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Thought for the Month:
One reason why the progress of Monopoly appears irresistible is that it has a clear idea where it is going and so can formulate its objectives. So far it has never had to face a body of people with equally clear, but opposite, objectives, which have the invincible advantage of being in keeping with "the 'warp and woof of the Universe". Is not this an adventure worth trying?
- - Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs 1969.
Responsible Government in a Free Society
Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs was Senior Lecturer in Forest Botany at the University College of North Wales, Bangor. He visited Australia in 1969 while on sabbatical leave, and, while in South Australia addressed an Adelaide gathering of The Australian Legue of Rights on the fundamentals of a real democracy.
Since nearly all the words dealing with good and useful things in our civilisation have by now been twisted or corrupted in meaning, it will be as well to start with some definitions.
By a Society I mean a large, complex and permanent association of human beings for their mutual benefit; and not any sort of collective abstraction which is used to oppose the interests of the individuals who comprise the Society.
By a Free Society I mean a society which is characterised by the freedom of the people who compose it - freedom being defined as power to choose between real, not artificial, alternatives as they arise; i.e. to choose one thing at a time and not between "package deals", and to "contract out" of undesired alternatives. This negative aspect of freedom, the power to contract out, is of immense importance in any thinking about democracy. It constitutes, for instance, the sole difference between employment and slavery.
By this I mean, answerable for, and experiencing, the results of one's actions. This "feed-back" or "return" to a person from his actions is so fundamental to all human, indeed, to all living, activities that we tend to take it for granted. The more firewood one chops, the more one has to burn - naturally! The more successful the business, the bigger the income from it - of course! What a glimpse of the obvious! This is the basis of all education, all improvement, all progress, all science. But it is not so in the modern, financially controlled, centralised state. Here, the worse the financial crisis, the higher, the pay of the Government and the Bureaucracy and the leaders of centralised Industry; and, in fact, through the centralised organising of labour, this now applies to a large proportion of the working population, for whom working harder or longer hours is likely to be a threat to their financial security and bargaining power. The way to get more money is to sabotage production, or threaten to do so, by withdrawal of labour at a time carefully planned to inflict the maximum damage either to the national economy, or that of the productive enterprise with which they are associated. Ironically, by that process of inversion of meanings, which is characteristic of what is known as "the reverse technique" of mind control, this is now known as "taking industrial action".
It is not difficult to see where this is leading, and is intended to lead, namely to an end-position in which the entire working population become multi-millionaires through the complete sabotage of all productive enterprise, resulting in chaos, starvation, revolution, and the breakdown of our civilisation, followed by a take-over by the gang who are quite openly working towards this end. It is not as if it hadn't happened, often enough, in half the countries in the World. The important point to note is that it requires the combined operation of two forces, often quite erroneously supposed to be opposed: the top-level manipulation of finance, and the organised control of the working population and of revolutionary and socialistic propaganda.
This brings us to the word "government". A government is the administration of a society, but here again there is a confusion between two opposite and incompatible meanings. Any ordinary voluntary society, such as, for instance, a golf club or a scientific society, has to have a number of officers and a committee to organise its activities on behalf of the members; but their sole function is to carry out the purpose of the Society, which is the reason why people join it. If they fail to do so they would normally be replaced by another group of administrators; but if these also fail to further the purpose of the Society, the members would most probably "contract out" and the Society would cease to exist.
Notice that, in this sort of "free" or "voluntary" society, the "government" exists to carry out the policy agreed upon by all the members, who pay the running costs of the society, and are entitled to share in all the benefits arising from its operation.
In contrast, in another sort of human association - a business, Government Department, or other employing institution, it is the employers, represented by the "management" who determine the policy, and pay the majority of the people in the association to carry it out. These people, therefore, spend their working lives fulfilling the purposes of others, which may, of course, be excellent purposes, of which they fully approve. If this is not so, they are, at least theoretically, free to contract out and seek other employment, closer to their own desires. But, since they are dependent on their employment for their livelihood and that of their families, in times of financial stringency and unemployment this freedom may be taken from them, as it is to a large extent in the "socialist" countries; and when this happens the association ceases to be in any sense voluntary or free. A nation is not an association for any specialised purpose
The point I want to make here is that the Government of a Free Society must be of the first type, existing solely to further the purposes of its members, and must not be any sort of Management, employing and using the population for its own purposes, especially as people cannot contract out of a general society such as a Nation, except at the heavy cost of abandoning their homes and their native environment. But since a nation is not an association for any specialised purpose, but exists to serve the general, and innumerable and various purposes of all its members, it is clear that the proper function of the Government in a Free Society must be to provide those conditions of security and stability which are necessary if people are to live their own lives and to ensure that they gain the full benefits of the association.
