobs, goods, morals, nature or anything else.
I am not concerned here to blame them. They are the first generation to be subjected to almost continuous media-conditioning until they can scarcely distinguish the symbol from the reality, the reference from the referent. But it is these people who are now to a large extent our rulers, in executive and official positions, and the consequences of their actions - such as a million 'boat people' fleeing from communist Vietnam, or war, chaos, corruption and famine wherever debt-finance promotes communist control in Africa - is unreal to them compared to their long-ago induced feelings. Provided they felt right at the time, they feel no responsibility for the result of their actions in the real world which is so unreal to them.
And so we come to the third sort of Green Movement, that which dominates the media to-day, the Green Movement of Big Money and power politics, of ideology, words, slogans, print, images rather than action, which imagines it is succeeding because it has been found useful to the centralising power-hierarchy and its underlings.
While books such as The Rape of the Earth and Silent Spring seem to me to have been legitimate warnings based upon careful study and experience, the late 1960's and early 1970's saw the beginnings of a spate of alarmist literature which has continued to the present day. Much of this emanated from the universities and was largely speculative, expressing the attitudes of the Nuclear Doom generation transferred to the threat of Planetary Doom by eco-disaster.
Doom-Fear: a Technique of Control
Of course, he can have much that is right on his side, but this has to be buried in a mass of home-made philosophy and under an alarming title, such as The Population Bomb, The End of Affluence, Blue-Print for Survival, and so on. And of course, there is a great variation in the quality of the writers and in what the popular media select for sensation out of their writings. If one out of hundreds of scientists who have been discussing a subject gives a Doomster's view of it, then he is represented as speaking for Science. A speculative opinion becomes a statement of fact.
So it is not surprising that the next generation of 'Greens' has inherited the same attitudes, including a strong dose of moral superiority and a plethora of advice and instructions to everyone on how to amend their lives and habits to avoid the threatened eco-disaster in ways which are impossible for most people without a radical change in the debt system and those who operate it. But to demand that, which is the key to the whole situation, is to confront the power which dominates Mankind and virtually 'to blaspheme against the World Religion. At the very least it means being excluded from even the remotest corridors of power and publicity. So far as I can discover, none of the leading pundits of the Green Movement has yet ventured to face the obvious and known facts about Money, though vague denunciations of Banks, Big Business, Multinationals and 'Capitalism,' along with human greed and acquisitiveness are fairly routine.
The Third Temptation of Christ: to acquire power over all the kingdoms of the Earth (i.e. megapolitics) in return for an act of worship of the Evil One (i.e. that power which corrupts politics) is a temptation impossible to resist by any person or group which sets out to improve the lot of Mankind in a big way. Indeed, few of those who automatically fall for it are aware that it is a temptation at all. It is taken for granted that if you want to do anything in a big way you must 'succeed' in attracting the favour of the Powers that Be, the greatest and most corrupting of which is the Money-Power.
Inevitably, therefore, that part of the Green Movement which has ample access to the media, which appears to be 'succeeding' in influencing both politics and big business and big-money advertising, is that which has already (in these terms) sold its soul to the Devil.
Just because money has always been the most powerful, and hence corruptible, invention of mankind, it has not been generally realised to what extent its more recent development into an abstract and symbolic form has favoured centralisation with its increasing domination of all aspects of human life, to the exclusion of the realities of this planet. That money should be the limiting and determining factor in virtually every activity is an experience so deeply embedded in most people's consciousness that even those, such as the 'Greens,' who are trying to concern themselves with the reality of nature, find it scarcely possible to escape thinking of money as that reality.
Is This Progress ?
Is the enormous and growing volume of print, and meetings, conferences, broadcasting etc. devoted to 'raising the public consciousness' of Green issues really 'saving the environment' any more than merely acting as a cover for its accelerating destruction? Is ecology, the study and understanding of our environment, especially of living things, and of how to live with them, a matter for governments, for laws, for officialdom, and for remote, centralised control, whether direct or via the mass media?
There was a time, before 'ecology' became a political term, when this would have been a purely rhetorical question to anyone concerned with the environment, obviously and unnecessarily demanding the answer 'No! remote control of the land is always disastrous !' But now, alas! the answer we get from the most vocal elements in the Green Movement is 'Yes! How can anything be done fast enough and on a wide enough scale unless it is done by Governments and by the big agencies which influence public opinion?'
'Act locally, think globally' is a fine slogan, but the second half is much easier than the first. It can be done comfortably in an armchair, at a word-processor, a conference, a TV studio or a parliament and with a bit of talent with words can lead to fame, status and money. Acting locally, on the other hand, leads to none of these things, but quite often to an aching back, grubby hands, wet clothes, but also satisfaction and fellowship. So now we have Green Parties popping up everywhere, and the major Parties stealing their policies in order not to lose votes to them. Germany, of course, led the way in this, and has even gained a few members in Parliament, though their original electoral impetus seems to have been somewhat lost. In Britain the Green Party at present gets about 5% of the vote, but is certainly influencing the policies of the other Parties. Is this a good thing?
The Party Power-Game
The first thing that the Green influence seems to favour is the increased use of the Government's money-power to manipulate the lives of the people, whether by specific grants or differential taxation. Agriculture having been grossly distorted to produce 'mountains' of wheat, butter, beef, etc. by financial manipulation under the Common (Market) Agricultural Policy (C.A.P.) it now has to be money-bribed by grants to lay aside land for what is deemed to be less imbecile use. While it is true that farming has been rendered impossible without either debt or subsidy, it is the use of debt-mongered inflation for any sort of remote grant-control of the land which is objectionable and usually disastrous Anytime now we may be faced with shortages instead of gluts.
When it comes to taxation, that is, to increasing the deficiency of debt-free income, increasing the need to borrow, economic pressure and social conflict generally, as a means of forcing the money-slaves into a deep green consideration for the environment - this complete inversion of what is needed is just what happens when power-seeking takes over.
The natural course of centralised control confronted with a genuine protest against the results of its policy on the environment is to select some single objectionable item, make a great fuss about that -say, additive X in some food - then perhaps impose financial penalties for adding X to food, or make a fortune by advertising and selling X-free food.
Selling Us Unknown for Known Dangers
The domestic open coal or wood fire may be far less efficient in converting fuel into heat than the remote power station, and the smoke pollution it causes is clearly visible and local; but how far does it spread as compared with the pollution from the high stack of the power station, and how much of the station's output is lost in conversion to electricity, and from electricity to heat again and in its transport for long distances? The open fire not only warms but ventilates and gives psychological comfort which the remotely fed electric fire cannot. And how much fuel is burnt in power stations merely to keep up the voltage in the Grid and how often is it in excess of that needed for the actual amount of current beneficially consumed ? How certain can we be that the centralised method is more efficient and less harmful than the local one ?
Avoiding the use of wood from tropical rainforests may slow their destruction a little, but only in so far as our import of timber from those rainforests is still a factor in their degradation. Is it ? Which timber ? Which forest ? Japan and some other countries import huge amounts; but it needs looking into before any wholesale propaganda assault is made on the tropical timber trade. Logging is still destroying some forests, but it might turn out that, for us, the import of corned beef or soya beans is a more serious factor in the clearing of rain forest. Wholesale 'green' propaganda campaigns are mostly very crude and dubious in their effects.
The Shot-Gun Hate Campaign
The question is: what animals should not be hunted, where and by whom ? which requires detailed local knowledge, not sentiment. But the massive and attractive television propaganda for saving what is called 'wildlife,' which usually means large and remote animals, to be 'saved' by doing something symbolic: wearing slogans on T-shirts or badges, indulging in sponsored runs, joining a club of elephant or rhino friends has about as much relevance to the problem as any other form of magic. It was recently reported (Oct. 10 1990) that 34 poachers had been shot for the loss of 28 rhinos. The poachers were, of course, trying to get money for the rhino horns. So far 100 poachers have been shot in the great Green 'war to save the rhino.' How Green is that ?
All this does of course save the trouble of actually doing something about the local ecology which primarily depends upon the plants and their habitat, as indeed does the whole of life on the planet. Most of that sort of work, in so far as it is unpaid, is not done by self-advertised Greens but by the old-fashioned people of the naturalist type, the members of the Naturalist Trusts, the Men of the Trees, and other conservation groups.
Real Ecology on the Wane
Re-cycling paper, glass, aluminium and other materials is a good idea. Many people are prepared to go to the trouble of sorting them out separately in their garbage, but find that no one will collect them. Like many other conservation measures, it doesn't pay in ever-inflating debt-money, though in real terms it may, in some cases, pay in terms of' recovering real wealth. Even here, though, there is a price. Recycled paper for writing or printing requires extra bleaching as well as removal of the short broken fibres. We cannot cheat the second law of thermodynamics!
The Vast Disruption of the Food Cycle
The treatment of sewage by bacteria in sewage farms and its return to the land as fertilizer is a step towards restoring the cycle though it is still not general, and there are complications, as there is with town garbage, due to the vast volume of toxic metals, pesticides; detergents and drugs which are poured down into our sewers. Even our bodies, when we have finished with them, mostly pollute the air instead of enriching the soil, while far too much of our organic wastes still go into the rivers and the sea. Why, then, this vast squandering of real wealth ? Money, of course! It would cost far too much in computerised accountancy not to waste it. It is futile to argue about population and food supply so long as this one-way pouring of nutrient from the land into the sea continues.
Our Collective Insanity
In this respect those prominent members of the Green Movement who emit a strident and self-righteous demand that people should be forced or mentally manipulated into acting contrary to the mathematical demands of debt-money at the cost of personal loss and often poverty or bankruptcy, provide a useful tool for controlling the public, and doubtless enjoy the sensation of power and credit-status which goes with it.
That is not to say that, things being as they are, all possible effort must not be made to modify our lives to co-operate with our environment rather than destroy it, to act in support of those forces of recuperation which restore the balance of nature, to be symbionts rather than parasites and a part of that great mutualism which clothes our planet with life.
But as things are, all such efforts are crippled and limited by the constant money-need to mortgage the future and to seek continual economic 'growth' and 'money-jobs' as the main means of living.
Globally, even nationally, the effects of our present efforts can be only marginal, so long as the main cause of our collective insanity remains.
The Local World - Part VII by Geoffrey Dobbs
The Greenhouse Effect, that is the warming of the Earth's surface through the blanketing influence of certain gases in the atmosphere which reduce the radiation into space at infra-red wavelengths from the surface and may re-radiate them downwards, is, and always has been, a natural phenomenon without which the planet could not be habitable. Of late, however, the term has been massively used to suggest that this phenomenon is something artificial, caused by human activities, notably the burning of coal, oil and wood with release of carbon dioxide into the air; and, moreover, that this 'threatens the planet.'
There can be no doubt that the Greenhouse Effect has in recent years become a prime instrument of the globalizers for mass-conditioning the public mind in favour of their World Power-Centralizing objective. That is not to say or imply that there is nothing in it, that it is all a hoax. It seems highly improbable that the sudden (in geological terms) extra gasification of some of the planet's stored hydrocarbons from the rocks into the atmosphere could have no influence on this natural climatic phenomenon. But that influence must be extremely complex in its effects, and despite constant arguments no one so far has been able to put the human contribution into its proper scale beside the vastly greater natural one.
In considering this matter I propose to start at the most important end; with what is being projected at children which, incidentally, gives a simple summary or outline of what is being projected at all of us. Indeed, when we are considering the collective psyche, knowledge or intelligence plays no part in it, and adulthood has little bearing on the mass-image received. For this purpose I find a coloured poster-diagram occupying a two-page spread in the Daily Telegraph's 'Young' Edition (20 Oct. 1990) particularly helpful, since it is an enlarged version taken from that in the Friends of the Earth Yearbook.
This poster, then, shows an arc of the Earth's surface and atmosphere covered in by overlapping panes representing the 'Greenhouse' outside which are purple clouds and a great Sun-symbol, pouring down yellow rays of 'Heat.' Also the big red words, GLOBAL WARMING, which, it says: Is the greatest environmental threat facing the planet, but we can prevent the worst effects if we act quickly and cut emissions of so-called 'greenhouse gases.
Save us from Save-the-Planetism !
I'm sorry, but the first part of this is propagandist bilge, along with all the "Save the Planet" sloganism! The Friends of the Earth know perfectly well that no global warming mankind could achieve would be any threat to the planet. The question they rightly wish to raise is whether it may be a threat to our present civilisation and to many human beings and other forms of life. The second part is, at least, dubious, since it begs this and a number of other large questions.
The poster shows big yellow arrows of 'heat' radiating from the Earth and returning back "trapped by 'greenhouse' gases." In the centre is the "Polar ice cap melting" and causing a vast "Flooding," and to either side of it are pictures of the human causes of this global warming. Starting on the left we have "Rubbish Dumps." "As rubbish rots" (it says) "it gives off methane gas." No hint that it need not do so. Then there is a whirl of traffic giving off carbon dioxide. Next are smoking power station chimneys giving off huge amounts of carbon dioxide from coal, oil or gas to make electricity. In the foreground are the inevitable cooling towers which emit steam, but are nearly always depicted in pictures of air pollution. On the other side of the great flood are a mass of "Aerosols, Fridges and Plastic Foam" giving off CFC Gas. Then we have more "carbon dioxide released by burning trees," with a picture of "Burning Rain Forests" and finally "Cattle 'Ranching" with the cows giving off methane (but why specially on ranches as compared with more intensive farming?).
What is noticeable about this is that it is all vaguely alarmist and antagonistic to something or other and completely isolated from any idea of the balance of nature or of anything positive which the children could do, such as growing things, planting and protecting trees, or making their own compost. They get from it no realisation that carbon dioxide and methane are an essential part of a vast circulation of which the human contribution makes but a small fraction. How big a fraction? - that is the real question. But since our children (and most of their parents) have been deprived by exclusive decimal teaching of the power of thinking habitually in fractions, which are ratios and essential to all biological thinking, we have become helplessly vulnerable to this kind of unbalanced propaganda. It is ironic that it should be put over in the name of 'ecology.' It could scarcely be more anti-ecological!
The great principle seems to be to avoid anything positive or genuinely 'green' in case it reduces the impact of the fear-propaganda. Don't tell the children that rubbish can be composted and properly aerated so that it forms a valuable plant food and soil improver; shove in the cooling towers because the steam looks more alarming than chimney smoke; don't on any account mention that forest fires are a part of the natural ecology of many forests, and that not only cattle but a lot of people (especially vegetarians!) excrete 'greenhouse' gases. Indeed, we all do every time we breathe out the carbon dioxide from our lungs, as does every living thing when it respires.
Above all, it seems, the children must not be given any idea of the vast forces and activities on the other side of the balance: the immense fact of photosynthesis, that carbon dioxide is the aerial food of the plants on which we all live; that its efficiency increases both with warmth and with the amount in the air; even that in real greenhouses which are near power plants they pipe it in to increase the growth of the crop.
One-sided centralist Propaganda
My main objection to this one-sided, negative and adversarial presentation of environmental policy to the public and especially to children is that it is essentially symbolic and selectively centralist both in intention and in effect. Children are being taught to look to and to trust, unknown, remote, allegedly powerful and super-clever agencies to save the environment, just as they are being conditioned to rely upon similarly remotely controlled agencies to feed, clothe, house and doctor them. Their function is to swallow the prescribed opinions and to agitate for the prescribed objectives which are usually remote and unverifiable. Also to collect funds for them.
Thus we shall have another mob of young know-alls with implanted opinions who will impatiently reject anyone who happens to have practical knowledge of any matter under consideration. This is, indeed, in line with the 'progressive element' in education who believe that the young should be taught to form opinions without being troubled with facts.
It may, of course, be argued that because the situation is far too complex and controversial to present intelligibly to children, or to the general public, it is justifiable to select the salient points and present them simply. This would be true if the points selected did constitute a balanced, if simplified, presentation, but they do not; and if, in fact, the situation is too complex and speculative not only for children, but for the many scientists and other specialists who are working on it and discussing it, then it should not be presented at all to children or the public as a series of ascertained facts.
* * * * * *
While the global effect of human activities is at present largely unknown and speculative, many of their local effects are both visible and damaging, and it is these that call for urgent efforts for discontinuance and for restoration where possible. People are far more willing to take action where the results can be seen than where it all depends on a blind faith in propaganda, and both the damage and its consequences are matters of print and images, and physically remote from themselves. To be sure, massive and instant returns can be obtained but they are temporary, unless the conditioning is remorseless, continued to the point of boredom and apathy.
