Contrary to too widespread an idea in Canada, Social Credit is in no way a political party.
Social Credit is a doctrine, a series of principles expressed for the first time in 1918, by a Scottish engineer, Major C. H. Douglas. Once implemented, these principles would make the social and economic organism reach its end which is to answer human needs.
Social Credit would create neither the goods nor the needs, but it would eliminate any artificial obstacle standing between them, between production and consumption, between the wheat in elevators and the bread on tables. The obstacle today — at least in the developed countries — is purely of a financial order, a monetary obstacle. But, the financial system proceeds neither from God nor from nature. Established by man, it can be adjusted so as to serve man and no longer to cause him harm.
To this end, Social Credit offers effective propositions. Though very simple, these propositions imply a major revolution. Social Credit directs our gaze towards a new civilization, if by civilization we mean man's relationship with his fellow man and living conditions that facilitate the blossoming of one’s personality.
Under a Social Credit system, we would no longer be struggling with problems of a strictly financial nature that constantly plague public administrations, institutions and families, and that poison relationships between individuals. Finance would be nothing more than an accounting system that would express with figures the relative value of goods and services, thus simplifying the mobilization and the coordination of the energies needed to reach the different stages of production towards a finished product, while distributing to ALL consumers the means to choose freely and individually what best suits them among the goods being offered and those that could readily be made.
For the first time in history, absolute economic security would be guaranteed to each and everyone, without restrictive conditions. Material poverty would be a thing of the past. The fear of tomorrow would disappear. Everyone would be guaranteed their daily bread, as long as there is enough wheat for all to have bread. The same would apply to the other goods that answer life’s basic needs.
Each citizen would be granted this economic security as a birthright, simply for being born a member of society, tenant for life of the immense capital that we share and that has become a dominant factor of modern production. Among other things, this capital is made up of the natural resources that belong to everyone, of the increment of association, and of the sum of the discoveries, inventions and technological progress that make up an ever-increasing heritage that is passed on from past to future generations.
This shared capital, so highly productive, must earn for each of its co-owners, for each citizen, a periodic dividend, from the cradle to the grave. Given the amount of production that is owed to this shared capital, the universal dividend ought to cover, at least, life’s basic necessities. This dividend would be given above and beyond any salary or reward now given to those who actively take part in production.
An income thus tied to the individual, and no longer tied solely to his work status, would shield him from exploitation by other human beings. With his basic needs being satisfied, a man can better resist being pushed around and can better take up a career of his own choosing.
Freed from urgent material worries, men could apply themselves to free activities which are more creative than commandeered work, and strive towards their own development by the exercise of human ocupations that are superior to purely economic occupations. Seeking their daily bread would no longer be their life’s main occupation.
But, however logical, social and respectful of human beings Social Credit propositions may be, they break off radically with notions generally received and accepted as unquestionable truths.
That is why Social Credit cannot result from simply changing the party in power. One does not impose a new civilization by an election. One must first make this civilization known, wanted, sought after by the population. And since we are dealing with a Social Credit civilization, we must first foster a Social Credit mentality. We must encourage the development of a Social Credit way of thinking.
Therefore, the problem lies not in promoting a political party, but in making Social Credit known, loved and wanted.
Besides, the very conception of a party is at variance with the philosophy of Social Credit. Political parties exist to try to take power, and they become active only when the race for power is on. Social Credit, for its part, would distribute power as widely as possible among all members of society: Economic power, through purchasing power guaranteed to each individual, and political power by making the Members of Parliament the true representatives of their constituents and no longer the servants of a party.
Electors must learn to express their common will at all times. The decisions affecting the lives of the citizens are taken between elections. To be content with voting for a party candidate, and then to accept passively all that is decided upon without asking the advice of those who must bear the cost of decisions, amounts to political childishness.
The party creates a wall
(First published on January 1, 1957)
It would be in the interest of any group or movement that deals with social matters to know and to understand the Social Credit principles.
Any representative of the people, taken individually, whatever the political party he belongs to, who really wants to promote the common good, must not hesitate to call for an appropriate distribution of wealth that respects personal freedom, private property and private enterprise. This he can do while remaining in the party that he considers to be the most capable of running the country.
But we cannot see how a master idea such as Social Credit, which transcends political parties and would enrich them all, could somehow be limited to the confines of a political party’s name. Social Credit is a universal. A political party is a part of, a piece of a whole. To call a party "Social Credit" is like trying to limit something that is universal within something that is limited.
As soon as you use the words Social Credit to name a political party, you rule out the possibility for the member of another party to declare himself in favor of Social Credit: It would be to declare himself for an opposing party. He will object that he cannot be at the same time for his party and for the Social Credit Party.
And if people are led to think Social Credit is a political party each time they ear the words "Social Credit", chances are you will fall on distracted ears, or else on closed ears when you want to introduce Social Credit to members of an audience who belong to another party.
The aim of a political party is to remain in power if it already is, or try to take power if it did not already do so. Fighting between political parties cannot be avoided. Each party is an opponent of one or many other parties. To give the name "Social Credit" to a party is to turn the members of all other parties against anything that bears the name of Social Credit.
Besides, a truth must not be submitted to a vote. Subjecting Social Credit to a vote implies being told, after a defeat: "See, this is not as good as you say, since a majority of people voted against it."
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Some people might ask: "How will you get a Social Credit legislation passed if the party in power is not a Social Credit Party?"
We believe that Social Credit will prevail everywhere, within all political parties, the one in power as well as those in the opposition, once it has been sufficiently accepted in people’s minds and claimed by the population. This is what the Pilgrims of Saint Michael apply themselves to. And it is to avoid that walls be built between Social Credit and the people’s minds, who are still overly used to thinking of politics in terms of parties, that we do not want to see the idea of Social Credit tied to the idea of a political party.