THE SOCIETY AGAINST PEOPLE
Most people, even socialists, would agree that Society exists for Man, rather than Man for Society; but in practice Socialism means the latter. The Socialist Society is merely a more extreme form of the Managerial Society already represented by the Big Business Corporations which reaches its end-point when the Government be- comes the sole Employer of the entire working population, and the Top Bureaucrats become the Management.
Far from being any sort of rebellion against the evils of Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution, Socialism carries them to that insane limit in which the relationship of the factory, the Management-worker relationship, is virtually the only one permitted between human beings. Even in institutions as different as the Universities, Socialists can only see the relationship between teachers and students as a Management-Worker relationship, which means that they see the University as some sort of a factory.
In a Socialist Society "private interests" are quite openly denounced as being contrary to the "public interest". Any sort of property, profit, gain or advantage accruing to "private" individuals, i.e. to actual people, not possessing official or governmental status, is held to be wicked, greedy, selfish and anti-social, being contrary to the Common Good. In other words, the Good of Society and the Good of the actual people composing it are fundamentally opposed. The other side of the Socialist medal, which treats the "private individual" as the enemy of the State, is that for those who regard the people composing it as more important than any institution, the Socialist State is the enemy of the people.
Few socialists, of course, would verbally agree with this, because they all started off by believing the opposite, namely that the Good of Society meant the Good of the actual people composing it – you, and me, and the next man; and the Will of the People meant what you and I and the next man actually want. But in the course of time and power-seeking, the People gradually ceased to mean actual people at all, and became an abstraction, used to cover the personal advantage of those individuals composing the Government and the Bureaucracy. The difference between this sort of "personal profit" in the form of salaries, pensions, and positions of status and influence, and the "private profit" which is normally made by supplying one's fellow men with some sort of goods or services which they can accept or reject, is that the former is largely irresponsible, i.e. far from being proportional to the services rendered, it is quite often, and increasingly, merely the profit to be obtained from exploiting the power of the State against the people who compose it and are forced to pay for it.
When a business approaches monopoly, or acquires such vast financial power that it can force its products on the people by what might be called "brainwash-advertising", it also becomes an irresponsible bureaucracy; and it is typical of both sorts of irresponsible "profiteers" that they adopt a vastly superior moral tone concerning the "inefficiency" and "profit-seeking motives" of ordinary people who are attempting to make a profitable livelihood out of serving other people in a responsible way. Here again, it can be seen that the most excessive, objectionable and irresponsible profits are those which are made by Big Business in collusion with Socialist Government.
Now it is characteristic of any sort of monopoly, commercial or political, operating against real and individual people, that it always claims a "mandate" from The People; and this "mandate" is always in the form of figures or statistics, and never from any actual human beings. In the case of the Business Monopoly, it will claim that the public demand its shoddy product - not mentioning that it had removed several superior rivals by take-over or a price-cutting war, and that it has to spend millions in persuading people to feel inferior and not "up with Joneses" if they fail to buy it, and, further, that its ever increasing sales are the effect of cunningly built-in obsolescence.
But the degree of force or fraud available for use against the people by a political monopoly, and especially that extreme form of it known as a Socialist Government, far surpass these, since it has control of the entire forces of the State. Indeed, since the Socialist State is the enemy of all "private interests" within it, i.e. of all "unofficial" persons, it is true to say that the socialist idea of "freedom" is much like that of an Occupying Power. Not only are the subject people taxed, bullied, frustrated, managed, and oppressed, but they are permitted, and in a fully socialist State, virtually compelled, to register their agreement with the oppression to which they are being subjected by voting for the oppressors.
In the U.S.S.R., for instance, this reaches its logical conclusion in the choice between voting for the single list of candidates approved by the Party, or registering one's disaffection secretly with those who will know how to deal with it. In the Western World we have not quite reached that stage, but are well on the way towards it. Though we have a choice of Parties, it will be noticed that their programmes differ only in inessentials; or at any rate ,amount to much the same thing, whatever promises are made and whichever Party is returned to power. The real alternative which most people would choose if they were offered it, is never on the agenda.