At the same time, there can be no doubt that a multitude of similar local effects, as determined by the uniformity of our money-culture, must add up to some aggregate effects on the very complex systems of the planet. There is an obvious analogy between the 'health' of the planet and that of a human being, but there is also a vital difference where it breaks down, namely one of scale. Though complex enough we are a very small part of the planet; the planet is not a small part of us but much too big for us to grasp quickly in its immensity and complexity, and we have only just started attempting this. We have some primitive ideas now, but it will take a few generations at least to get anywhere with any certainty.
'Global Thinking in Time'
Despite much talk about 'global thinking' and 'holism,' when it comes to the information they give to the general public, much of the Green outpouring is limited to the speculative large-scale effects of human activities as if they existed in a vacuum, instead of being against an unimaginably vast background of natural events, wholly (thank God) beyond the reach of human interference.
We are a part not only of the planet Earth, but, if we are going to be holistic, of the vastly greater Solar System, which in turn is something like a hundred-billionth of the Galaxy, itself a part of the local Group of Galaxies (including two satellites, the Magellanic Clouds) and they are all part of the Universe. Admittedly, the space-and-time-scale on which all beyond the Solar System operate is totally beyond any relating to ours. We can regard them only as a fixed background, largely beyond our knowledge or understanding, however many new 'universes' the astrophysicists churn out for us every other decade. But the Sun, and to a much smaller extent the Moon, and to a very minor extent the other planets, especially the Gas Giants, are by no means so.
We live in the Sun's Atmosphere
If we like to think of the Earth as our Mother, then, by the same sort of analogy, the Sun is our Father, for without his constant fertilization the Earth would be a lifeless body. Indeed, we live within the Sun's atmosphere which is constantly radiating into space, constituting what is now called the Solar Wind, and passing far beyond the Earth to the limits of the solar system. But it is the energy generated deep within the Sun by the nuclear conversion of hydrogen into helium which lights and heats our planet and is an essential part of the biosphere which grows upon its surface. And any variations in this mighty flow of energy reaching us are of incomparably greater effect than anything mankind can do to the Earth.
The scribes and admen of the Green movement have no excuse for failing to put their 'opinioneering in its right context, for James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis have done it for them, imaginatively and at some length. The Green propagandists know everything that I could write about the great sequence of climatic changes through which the Earth has passed in its long history from before the Archean to the present day. They know that the Sun 's radiation has never been constant.
It is reckoned to have increased by about a third in the course of geological time; but more relevant to current guesses about the Greenhouse Effect are those minor variations which have occurred within the 10,000 years or so of human history, since the last Ice Age. We still do not know whether we are living in another interglacial period, but if so the Greenhouse Effect would tend to counteract the advent of the next natural glacial epoch.
About 8,300 BC the sea level was reckoned to be some 40m (135 ft.) lower than it is at present, but the warming, with the consequent rise in the sea which has followed, was by no means regular. During the Pre-Boreal, Boreal and Atlantic periods warming seems to have been rapid, but then came a setback, around 3300 to 2000 BC, sometimes called the first Little Ice Age. In the Sub-Atlantic period in which we now live (from 400 BC to the present) there is plenty of evidence, both written and vegetational, of successive changes of climate. As recently as around 1650-1730 AD there was another Little Ice Age (memorable for the famous occasion in the winter of 1715/16 when an ox was roasted on the frozen Thames).
This gave us some clue to its cause, since by that time records were being made of the frequency of sunspots, and during that period there were almost none. Evidently the Sun may have these quiet phases with a slight reduction in radiation, as well as a not too regular cycle of about 11.4 years in the occurrence of sunspots and immense flares with quiet periods between. Such solar eruptions are accompanied by huge magnetic storms the effect of which on Earth's atmosphere and weather is still not understood. More recently X-ray studies of the Sun have revealed that dark patches known as coronal holes without such flares may give the most powerful emissions of solar particles.
A study (Nature, 6 Dec. 1990) by astrophysicists of 78 stars similar to the Sun in age, mass and size has confirmed that minor variations in brightness are commonplace among them, even perceptible at distances of light-years on the human time-scale. The assumption that the Sun's radiation is constant is completely untenable.
Then we also have to consider variations in the amount of the Sun's radiation received by the Earth, since its elliptical orbit round the Sun varies somewhat under the gravitational influence of the other planets, notably the great Gas Giants, Jupiter and Saturn, so that the Earth may be slightly nearer to or farther from the Sun at corresponding times on different orbits. In addition there are variations in the Earth's nutation, the wobbling of its axis as it spins, to take into account.
So, when we try to assess the global effects of human activities which are so visible locally, we start with a background of 'astronomical' influences the combination of which cannot be accurately ascertained or predicted on our time-scale. But why, when we suffer several warmer winters with abnormally high winds is this associated with 'global warming' without mention of the current exceptionally violent solar activity?
At this point I have to confess to a small specialist interest, namely a sideline in research on tree-rings as a means of dating trees and timber, but which also can be used to give information on tree diseases and on climatic changes. This gave me a special interest in the literature on solar cycles, which turned out to be innumerable, and mostly a bit dubious except for the 11-year cycle, and even that has varied from 7 to 17 years in the last few centuries. What were noticeable, however, from the trees record, were minor and local variations in climate lasting about two decades, sometimes reciprocal with those on the other side of the earth at the same latitude, e.g. a warm spell in Northern Europe might correspond with a cooler spell on the Pacific coast of Oregon and vice versa.
This is but the fringe of the matter. The study of the complexity of weather and of climatic changes in relation to currents in the sea and the air is in its infancy. The influence of the Gulf Stream on North-Western Europe is well known, and we have heard more recently about the periodic El Nino current off the Pacific coast of South America, which is said to reduce rainfall in South-East Asia and Australasia.
Anything I can pick up from contemporary literature on all these matters is liable to be out of date before it could be published. But I am concerned only with what is broadcast to the general public in the name of Greenism or Environmentalism and to contrast it with the information which is readily available to anyone who will take the trouble to look a little beyond the popular surface, and to put together, however roughly, the whole picture.
Symbolic Posturing versus Real Work
It seems clear that a lot of people are pushing the Global Warming propaganda, whether it is true or not, because they think people will be scared into action, which will be good for the environment; and one of my points is that it will not. More likely, it will divert real, local work into symbolic posturing or apathy. Already there are signs that the propaganda has been overdone and people who are getting bored with it are 'going off' the environment altogether. Meanwhile, however, the discussion about 'global warming' in what are known as 'scientific circles' is now taking on an emotional quality, and those guilty of stressing the natural variations in warming are liable to be accused of perpetrating "noisy junk science" (Article by John Gribbin in New Scientist 15 Dec. 1990). This is reminiscent of the epithets applied to ecologically inclined scientists by the 'orthodoxy' of an earlier day. So it seems that 'orthodoxy' has now turned turtle!
The omission of the vast background against which human activities have to be assessed is reminiscent of the cheating graphs some advertisers used to inflict on the public, in which the whole base was cut off, so that a variation within, say, 1% occupied most of the graph and looked enormous. Although the Gaia hypothesis and its author, James Lovelock, are much quoted among the Greens, in general they seem to prefer to turn it into a mystical, Mother-Earth feminism (which he was careful to avoid) rather than to apply its essential concept of homeostatic feed-back to the present situation.
What would be the normal reaction of Gaia to a biosphere which suddenly (in Gaian terms) releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, mainly in the North Temperate zone, very largely to enable one particular dominant species and its ecosystem to survive there? Surely some warming must be expected, reducing the amount of fossil fuels etc. required to keep the creatures warm and increasing the growth-rate of photosynthetic plants which will take up some of the carbon. All the same, it is very complicated. Less snow surviving on Northern land means less sunlight reflected, more warming; but more warming may mean more warm moist air blowing North; more snow, more cooling. Climatologists assure us that whatever warming there may be, and whatever part human activity may play in it, it is likely to be about three times as great at the higher latitudes than as at the equator.
Rate is What Matters
What is wrong with that? The more detailed consequences of such climatic changes may be mixed, beneficial in some places, the reverse in others. By and large, rainfall should increase, but there may also be a shift in the drought areas. Whether people have time to adapt to these changes without catastrophe depends upon their rate. That is a very good reason for avoiding the explosive acceleration of wasteful or destructive energy-squandering which is needed, not by our natural requirements as a species, but by our wholly artificial mass- fantasy about money, employment and One-World centralism. The only hope of returning to normality is on a local scale, wherever people are living.
The human race is a very new and brash arrival on this ancient and ever-changing planet, and if it is to survive it must learn to adapt itself in time to much greater changes than the degree or so of warming with which we are threatened, should it occur. That might be described as a very mild test even for a greenhorn species! Our trouble is not in any inability to adapt physically, but mentally, since our behaviour is now governed, not by constant contact with the reality of our environment, but by centrally generated time-grabbing debt-marks on paper. Should this diversion from reality persist, and the world be handed over, in the name of Unity and Ecological Survival through Central Planning, to the High Priests of this Illusion, major catastrophes are certain to continue; but what is in danger is neither the planet, nor even the human race, but our present debt-based world 'civilisation.'
All real action is local; central or global 'action' is not action but mental interference with and distortion of action. 'Global' thinking is nothing of the sort unless it puts human activities into their vast background.
To sum up, then, on the Greenhouse Effect:
There can be no doubt that human activities do, and always have, affected the Earth's surface - land, sea and atmosphere, the biosphere and the climate and weather; but just how they rank among the innumerable greater influences on the planet, we do not know. Our forefathers of the neolithic, bronze and mediaeval ages probably did far more even than we in the clearing and burning of forests and the eliminating of other species, but they did it far more slowly, at a rate to which they and the ecosystem on which they depended could adapt. It is flexibility, the rate of adaptation to changing circumstances, which matters for survival; and most of the human race is now enclosed in a debt- culture more rigid than a cage of iron because it is in their minds. It is vital that we should escape from it if we wish to survive.
The Local World - Part VIII & IX by Geoffrey Dobbs
We must not forget the Greenhouse Effect's Twin Terror, the Great Polar Ozone Holes. Here the anxiety mobpsyche to which we are all being subjected goes along these lines: Scientists have discovered a huge hole in Earth's fragile screen of ozone over the Antarctic, and another is threatening over the Arctic regions. These let through deadly, cancer-forming ultra-violet (uv) radiation. Just 1% depletion of the ozone layer would cause 70,000 more cases of skin cancer; and it severely damages plants too.
The effect could be disastrous to the whole world's ecology! The culprit chemicals have now been identified as the gases in our spray-cans, refrigerators and some foam packaging, called CFC's (chlorofluorocarbon.s). This is a global problem which can be solved only by global action. International agreement has been reached in principle for limiting and finally banning CFC's in favour of ozone-friendly spray and refrigerant gases, and some major chemical firms have started to produce such substitutes, but the pace is far too slow and Britain lags behind. Use only goods containing ozone-friendly gases!
As with the Greenhouse Effect, the propaganda does not tell us whether these 'holes' are regular annual natural phenomena. We are left to assume it is due to human activities. A bit of enquiry reveals that one Sir Gordon Dobson and his colleagues observed the regular springtime depletion of the ozone over the Antarctic as long ago as 1956, long before CFC's were in general use, and described it is an interesting natural phenomenon.
An article by John Gribbin in the New Scientist 5th May, 1988 explains that scientists of the British Antarctic Survey at Halley Bay had been observing ozone levels above that spot since the 1950's but had not notified anyhting like the pattern that unfolded there in 1982, and since.
How Not a Polar Ozone Hole ?
A later note in the New Scientist (27 October 1990) explains that the intense cold in the Antarctic winter sets up swirling polar winds in the stratosphere and stratospheric clouds which can somewhat isolate the region. Since ozone is formed under the influence of uv sunlight (as well as broken down by it, in a continuous cycle) and the polar regions get no sunlight during the winter months, no new ozone can then be formed there, so how can there not be an ozone deficiency there in the spring?
The instrument used (the Dobson spectrophotometer) analyses the spectrum of sunlight for ozone lines above the site. If uv light (as we are told) acts by splitting the oxygen molecule (O) into atoms (0 + 0) which then turn other 02 molecules into 03 (ozone), how comes it that any uv reaches the earth's surface at all, since the denser bulk of the air's oxygen lies below the much more tenuous stratosphere?
This common habit of inflicting propositions on the public which, as presented, are contradictory nonsense (even if they are not) and then falling back on "trust the experts!" immediately arouses suspicion that we are again being sold some current speculative model as fact. Once it gets out of the laboratory into a conference and thence into the media it becomes an unchallengeable myth by sheer continual jabberation and journalism.
In recent years since the public has been hi-jacked into the fridge-freezer/supermarket lifestyle, CFCs, as we are told to call them, have become major industrial products in the billion £ class. Naturally there has been much work on their chemistry. Inertness was a property required for their function, and their action in the stratosphere would scarcely have been considered until the first alarm about the ozone layer came in 1971 with Concorde and the plans for large numbers of supersonic transport (SST's) flying in the istratosphere.
CFC's and Chlorine
So what about CFC's which (they reckon) are inert until they get the full blast of solar radiation in the stratosphere and then break up liberating chlorine monoxide (C10) which in turn can turn the 03 back into 02. Up to 1982 it was all speculative computer models based on the chemistry of CFC's ; but then, suddenly, and quite unpredicted by the models, WHAM! the normal spring reduction becomes the Great Ozone Hole over'the Antarctic and has occurred every spring since.
So are CFC's the only source of atmospheric chlorine? By no means. Volcanoes alone pour out a vast amount of chlorine (and much else) into the atmosphere and it seems very unlikely that none of it gets into the stratosphere. There is also an immense amount of chlorine in the sea which is whipped up by winds into the atmosphere, and much also is released by forest fires and by chloromethane from rotting vegetation, a phenomenon of great but unknown magnitude.
Then there are any number of other influences, the nitrogen oxides, water vapour, clouds, dust, then the greenhouse gases including ozone itself and CFC's, as well as CO2, methane, and many others, mostly of natural origin, some of human (oil and coal burning, aircraft, H-bomb tests, chemical works). Those which trap heat in the lower air cool the stratosphere and reduce the rate of ozone depletiuon, while those which deplete the ozone allow more heat to escape so reducing the Greenhouse Effect. The two effects are antithetic, as are many others in an almost infinitely complex situation, and the planet is more likely to find a balance than we are.
The enquirer finds that the Antarctic, with its isolating winds, its lowest winter temperatures and its stratospheric clouds which evaporate only in the spring, is a special case with a special chemistry of its own. Why must we be scared about its special Ozone Hole observed in and since 1982; especially when we are not told that about the same time the Antarctic volcano, Mount Erebus, started erupting; and the Sun entered on one of its more active phases?
In the North where most CFC's but also most other air pollutants arise, there is the pack ice, the Greenland and smaller ice-caps, the permafrost, and Iceland's volcanoes also to consider; and then the rate and routes of air circulation round the planet.
What Scale compared to Other Effects ?
What we who are being subjected to all this alarm want to know, as with the Greenhouse Effect, is the scale of the CFC effect on the Ozone Layer (if it occurs there, and it is safer to assume that it does) in proportion to other natural, and human, effects, both positive and negative. And that, the propagandists cannot tell us because they don't know; though it gives a feeling of power to make a big scare of it.
No one seems to notice that what we are to be scared about is not, in itself, the ozone holes, but their theoretical consequences: more damaging uv radiation at ground level. With these frightful gaps in the ozone, are we getting more of these terrible rays, are they damaging the crops and threatening us all with skin cancer? If so, where is the evidence? At present, crop surpluses are a problem in Europe. With more CO2 and warming they would grow faster, so again, the effect of more uv would be counteractive.
