The future of Christian civilization depends on those who have grasped Douglas’ idea”
The push for a totalitarian State
Not until I read Douglas... did I completely grasp that the excessive centralization of power over individual initiative was the major cause of civilisation collapsing, and that the creation and control of money was a major instrument of power.
In one of his many profound observations, Douglas said that history was not merely a series of disconnected episodes concerning the birth of kings, wars and other events, but was “crystallized politics.” And policies are manifestations of underlying philosophies.
While the development of policies may, from time to time, be influenced by what Douglas described as “unrehearsed events”, they are in the main the result of a conscious effort by individuals organized to pursue policies reflecting philosophies.
In an address given at Liverpool, England, in 1936, The Tragedy of Human Effort, Douglas said: “The general principles which govern association for the common good are as capable of exact statement as the principles of bridge-building, and departure from them just as disastrous.
“The modern theory, if it can be called modern, of the totalitarian state, for instance, to the effect that the state is everything and the individual nothing, is a departure from those principles, and is a revamping of the theory of the later Roman Empire, which theory, together with the financial methods by which it was maintained, led to Rome’s downfall, not by the conquest of stronger Empires, but by its own internal dissensions. It is a theory involving complete inversion of fact, and is, incidentally, fundamentally anti-Christian...”
Astronomical debt, crushing taxation and inflation produced in Rome the same disastrous economic, social and political results which are a feature of what is now clearly another disintegrating civilisation. The lessons of history are vital. Those who refuse to learn from the disasters of history are doomed to repeat those disasters.
Douglas’s vital contribution towards an understanding of real history was to show how the money system has, over centuries, been a major instrument through which power has been centralized.
The basic flaw in the system
Douglas described how when he first made his discovery about the basic flaw in the present finance-economic system, he thought that all he had to do was to tell those in control of the system about the flaw, that they would thank him, and then proceed to correct the flaw. But he soon discovered that so far from wanting to correct the flaw, those in control of financial policy were determined to resist any suggestion of correcting a flaw which made the progressive centralization of power appear inevitable.
The Marxists and other will-to-power groups also strongly resisted any corrective policy which would remove the conditions they require for revolution.
As Douglas said, he soon realised that he was embarking upon a project which would not only absorb the whole of his lifetime, but many lifetimes to come. In revealing the basic flaw in the finance-economic system, Douglas was brought face to face with the more basic question of the age-old power question.
If the present state of the world is not the result of policies fashioned by individuals who are organized to advance those policies, but is the result of blind forces and mere chance, then clearly there is nothing the individual can do about averting further disasters. This is the village idiot theory of history, and naturally it tends to produce a passive attitude towards events. It cripples individual initiative.
Christianity did not develop by chance
But the absurdity of the theory can be demonstrated by asking, “Did western Christian civilisation develop over nearly two thousand years by ‘mere chance’?”
The development took place because sufficient individuals strove, sacrificed, many died, to advance a concept of how individuals should live together in society. The retreat from that civilisation has taken place because individuals with an anti-Christian view of how men should live, have used instruments of power and influence to strive to create a world in which their philosophy prevails. They must be described as conspirators, even though many of them are in competition with one another.
Douglas shed a blinding light on much of what had appeared obscure or irrelevant concerning Christianity. His presentation of the vital importance of the Doctrine of the Incarnation was a revelation to me, and I have long come to the conclusion that Social Credit is, as Douglas said, “practical Christianity,” and that the very future of genuine Christianity now depends upon Social Credit and the Douglas revelations.
It is relatively easy to criticize the alleged disastrous effects of Christianity on the human drama, but G. K. Chesterton was right when he said that so far from Christianity having failed, it had not yet been tried. To the extent that it had been tried, it has resulted in a tremendous advance for mankind.
Without the Christian influence, the highwater mark of western civilisation, reached before the First World War, would never have been possible. Since then, there has been a retreat from Christianity. That retreat can, however, be reversed if sufficient individuals will, with proper humility, search for what has gone wrong, and realistic repentance take place. Douglas has shown the way by advancing policies which can make the Word flesh.
History provides many examples of great truths being destroyed, not by direct opposition, but by perversion. The most dangerous perversion is that of those who proclaim they are supporting the author of the truth they are perverting. Large numbers of people who call themselves Christians — followers of Christ — support policies which increasingly crush the individual’s freedom. The ultimate in blasphemy is the profession of “Christian-Marxism” and support for the World State — an International Caesar.
Many of those describing themselves as Social Crediters and Douglas supporters have perverted by describing Douglas as a “money reformer” and a “great idealist”. It was the famous Jewish writer, Dr. Oscar Levy, who observed that the ideal is the enemy of the real. Idealism is a manifestation of man’s false pride and suggests that man can be his own God.