THE PHONEY CHOICES
For example, in Britain, where most people naturally loathe the idea of making economic war on the people of Rhodesia, black or white, we were given a choice between sanctions against Rhodesia (Tory) or sanctions against Rhodesia (Labour) or, if we wanted to break right away from the major Parties we could vote for sanctions against Rhodesia with the Liberals, who actually had the jolly idea of ordering the R.A.F. to bomb Rhodesia, no doubt as an expression of gratitude for the help given by Rhodesian pilots in winning the Battle of Britain! Or again, British entry into the Common Market is openly declared to mean higher food prices, a worsening of our already adverse balance of trade, and, above all, the surrender of British Sovereignty, and the direct subjection of the Queen's subjects to anonymous foreign bureaucrats and politicians, with alienation from our friends and relations in the Queen's other Dominions. Naturally, most British people are strongly against the whole idea, as has been shown clearly enough in various Gallop polls. The Labour Party got itself elected by emitting unenthusiastic noises about the Common Market just before Election time, and then changing round afterwards. So now we are offered a choice between three Parties, all with Entry into the Common Market as their official policy, and whichever of them forms the next Government, it will claim a "mandate" for this act of betrayal both of the people's will and of their sovereignty.
The most bitter and grievous issue of the day, especially in Australia and the U.S.A., is undoubtedly the
Vietnam War, about which the people in both countries are now about equally divided. But here again, it is noticeable that the choice offered is between two evils:
It has been fairly enough said that the choice offered to the elector in these vital matters is like being offered a choice between being kicked in the face or kicked in the belly. Indeed, this analogy is far too mild; and the idea that it is the duty of a responsible citizen to grovel at the feet of his bosses and to choose the form of sadism to be practised upon him, or to choose between the rival gangs of bullies who are itching to practise it, as a pitiful and servile mockery of democracy. It is not surprising that, with this sort of choice being offered, voting has to be compulsory in Australia. 'The informal vote does not seem to offer any clear indication of a rejection of the choices offered; and there surely ought to be a place on the ballot form for a negative vote which would give the electors an opportunity to refuse to give any Government a mandate for any of the choice of evils offered. The effect of this on a Government elected with only a small minority vote would be to force it to accept full responsibility for its actions, which would mean a more realistic policy.
Under these circumstances very few people actually believe in or approve of the Party for which they vote. Their vote, in fact, is normally a negative vote, a vote to exclude from power whichever Party is deemed to be the most disastrous. In fact, it is this negative element in the ballot which alone has any value as an indication of the will of the electors, rather than their mere opinions or state of feeling at the time. For while people, being different, positively want different things, and so can never be satisfied by all voting for the same things, when some- thing is being done, or offered, to them which they do not want, they can all agree in rejecting it. In this sense, the negative vote, or veto, is a valid expression of democracy; while it is no sort of democracy at all to be forced, or induced, to choose between alternatives which are unwanted, or even detested.
THE POWER OF PEOPLE
This brings us to that much mis-used word, democracy, which means, of course, the power of the people. Once more we have here two diametrically opposed meanings.
• According to socialists, the sort of power that people
want is the power of government, i.e. they want a share
in the sadistic pleasure and feeling of self-importance
which come from pushing other people around, taxing,
frustrating and generally interfering with their lives (all
for their own good, of course).
This second sort of power, the power to live one's own life without interfering with others, which is the same thing as freedom, is the sort of democracy which liberal, progressive and socialistic movements always begin by promising before they change over to the pseudo-democracy of "government by the people", which is, in any real sense, an impossibility - indeed, a contradiction in terms; since an administration of a society which consisted of all its members would not be an administration. People therefore have to be cheated into imagining that they are exercising the power of government when they submit to the ballot process of providing the next set of despots with a "mandate".
It is worth looking at the precise nature of this "mandate": a majority vote based upon the principle of one- man-one-vote. It is in fact, a completely anonymous statistic -- a mere summation, not of the will, but of the opinions and feelings of a large mass of people at a particular moment in time, after they have been exposed to electoral persuasion and propaganda.
The underlying assumption is that the opinions of every man or woman are of precisely equal value; otherwise it would be meaningless to summate them. But this is blatantly ridiculous! No one would dream of acting on such an assumption in the relatively simple matters of everyday life. Is everyone's opinion of equal value on how to repair a car, on whether a picture is a genuine Old Master, or whether a person has cancer? Would any one in his senses accept the verdict of a majority vote on such matters?