But we are not told that there is any actual increase in uv radiation. Its intensity varies by as much as sevenfold between the Arctic and the tropics, not to mention at different altitudes and from place to place and hour to hour; also it is absorbed by many other substances besides ozone, and this is a range to which the human race has long been accustomed. The only record I have come across, quoted by an Australian writer, David Thompson, from a study by
So what about skin-cancer? Is there more of it, unrelated to foolish exposure fashions? Cancer, indeed, is a No. 1 mob-groveller word for terrifying people into submitting to an extension of remote control. It would never do to mention that skin-cancer is the least dangerous form of cancer since it is superficial and can be treated early; still less that it requires prolonged and excessive exposure to uv light; that at levels of exposure which many northerners do not get, more uv is needed for the formation of vitamin D; or that, to quote James Lovelock: "It takes almost no clothing to stop ultra-violet radiation." Also that the skin, if exposed sensibly, protects itself by the formation of melanin, temporarily in pale-skinned people, permamently in the dark-skinned people who mainly live nearer to
To raise a world-wide scare about CFC's by selecting a single item from a tremendously complex situation is a political or commercial, rather than a scientific ploy. Nowadays all gas-containing products, such as fire-extinguishing propellants, have to be described as 'ozone- friendly.' All that means is that they don't contain CFC. One of them, recently, was found to contain a bromine compound even worse as an ozone depleter than a chlorine compound such as CFC. So what are we supposed to believe?
Very Big Business Indeed
One thing is abundantly clear: CFC's are very big business, and their replacement will be even bigger business. David Thompson, and Oliver Tickell (the latter in the New Scientist, 20 October, 1990) have looked into the programmes of the big producers of CFC's, notably du Pont, and more recently ICI, which are both heavily involved
Since these gases have to be stable and inert to carry out their function as heat-exchangers but are said to become harmful when released into the air, obviously, they should not be released, but collected and recycled. But, as with all recycyling, that will mean more trouble and expense, be less profitable in both wages and dividends, or even loss-making and non-credit-worthy, so long as we live in this one-way street of debt, inflation and any-work-for-money.
'Please note that I write about what I experience. I do not experience the ozone layer. I experience a lot of assertions about it designed to alarm me and my fellow citizens, to induce us to buy advertised 'ozone-friendly' products or feel guilty about not doing so (about which we have little choice) and perhaps support taxes or government agreements about CFC's or other industrial products.
I still try to retain an open mind on this subject and not to reject the whole thing as a total hoax. All that we ordinary people have to judge it by is propaganda presenting selected speculations as facts. But whether or not there is a scrap of truth in it, it is certainly being exploited as a means of fear-pressure leading to more remote manipulation of our lives.
The Local World Part IX by Geoffrey Dobbs
The Green Movement which I respect and in which I believe that I take part has a definite policy based upon its beliefs. These include decentralisation of power to the individual and to those groupings which are small enough to take actions agreed by their members: (democracy, small is beautiful) and the love, not merely of the Earth or its biosphere in a vague, verbal way, but of the multiplicity and variety of living beings which constitute our planetary home, not excluding our own species and its members.
Even in the simplest and most scientific sense in which the Gaia hypothesis may be taken, it is clear that the subtlety and efficiency of the feedback mechanisms which maintain a viable biospheric condition must depend upon the variety of organisms present. If one may stretch the point to an analogy with the human brain - the intricacy and
If we go no further than to think about the world of the bacteria and viruses, with their continual interchange of DNA, we are confronted with something vastly beyond our poor old, much vaunted, 'grey matter,' complex as it is. Add the whole kingdoms of the fungi, plants and animals, and where are we? I suggest, reduced simply to a state
The analogy must not be pressed too far - to the point of describing the Earth as 'intelligent,' a patronising view. That awesome complexity of interchanges must generate some property different from, but well beyond, our intelligence, which is merely a small contribution to it, positive or negative. Most positive and greatest, I suggest, when exercised everywhere by the maximum number of men in close contact and co-operation with the environment in which they live; most negative and destructive when exercised by a handful of men remote from such contact, whose domination over the rest supplants their freedom to bring their intelligence to bear locally, where alone it can be applied to actuality.
The idea that a few remote central 'brains,' be they never so superior in cleverness and knowledge to those of the rest of us, can direct the mass of mankind in their relationship with the earth, is a delusion which is leading, and can only lead, to disaster. The intelligence of everyone is needed, of the stupid, the average, as well as the talented. There are inumerabie sorts of intelligence, and the village 'idiot' with his 'way' with animals, may be the superior, in that
The 'global' idea that 'Man' must now take over the direction of the planet, especially as it usually means that the bosses of mankind should continue to apply their bossy ideas to it on a global scale (whether or not they are called 'conservation') is the recipe for maximum disaster, as it has been hitherto for the monstrous damage they have achieved so far.
But that we humans with our peculiar form of consciousness and intelligence have something valuable to offer wherever we live is manifest in such examples as the best of the English countryside before it has been mangled by the money-culture. There we see the product of generations of human intelligences and skills of all sorts applied to the land and the landscape with loving familiarity as to the detail in every field and locality.
Mutualism - the Practice of Creative Love
For intelligence is but a mechanism, a tool. It needs the creative force we call 'love,' both to power and to guide it to make it constructive; otherwise it is like any machine running loose : destructive. But this creative force is not vague, or general, or abstract. It can act only specifically, in detail. We owe much to Lynn Margulis for showing us that the positive factor in what biologists now call 'evolution' but was for centuries before called 'creation,' is mutualism, fitting in together to mutual benefit, in some cases to the point of symbiosis, actual physical incorporation : and what is that but the practical expression of what in common as well as in religious parlance is called 'love'?
Who knows for how many generations we human beings have had some glimpse of a world beyond that which meets our senses, a world which requires wonder and worship ? At first we saw it only beyond our neighbours : the streams, the trees, the gretaer beasts, the rocks, the mountains, the winds, the sea, the Moon, the Sun and the Earth itself which bears us and the Sky and the stars which arch over us. It is but a flash of geological time since the idea became general that not only we but all these must be the fellow-creatures with us of a Creator who must comprise infinitely more than we are ourselves, including our much-vaunted 'personalities.'
It is an even more miniscule time-flash since men such as Darwin looked in greater detail at the Creation and gathered some crude and partial ideas about how it worked, namely by 'random' changes and elimination of those that could not survive. Hence they substituted the word 'evolution' for 'creation,' eliminated the Creator, so that they could look downwardsat a random and automatic process of which they were the Summit, the Top Beings, in effect, the Gods, and all else must be 'inferior' and subject to their will and manipulation.
Not, of course, that I am denying the immense importance of what is called 'natural selection.' How otherwise could Love work if mutuality were totally swamped with the non-viable? It is merely the reverse side of the same coin. This blindness through intellectual pride which can see nothing there but a witless, loveless, sub-human, sub-personal process, is an aberration of the human mind and spirit which has come to dominate the world-wide network of centrally disseminated human thought very recently indeed; but even so, for long enough to cause vast miseries and disasters.
Do We look Up, or Down ?
As I look at to-day's Green Movement I see this confrontation within it, between those who look upward to the Creator and those who look downwards at a man-manipulable Process. The former apply themselves to the reality, which has no existence without detail of time. place and quality. The latter seek to apply at a distance abstractions of their own brains which, even when they take the form of useful generalisations, cannot but ignore and destroy those details which make life. And as I look I see that this confiict is throwing the Movement into confusion and depriving it of most of its effectiveness.
Therefore I feel it necessary to deal, so far as I can, with certain policies, openly declared by leaders of the Green Movement, which seem to me totally opposed to, and contrary to those beliefs which are the core and driving force of that Movement in which I deem myself a participant.
If there is one thing on which pundits, whether green, red or true blue are all agreed it is that 'we' must control the population. Just who 'we' is can be guessed only from some knowledge of the pundit, but it always seems to include governments, and the opinion-forming class of publicist to which the pundit in question belongs.
About 50 years ago their cry was for governments to do something desperate to stem the falling birthrate. It was no use arguing with the statistics (as I did, in ink). In March 1944 a Government Commission on Population was set up to consider the trend (towards depopulation) and what should be done about it. The Net Reproduction Rate
Woe ! Woe ! You can't argue with Statistics !
In a 50 page booklet published for the British Social Hygiene Council in 1945 the Anticipated Population for England and Wales was estimated to fall from the then 41 million to 31 million by 1975 and by 2035 to 4 and a half million. A less alarming estimate by D. V. Glass was a fall to 33 million by 1990, and 301 million by 2000. (It is now over 50 million). Anyway, doom was upon us unless 'we' could somehow stimulate a large increase in the birth-rate.
Then, following the terrible Bang of the Atom Bombs, and subsequent H-Bomb tests, came a generation that cowered under the Nuclear Doom. Woe! Woe! it was no use arguing. It was inevitable! inevitable! Statistics showed that 'we' had a capacity to destroy the Earth X times over, and some time it was bound to be used. The Science Fictionists took it up in a big way. Perhaps a few two-headed pith-brained mutants might survive on an almost sterile Earth, or more likely the human race would be replaced by another species. Anyway, even more appalling depopulation was the Doom!
When, after thirty years or so this began to weaken a bit (though it is still there) came the Great Population Explosion, the Eco-doom of the planet, with the pullulating Pest of Mankind multiplying fast on the inevitably non-viable nuclear-sterilized globe until we all die of starvation. Either way or both, it will get you! You can't argue
Perhaps that puts it a little crudely, but indeed it is no joke; and it is sad to see those who are trying to live and to promote a closer understanding and co-operation with nature falling for such wholly un-natural propaganda.
To begin with - statistics is something remote from nature, wholly political in its origin. I wonder how many of our modern statisticians are even dimly aware that 'statistics' arose out of 'Statism.' I quote from the O.E.D., Sir J. Sinclair, 1798: "In 1786, I found, that in Germany they were engaged in a species of political inquiry, to which
Later, the term was applied to the collection of numerical data, to the data so collected, and to data on any subject analogous to those concerning the powers of the State, and nowadays it means quantitative data affected by a multiplicity of causes beyond the reach of simple observation as to cause. Hence the practice of statistics today is mainly a form of numerical speculation, based upon mathematical theory which is understood only by a few pure mathematicians, and very rarely indeed by those who quote and use statistics. Nowadays reliance on the computer puts the whole thing into the field of blind faith in magic for ordinary people. This may seem a long way from Frederick the Great and his armies, but it amuses me to see that modern statistical population ecologists are fond of using military terms such as logistics, strategy and tactics.
The Politics of People as Units
The one thing we can all understand about statistics is that it is entirely based upon a whole series of assumptions which are very rarely stated and may or may not be true. The first assumption in all numbering is that we are dealing with units, equal and identical in nature. If we are not, the numbers are meaningless to the extent that there are qualitative differences, except as a means of handling the material as if it consists of units. We can see where this is leading as it is applied to people.
Statistical treatment of people is a form of politics which increasingly requires them to be equal and identical in nature, behaviour, race, sex, ability, belief, everything, so that they can be handled in bulk by remote control. But since we are not so, the whole tendency is to disparage the differences which make us ourselves, to deplore and
What is so dreadful to see is that this anti-nature, anti-life, anti-human attitude is being swallowed whole by all the most vocal, scribal and publicised leaders of the Green Movement; though it is scarcelysurprising or blameworthy for the younger ones since their generation has been subjected to the most continuous, repetitive, unrelenting, mechanical, brain-battering on this and related subjects in the history of mankind.
It was in 1970 that I found myself, after disagreeing for years with those who wanted governments to interfere to raise people's reproduction rate with breeding-bribes, in a minority of 1 in a room full of 80 ecologists who wanted even more passionately to interfere in the opposite direction. The immediate cause seems to have been Dr. Paul R.
'The Population Bomb'
The book is an emotionally effective, passionate blare of fear-propaganda. On the cover of my copy (which I bought while at Stanford, though I did not meet him) are these words in red: "While you are reading these words five people, mostly children, have died of starvation - and forty more babies have been born."
There are no world statistics of 'death from starvation,' so this is no more than propagandist 'blah' ; nor can the statistics of births and deaths in much of the Third World be relied upon; nor yet have the numbers of child deaths from one alleged cause any significant relationship to total births in the same time (say 10 seconds). Such a specious approach throws doubt on the whole numerical basis of the alleged population 'explosion.'
This is not statistics but politics - the manipulation of people under cover of academic prestige-an all too prominent feature of our times. Anyone can make propaganda with any figures they like, and it is very doubtful whether statistics has ever been used honestly in politics its function is quite different.
In his prologue Dr. Ehrlich writes:
He terrifies us with a series of speculative doubling-times for populations of the world, and of different countries, and then goes on to a fantasy of the entire planet covered layers deep with humanity. An analogy is made with cancer (a favourite word, too, of Julian Huxley's for the human race) and we are told:
Suicide for Fear of Dying
The main argument seems to be that if governments, starting with that of the USA, but then moving on to the UN and ultimately a World Government, do not take these 'brutal' decisions (e.g. population control as the price of food aid), nature will apply the solution in the form of death.
Well, of course ! Death is, and always has been, the natural control of life's tendency to outgrow its limits. So, shall we not be allowed birth because we have to die? In small, fairly homogeneous, communities in close touch with nature, a practical and inherited culture grows up which has come to terms with both birth and death and has developed the knowledge, the wisdom and the social customs which usually avoid the worst catastrophes; though even here there must always be natural catastrophes which cannot be avoided: earthquakes, eruptions, storms, hurricanes, cyclones, floods and droughts.
But so long as Man retains his adventurous nature, without which the race would long ago have died out, he will take risks and face death as well as taking sensible precautions against these known dangers, such as storing food against the next drought. But how can people save food or anything else when they are in debt, which is an imposed
To be sure, Ehrlich's predicted famines are now taking place, especially in Africa. The severe droughts are blamed, but these famines have been vastly increased by the crippling impact of external powers. Most of Africa's debt is unrepayable and extracts a net transfer of resources towards the 'developed' world, whose World Bank and IMF impose conditions which benefit the central politicians who oppress the people. Many African currencies are now effectively worthless, and the 'collapse' of commodity prices in the 1980's meant a gross deterioration in the terms of trade.
Add to all this, bitter warfare armed from abroad and flogged up by foreign ideologues in Ethiopia, Sudan, Mozambique, Angola, Liberia, Uganda, Chad, driving people off the land as refugees. It becomes a mad idea that what Africans need is more foreign control of their breeding habits because there are too many people for what foreign interference has left to them, even with an AIDS epidemic which threatens depopulation by attacking the sexually, and therefore productively, active.
Africa may be the worst case, but the same centralised power is operating throughout the world and with similar effects, in South America, in Asia and Polynesia. In the 'developed' world, mainly in the Northern hemisphere with its offshoots in the South, the effect is at present different: the gross multiplication of a 'wealth' much of which is non-wealth, thrust upon the people by ever more remote powers, with ever greater waste and pollution of the Earth's resources and energies.
The predictions of disaster so long as this world-wide despotism persists and grows in power, are logical enough. The remedy which prominent ecologists have been persuaded to promote is the precise opposite of what is needed. They have everything upside-down. It is global interference that brings global catastrophes. The biosphere is not an homogenous mass, nor is Man an homogenous species of manipulable units, but 'both possess infinite variety, and their mutualism is intrinsically local. Only in so far as that exists can a global co-operation be restored.
These self-styled 'ecologists' seem to be obsessed with the idea of Man as the cancer or pest of the planet, of humanity as the only species which (unless centrally forced by governments under pressure from themselves) lacks any capacity to adapt its population to its environment. Every new birth is 'another mouth to be fed.' Who by? By 'WE,' by the super-clever, power-wielding, opinion-forming, status-holding, statistical-symbol-worshipping boss-persons who know best what is needed. On no account must a new life be thought of as a positive, which might even feed itself and more, if given a chance before its native land is detroyed. It must always be a negative - a burden. Are these the sort of no-hopers whose ideas we can afford to follow?
Birth as a Burden on Bosses
The Population Bomb contains the spores of most of the corruptions into which, not only the Green Movement, but Western Society in general, has further descended during the two decades since it was first published; the orientation towards the 'rationality' of the intellectual as the guiding force to be centrally imposed upon the 'population,' handled as a mass of identical units; the merging of differences, the 'logical' aim of controlling life and, if possible, slowing the postponment of death so as to stabilise the population at a boss-calculated comfortable number : 'it would be nice to get it down to I billion, but too much to hope!'.
The reproductive function of sex must be de-emphasised and the failing sway of sexual repression welcomed, also the 'liberation' of women from motherhood into the power-struggle of the world of money and politics. Equality, contraceptives and abortion are the great goods which are looked to to rid us from the horrors of divorce, illegal abor-
Of course, traditional Christianity is blamed for most of to-day's evils, including the arrogant domination of nature. This in fact came in with the Enlightenment and the abandonment of the idea of a Creative God above us, whose incarnation on Earth sanctified all nature, for that of a witless, impersonal process below us, culminating in Man, the Boss of all, so that unlimited power must lie with the Rulers of Mankind. It is only since Science has followed this path that it has become the slave of money and politics and has increasingly explored the means of destruction and pollution.
