It used to be said concerning economic affairs that events behaved as if they were in the pay of Douglas. That was during his lifetime; and now, after his death, the same might be said concerning political affairs. Looking through some back numbers of The Social Crediter I came across this sentence in a letter from Douglas published on October 15, 1947:
"There is nothing which will suit our common enemies better than the pursuit (by us) of the 'ignis fatuus' of Party Politics." The ignis fatuus — the will-o'-the-wisp which lures men to destruction in the bog — could any analogy be more apt?
And now, eleyen years after the Alberta S. C. League Convention of 1947 turned its back on Douglas — and adopted the slogan: 'On to Ottawa' there remains not a single Social Credit member of the Canadian Parliament, or, indeed, of any other Parliament in the world. In New Zealand also a tremendous effort has been devoted to Party Politics, and in two successive elections falling proportion of votes, and not one single seat has been won. Even in Great Britain, some energetic. Social Crediters are pursuing this will-o'-the-wisp without the faintest prospect of success. So far as I can see, among the politically active movements for Social Credit, only the Union of Electors has not turned its back on Douglas to follow this will-o'-the-wisp into the bog of wasted energy and failure. The attempt to defeat the Enemy at his own game, to attain centralized Power through the mechanism of Party Politics, has failed utterly, and permanently.
This is not the time for recriminations, but for sympathy, for humility, and for a re-birth and rethinking of Social Credit, starting with a return to the steady light which Douglas shed, and to the firm ground which it has illuminated.
The Social Credit movement arose in the first place out of the tremendous outburst of interest, enthusiams, thought, discussion and controversy which centred about Dougla's economic analysis and proposals, at a time when the world was being put to financial torture and was obsessed with its economic agony. This original impulse has largely died down, not because the economic problems have been solved, but because the financial torture has been somewhat alleviated by the drug of inflation, and the financial aspect of our troubles has been cleverly overlaid with politics, beginning with a second World War, and proceeding to the establishment in different countries of various forms of the Managerial State, so that nowadays people see their difficulties in political rather than in economic terms.
What so few people, however, even Social Crediters, seem to realize is that Douglas was well aware of this change of emphasis, and in his later years gave us a second, political, analysis and proposals, every whit as deserving as was the first of study, thought, discussion, enthusiasm and action.
Just as Douglas alone has made proposals which would give integrity to the financial system, so he alone has made others which would give integrity to the political system through the restoration of responsibility to the elector. The "Responsible Vote" is a conception as vital to the survival of any real democracy in the face of the Communist and the other forms of Monopolistic threat, as is the National Dividend; indeed, at the present time it is more urgent; it takes priority. Communism possesses the integrity of a policy carried to its logical extreme; it has the power as well as the weakness of insanity. We cannot hope to prevail against it with mere pretence and propaganda, but only by a still greater integrity applied to a sane and realistic policy. Social Crediters have a heavy responsibility to the rest of the World because they alone at present are the possessors and guardians of a means of political and economic salvation. With this brilliant new political doctrine of Douglas still barely launched upon the world, it is pitiful to read in the press that the "Social Credit" of Western Canada is now scarcely distinguishable from Conservatism, that the "Welfare" proposals of the New Zealand S. C. League are scarcely distinguishable (if one is not interested in finance) from those of the Labour Party, even that the word 'Douglasite' is used by some of these people as a term of opprobrium. Such an attitude earns only the contempt even of the indifferent elector.
After the death of a great man there is usually a period of disillusion, of disunity, and of mutual distrust among his followers; but Douglas has now been dead over five years, and it is time that we arose from the ashes of our mourning and of our false hopes, and took up again the enormous and thrilling adventure into which he leads us.