It is obvious that in any matter requiring knowledge, the formation of a correct opinion is possible only for the few who have the necessary knowledge, and even they may be wrong, but they are at least more likely to know when they are wrong. A majority, therefore, is almost certain to be wrong about the facts; but in addition, its opinions are notoriously and openly manipulated by means of the mass media; so that, in fact, a mass vote, far from giving equal weight to the opinions of each voter, is merely a gift of multiple voting power to the manipulators of public opinion.
A majority vote, therefore, is the reward for the cleverest, the most ruthless and the most accurately timed manipulation of opinions, which can fluctuate wildly from day to day, but are supposed to represent the Sacred Will of the People, on a basis of One-Man-One-Vote-One-Value, on One Day every few years when there is a General Election. A successful political Party, therefore, must time its assault on public opinion so that it reaches its maximum effect on Election Day. Spring the trap too soon, and too many of the victims may have time to detect some of the lies, to distrust the promises and to reject the propaganda in the cooler light of consideration. Spring it too late, and it does not matter how the electors would vote the day after the Sacred Day - their views are no longer Democracy. Only on one day in 1000 or more are the views of the ordinary people even pretended to exert some influence on the Government; so that, once it has got its majority on The Day, it does not matter two-pence that the measures it carries out are overwhelmingly detested by the people; it has got its "mandate" from The People, i.e. its anonymous statistic of manipulated opinions on one day, and that is supposed to constitute "democracy".
THE UNIT OF MAN-VOTE-VALUE
Of course, even this pitiful and disastrous "ideal" of One-Man-One-Vote-One-Value is not realised in practice. In Britain, in 1945, 34.6% of the electorate returned the Labour Party to power. In 1951 40.3%, the highest vote in the Party's history, threw Labour out, but they were put back again in 1964 by the vote of 1,700,000 fewer people, 34.0% of the electorate, the lowest vote since the war. So much for One-Vote-One-Value! In Australia also there are "anomalies" due to the preference system, which can result in the Party with the highest number of votes not gaining a majority in Parliament.
This results in a growing pressure for the strict logical application of the total insanity of majority rule. Ac- cording to this "ideal" all votes are of precisely equal value, including that of a Mrs. Jones, who made her mark in the wrong place because she had mislaid her spectacles, of Miss Smith, who voted for the Party Leader because she adored his curly hair (not realising it was a wig) and of Mr. Robinson, who tossed up before voting.
Ideally therefore, according to the anomaly-haters, any Party which can secure one vote more than any of its rivals on Election Day represents the Will of the People, and its government, however vicious, constitutes a Democracy; whereas, if Mrs. Jones had been able to find her spectacles, it would have been no longer Democracy but on the contrary, Despotism and Dictatorship, against which everyone would have risen up and protested, if exactly the same politicians had taken the seats of Government and had done exactly the same things to the people.
This may seem an absurd theoretical case, and indeed, so it is, but no more absurd than, for instance, the "don- key vote" in Australia (i.e. voting for the candidates in alphabetical order, as they appear on the ballot form). This occurs, even in Britain (i.e. the name at the top of the list may have an advantage) but is accentuated by the need to put the candidates in an order of preference, when many people do not care a two-penny hoot about any of them, and above all by compulsory voting, which drags to the polls people who would otherwise have expressed their indifference by staying at home. The Democratic Labour Party, whose "second preferences" are said to have returned the Liberal Party to power at the 1969 Election, is accused of 'exploiting the alphabetical vote in its choice of candidates. Whether this is true or not, the possibility of such a thing shows what a farce the electoral system is; but the absurdity lies not so much in these "anomalies" as in the whole conception of one-man-one-vote-one-value which underlies the ideal of mathematical "democracy", which equates not only the choice of a fool with the choice of a wise man, but a choice made after careful study with a choice made on a whim or fancy, and a choice expressing a passionately held preference with a choice expressing complete indifference.
Such a system, especially when exploited for purposes of power, ensures with mathematical certainty the victory of folly, ignorance and prejudice over wisdom, knowledge and love;-not because the majority of mankind are ignorant, prejudiced fools in the matters with which they deal in everyday life, or about which they have concerned themselves and thought deeply, or exercised responsibility, but simply because the anonymous, secret, ballot is completely irresponsible. Its consequences are completely lost in the statistical pool, and never return to the individual voter, so that the manner in which he casts his vote is of no consequence to him whatever.