Hence also the inversion of the whole Christian policy towards life : the idea of 'courage' and 'nobility' in inflicting suffering on others as the sole means of salvation; the cults of death versus birth, of sterility, contra-conception, abortion, homosexuality, of divorce, of anti-marriage, of one-parent, fatherless 'families,' of casual body-fluid-mixing
Pesticides for People
It is this dominant religion of centralising power which naturally sees humanly as a 'cancer' or a 'pest' of the planet, and the growth of population due to the recent lengthening of life, as a threat to the comfortable existence of the self-appointed elite This is implicit in the inversion of the order: there are too many people for the 'supplies' 'we' must provide to keep them alive. It is a one-way street. 'We' have calculated that death-rates are 'bound to fall and birth-rates rise until global disaster intervenes unless 'we' intervene to supply the required 'disaster' by applying the necessary pesticides to the human pest.
The only difference from the sort of chemical and biological treatment of non-human pests deplored by the Green Movement, is that bulk-psychological treatment is available through the 'media' so that the pesticides are self-adminisered; with a 'social' effect, much as social insects drag pesticides into the nest The method of course is to interfere with the life-cycle of the pest with chemicals produced by the major chemical corporations. Contraceptives, especially 'the pill' are just that, and by encouraging promiscuous intercourse, also help to spread pesticidal diseases. The condom, government-promoted as 'safe' (but in fact far from it) helps to overcome the fear barrier.
Have the Greens learnt nothing from the history of pest control? What they are doing is replacing natural selection with un-natural selection. Why is it not obvious to them that the result will be the opposite of that supposed? They are selecting the most resistant and rapid-breeding strains to increase the population, as well as those which at present are 'beyond the reach, psychologically or physically, of their pesticidal efforts.
Incidentally, they are working for the differential reduction of what they deem to be intelligent and educated, especially themselves, and their replacement by the illiterate, the uncivilised and the philo-progenitive. This might solve the problem in the end by removing the interfering clever-guys and their more gillible victims, but it will take a long time, and agreta sacrifice of that part of our cultural inheritance which has not been corrupted. Indeed, thye may be on the way to justifyimng the mfears of depopulation of the native Europeans voiced in the 1940's. Floods, earthquakes and hurricanes are at least non-selective.
The Artificial Monster
All this is by no means an attempt to deny the insane and abominable overcrowding of humanity which is prevalent in all the great conurbations scattered all over the planet; in which huge tonnages of manflesh are artificially concentrated, sucking people, water and nutrient out of the land, and pouring forth what is not used to make further
There are indeed cities and conurbations which, or parts of which, are partially self-supporting, which contain not only green patches, parks and woodlands, but gardens, allotments, even city farms; and this is where the genuine Green Movement has done noble work in recent years. But whether we are thinking of the crowds sleeping and
The usual mental technique for evading the facts is to invent some abstractions and blame everything on them. The favourite at present is 'consumerism,' which by implication blames it all on human greed and acquisitiveness: vices which undoubtedly have long existed in humanity at large, so we are left to assume that, short of converting mankind en masse to virtue, there is nothing we can do about it.
So-called 'consumerism' may be summed up as a mixture of producer-dominance with employmentism; and both of these are the result of remote control by money, that is credit-power. It cannot be repeated too often that credit-money has no natural limits. We now deal in billions instead of millions and no doubt soon it will be trillions. There is no shortage of 0's. The land, the soil, and human aggregations into towns and cities, have natural limits; but once these
How to stifle Human Adaptability
Finance is one statistical method of control over the will and purposes of men; the reduction of 'democracy' to a purely numericaL count of the feed-back to rival propagandas for activating the same financially dictated policy is another. It reduces men and women to equal and entirely characteriess units, manipulable en masse, and the more so the greater the numbers involved. Population statistics designed to frighten people into submission to still more gross interference with their personal lives, is a third.
It assumes the continuation of present trends towards world centralisation, the equal, indistinguishable, helpless, passive nature of the units of population, the indefinite lengthening of the human life-span (i.e. the absence of any natural limit to it and the unique absence from mankind among living species of any ability to adapt to its environment.
To gather statistics of the worldwide productivity of soil assumes also that it is inorganic, and 'economic' (i.e. debt-repaying) irrespective of the organisms it bears, including Man. It ignores the fact that the greatest production and fertility exists in .the small plot, lovingly cultivated, e.g. the kitchen garden or allotment, with, say, two or more men (man and wife) to a tenth of an acre-totally 'uneconomic' in money terms but satisfying in human terms, and sustainable only where there is energy to spare from money-getting.
Indeed, it seems very clear that the only way the doom prophesied by the population-doomsters can be achieved is by the carrying through of the policies of world-wide interference with human freedom to adapt to their real environment, which they are urging both upon people and upon governments.
The Local World - Part X by Geoffrey Dobbs
This chapter is going to be difficult to write, for in it I have to challenge some of the major prejudices which have been massively established in the public mind, especially that of the post-War generations, by those who have the use of the mechanisms of mass-opinion control. What I am referring to is not genuine opinion formed by the individual, after thinking through the emotional, superficial and sloganish aspects of anything, nor is it that common thinking which arises from a centuries-old common culture founded upon generations of common beliefs, such as those of Christianity, which is the first target of such propaganda.
It is something called the 'mobpsyche,' the irrational but formidable force of public 'opinion backed by hostile emotion against anyone who challenges it, which is formed by the endless repetition and suggestion to which we are all subjected through the broadcast media, the press, advertisers, employment, books, the political and educational systems. It then maintains and spreads its pressure through the every- day exchanges between people.
Such mob-psyching propaganda is as old as civilisation, but was formerly limited by the range of the human voice. Now its powers are magnified beyond all estimation and reason by modern electronic technology. It is the chief tool of revolution, that is, organised ideological war waged upon an existing culture in order to 'destabilize' it and bring about social chaos with a view to displacing the current 'ruling class by a dictatorship of the revolutionaries, whose actions are the inverse of their idealistic propaganda.
The most obvious is that of Marxist socialism, with its ideal of the classless society of free and equal citizens in a State whose power is progressively withering away, to be obtained by class war under centralist socialism. The reality, as manifested in the U.S.S.R. was the opposite. But the tyranny, religious as well as political, lasted 70 years, and only recently has weakened and broken up enough to allow the age-old religion it aimed to suppress to emerge again into the light.
The cardinal error in the ideology of class war is the illusion of ‘equality' as applied to men. Millions of words, from Plato onwards, have been expended on this subject, and millions of men have been verbalised into dying for it. But even a Himalaya of verbiage cannot change the fact that, physically, mentally and spiritually, all men are unequal and 'equality' cannot be one of their properties. But as I pointed out in the last chapter, it is very convenient for those who seek to govern people en masse by remote control, to treat them as equal units. Equality is totally incompatible with freedom; and the nearest to its ideal state is war.
Equality versus Equity
Is there then no reality behind the age-old passion for equality? Indeed there is; but it is disastrously the wrong word for the real thing, which is 'equity.' 'Equity' is an active thing, it is that treatment of people which takes account of their inequalities and aims at fairness, or natural justice, which is also a characteristic of the Common Law. as distinct from Statute (or politicians') Law which tries to treat people 'equally.'
There is, indeed, one matter in which equity also demands equality of treatment of everyone, since it does not involve merit or demerit or personality in any way. This concerns the enormous cultural inheritance due to past inventions and improvements in productivity to which everyone is owed an equal measure of monetary access without debt, quite apart from personal inheritance or work. But this has become obvious only since the technological revolution, when wealth production lost touch with reality and became controlled mainly by the symbol 'money.'
It is probably the general, unacknowledged awareness of the monetary restrictions on access to this beneficial wealth and its gross squandering in destructive ways which lies at the root of the passionate demand for equality; but it still remains that 'c-quality' is a passive denial of 'quality' in people. To claim it for oneself is to surrender all the properties of a person, and to be content to be a passive, character- less unit for the mass-manipulation of remote anonymous masters.
A class is a number of individuals (whether men or other beings) grouped into named categories by their common attributes. Though human classifiers may make false classes remote from reality, thought and language could not exist if 'class' in this sense were not real.
Since all men are different, in any large community they inevitably and naturally fall into different groupings or classes in respect of every human attribute we can think of. To maintain that the sum of all these differences in every whole person is 'equal' is ludicrous.
Among these attributes certain of them, such as strength, cunning, ingenuity, and fighting ability lead not only to human survival among, and domination of, other forms of life, but to the domination of some men by others; to the emergence of a ruling class. This is not limited to mankind. Even hens have their social hierarchy. They approach equality only when kept in battery cages for human use.
Differences a Fact of Nature
It is ironic for those who seek to align themselves with Nature to deny that such differences are a natural part of Man's more complex society. There are, and must ever be, more and less powerful, richer and poorer, rulers and ruled; and the more that egalitarians try to crush out these differences by political force, the cruder and the more despotic they become. The late U.S.S.R. was a prime example. Centralised power always corrupts and the powerful have always oppressed the powerless to some extent. The great political question is: How little can we make it?
The ability of the stronger to kill the weaker of their own kind is fatal to that kind if not strictly restrained. The weaker may possess other properties far more valuable. Even in a wolf pack, if the master wolf were to kill every young male who challenges him, the pack would soon die out. But so long as the youngsters submit. to him they are allowed to live. In human affairs we have had appalling examples of wholesale killing by rulers, notably in the U.S.S.R. - the home of 'equality.' But in general, laws, customs and conventions arise in human society which protect the weaker from the stronger and more ruthless: and the result is, inevitably, the grouping of people into 'classes' in respect of power. In other words, 'class' is a natural phenomenon inhuman society, whether called 'Upper, Middle and Lower,' Bourgeois or Proletarian, or A, B, and C, though these categories are far too large for practical use, and being based on one criterion in one League Table as fighting-for-money-power classes, inevitably promote the class war.
The establishment by convention and tradition of a social hierarchy of cultural classes performs several essential functions. It provides a basis for mutual co-operation, so that it is in the interest of the strong to protect the weak, and of the weak to be led by the strong, rather than the weak being simply eliminated. This was the basis on which slavery, existed as an accepted institution for most of human history. But it is also true that hierarchy is essential in the carrying out of any major undertaking. Some must plan and lay down methods and give orders, others must obey them; otherwise nothing can be achieved.
This is in no way opposed to 'democracy,' which is concerned with the willing acceptance of the objective by all concerned, not with organising to attain it. But it should be remembered that our idea of a voting 'democracy' is derived from that of ancient Athens, a slave society in which the slaves (helots) had no votes, since that would merely give multiple votes to the owners. There is an analogy to be drawn here with the control of votes in modern elections by the parties and the all-pervading 'media.'
The centuries of Trinitarian Christianity have taught us that a balance of central powers is essential to minimise the oppression of the weak by the strong. That knowledge is being abandoned with the religion which gave it, in favour of the totalitarian illusion of the revolutionary: Smash all rival powers and classes, seize unitary power, and force compulsory 'equality' on all the units of mankind! As Orwell made very clear, this programme requires a special, permanent. class or party of 'equality-forcers' to attempt to impose this impossible ideal.
A Community lives by Class Co-operation
Just as class is a natural phenomenon, so co-operation between people of different classes to their mutual benefit is a natural occurrence without which any society must soon break down. A class-war is thus a division in a society which, by its nature, must, if pursued for long, be disastrous to it, though necessary for those who seek to 'divide and rule' over the resulting chaos. In fact a class war c now an unnatural culture-war converted into a money-war by a falsely based credit-system which bears upon all classes.
Thus, contrary to the approved thinking of our incipient thought- police, the honest acceptance of class (as with race and sex) differences. with the recognition that each has its special excellence and superiorities to contribute to any effective enterprise, is the only way in which mutual respect and hence amicable association can be achieved.
How on earth could any sizeable collective undertaking be successful without a wide range of workers, manual and non-manual, relatively skilled and unskilled, willingly co-operating under a hierarchy of management? The ideology of workers versus management clearly, allots to the workers the role of unwilling wage-slaves, not of free men contributing their part to the enterprise.
This workers' ideology is always imposed by middle or upper class intellectuals, writers, talkers, journalists, teachers, lawyers, i.e. the opinion-forming sub-class with money-power 'behind it. Marx was typical of such, a lawyer's son, financed by Engels, a capitalist factory-owner. Lenin, a law graduate, with German and Wall Street backing, is memorable for insisting that 'the masses' were incapable of either understanding or organising the revolution and must be under the continuous control and direction of the elite of the instructed Communist Party.
Race-war - a Deeper Division
But there are deeper divisions which can be carved into human nature than those between cultural and economic classes: being biological they are even more deadly.
'Race' is one of these. In one sense it may be said that in the matter of insane thinking about 'race,' Hitler won the War. While the totalitarian imposition of 'correct' political and religious opinion in the U.S.S.R. was tolerated and even praised by the opinion-formers of the Left in the West for generations, because they agreed with the opinions imposed, the monstrous abominations committed under the Nazi regime, as suddenly and dramatically revealed at the end of the War, produced a reaction so violent that it partakes somewhat of the insanity which produced it.
What concerns me is that the abominations which came to light when the Hitler War ended have so long occupied and polluted our minds and emotions that after fifty years they have induced a sort of back-to-front Naziism (one might call lzanism) intolerant of any impartial enquiry into them or into how the German people came to follow Hitler.
Public thinking on this subject is that of the lynch mob: these men were monsters of evil; therefore all they thought or said was untrue and wicked; it follows that anyone who looks into it and finds any truth in some of it shares in their guilt, is condoning their crimes and should be denounced. This was the Nazi attitude towards the Jews, and is the Jewish attitude towards the Nazis, and is now the only 'politically correct' attitude, departure from which is liable to be punished by the post-War invented terms of political abuse such as racist, fascist and 'anti-semitic' (meaning anti-Jewish).
In contrast to this attitude, is that reported of an old priest who had known Hitler in his youth. When asked what this monster was like he paused, and then said, with a sigh: "He was a man. Like every man. Like all men. Like Christ."
Hate is Infectious
The abandonment of Christianity and of Christian commonsense has deprived the opinioneers of the wisdom contained in the Latin tag: corruptio optimi pessima, and they are prone to see evil as a Power in itself rather than a perverter of reality, which was created good. Hence, by concentrating their minds with hatred upon evil they inevitably become infected with it and are deceived into directing the same hatred upon the reality which was perverted.
So far has the public mobpsyche been diverted from any honest consideration of the matter that the main concern now seems to be with the number of Jews who were massacred in the Nazi prison camps, and the method adopted. Any suggestion that some of the announced figure of 6,000,000 may happily have escaped that fate, or that they did not die mainly in gas chambers, is denounced as 'racist,' and in Canada, in recent years, has been prosecuted under the criminal law. Such back-to-front anti- (or reverse) racist oppression now dominates the scene.
It is in this sense that it may be said that, ideologically, Hitler won the War, in that, since his time, race war has been added to class war as a permanent source of social conflict which, being biological, is even more deeply divisive; so that now it is scarcely possible to discuss race sanely or truthfully.
The Nature vs. Nurture argument has lurched to and fro, with the bias first one way and then the other, but after the discovery in the l950's of the role of DNA and RNA in all forms of life it has become absurd to deny, by condemnation, that 'race' plays an important part in determining human characteristics. But it is a subtle and potential part, requiring 'Nurture' also, in human terms the cultural as well as the genetic inheritance, for the full expression of both. To add race war to class war (i.e. culture-war) is indeed to try to make war 'total.' There is only one even deeper and more genocidal step, and that is to add sex war. But both race and sex conflicts are clear extensions of the original socialist class war.
'Race,' in fact, is an intimate and personal matter, concerned not only with one's parentage, culture and up-bringing, but with the precise composition of every cell in one's body. It is a subject with which government, politicians, bureaucrats and the media ought never to interfere with their clumsy propaganda and coercions, whether to force people together or to force them apart. (So now they never leave it alone !).
It is surely unnecessary by now to stress the gross crudity and falsehood of the Race Theory which was borrowed and swallowed by the Nazi Movement. Neither the pure Nordic Herrenvolk, nor the pure semitic Jewry, exists, though the one is a sort of inverted mirror image of the other. The crime which has been burnt deep into our minds is not that any such monstrous persecution occurred but that it was Jews who were persecuted, and that the 'race' and skin-colour of the perpetrators was 'Nordic' and 'white.' So now 'racism' can be committed only by 'whites' of northern origin.
Crime-think to Enquire
It is 'crime-think' to enquire how it was that a lot of normal and decent people came to follow a fanatic into blaming 'the Jews' for all their troubles, as it was then 'crime-think' under the Nazis to befriend or favour Jews in any way whatever. So now, by inversion, it is not 'politically correct' to draw attention to the financial hyper-inflation of 1923 which plunged most Germans into poverty while transferring much (if their property and security to those who knew how to take advantage of it. Many of these new-rich were Jews, and were blatantly bossy towards the impoverished Germans, as I can vouch, having visited the Weimar Republic a few years later. They thus created an 'atmosphere' in which an openly anti-Jew Movement was popular.
There can be no doubt that international debt-finance oppressed the German people cruelly at that time, as well as the rest of the world, as it still does to-day; and it cannot be denied that many (but by no means all) of the world's most powerful financiers are Jewish, and, whether Jew or gentile, have a good deal to answer for the monetary tortures inflicted on mankind.
The Nazi Movement itself could have got nowhere without massive financial backing by international financiers and industrialists (see Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, by Antony C. Sutton, 1976). Even so, the Nazi labelling of the oppressive world money power as 'Jewish' (which is an exaggeration) has provided a most formidable defence of that power, in the form of an accusation of pro-Naziism and anti-semitism against any critic of it. Every Jew is now protected by a minefield labelled with the hate-word 'anti-semite,' which may explode even when debt-finance and its worldwide power is attacked with no thought of, or reference, to Jews.
This word 'anti-Semitism' in its invariable application to Jews, makes any criticism of them 'racist' by implying that they are of Semitic race, i.e. that they constitute a 'race,' which is probably untrue of a large number of Eastern Jews (Ashkenazim) who may well have been of Khazar stock, following the mass-conversion of the Kingdom of that name to Judaism about 740 A.D. Arabs, on the other hand, are a Semitic people; so by one of those ironies of history and of the misuse of language, the most manifest example of anti-Semitism in the world today is the conquest and suppression of the Palestinian Arabs by the Jews of Israel which, indeed, was declared to be 'racist' by a vote of the U.N. dominated by Arab nations.
Not Race but Power-policy
The issue here is not 'race' in the genetic sense (though that element is strongly present), but a powerful religious and cultural, long- term power policy which is shared in part by those Christians who adhere more strongly to the Old Testament than to the New. Such people, now welcoming the new label Judaeo-Christians, are in belief and consequent policy virtually Liberal Jews, and it has to be remembered that the State of Israel owes its existence largely to the actions of two Nations with such a Christian background: Britain and the U.S.A., though its precipitation just after the Hitler War was made possible by the Nazi persecution of Jews as a dangerous rival power-group.
What we are concerned with then, is not 'racism' but primarily power-politics, arising from different 'religions.' Judaeo-Christians are liable to remind simple Christians that Christ and the Apostles were Jews. So they were, and on Palm Sunday (as we now celebrate it) the common Jews welcomed Christ, while on Good Friday the power-Jews had their way with Him. But Christ (The Messiah, the Anointed King) had also to explain, even to his disciples, that His Kingdom was NOT of this world, though it extended into it. He was NOT the Great Leader (Führer) who would lead His People collectively into World Power. His Way was spiritual and His salvation was for all men as individuals, NOT for the racial Group.
Through most of the Old Testament we have this contrast in policy, between the prophets preaching the Covenant with God, and those leaders of Judah and Israel who had led the people into social corruption, and who persecuted or killed the prophets. This contrast reached its climax in the Crucifixion; but it may be recognised today in the orientation of Christians and of Jews (plus Judaeo-Christians) to good and evil. In Australia and elsewhere, some Jewish rabbis are urging that Christian teaching on the New Testament be modified to meet their interpretation, with much sympathy from Judaeo-Christians.
In general Christians, having faced once the monstrous events in the Nazi prison camps, cease to pollute their minds with them, but still remember and glorify those who resisted or sacrificed themselves for others, as they glorify, not the victimhood of the Cross but the love which endured it. On the other hand we are daily pounded with the policy of a few influential Jews in dwelling upon, and making the most psychologically, of their mass-victimisation under the Nazis. Their open policy is to seek public vengeance in show trials of obscure old men of dubious identity and involvement in those fifty-year-old crimes in order to perpetuate collective guilt and vengeance-seeking among the young.
Are Most Jews REALLY Vengeance-Seekers
Is it 'anti-semitic' to suggest that most ordinary Jews are not vengeance-seekers but, even more than the rest of us, would welcome any impartial investigation in the hope that it might show that some of the much-publicised figure of 6,000.000 victims had never suffered that fate?
Since Jews are taught to think of themselves racially and collectively rather than individually, as God's Chosen People, called to a moral leadership of the World, if this is corrupted from the spiritual into a form of collective racial pride, is it not then credible that it could be taken over by an anti-Jewish fanatic with Nordic German fantasies and transformed into a racial Herrenvolk, the 'highest human type' with a moral duty to confer the benefits of its rule upon the rest?
For other peoples-e.g. the French, British and Americans -- it is the political unit, the Nation, which unites them and expresses their national pride. But the Germans, before Bismarck, never had been a nation, and even Bismarck did not bring them all under the same flag. Hence it was easy for them to pride themselves as a race. Moreover, the Nazi view of 'non-Nordic' peoples was that they were 'inferiors' to be given the boon of German rule. Only the Jews were different: a rival 'race' which could not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Is it not sensible and charitable to assume that most Germans, like the rest of us, were victims of their Herrenvolk, as most Jews are victims of their own 'Herrenvolk,' and indeed do we not all suffer under some sort of ubermensch? The identity and extent of the tyranny they exercise may be judged by the penalties exacted for confronting their policies. Yet, if ever there were people who should know better than to victimise others it must surely be the power-wielding Jews.
Every effort seems to be made by the organs of publicity to induce everyone to think collectively in categories of Jews. Nazis, fascists. racists, blacks, whites, Asians, etc., and to discourage the Christian way of thinking of them as individual people, with personal responsibility for their actions. Thus, the bulk condemnation of the entire Jewish race as the 'murderers of Christ' follows a Jewish rather than Christian mode of thinking; but some Jews had responsibility. Which Jews, Germans, racists, Blacks, Asians etc. are we referring to? Crude lumpen-thinking always leads to disaster.
Race-war to skin-colour-war
So now, two generations later, we have Hitler's race-war mania extended to skin-colour differences, with the creation of the great White- skinned Guilt Complex. It is not 'racist' for Jews to oppress Arabs, for Arabs to oppress Kurds, for Serbs to oppress Croats, for people with black, or brown, or yellow skins to oppress each other (as they all do). It is skin-colour that seems to matter rather than oppression.
Even here in Britain, we now have an Izanist official attitude which uses these vulgar and racially insulting skin-terms for people (every whit as crude as Hitler's) : 'black' and 'white.' and more recently 'Asian' - lumping together vast masses of mankind by skin alone. Our language, we are told, must be changed to exclude words like blackmail, blackguard, etc.; neither must we use 'white' in ways indicating harmlessness, such as 'white lie' or 'white magic'; as our thought-masters have prescribed that these words must always have a racial meaning.
Post-war 'anti-racism' did, indeed, start by trying to be just that: to oppose the very idea of race, to depict it as of negligible importance as compared with education and environment. All races were equal, (by implication, in everything) and the Racial Equality Laws attempted to enforce this insulting lack of discrimination. But as the years have passed, its unreality became inescapable, so our anti-racists are now defying their own laws by what they call (ironically, having destroyed the real meaning of the word) positive discrimination; in other words, anti-racism has become reverse-racism.
Izanism's Twisted Word-weapons
There is a Society of Black Lawyers, a Black Environment Network, even a Group which advertises that 'Black Lesbians only need apply'; but the equivalent of White Lawyers etc. are not only illegal, but would be greeted with furious accusations of 'racism,' which are them- selves simply reverse-racism. We are also told, by a Government Agency (English Nature) that our national tree, the oak, so long associated with our history and literature, is no longer to be called the 'native oak' as this is irrelevant, and offends 'ethnic groups' as a form of biological racism. So now, the word 'native' is tabooed by our official Herrenvolk, even as applied to trees, which is contrary to all our knowledge of the ecology of trees, soil and mycorrhiza, and the dangers which may accompany the introduction of alien species or varieties.
It is evident that the development of this language-psyching into a weapon of aggressive Izanism dates from long after the experience of Naziism. It is a product of propaganda which feeds on its own excesses.
One of those most vicious word-misuses has been the complete inversion of the meaning of the word 'discrimination' to serve the purposes of this inverted Naziism. In its proper sense this word means precisely that careful discernment of differences which is essential to harmony 'between races (or indeed any different groups or individuals). It sums up the aim of all real education, and is the basis of all biology. Its inversion to mean a malign prejudice against anyone on racial or sexual grounds, now even embodied in our Law, so that its proper meaning is almost unknown to the young, is a gross offence against our language and against civilisation itself. It is ironic to remember that it started as a witticism perpetrated by the American humorist, Mark Twain.
There are other ways of expressing contempt for other races than the direct Nazi way. The fact that nowadays few people dare be any- thing but carefully polite to anyone with a coloured skin, for fear of the 'racist' hate-smear, makes a colour-bar colder than anything our tougher-minded and less touchy predecessors are accused of.
The selective world propagandist and financial assault upon South African 'whites' for trying to solve their menacing multiracial problems by enforcing some segregation (apartheid) upon each race - excluding from that condemnation the non-white abominations, such as burning people alive, and the corruption, massacres and starvation in non-white countries - in fact was an insult to non-white people not less than that of the Nazis.
What it clearly implied (and is sometimes said in 'anti-colonialist' terms) was that you must not hold 'blacks' to be responsible for gross corruption, atrocities and social chaos: 'whites' alone are responsible people; and are to blame for everything that goes wrong, which is not all that different from claiming total 'white' racial superiority. It is not as if differences in race and colour were anything new in a country such as Britain, merely that our Izanists are trying to destroy the common sense with which, until recently, we all came to terms with them as a normality. Now, by depicting the familiar customs and attitudes of the native population as rotten with an anti-black 'racism' which has to be eradicated by legal force, our racial thought-police are magnifying on both sides the fear and resentment they feel so righteous in castigating, and forcing upon non-white new-corners the feeling of isolation among a hostile people.
How to stir up' Racism'
Scarcely a week passes but they try to find some part of our customary way of life and language which, they say, is an offence to the 'ethnic' minority, never mind what it does to the not-to-be-called-native 95 per cent of the nation. Then they have to persuade the 'ethnics' to feel offended at what they never were before. Even the normal rules of a working-man's club which tend to elect their own sort, have now been found to be 'racist,' if 'their own sort' have skins of the normal 'native' hue.
Consider the behaviour of 'politically correct' operators under the banner of 'anti-racism.' It is usually to maximise publicity for any local act or language , which actually does cause racial offence. Instead of, say, a dozen people being enraged and offended, maybe a million are made so by proxy. This is a strictly post-Hitler phenomenon.
Before that War there was a rough and ready give and take between the races, which took account of a British characteristic of abusive familiarity, which sometimes could even be called affectionate abuse, a sign of acceptance into the group or society in question. The last time I heard a Nigerian student called 'a bloody nigger' during a minor rough-house, it was just such a sign. To have excluded him (on colour-bar-grounds as now required) from the general pseudo-abuse being used at the time would have been a deliberate snub (as it still would be).
A little of that good-humoured tolerance and common sense would reduce the whole thing to a trivial nonsense. What we all know if we are allowed to remember it is that every race rightly deems itself to be superior to all others in some respects, namely those which are especially peculiar to itself and which justify its existence. That cannot possibly mean superior to all others in everything. This is where an insane pride comes in.
It is as hypocritical to deny that European civilisation is vastly superior to any other in certain respects, notably technological power and organisation, as it is to deny its major failings, notably in respect of the environment, or to deny the superiority of a black skin in the tropics, and of a desert culture, such as that of the Bushmen, in the Kalahari. To assert that, in general, a black African is as good a European as is a European is also to assert that a European is as good an African as an African, an Inuit is as good a Zulu as a Zulu, and so on. It is all nonsense, and known to be nonsense, but imposed via the mob-psyche.
Every Race is ' Superior'
Any race or culture which ceases to feel that it is superior to all others in some respects, those which it believes to be typical and unique to itself, is simply on the way out to make way for others which possess that natural and essential self-confidence. The trouble comes when people are bamboozled into making a single, simple League Table and allotting places on it to widely different peoples. The reaction against this of saying that they are all 'equal ' is as foolish and insulting as the superior-inferior idiocy. Do our Izanists really suppose that 'ethnic' people (as they call them) are pleased to be told "You are my equal!"? What is needed is proper discrimination. In precisely what respects are they superior, inferior, or (improbably) equal?
The answer is, of course, each is at the top in its own qualities; meaning that each is best at, and in, its own culture, and, by and large. not so good in other people's cultures. Which is no more than common knowledge and common sense, and this is where discrimination, the careful discernment of differences, is vitally necessary for racial harmony and mutual respect. But this is also where the crude, vulgar, indiscriminate sloshing of people into skin-colour lumpages, such as 'black,' 'white,' or 'Asian' is bound to arouse the maximum tension. It is a nasty form of racial collectivism, and the basic cause of race-warfare.
If we all take it for granted that every race and nation prefers the excellence of its own sort, then it is possible to respect, admire and find our differences valuable. Ecologists need also to remember that, among mankind as among other forms of life, greater variety tends towards greater stability in an association. The attempt to 'harmonise' us, as in Europe, or South Africa, destroys the means of complementary mutualism.
In attempting to co-operate with Nature, some of our Greens are all too liable to ignore human nature. Why do they bother about saving the black rhino, the snow leopard, the natterjack toad, the bee orchid, and so on? If there is good reason for this, why then must the different breeds o men be herded into multiracial, multicultural masses and left to sort out the dominant strains by money-confict and their success in breeding? What is wrong about some degree of 'separate development' to preserve their distinctive character for mutual respect when an imposed close mixing leads to conflict between different breeds of men?
* * * *
There is not room in this chapter to consider the thought-control of that biological division of mankind which is even deeper than that of race, namely gender, which fits in here but will have to appear in the next chapter.
The Local World - Part XI by Geoffrey Dobbs
Genuine social reformers and social revolutionaries have opposite objectives. Reformers aim to meet the real grievances and to alleviate the hardship and suffering of the 'undermen'; thus increasing the mutual trust and co-operation (sometimes called the social credit) which stabilises a society.
The first group are realists, dealing with the situation as nearly as they can, as it is. The second are ideologists, substituting their imaginary 'ideal' of peace and happiness, which they strive after by means of bitter satire, intrigue, hatred and violence to create fear - for the reality of the way the world works. For generations, now, the social revolutionaries have been at work throughout the world, destabilising every society with propaganda, with lies, and with terrorism.
Any normal Government is bound to react against this, and to be denounced as repressive and reactionary; and if not repressive enough, the provocation must be magnified until it is. In the case of Nazi Germany the reaction was as violent as the action, and partook of the same revolutionary nature. Hitler's main declared enemy was communism, the methods of which he quite openly followed. But in fact he extended the revolutionary ideology from class-war to race-war: a most damaging enlargement.
Then followed, by the same dialectical law of revolution, the Leftist reaction which I called Izanism in the last Chapter, not challenging the race-war, but merely redirecting its targets, and following the same revolutionary methods of exploiting and increasing its hostilities.
And now we have, alas! the spread of this revolutionary ideology from race-war to sex-war. It takes the form of the corruption of a normal movement (by no means restricted to women) for a rational reform of women's place in a technologically altered world, into an ideological assault on the very nature, not only of our culture and civilisation, but even of human nature itself, both male and female, but especially directed against the latter. As U. K. Chesterton put it long ago: A feminist is "one who hates the chief feminine characteristics."
Furthermore, this has been accompanied by other, mass-imposed, fragmentations of human life and nature, including the big-money youth- corruption culture, inflating the natural differences between youth, maturity, and old-age into near-impassable chasms, segregating people as never before into age-classes, even within the family, by divisive thought and language. Even the aged, the crippled and those sexually inhibited by inversion, are being used as grist to the mill of 'political correctness' by our self-appointed thought police.