THE VOTERS' VETO AND THE RESPONSIBLE VOTE
If we want to look at the direction in which genuine democracy might advance towards bringing to bear the actual will (not the fleeting and manipulated opinions and feelings) of the people upon their rulers, this has already been envisaged, in two stages: 1. the negative vote, or Voters' Veto, in which the oppressive measures, common to all major parties which attain power, are rejected by the electors, leading on to the responsible vote, in which irresponsible anonymity is abandoned, the Parties, like other practical concerns, are expected to publish estimates of the cost to the tax payer of their proposals, and the elector, as does the purchaser who makes his choice in a shop, knows that he will be taxed proportionately to his recorded choice, for a time after the election. Just consider what a radical difference that would make to the whole democratic process! Yet some such continuation of the British tradition of progress towards a genuine responsible democracy is quite essential if we are to escape the disastrous consequences of irresponsible majority-voting of the type which, it is often forgotten, quite constitutionally elected Hitler to power.
Meanwhile, it is certainly no answer to our problems
to remove the "anomalies" which, by introducing a random element, upset the mathematical operation of the
numerical vote. Indeed, it seems probable that their
toleration is due to a subconscious appreciation of the absurdity of the concept: one-vote-one-value; since the
operation of some element other than mere number does,
at least, give a chance of the return to power of some
honest man, whose claim to represent the people is not
based solely on his vote-catching powers. Some instinct,
for instance, still dimly appreciates the fact that, since
people are wholly dependent upon the land for their existence, the land as well as the people, in some sense requires representation, and it would be literally suicidal to
allow the ever-growing urban populations, who represent,
primarily, the Money-Interest, wholly to dominate through
their voting-power, the Land-Interest which sustains them.
This brings me back to the constructive side of what I have to say, and to real meaning which can be attached to the words: A Free Society. This is not just a "free for all", in which everyone can do what he likes, irrespective of everyone else, but a Society based upon Natural Law, i.e. upon the nature of things, and particularly of people.
In contrast to the Socialist or Collectivist Society, such a Society exists entirely for the mutual benefit of the people who comprise it, apart from which it has no justification for existence. It follows that there can be no antagonism between the Good of Society and the Good of the individuals who comprise it, since they are the same thing and the chief of these "Goods" is freedom, which is inextricably linked with responsibility, since in fact they are aspects of the same thing, and ought to be described in one word ("Freesponsible"?). A Free Society is one in which people are free to live their own lives and develop their own personalities by making responsible choices, the consequences of which, whether good or bad, return to them. A society in which people are constantly making irresponsible choices or decisions, the consequences of which return upon other people rather than themselves is a Slave Society, and both Socialist and Managerial Planning and decision-making, as well as the anonymous majority-vote, are of the essence of it.
Moreover, it is most important to realise that such
freedom to develop the personality can exist only within
a society. An individual human being inherits certain
genetic potentialities, called genes, but these cannot express themselves, or develop fully except in the right environment, which is provided by other human beings -
first of all the parents, from whom are derived not only
the material, genetic inheritance, but also the main part of
that cultural inheritance, which is later carried further by
teachers and others.
The simplest and most natural form of society or human association is the family. This has a tripartite constitution: father, mother, and children; three parts each of a different nature and function from the others. This is a stable arrangement. It seems to be a fundamental fact of the universe that a triune structure confers stability. A tri-pod is the "first" thing that will stand, you can resolve four or more forces acting at a point into three, but never less, if stability or equilibrium is to be maintained. Matter exists in three forms: solid, liquid, and gas. Each of different character, but the same substance.
Now the British conception of the free and responsible man of the Common Law is derived from Christianity, and the British tripartite Constitution of Sovereign, Lords and Commons is a Christian Constitution, developed over many centuries under the influence of the Christian Church.
This was natural and inevitable since Christianity is a Trinitarian religion, and is also a religion of the Incarnation; that is to say, Christians have passed beyond the poly- theism of the more primitive religions, and the unitary God of the Jews and Moslems, the loving Dictator of the Universe, who is also the apotheosis of eternal self-love, and have had revealed to them a more realistic and balanced view of the Godhead, as comprising, indeed, the unity of one God, but also the diversity of three Persons, illustrating the eternal principles of mutual love and co-operation in a Society at the very core of reality.
What is so extraordinary is that so many people who regard themselves as Christians can see no practical significance in this tremendous belief. They seem to have no conception that a belief about the ultimate nature of the Universe must work itself out in practice, not merely in that dwindling part of our lives which we call "private", meaning that the politicians have not yet invaded it, but inevitably in social affairs. A Christian Society must be radically different from an atheistic or humanist Society; and that distressingly large number of prelates and other clergy for whom the practical and political implications of the noises they make in church are very much the same as those of an atheistic materialism, are merely confirming to the World that religion, for them, is a ritual without any practical meaning.