The Politically Correct: Class-Race-Sex-War
The continuity of this new revolution with what is now known as 'old-fashioned Marxist-Leninism' has been obscured by the political disintegration of the former Soviet Union, and the re-emergence of, overt Christianity from under the crushing pressures of an openly hostile atheist regime which had utterly failed to eliminate it.
This has led to the widespread idea that Communism is on the way out, even though in the Third World it continues to operate quite openly and with its old brutality under its old name, and in China it still subjugates about a fifth of the World's population.
But in the West we are now confronted with a greater and more subtle danger. Revolutionaries now operate under various 'respectable' Leftish labels such as Social or Liberal Democrats, and some of them are engaged in the penetration and corruption of the main Christian churches and are succeeding in perverting Christian compassion into a revolutionary tool for undermining and reversing the substance and bearing of the Christian Faith.
Even godless Communism used to be described as a kind of Christian heresy, in that its propagandist 'aims' were, verbally, largely those of Christians, differing 'merely' in that their results were the opposite. The conquest of Socialist State Control by World Financial Control has not changed the common corrupted nature of them both.
But it is now high time that the continuity of the new forms of ‘contextual theology’ with the old Marxist revolutionary class-war, and now race-war and sex-war, were more widely realised in the churches. This term, which I get from Rachel Tingle of the Christian Studies centre, covers all those new 'theologies of Liberation': Black, Asian, South American, Urban (Inner City), Feminist and Homosexual 'contexts' among them, which depict Our Lord as a political partisan and saviour, not of all men, but only of those labelled collectively in some context as 'the oppressed’.
Hate substituted for Love
These revolutionary theologians are concerned primarily with 'the struggle' against the 'oppressors,' whether they are seen as Capitalists. Imperialists, or Whites, or in the verbal sex-war Males, the family and the sexual normal - whatever the chosen context may be, and what- ever category may be persuaded to regard themselves as the 'oppressed’.
Forgiveness and reconciliation are ruled out, and those Christians who work for them have even been classed with the 'oppressors,' violence against whom has been called "a just and blessed act," an act of Peace- making by those who call themselves "the Sons of God." Thus, the whole message of the Crucifixion, of salvation for everyman is trans- formed into a collectivist ideology of a 'struggle' for the relief of mass-suffering (which Jesus shared on the Cross). Hate of the 'oppressors' is substituted for love, and the whole of the mission of Christ is turned upside down, often with the support of selected Biblical quotations and a passionate militancy. This is in fact a covert variant of the overt atheism from which it grew.
When one reads or hears of young people in the South African townships burning down the homes of black town councillors or 'neck- lacing' others who co-operate with Government plans while describing themselves as 'Christians,' this is the sort of 'Christianity' they have been taught. Nor is this sort limited to 'blacks' in South Africa. In less brutal form it has already permeated the Churches in the West, and notably those in Britain and the U.S.A., where it is manifestly leading towards the denial of the divinity of Christ and of the Holy Trinity in favour of other beliefs.
Because women by their feminine nature are more deeply concerned with reproduction and with nurture, both physically and mentally the attempt to reduce them to neutral 'persons,' boss-usable for any purpose for money, is to challenge the whole tide of Creation.
The current trivializing of 'sex,' as indicated in phrases such as 'having sex with' (much as one has a game or meal with) blinds people and especially the young to the fact that sex is a vital, profound and essential component of the living universe, not only at the physical level, but also at the mental and spiritual levels, as most people, in time discover. But that is real sex, not the sex-game. To teach techniques of 'having sex' before, or in the absence of, general biology is a cruel part of this.
Trivialising the Great Creative Power
It is not surprising that to conjure up this colossal living force of reproduction, with the intention of frustrating it, is visibly destructive, while its power of attraction, since it is the means of survival of the breed, is likewise immense; and there are few who can resist it unaided, especially in a society which encourages its trivial pursuit.
What is called 'sex' nowadays is not even semi-sex. Perhaps it should be called 'sub-sex.' Many discover the reality of the huge force they were playing with through bitter experience; but what is needed here is the experience of generations, as expressed in the religious inheritance and family tradition, permeating the societal culture.
This tradition is far stronger than we are being persuaded to think, but it is being eroded continually. It is of its protection that recent generations have been 'progressively' deprived by the more trendy, sarcastic and pay-worthy satirists of this century: the writers, journalists, artists, broadcasters, who have been training the public to swallow and demand more of the mental drug of sex-phantasy which they supply. They have been followed by the feebler, members of the mind-manipulator class, who naturally go where the money is. There is scarcely a word with a good, wholesome and decent meaning loft which has not been sneered out of public use in its proper sense. But they are still there for private and small-scale use.
If we interpret the great word Love not in trivial terms of 'feelings' but as referring to that creative power which expresses itself in mutuality, in the positive and complementary behaviour of all living things in relation to each other, which enables them to grow and survive, then the female gender has always had the primacy. To give the primacy to their usefulness in manipulating monetary ink-marks in the power- market over their innate genius with children and the family, with nutrition, and with religion, is a form of insanity which can lead only towards elimination of their breed of men; as it s doing.
Feminist Theology : the twisting of a universal Faith into a sexual-political context, uses its most deadly weapons in the inversion of language - a field on which the South African Institute of Contextual Theology (LC.T.) places great importance in the waging of the ideological struggle.
The Exclusion of Women from Mankind
Ever since the English Language was created under the influence of Christianity the primary meaning of the word 'man' (as in mankind) has been inclusive of all members of the human race. The everyday meaning of 'adult male,' exclusive of women and children, is secondary. Which meaning is being used has always been obvious from the context, but in religion, and especially in the Bible and the Prayer Book, the primary meaning is obviously intended in virtually all important places where 'male' is not clearly indicated; and this is quite vital to the Faith, and has never been in doubt until recent years.
Typically, in feminist revolutionary practice a 'grievance' is manufactured by constant misuse of the word 'man' in its all inclusive meaning as if it were 'exclusive' of women. In effect, feminists first verbally exclude their own sex from mankind and then accuse 'men' of doing so whenever they use normal English. Meanwhile, while trying to censor the age-old inclusive use of Man, the feminists demand the use of what they invertedly call inclusive language, by which they mean the sexually exclusive word 'She.' This then makes 'He' also exclusively sexual as applied to Man or God. The result is utterly confusing and destructive.
So they drag down the Eternal into the sexual sphere either as a Female or an Hermaphrodite; whereas the established usage escapes this in its primary, inclusive meaning of the verbally masculine. To this there is no valid alternative, since there are only two sexes, and the neutral 'It' is ruled out completely by its impersonality.
Though this ‘theft of Man' from the English language and religion is probably the deepest wound inflicted by the new feminists, the extent to which their word-distortions are damaging both social and marital life through their massive use by 'the media' is already achieving more in the de-stabilization of our civilisation than any other revolutionary assault.
Since male sexual vice as directed against women has much to answer for (though it is not all one-way), those earlier feminists who campaigned against the evils of drunken violence, of infidelity, of prostitution, pornography, 'white slavery' and commercial sex-advertising, deserved our gratitude; but they are now derided by the new feminists as 'old-fashioned' and 'self-defeating,' since they attacked the crimes and sometimes the sins of the male, not maleness itself - the bad husband and father, not marriage and fatherhood themselves - as do their successors.
The Undermining of Marriage by Hate-Language
The appalling thing is that love between men and women is excluded by this new language, and is replaced by a bitter, sardonic, acidulated hate. The descriptions of marriage as 'legalized prostitution,' 'the chief vehicle for perpetuating the oppression of women,' 'the most degraded relationship,' and so on, have been repeated so often and so widely, that they must have played a major part in the undermining of marriage as an institution, and in the growth of divorce, extra-marital co-habitation as a propagandist 'norm,' and promiscuity, with its doleful evils.
Lesbianism is seen as the preferred state for a feminist, as a political rather than a sexual stance. The young have been widely indoctrinated, by massive public jeering at 'old-fashioned morality' resulting in a merciless peer pressure, with the belief that every female has a 'moral right' to 'have sex' when, where and with whom she chooses, the consequences being borne by others. Should a new life in her womb be among those consequences, she should have 'freedom of choice' to have it killed for her, since it is 'part of her body'; even though every cell in an embryo's body is derived from both parents.
In straight language what is being demanded is the right to engender a human being as a by-product of sensual pleasure and then destroy it if not wanted. But our neo-feminists cannot use straight language. It is by such half-truths and language-mangling, in continuity with Marxist thinking, magnified a million times by the propaganda-machines, that our civilisation is being destroyed. A generation ago 'abortion' was a filthy word, ranked with 'murder' and 'rape.' It still is a nasty word for farmers, as applied to cows. But mass-word-twisting has changed that as applied to women. They call it 'feminism,' but the vast majority of normal women know that it is utterly un-natural, anti-feminine and a denial of that maternal love which is a part of their being, and which also tells them that where the consequences of sex may last a life time, a lifetime commitment is required.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE (for abortion) is now the great feminist political slogan, notably in the U.S.A. But every woman has always had freedom of choice NOT to perform the act which engenders life (short of rape which proves that natural right by infringing it). The whole question of abortion is now political.
Here is an age-long human weakness which has always existed and has caused much suffering, but has now (along with casual 'sex') been seized upon and exploited. It is just when the social pressures upon women to dispose of an illegitimate pregnancy have been relieved that the revolutionaries have launched their holocaust of the unborn, carried out, for the most part, by the National Health Service. In doing so, they are depriving women of many good doctors and nurses who are avoiding going into gynaecology to avoid participation. Some of them, we learn, pay a price for their conscience. The revulsion, it may be, is greater than we know.
Feminists (of the old sort) used to complain of the 'double-standard' of sexual behaviour for men and women, implying that men ought to restrain themselves as was required of women. Now the same complaint is made the other way round, that women have a right to be as coarse and promiscuous as (some) men without criticism. That is the standard they seek, even in public rowdy behaviour, where we now have groups of drunken girls, matching the groups of drunken boys, except for screeching instead of bawling.
The public coarsening of the feminine mind as exhibited by many female entertainers and writers, along with jeers at natural womanly modesty and delicacy, is now avidly demanded by some organisers and publishers, and has already engendered a big-money demand which formerly would have been catered for only in the dingiest of haunts. Supply and demand now feed upon each other. Every now and then there is a 'backlash' of revulsion against all this but it never fully cancels the descent. There is a 'ratchet' effect which prevents it doing so. The 'ratchet' is money.
The root force is money-worship. Feminists complain of the indignity of the economic dependence of women upon men. The truth is that, in the home, economic interdependence between the sexes is wholly mutual. What they mean by 'economic' is 'financial.' "Money" says A Feminist Dictionary (Pandora Press, 1985) "dignifies, what is frivolous unpaid for." "Without money, you are nothing."
These are sentiments highly acceptable to the gentlemen who create by book-keeping the means of purchase we all need, as an ever-inflating debt; by which arrangement, whereas one wage per family used to suffice, now it requires two to have a 'job,' however pointless in the face of grossly excessive productive potential. It is now expedient in the face of feminist outcries to allot some of the upper-hireling jobs to women; but for every woman so favoured there must be a hundred who are driven to neglect their homes and children by the sheer necessity to sell a lot of their lives to remote bosses for money-tokens.
Money over Womanhood
The spiritual and moral consequences of this worship of 'money' (without which, "you are nothing") are Satanic. Love goes out and with it the meaning of service. Since the hierarchy of employment by the Big Money with its remote bosses alone is held to confer 'status' even the bottom grades of hirelings are held 'superior' to the unhired customer, and the producer now rules the consumer while pretending to the opposite.
Large firms or public services are constantly making changes to relieve employees of having to take care or pay attention, by thrusting those duties on the customer, or simply reducing the quality of service. The general rule seems to be that if you are paid to do something you must be spared all possible trouble. If you pay, the 'trouble' is up to you.
So that service which is freedom, the service of love, is derided, if not entirely ignored as if it did not exist, by the neo-feminists, as also by the modern money-marketeers. The dignity of the wife who serves with love a loving husband and children, and in doing so is mistress in her own feminine sphere off her own small queendom of the home, is beyond their understanding, for that is otherwise pre-occupied.
How sad, and how terrible is the social price we are all paying for the withdrawal of much of the deeper loving, caring and serving power of womankind from society and its replacement by the sort off female who puts money and career, the 'right to sex' and to, abortion, before her children and her home. The whole of society, including employment, is now permeated with this sub-sex-cult. Why do feminists complain of what they call 'sexual harassment' at work when it is they who insist that all women have a right to be 'available' for what they call 'sex' when they are 'in the mood'? How does the male, deemed to have a similar 'right' to follow his hormones, find out whether the she-mammal is on heat?
The Cult- War on Normality
It is necessary to deal here with another aspect of the sex-war which is even deeper than that between the sexes, since it injures both sexes internally. It is rather a disease of sexuality than a war, and one which infected the old paganism as it does the new. As ever with all perversions it is sold to us by a corruption of language; in this case by the stealing and misusing of the lovely little word: 'gay.'
If anything can rightly be called a perversion, a wrong-turning, it is the 'orientation' towards the same sex of the great, creative, sexual force, thus frustrating its fundamental purpose in the universe. But when politics dictates 'correctness' it is invariably to psycho-bully people into denying an obvious truth.
As with the neo-feminist version of political correctness so with the neo-homosexual version, a minor and deadly cult in the U.S.A. has been blown up in a few years by the big, money-backed media into a 'normality,' accepted and magnified now by the State-backed and official agencies and public services and embodied and imposed in the law and the language of the ruling classes, including the language and politics of many Church leaders. Why?
In both cases the whole basis of real Christianity is denied, not openly, but simply by taking for granted that it can and must be manipulated to fit in with the current power ideology. Sin, and with it personal responsibility for its consequences, as awesomely demonstrated on the Cross as an essential part of Love, is re-defined as opposition to, or even failure to conform with, the current 'context' of 'political correctness.'
Thus sodomites must not be called sodomites, even to distinguish them, as is very necessary, from all homosexuals, and even after that improper conjunction of the sexual with the excretory organ has been shown to be especially liable to transfer the H.I.V. virus, and with it a lingering death. Wrong application is what 'wrong' is. Dirt is matter out of place. Dung is vital stuff on the land, but not, please, on the dinner table!
Even when the wages of this particular collectivist sin is known to be death it is deemed more offensive to say so, than to deny the 'right' to choose a homicidal 'life-style' as a means of self-expression. This is quite parallel in policy with the 'right' of a woman to abortion.
As with class and with race, so with gender there is a proper, and an improper discussion, and if necessary, disputation. Until the word feminist was usurped by anti-male sex-warriors it might properly be applied to most normal women, who have confidence in the endowments of their own sex, and are prepared where necessary to defend their freedom to exercise them. As it is I shall have to accept and use the word in its current use, as applied to the latest cult of anti-male hostility which has spread in recent decades from the U.S.A. Neo-feminism might be another name for it.
Feminist Derision of the Feminine
Just because there is a large overlap between the physical and mental properties of men and women, so that many women can surpass many men in ways in which, as a generalisation, men excel, this is no excuse for perverse disparagement of the sexual difference and disdain for the non-masculine characteristics of the female.
Here again we have an inversion, in that self-styled 'feminists,' while attacking the violence, aggressiveness and power exhibited by men in the 'male-dominated' world, proceed to a blatant imitation of what they object to in the worst of males. They abandon the gentler and more constructive superiorities of their own sex for a bitter, aggressive demand for a greater share in the hierarchy which 'operates the despotism of the power-world. With an obvious adaptation of Marxist ideology, the theory is that when selected feminists have aggressively clawed, bullied, intrigued and maybe seduced their way to the 'top' positions. they will suddenly revert to the womanly gentleness and pacificism which as feminists they deride, in exercising their power over the rest of us. (Cf. the 'withering away' of the communist State).
Hostile references to male-domination or patriarchy occur (ad nauseam) in almost every sentence of feminist writers, as distinct from feminine writers, when they complain, usually with reason, of the misuse of power by males. But the feminists with their lumpen-thinking are concerned to deny the natural properties of both male and female which, historically, have ensured that all human societies have been openly dominated mainly by males ever since they grew beyond the simplest level of the enlarged family and attained anything of the nature of civilisation.