If in practice to stand up in church and announce: "I believe in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" leads to precisely the same social policy as announcing "I believe that God does not exist and the Holy Trinity is a load of pernicious, mystical nonsense", there is really no point in making these religious noises. As the late C. H. Douglas put it: "It must be insisted that Christianity is either something inherent in the very warp and woof of the Universe, or it is just a set of interesting opinions."
Those who believe that facts, whether concerning the ultimate nature of things, or anything else, are matters of opinion, and that the truth can be established by counting opinions, are not Christians in any practical sense, whatever creed they habitually vocalise on religious occasions. Indeed, the creeds themselves are being increasingly neglected, and especially the Creed called Athanasian which sets out the central, Trinitarian conception upon which Christendom, and our Christian Constitution have been founded and gradually built over the centuries.
While it is true that Christians, facing the gathering storm of materialistic atheism, have been huddling together under the banner of the lowest common denominator of their religion, a vague, indulgent do-goodism, which appears to be tolerant of everything except any effective resistance to aggressive and unrepentant vice and wrong- thinking; it is by now pitifully obvious that this cannot save our civilisation from disaster. Nevertheless, there are still enough Christians, if they would only apprise them- selves of what their religion is, and its implications, to restore the continuity of its progress towards human freedom, and to resist the ever-mounting onslaught of the modern forms of paganism and barbarism upon it.
As a first step towards this, it is desperately necessary for those nations which are so fortunate as to have developed a balanced, Christian Constitution, to realise its immense value, and to defend it, not out of mere conservatism, but with prayer and with passionate conviction, as the will of God and the essential foundation upon which a genuinely free Society may be built. This means going directly in the face of prevailing mass-prejudice, as created by the controllers of popular opinion. It means always defending and strengthening the weaker, counter-balancing powers of the Constitution, such as the Crown, and the Upper House, rather than slavishly agreeing with the claims of dominant and aggressive powers which seek to sweep away the last hindrances to their monopoly. It means rejecting wholly, as anti-Christian, the vice of envy of other people's privileges, of indeed all privilege, and instead demanding, with Magna Carta, that "everyman be confirmed in his privileges" It means realising that, not only our tri-partite Constitution, but our Common Law, being based upon Natural Law, i.e. upon precedent and experience of the way things work in human affairs, is a unique expression of the Christian conviction, not only that the World was created by a Higher Power, with which human and statutory law has to conform, but also that this Power is no vast, remote and impersonal Deity, but is concerned with the practical details of human affairs to the point of incarnation as a human being.
BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM
It is this "binding back" (re-ligare) of spiritual belief
to practical affairs which has distinguished Christianity
from the other World Religions, and resulted in that humble attention and submission to the precise facts of the
matter which characterised the pioneers of modern science.
With the abandonment of this religion and of this attitude
by scientists, and the increasing pursuit of knowledge for the sake of the power which it gives to control and to
dominate other beings, Science is plunging back into the
morass of witchcraft and superstition, providing clever-
clever techniques for outsmarting the common herd with
meretricious goods and false explanations, while deploying
its brain-power to develop the techniques of control over
Are these things an alarmist hallucination? How wonderful it would be if they were! The H-bomb is no hallucination. Pollution is no hallucination. And it is reliably reported that the extra-uterine fertilisation techniques of Dr. Petrucci of Bologna, halted by Christian principles from further pursuit, are being followed up on a large scale at the Moscow Institute of Experimental Biology, where another "scientific miracle" will be announced to the gawping public just as soon as a reason- ably normal-looking baby can be produced, which is expected in 1970 or 1971.
That this should be stopped in Italy, where Christianity exerts some influence, and carried on in Moscow, where the official religion maintains that human beings are just lumps of matter, brought into existence by a witless, purposeless, concatenation of physico-chemical circumstances, until the appearance of the Top People, whose superior brains enable them, for the first time, to impose some purpose (their purpose) upon the rest of humanity this is natural enough. It is, in fact, a true expression of the practical policies of the two religions; of humble respect for the work of the Creator on the one hand, and of arrogant contempt for the product of impersonal forces, inferior to oneself, on the other.
In the face of the present situation there is really no
time left for playing at religion in the churches, while
adopting the opinions and ideas which stem from atheistic
materialism in everyday life, including the fields of science
politics and economics. The Western (or Slightly Freer)
World is not far behind the fully Socialist Countries in the
pursuit of centralised, despotic control over human life.
We are subjected, in the name of progress, to a continuous battering of sex-titillation, with bitter attacks on
sexual restraint, combined with a rising scream of panic
about the so-called "population explosion" to provide the
excuse for demands for mass-contraception, and even, now,
mass-sterilisation via the water supply. Meanwhile, it is
only in the ever-growing, vast conurbations, where the population of one-man-one-voters is under the tightest control
through the mechanism of the "rat-race" for centrally
awarded money and status, that any real "explosion" is
TOWARDS A CHRISTIAN SOCIETY
Now it is obvious that this "trend" has to be re- versed, and that, as a preliminary, many vicious things, or attempts to achieve them, have got to be stopped by the veto of Christian people. This is often rejected as "negative" or "unconstructive" action, but like putting out a fire, it is none the less necessary and urgent for that. Nevertheless, it is true that "negative action" alone, with- out any positive alternative to offer, is in the end ineffective. The pitiful thing is that Christians, whose professed beliefs carry with them the most wonderful and practical of alternatives to the World's present miseries, not only on the individual, but also on the social scale, seem to be unaware of the fact.
The Christian conception of the Universe and of its Creator is one of a dynamic balance of diverse powers and beings, exercising different functions, and constituting a unity through their diversity, and not only through their homogeneity. The power which we call Love and which has the function of creating, i.e. of uniting and liking these diversities, each functioning freely according to its nature, into a new balance or being, may be seen operating throughout the Universe at every level, including that of chemical linkage, and of the dynamic equilibrium which every secologist finds when he studies the natural associations of plants and animals. When men co-operate with nature instead of trying to subdue it wholly, then we see one of the loveliest examples of this creative power at work, as may be seen, for instance, in the English country landscape at its best, dotted as it is with the grey stone spires of village churches, which look as if they grew there (as in a sense they did) so much are they an integral part of the landscape, symbolising as they do the conception of the Universe which created it.
We have seen also that this dynamic equilibrium of diverse powers united by love is to be found also in the human family, and in that balance of political and other powers (including the tri-partite Constitution of Crown, Upper and Lower House) which have been developed gradually in the more Christian nations, and especially in Britain and the British Commonwealth.
There is a legend, which was regarded as fact by the
early Church, that Joseph of Arimathaea brought Christianity to Britain only five years after the Crucifixion, and
there is some evidence that Britain may have been the
very first nation to declare itself Christian, in only the
second century A.D. However this may be, it is quite
certain that Christianity has been an effective influence
in Britain for virtually the whole of the Christian era. In
Bangor, North Wales, for instance, we celebrated the
fourteenth centenary of our cathedral and diocese in the
1950s, and the Celtic Church was by no means young
when they were founded.
The progress of mankind towards a Christian society has been far from a steady and continuous advance. There have been many setbacks and backslidings, and far from its being an "outdated creed" (as the current sneer-word has it) it is a creed which has been rarely and as yet only partially grasped and applied on the social scale. There has never yet been anything approaching a Christian Society, but among these imperfect attempts at it, the late, and bitterly derided British Empire and Commonwealth was perhaps the greatest in its scope and achievement.
The imperfections of this great association of peoples are not difficult to see in retrospect, and have been much exploited, mainly by people who condone, or support blatant tyrannies; but the fact remains that there never has been, before or since, so large an area of the world governed in relative peace, freedom and justice and held together with so small an element of force, and so large an element of loyalty.
THE PROVEN CONSTITUTION
If ever there was a Constitution which has been proved, on a vast scale, in its virtues, it is the British Constitution of balanced powers, ensuring that none of them should become a tyrannous monopoly. Consider, for instance, what power it was, which united in a balanced peace and unity the diverse peoples, races and creeds of India and of Nigeria! and what has happened after it was removed. Compare the size of the armed forces, the police, and the bureaucracy, which was necessary to maintain the scattered British Empire with that of the great monolithic Empire of Socialist Peoples republics, whose inhabitants are kept from escaping by the armed guards, minefields and barbed wire of the iron curtain.
No one supposes that the Christian conception has any- where achieved perfection, or finished growing; but in the British Empire it was applied with a wonderful flexibility to a wide variety of different peoples at different stages of civilisation - and under it they enjoyed peace and stable government, and moved towards greater freedom and the agreed goal of national independence, which in every case was achieved peaceably, at least so far as Britain was concerned.