Some women have, of course, taken the trouble to scramble up the power-hierarchy, but for the most part sensible women have found something more vital to do, and have preferred to leave such secondary matters to the men - until recently; which is not to say that their influence in the home has not been of vastly greater importance in the civilizing of society than anything they can possibly achieve in the seats of power.
The Primacy of Women
Since women have always had the primacy in the gentler, the more positive and constructive side of life; because, as Henry Drummond pointed out long ago, their very bodies were created (call it evolved if you 'must) for altruistic giving, both the womb and the breasts for growth and nourishing and the whole for love and caring, the main function of the male has been to protect, shelter, and provide the larger means of survival for the more essential and sacred women and children. And so it still is, though the fact has beer forgotten, and the vast and complex systems of political, commercial. social and financial power are assumed to exist for themselves alone ; which is why they seem so oppressive to many of us.
The bitter thing is that the Green Movement, which started out to reverse the trend towards ever-growing violence and aggression, in favour of greater gentleness, thoughtfulness for others (including other species) willing service and mutualism, now seems to have swallowed the feminist drive for male-style bully-power, and the deriding of the gentler qualities in which women excel. Kinde, Kjrche und Kueche, the proverbial orbit of the German Hausfrau, sums up the contempt both of Nazis and of feminists for what is, in fact, what the Greens most want: the decentralised, peaceful, constructive and essential natural role of women in human life.
How on earth do those who use the slogan Small is beautiful adopt the policy of monetary herding of women into the Market Place, fighting for pointless 'status' as the pay-slaves of remotely centralised, usually anonymous, ever-changing money-powers?
All praise to those, male or female, who have chosen to adopt a real, independent and useful profession, or to acquire a real skill, craft or technique with which, by genuinely serving their fellow men, they can also earn a living. There is, however, a limit to this which most people are satisfied to observe. 'Small' is not only beautiful, it is also efficient in terms of human satisfaction. Beyond that limit in size and power there is a loss of contact with reality, and an increasing corruption.
Hitherto the chief restraint upon that descent into the unreal world of increasingly remote control through power and money has been that half of mankind which is concerned with the primary essentials of life, with the home and family, which are local and on-the-spot; and so, only secondarily, with the larger society which is built upon such secure foundations.
Moralism versus Morality
What we are up against is an imposed 'moralism' based upon human artefacts such as words, images and money, which is being substituted for the practical, tested 'morality' (mode of behaviour) born of the way the world was created and works. In human affairs sexual re- production and the family are so vital a part of that 'reality that the term 'morality' is too often applied solely in that connection. But the difference between 'morality' and 'moralism' is crucial. The one is practical, the other ideological.
Verbal precepts such as the Ten Commandments, and the Two Commandments to love, are of great value so far as they are tested in practice. Otherwise, being only symbols, they can be turned aside or inverted. The engineer who said that to get things 'right’ morally was of the same nature as to get things 'right' mechanically, i.e. so that everything fits and works as it was meant to, threw a light on morality which Christians greatly need. Jesus was not a moralist, but is a Way!
He did not condemn the woman taken in adultery; neither did he condone it. The New Moralism forgets that He told her not to sin again. He did not even condemn the moralists who would have stoned her. What he said made them look at their own sins instead of hers.
But is warning the same as stone-throwing? Our social revolutionaries seem to imply that it is; that to teach that this leads to that, that this is right and that is wrong as can be seen by their results--- to teach facts at all, whether it be the right and wrong connection of + and - electric terminals or of sexual intimacies, is itself to be reviled. It is to be noticed that most of the perversion which is being urged upon us is towards doing a right thing in the wrong context; and that those who jeer loudest at the sinful Christian are liable to work most profitably at increasing the sexual temptation and social pressure to do wrong. Not for nothing is one of the names of the Devil 'The Accuser'!
Public Orientation towards Death and Sterility
The official 'Health' agencies merely promote "fewer" sex-partners and the use of condoms (with illustrations and detailed 'advice'). On no account will they mention the only certain preventative, which is the faithful observance of marriage vows, and NO 'sex' outside marriage, for this would show up the irresponsibility of those: writers, artists, broadcasters, teachers, opinion-former, who have persuaded so many that virginity, faithfulness, celibacy, are old-fashioned titter-matter, and that in 'sex' (and drugs or any other immediate gratification) everything is 'normal.' As the advertisers say: Buy now, pay later (with interest).
The one thing about the public discussion of H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. is the instant, passionate defence of that cult or perversion which, in the Western World, is largely responsible. This shows the 'orientation,' not only 'of homosexuals but of a whole class of godless, satirical jeerers by word-and-image who so largely command our minds. They turned away from actual reality, and towards death, sterility, crime and perversion, with their backs to the life more abundant.
Homosexuality itself is quite another matter from the cult by which it is now politically and publicly encouraged. It is the political cult which has stolen the word 'gay' and smeared it, not only with sex-inversion but with 'politics' and subversion. Its connection with atheistic Marxism, especially at Cambridge, need only be mentioned.
Personal sexuality is a private matter, and despite sex-boasters in bars, normal, decent people keep it so: and these include decent people who, apart from this one disablement are otherwise normal and, like the rest of us, would never dream of flaunting their sexual habits in public. When the defect is not complete and the sufferer is dim-sighted rather than blind to the other sex, and able to marry and to have children, such a handicap nowadays may lead to a break-up of a sub-marriage; in a true one (for better or worse) it will not, any more than would the loss of sight or of a leg. In any case this is an intensely private matter, and the proper place for it is in what the jargon flow calls the closet.'
As for the partially or wholly sex-inverted - they are subject to the same rules of integrity, self-control and morality as the rest of us; but it is well known that many of them are able to re-direct their energies, often with great talent, into the arts, notably the theatre, and sports.
Sexuality is Personal and Private
Thus, private, personal homosexuality is not the business of the rest of us, unless we are consulted as parents or doctors or father confessors or very intimate friends. But when it comes 'out of the closet' as it is constantly urged to do, and forms a mass-cult which sets out to attract others, then it becomes very much the business of the rest of us whose culture, religion, morality, health and even lives are being threatened.
One of its saddest aspects is the blight that the cult has cast upon that noble love which is called friendship which is normally free of the pseudo-sexual urge, making it hard for friends of the same sex to live or sleep together without being smeared with homosexual implications.
It is not personal, 'closetted' homosexuality which has spread a lingering death by H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. among us, but the lethal habit of collectivist, pluralist blood and body-slime mixing as a cult among the young, whether by drug-needle, sodomy or promiscuous 'sub-sex' and even by criminally careless public blood-transfusion. But before the immunity of the body to invasive disease could be destroyed, the immunity of the mind and the morals had first to be invaded on a vast scale: and this has been the task of 'the Left' (of whatever party, church or movement) for generations, until its lethal spiritual virus permeates the leadership of even our official and major institutions and has corrupted the language.
It is noticeable how our collectivist 'health-minders' take these deadly habits of multiple pseudo-sex for granted, as 'natural.' They are not. Nature as well as religion has prescribed that in a huge mass-society such as ours, if the spread of such contagion is to be prevented, extreme physical intimacy must be limited by the institution of marriage, which they ignore. The temptation to misuse sex is strong enough in all conscience. It does not need our health and educational agencies to promote it with illustrated instructions on how to yield to it, while reducing the risk from only one of its deadlier consequences.
Anti-life, whether by contra-conception, abortion, euthanasia, sex-inversion, or multiple body-fluid exchange habits, is of the essence of this philosophy, which gains ground through the assumption that all but an unfashionable, satirized minority must share it. Which is quite untrue; but it is eroding the solid bulk of decent people, and especially the young, many of whom are being deprived of their defence against it.
Neither modern political feminism nor public homosexualism could have become more than their usual minor cults had not the big-money media multiplied them a million-fold, and governmental, 'official,' educational, and other influential institutions accepted their language and made it 'respectable.' These included many of the churches, as judged by their most publicised leaders, who have inverted the charity which forgives, raises up and saves - into the indulgent sympathy which thrusts down and damns. There remains, ever, a core of goodness and of living faith; but this kind of jeering devil will not go out without much prayer and fasting, probably for generations to come.
When I first considered the huge quagmire of fear, insecurity and misery into which our bitter, godless, money-controlled mind-twisters with their use of the vast multiplying apparatus, have thrust the young of two generations while depriving them of their Christian heritage, I found it impossible to resist a reaction of fury.
Yet all this is but a human fragment of the death and pollution that the rule of these anti-lifers is casting upon the whole earth.
Into my mind came these lines, written by Wilfred Owen, one of those poets who died in their youth after suffering the witless mud and blood of the Flanders trenches:
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
Despair? Almost, but No, not quite! They are questions, not conclusions.
In this final chapter there must be some recapitulation; and since the delay in its serial publication has been so long, I must return to the words of indelible poignancy with which Wilfred Owen, a young poet who died in the First World War, expressed, as a poet should, the thoughts and feelings which have driven to despair many of the finest not only of his own generation, but of all those that have followed:
What, then, is it that is driving us to despair? Not the real world: the sunlight or the starlight, the plants in our garden or the sheep on the hill. These we turn to (if we dare) as a part of God's Creation, and therefore both good and real. No! the despair comes from a world of unreality imposed upon our souls by those who control the electronic impulses which have suddenly pervaded our lives in this country. And this imposed world is increasingly and mostly orientated towards evil, that is the rejection or denial of the good.
Young people are commonly told by their elders to "face the facts of life " - which are always understood to be bad. But these are not the facts of life but, literally, the facts of death, and the last thing we should do is to live our lives 'facing' them. On the contrary, we should face away from them, towards the real, glorious and overwhelming facts of the living Creation.
This is frequently jeered at as 'escapism,' i.e. an escape from the harsh reality of evil' into a world of goodness, assumed to be unreal and wholly imaginary; which if you come to think of it, is sheer Satanism, the worship of evil. But this is seldom directly acknowledged. More commonly it takes the form of the worship of remote, centralised, human power-the spirit of evil in its widest operation, whereby right and wrong, good and bad, become a matter of mass-opinion, the electronically induced social consensus.
The great and true Christian myth tells us that originally Satan was a glorious and good archangel who fell from grace through pride. It is all summed up in that famous hexameter: "How art thou fallen from Heaven O Lucifer, son of the morning!"
The Reality of Goodness
He was Lucifer, the light-bearer, now all turned to darkness, with no creative power whatsoever, but only the power to corrupt, pervert and invert reality. Our duty is to turn our backs on him and towards the light which is also the life of men, and which alone can defeat the darkness. "Get thee behind me, Satan ! " is the right attitude, as we have been clearly shown. And that must mean always subjecting the imposed electronic pseudo-world (in so far as we cannot escape it) to the prior test of the infinitely greater world of the reality of goodness.
Most people are now aware that money is just electronic impulses. The figures on a bank balance sheet are merely a print-out from a computer, and notes and coins a convenient form o that print-out for daily use. This change too in invisible electronic money is as radical as that from gold and silver coins to cheque-money. It has taken the imposition of an illusory 'reality' substituted for the true reality a long step forward.
Money is now issued as 'credit ' (i.e. interest-bearing debt) in such a way as continuously to devalue our purchasing power - our sole means of living in the electronic pseudo-world -- thus building up an ever-increasing and irredeemable debt-the inversion of redemption. It was an engineer, C. H. Douglas, who, between the Wars, pointed out the devastating, long-term effects of this, and was ridiculed, though the effects have followed inexorably, and the remedial movement which he initiated persists.
Debt locks up the future against us. It destroys hope. It reduces politics to a futile contest between parties of money-slaves for the favour of their money-masters, leading to ever more remote centralisation of power. It is of the very essence of despair.
C. H. Douglas - Economic Sanity
C. H. Douglas, in the 1920's, drew attention to the close relationship between bankruptcies and suicides; but he did a great deal more than that. As early as 1918 he pointed out that rising prices were built into the system; and then, in a series of books of world- wide circulation, he practically turned the whole of economics upside down by viewing it from the producer's and the consumer's point of view instead of that of the banker and the economist.
Instead of starting as economists do, with money and monetary theory as a means of controlling the economy, Douglas started with the reality of our technology with its vast productive potential, so grossly wasted and misdirected under monetary control. Money, he maintained, is an accountancy system. It should not control the economy but enable it to function properly, enabling producers to meet the real demands of the consumers, much as in a more limited way, a ticket system enables railways to supply the demands for rail-travel to different locations. It is intolerable that the extent of rail travel should be controlled, not by 'real factors but simply by the supply of tickets. The same, in more general applications, should apply to the accountancy figures called money. Sanity requires that they should not control but enable the economy to function effectively.
But while money rules sanity is ruled out., which is the main reason why, to most people who have retained their common sense, the world seems, literally, to have gone mad.
In his grasp of the potential of industrial technology Douglas was a pioneer at least a generation ahead of his contemporaries. When the 1914 War started he was engaged in supervising the work an the London Post Office Tube, of which he had drawn up the electrical specifications. This Tube, which is still running in the 1990's, was among the first examples of large scale automation, per- haps the very first. At the time, the electrical part was the essential innovation. It appears, however, that Douglas's bosses did not think much of it, or pay him very well for his pioneer work. Such pioneer work is seldom recognised at its outset.
Near the end of the War, as a Major in the Flying Corps (later the R.A.F.) he was seconded to the Government Aircraft Factory at Farnborough to sort out their somewhat muddled accounts. This he did in a highly original and un-academic way, using his experience as a production engineer as well as a cost accountant to go beyond the conventional balance sheets.
With the aid of 'tabulating machines' he was able to calculate the rate at which the Factory was generating cost as compared with the rate at which it was generating purchasing power in the form of wages, salaries, plus dividends (if any). As is now obvious, but was not so then, the rate of income distribution was well 'below that of cost-generation; and later work showed that this discrepancy exists in every business investigated, as can be seen in their annual reports. But no one had previously noticed the significance of this universal discrepancy, and every effort is still being made to deny that it has what is clearly a vast and manifest social significance, 'since it does not fit in with any acceptable economic theory, but only with the facts of life.
The Social Inheritance
Many economists are genuinely puzzled and unable to think in Douglas's practical terms or to understand his approach at all. This is because their training has saddled them with certain ideas about money which became increasingly obsolete as the social 'inheritance of invention and technology progressively displaced human labour as the chief factor in production.
Economists in general do not seem to understand the term 'rate' as applied to the function of money which should enable costs to be met in full without debt; that is, the rate of flow of computer and cheque money from banker as credit-issuer to employer as bank's debtor, via retailer by sale to wage-earner as consumer, and then in reverse back to the bank again in repayment with interest of the bank credit. Some of them seem still to be hag-ridden by the barter idea in the form of the 'velocity of circulation' of 'money' (i.e. coins and 'notes) from butcher to baker to pawnbroker and so on; the same 'money' going round and round, settling more or less trans- actions according to its 'velocity.'
Doubtless this still goes on a good deal in what is known as 'the black economy,' mainly with a view to avoiding taxation, but that is not the main economy which is functioning so hopelessly in terms of stop/go, inflation/recession, so that the only way in which the built- in devaluation of money can be slowed down is by strangling the whole economy.
Those who criticised Douglas's analysis mainly did so by ignoring its essence, namely the time factor whereby the purchase of yesterday's products is achieved by mortgaging future earnings with further debt. This, because inevitable under the debt-and-employment system, is accepted as if it were an unalterable law of nature. As for the gross inadequacy of aggregate incomes to meet costs and therefore prices, as revealed by Douglas when 'hire purchase' had barely been heard of, at the time this was dismissed as a temporary phenomenon attributed to the normal working of the Credit Cycle which he had mistaken for a permanent one.
Money is + or -
Now, consumer credit constitutes a 'large part of the economy, without which it would collapse. While this is only a part of the practical proofs of his correctness, even so it is alone sufficient to show that he was broadly right in, the long term and not merely in the short. Money is numbers which have a sign attached, + or -. In a boom there is not "too much money chasing too 'few goods." There is a greater deficit than ever of + (asset) money. The rest is made up of - (debt) money. The arithmetic of economics reckons that 3 - 2 = 5!
It seems that the thing about Douglas's analysis which particularly riles the economists and financiers is his comparison of the function of finance to that of a railway ticketing system., an enabling system for everyman_-for them almost a blasphemy, depriving the powers that be of their chief instrument for controlling and manipulating the lives of the common people. Political 'democracy' is reckoned all very well so long as it is limited to numerical voting for various class-divisive variants of monetary control: Conservative, Labour, Marxist, and so on; but actual Economic Democracy (the title of Douglas's first book) would be a denial of the power-basis of our civilisation, of their god Mammon himself!