The fatal weakness of this great association, in its later days, lay in its surrender of the Christian idea of equality, stemming as it does from revolutionary atheism, denying the unique nature of every man, and reducing him to the status of a political and economic unit.
It is quite essential that everyone should ponder and make up his mind about these two, wholly incompatible, conceptions of democracy, and having done so, act accordingly. Is it democracy that everyone should have an equal x-millionth of a "say" (according to the size of the electorate) as to which group is to dominate their lives, and that every child should have "equality of opportunity" in scrambling for the favours of the Top People? Or is it not rather what people mean, and long for in their hearts, when they hear or say the word "democracy" that every man should be free to live his own life, within the limits of other people's freedom, as determined by a framework of law and order which it is the duty of the Government to maintain?
It should be recognised by Australians, and the members of other, smaller nations, that the independence of their country from the more populous United Kingdom, arises from the second conception, and that the first would be fatal to it. If the metropolitan cities of Australia have a democratic right to dominate the country areas, because there are more people in them, then, surely, the City of London, which alone could out-vote Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne thrown together, has a democratic right to do so! In that case, the political separation (or Apartheid) of Australia from Britain was an anti-democratic and reactionary step, and all Australians who believe in one-man-one-vote, should demand a union of electorates with Britain, so that they can enjoy the democratic privilege of being outvoted by 4 to 1, or better still, join the U.S.A., where the Australian vote would scarcely be noticed.
And if this prospect does not appeal, if the distance of Australia from these great voting populations, and its different and unique character, are to be used as arguments for its independence, do not these arguments apply also to the difference between country and town and their people? No one could argue that the countryside ought to be as independent as a nation; but why, then, did our predecessors try to establish a balance between the two, irrespective of the great voting strength in the metropolitan cities? Was it not that they had a different conception of democracy? And was it not a more valid and practicable one than the automatic dominance of the city mass.
These same considerations apply in every case where the swamping of the smaller group by the larger, the crushing of the smaller mass by the greater is proposed in the name of "democracy" - that Europe should swallow Britain, that the U.S.S.R. should crush and dominate Czechoslovakia, that the Australian Commonwealth should dominate the States, that the Lower House of a Parliament or Legislature should sweep away the Upper House, that Big Business should swallow up small business, that "factory farming" should eliminate the small farmer, that huge "comprehensive schools" should take the place of smaller, well-established schools with a tradition of good education, that universities should swell into vast, impersonal centres for mass instruction, and so on; meaning that, in every case, actual people shall be dominated by the mass, which, in turn, is dominated by fewer, and more remote, Bosses.
All this is familiar enough, but what is so incongruous about it, and confuses people so that they can take no action, is the idea that there is something "democratic", Christian, or in some way good about this "trend" towards Monopoly. Let us at least clear this nonsense out of the way. Every time it is Power talking: the greater Power wishing to extend itself, and to dominate more people. There is no moral virtue in the victory of the Big Battalions.
Why, everywhere is the Lower, or mass-elected Chamber, trying to eliminate the other traditional Powers of the Constitution which limit its power to impose its will on the people? Nobody is afraid that the Monarchy, or the Lords (in Britain) or the Senate or State Councils in Australia, are aggressive Powers which might establish a tyranny or a dictatorship. On the contrary, they are jeered at as feeble anachronisms, which should be swept away, since they still interfere to a slight extent with the right of the elected Government to exercise absolute power over the people. This is the claim that is being made: that the act of election confers the right of absolute dictatorship, limited only in time by the statutory need to have another election, which, as has occurred again and again (and notably in Nazi Germany) can easily be swept away under cover of an "emergency" by an elected Government which is sufficiently obsessed by its sacred right to govern.
All this is not an "inevitable trend". It is something into which we are drifting through confused thinking about mass-voting, and ignorance of our traditions, and of the dynamic possibilities which are inherent in them, if adapted and developed to meet a changing situation.
SOME CONSTRUCTIVE PROPOSALS
In conclusion then:
Ultimately, we should have as our objective the dispersal of such power over their own affairs to the individual citizens as to enable them to control their political and economic servants. When this happens we shall, at least, be on the road, not only to political, but to the even more important economic democracy; which will imply, of course, decentralised financial control, in the pockets of the people, over the vast productive potential of our civilisation, which at present is being so appallingly misused, and squandered.
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