Since price inflation is manifestly built into the system, sanity requires a price-discount to be built in to counter it. Insanity inverts this into a Value Added Tax to penalise all worth-while work by raising its price further so that more consumer-debt is needed to buy it.
But even lowered prices would not give us economic democracy so long as for most people a living income can be obtained only as a hired underling of, mainly, remote money-masters whose purposes may be constructive but are often vicious, destructive or silly. If un-hired, then one must be 'genuinely seeking' such work to obtain a conditional pittance much-grudged because extracted by taxes from those who are working.
Productivity beyond Human Needs
Economic democracy requires that everyone-Yes, everyone!- shall be free to choose the purposes for which he works, which is possible now that the cultural inheritance of technology has multi- plied productivity beyond any human needs. Here we have the solution to the misplaced conflict between equality and inequality in skill and merit. Equal pay for work of unequal quality is a denial of natural justice, but merit does not enter into a common technological inheritance. Here equality applies to every member of the inheriting community.
There is something here which is meet to be divided - a dividend, and no reason for inequality in its division. It is 'as of right' with no conditions or debt 'attached as it would be if extracted by taxation; and would take the place of all the doles, hand-outs, benefits and bonuses of the Welfare State.
As for the aggregate amount of such a discount and a dividend, it is vital that that should not be determined politically, but mathematically, so as to fill the gap between incomes and prices, a task by no means beyond the scope of the computer. For politicians to compete in 'offering tempting hand-outs as 'dividends' would return us to our present chaos of political use of the money system.
That people, in aggregate, by the use of their money-votes, should be allowed to determine the products of our vast productivity rather than having to consume what their money-masters choose to produce and sell to them, including wars, recessions, drugs, pollution, abortions, and electronic brainwashing, goes contrary to the belief that wisdom is inherent in remote, centralised mass-control: that but for this mankind is non-viable, so that it must 'be the little mistakes and errors of common men which are disastrous rather than the monstrous blunders and massacres of the mighty.
Mankind threatened, Not Earth
When I started this book I intended it as a sequel to my former book On Planning the Earth (1951), retaining the same title and following the same theme, with special reference to the Environmental or Green Movement, its local validity and its mass-misuse. As time passed it became more and more apparent that the policy of control by our World Planners is directed against Mankind rather than the Earth, of which the survival is not threatened. Of all the forms of life on this planet people are the most vulnerable to the anti-life policies of our would-be master-minds, through the centralised powers of mental as well as physical control. Hence the shift in emphasis towards an attempt to defend a viable sanity in human affairs. I return, therefore, to Douglas as an example of that sanity.
The criticism and jeers at Douglas were mainly directed at his constructive proposals and not at the policy itself, which in the face of monetary poverty imposed on real plenty was too sane to attack openly. As an outsider he was despised by the academic economists, but no one who claimed superior expertise supplied a set of proposals to gain his objectives, i.e. their objection was actually to the policy, though directed at any suggested means of 'realising it. Keynes patronisingly referred to Douglas as: "a private, perhaps, but not a major in the brave army of heretics."
To quote Douglas himself:
Nevertheless his various constructive proposals are worth keeping in mind, as evidence that, given the will, the way out from any monetary predicament is by no means beyond the wit of man when it is applied to it. So widespread were Douglas's ideas in the 1930's under the name Social Credit that millions of people who had not grasped the full nature of his policy formed 'Social Credit Parties' which gained considerable success, notably in Canada. Fortunately none of these has survived, since the idea of 'power for us and our party' is incompatible with the policy of decentralisation. Those interested would be advised to get in touch with the Social Credit Secretariat, a body set up by C. H. Douglas in 1933 to handle his correspondence, now centred in Edinburgh, with members in Australia.
Poverty in Plenty is Monetary
Since it is manifest plenty that renders monetary poverty and deprivation intolerable, maintenance of control requires that the plenty has to be denied or regarded as an evil. Indeed, if money is treated as part of the natural world, nothing for which there is not a monetary demand is accepted as real. But here we are going deeper than economics and dealing with the whole attitude to life, the belief in the nature of things-in fact with religion.
This plenty is but a fragment of the goodness of the Creation, of which a primary property is balance, a property essential to sustain- able life. The technical term is homeostasis, whereby positive feed- back such as, for instance, the slowing down of the metabolism with increasing cold, would be fatal if not countered by a negative feed- back such as increased activity, shivering, and in humans warm clothing fires, etc.
It is blatantly obvious that our economic system lacks homeostasis, that debt has a positive feedback leading to devaluation and social disaster, and that what is required is a negative feedback of counter- debt to establish an equilibrium. In so far as we live in a world in which values are determined by debt-money, not only money but all other values on which it has an impact are also being devalued, not excluding our religion, as we are experiencing in our society today.
God too Good to be True ?
The immensity of the good reality far surpasses the scope of our imagination and in the prevailing cynical atmosphere, God, and His bounty, are seen as simply too good to be true. As for those atheistic humanists who for the most part determine that evil-orientation of the electronic pseudo-world, their belief is that of Lucifer-they are the Top and they deny anything 'above' them.
When we turn to the Creation itself, the awesome, infinite and infinitesimal Universe-even the scrap of it with which we can make contact is so overwhelming that many are prone to confuse it with its Creator and worship it. This, again, leaves Man at the top with nothing to limit his dictatorship. And here, also, we find the evolutionists before us, following the fashion of looking first at the negative and destructive as if that were the creative side of life.
They substitute Natural Selection - the elimination of the unfit - for Creation itself. Selection from what? Unfit or fit for what? (A tautology anyway since survival is the only test). Is it from or for the product f innumerable mutations, i.e. changes in the DNA? But changes from what? Whence comes DNA?
In this verbal trickery something has been left out, something too vast and taken for granted to. be visible to those looking away from it. Existence! Being! Creation! And so the Creator. Evolution by natural selection has to be an impersonal process, something we clever men can look down upon in our pride. Belief in God and His goodness is still not "intellectually respectable" among most intellectuals.
So dominant has been this fashion of thought in biological circles that any scientist who looks first at the positive reality is regarded as a 'crank'; as I have been because of my preoccupation with the mutualism, the symbiosis and positive interactions between diverse living things; e.g. between trees and fungi (mycorrhizas) and especially fungi and algae (lichens). To look at the 'good' side is considered soft, sentimental, unscientific. The politically correct attitude which faces the nasty facts in a 'manly' way, is to describe them as "controlled parasitism."
An Infinite Variety of Mutualisms
Yet, when one looks into it in detail rather than collectively as a population problem, the ecology of any natural association consists of an infinite variety of mutualisms, of fittings in together in time, in space, in nutrition, in chemistry, in the supreme symbiosis of sexual reproduction and in every other possible way, far beyond any human grasp. All we may do is select for study some especially obvious and widespread examples, such as lichens, or study in detail the ecology of one species. But of course it is so. Again, the fact is too enormous to be noticed.
It is not the misfittings, the diseases, the parasitisms, the predations, the anti-life elements in a society which constitute its being, though they play their important part in clearing the way for its dynamic survival. It not the chips which fall from the sculptor's chisel which constitute his great work. It is the solid shape that remains.
At the core of the derided Christian tradition which sustained our society until recently is the belief that the creative power which made and maintains the Universe is that which we call Love - and also God. Its major expression as applied to humanity is in the Incarnation of God as Man, giving the opportunity of repentance, of turning back from wrong to right, a possibility which is eliminated if neither is recognised. As applied to mankind the word Love is full of emotional as well as tremendous spiritual content, and has been much trivialised, but in its highest meaning as a spiritual thing, how can we recognise its operation in the non-human world, un- complicated by our emotions? We cannot perceive it directly with our senses, but only by its effect. And what is that?
What else can it be but that infinite variety of mutuality that we find when we look for it in what we call Nature, a name we give to that small part of creation within reach of our limited ken? Long time have we marvelled at the beauty and intricacy and balanced existence of individual creature, and have worshipped the glory of landscapes and sunsets which strike into our hearts, and been awed and humbled at the more-than-majesty of the heavens. But how could all this even begin to exist 'or survive without the mighty power which enables it to fit together in mutual benefit?
Why not call it Love ?
Is it not clear also that this power of love, even when operating as an infinitely intricate mutuality, is as essential for the creation and survival of human societies as for non-human, but the personal, mental and spiritual potentialities of us human creatures make it manifest that an 'impersonal concept of love is wholly inadequate? A higher form cannot automatically or by happenstance emerge from a lower, nor the greater from the less. Moreover, the lower cannot even begin to grasp the nature of the higher unless the latter chooses to reveal itself at the level of comprehension of the former; as Christians believe that God reveals Himself to us through the manhood of Jesus Christ.
Deprived of the Creator, Evolution 'became a belief in the automatic emergence of quarts out of pint pots; indeed nowadays, in the emergence (with a Big Bang!) of super-giga-quarts out of an infinitesimal non-pot! To such nonsense is human pride reduced in its refusal to look above itself. What is seldom realised is that human reasoning leads to opposite conclusions if programmed on the one hand with a belief in God, or with a disbelief in God on the other.
For here, surely, we have arrived at the super-natural, beyond Nature and beyond Science, at the ultimate miracle, creation ex nihilo by the Uncreated-one of the names of God. But on what grounds may it be assumed that the Creator stops there and ceases to maintain the Universe He has initiated?
There is something hilarious 'about the sight of the ordinary scientist, with his fashionable atheistic scientistic religion, rejecting as "intellectually contemptible" the faith in such divine interventions as the Incarnation and the Resurrection with its tremendous human consequences, while accepting and promoting as 'scientific' the Nothing that Bangs Theory, arrived at through big-money-directed computer modelling of the Universe and checkable against any sort of reality only by a handful of mega-devices inaccessible to 99.9% of mankind.
In contrast, belief in God is accessible to Everyman, and can be tested, and long has been, by direct, personal Ife-experience, as well as social observation. Normal science, which has not taken off into the higher symbolic sphere, operates by the same methods (hence its claim to truth) but on a vastly shorter time-scale, being bound back in detail to reality by constant experiment and observation. The trouble with too much 'religion' is that it is largely verbal or symbolic and is not 'bound back' to any reality at all.
Some have found it necessary to invent an 'anthropic principle' whereby the evolution of mankind is implicit in the original Act of Creation; an idea which takes us back almost to mediaeval terra-centrism. This can lead to a sort of Deism-belief in a Being whose sole Act is to Bang out of Nothing a Universe complete with its modus operandi, including such products as 'faith, hope and charity, and the whole actuality arising from the Christian Faith; after which it is totally inactive.
Redemption versus Debt
Once we have escaped from the pervasive electronic nihilism which suffocates our minds, we are free to perceive the hope which lies in a religion of faith in redemption and the remission of sins, and the despair implicit in its denial. How can a Society which is sinking through irredeemable debt to destruction, make a fresh start if it denies redemption and the difference between right and wrong? What is not seen as wrong cannot be put right.
For though an individual, who has a soul to be saved, may repent of his wrong-doing, and if enough do so they may begin to correct the wrong-doing in Society, the larger the society the greater the inertia and the harder it is to change it 'uphill,' so to speak, from wrong to right. Hence it appears that such changes can be made only from the bottom up, from the individual to the small group, thence spreading to larger groupings and localities before it can reach anything on a national scale.
In a society debt-orientated from the top and increasingly death-orientated as ours is, a great temptation for Christians lies in a form of Dualism, or Manichaeism, whereby evil is seen as a rival reality to be 'fought' rather than a perversion or inversion of the only reality of the good Creation. We are so mentally soaked in everything bad we may become obsessed with 'fighting' not only the perversion but the real thing that was perverted,, which in fact is the only thing that can defeat it.
A notorious example of this may be seen in the misuse of the word apartheid, meaning the independence and separate development of racially and culturally widely differing peoples - a matter closely related to the freedom of their individuals. But since in South Africa this name for a good policy was applied to measures of forced segregation, the whole idea of separate development has been denounced as evil and used to deny independence to peoples who have demanded it, such as Zulus and some Afrikaners. So instead of forced segregation we have forced multiracial merging with an electorate which will outvote them - another perversion of democracy.
Promote the Good rather than Denounce the Evil
Our task, therefore, when confronted with social evil, is to clarify the situation, to identify the good reality which is being perverted, and to promote that. In doing so we shall, of course, expose the precise nature of the corruption which has twisted the reality, which is a lot more effective than merely, denouncing it. It is better to love life than merely to hate abortion', to uphold the normal Christian family than to concentrate on deploring its breakdown, to enjoy and insist on wholesome entertainment than to 'act only in protest at violence and pornography. In each case the contrast between the reality and its perversion speaks for itself, and the positive stand made hold's up the flood of falsehood.
Poverty, for instance, is not, in itself, any sort of evil if freely chosen as by Jesus and his disciples, or by St. Francis and members of religious orders. But the unwilling penury imposed on many in the midst of plenty or even of wasted surpluses, by withholding the monetary means of a living, is a gross denial of reality. The productive capacity of our technological civilisation far exceeds that required to supply any reasonable and wholesome level of consumption for everyone, with decreasing paid employment. This is the reality we need to 'face first, before considering how the accountancy system can be accommodated to it.
The absurdity of requiring the dwindling number of employable people, to pay, through taxation, the pensions of the growing number of pensioners, plus the doles and other benefits of the unmoneyed, certainly verges on the insane. A recent article even suggests that people should be encouraged to breed more children, not because babies are thought desirable (on the contrary they are represented as pests, threatening the planet), not because their labour will be needed to supply enough goods and services to keep the poor and the aged, but in order to supply enough taxpayers to tax to allow others monetary access to the available wealth!
Individualism and collectivism (or socialism) are two more, linked, distortions of the truth. Though the end of man is unknown, we do know that we are here to grow and develop our selves to our full potential, which is easily perverted into 'selfish' greed or gluttony. These may swell the pride or the body, but they shrink the soul. There is something analogous in us with the seed that must break its coat to germinate.; so must we break out of our personalities before we can attain that service which is perfect freedom. And though salvation is for the individual, not the group, we cannot achieve it without that loving association with our neighbours which brings with it so great a social gain in effectiveness.
Even though they may appear sententious, it is necessary nowadays verbally to express these age-long truths because they are so continually distorted in the pseudo-world. But even when not so distorted, they are no more than sentiment until put into practice. Their practical implications, though manifest, are unwelcome in the world of money-power.
Let us Live and Work in the Real World
The first is that we must live and work, as far as we possibly can, in the real world and not the artificial world. Despite all the corruptions of money-power, people cannot survive without the basic skills and occupations that maintain life and a reasonable degree of comfort and culture. For these then there must always be a demand, and satisfaction in fulfilling it. Ambition, therefore, to rise 'above' the level of useful work into the realms of remote administrative power must be laid aside, since at this level money rules supreme.
Life more Abundant
But apart from these, as technology displaces more and more human labour from the routine production of mass-produced goods, more leisure and energy becomes available for personal production, for quality and craftsmanship, for home and family, for many forms of voluntary work and helping other people, for thought, study, reading, writing, poetry and art and sport, for enjoyment of nature, for gardening and cultivating and exploring, for initiative and invention, for growing in health and in wisdom, for meditation and prayer, for redemption and for worship.
With the sins, the infidelities, the perversions, the quarrels and divisions, the failures of the churches and of church people being daily seized upon and multiplied a million-fold by the media, it is easy for us to lose sight of our mighty heritage of two thousand years of the Universal Catholic Church of Christ ever growing throughout the World - not merely as a great mass and number, but as a multiplicity of neighbourhoods. While nowadays we may lock our doors fearfully, with three burglaries in the last ten years in our minds, most people leave their keys with friendly neighbours, taking for granted their honesty and decency as normal.
The pseudo-world stresses constantly the misuse of leisure. It fills our minds with crime, vice, drugs, boredom, disease, hopelessness and vandalism. Not enough do we hear of the normal, constructive use and enjoyment of leisure by normal, sane, loving people; including many who draw 'benefits' from the Welfare State.
When we turn our face towards it, and live in the real world of locality, people and hope, the sheer goodness in people, which is a part of the great, glorious and joyful world of the Love-Creation, can be seen to have overwhelming resources, rightly used, to deal with the 'virtual' world of mass-hypnosis and despair.
|© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159|