Douglas’s approach was that of proper respect and humility, as expressed in his comment that “the rules of the universe transcend human thinking”, and that if man desired the greatest satisfaction in human affairs, he should painstakingly attempt to discover what those truths are, and then obey them. Douglas was primarily a man concerned with discovering truth, reality.
In another comment, he said that Social Credit provided “a glimpse of reality”. Douglas modestly claimed that Social Credit provided only a “glimpse” of reality. A fuller understanding of reality requires a constant search for truth. In one of those profound statements which can be pondered upon indefinitely with increasing benefit, Douglas said Social Crediters were seeking “to release reality.”
As for the claim that Social Crediters were concerned with creating a utopia, Douglas specifically repudiated this on a number of occasions, stating that “society is never in more deadly danger than when it is committed to the mercies of the idealist, and particularly the utopianist. The fact is that there is no single utopia which would give satisfaction to more than a small percentage of us, and that what we really demand of existence is not that we shall be put into somebody else’s utopia, but that we shall be put into a position to construct a utopia of our own.”
Social Credit does not say, “This is how things ought to work, and we must reform the financial and other systems so that this happens,” but that things work best in accord with their own nature. In the preface to Credit Power and Democracy (1920) Douglas wrote, “That is moral which works best.” Later he pointed out that the word “moral” “is used in such a loose manner as though the word defines itself. Much of what is called progress is a-moral. The use of better tools does not automatically ensure better objectives. We can improve planes so that we can fly from one place to another in less time. Is this progress? Or is the real question, ‘What do we do with the time we saved? Build more planes?’”.
How Douglas discovered Social Credit
In an address to members of the Canadian Club in Ottawa in April, 1923, when he was in Canada by invitation to present his views to the Canadian Parliamentary Committee on Banking and Commerce, Douglas sketched the history of his discoveries and the development of the line of thought which had brought him to the conclusions he had reached.
The beginning of this “rather long-winded story was about fifteen years ago.” Douglas explained how, while in India in charge of the Westinghouse interests in the East, he had conducted a survey of a large district with considerable water-power. The survey had been at the insistence of the Government of India. Douglas said that when he went back
to Calcutta and Simla and asked what was going to be done about using the water-power, the reaction was, “Well, we have not got any money.” This was at a time when the manufacturers in Great Britain were finding it hard to obtain orders and the prices for machinery were very low. Douglas said that he accepted the statement made, and, he supposed, pigeon-holed the fact in his mind.
He went on to recall how, when he dined frequently with the controller-general of India, he was bored considerably by long lectures on the subject of credit. The controller-general related his experiences with Treasury officials in India and Britain, insisting that silver and gold had nothing to do with the situation. “It nearly entirely depends upon credit,” he said. Douglas remarked that, at the time, his friend’s comments made little sense to him, but, nevertheless, he felt that they had also been pigeonholed in his mind.
Douglas proceeded to explain how just before the First World War he was employed by the British Government in connection with the building of the Post Office tube railway in London. There was no physical problem about the enterprise, but periodically he was ordered to pay men off, as there was insufficient money. “Then the war came,” said Douglas, “and I began to notice that you could get money for any purpose.” That struck him as being rather curious.
During the First World War, Douglas, who had seen service in France and had been mentioned in despatches, was sent to the Farnborough Royal Aircraft Works to sort out “a certain amount of muddle.” After weeks he had discovered that after introducing tabulating machines to assist his examination of the costing system of the factory, costs were being generated at a much greater rate than incomes were being distributed in the form of wages and salaries.
Like a true scientist, Douglas had an investigation made of a cross section of hundreds of British industrial organisations, and found that they all created total costs, reflected in prices, at a greater rate than they distributed purchasing power through wages and salaries. Douglas later provided mathematical proof of his discovery, stated in the form of the famous A + B theorem.
Continuing, Douglas said that later he noted that with the withdrawal of something like seven million of the best producers in the country, those left, the older people, women and children, had been able to build wonderful concrete cities. Immense quantities of production were being poured out to be destroyed by war. Yet everyone was living on at least as high a standard of living as before the war.
Douglas was thinking these things over when his mind went back to his Anglo-Indian friend. He thought to himself, “That man was right. The key to the problem is credit.” Douglas said, “The people at large have not got sufficient purchasing power.”
“I know from my own technical knowledge,” said Douglas, “that there is no production problem in the world at all; that there is no single thing which, if you will put your money down on the table, you cannot get.”
Man must follow God’s Law
One of the most revealing word pictures we have of Douglas the man and his philosophy comes from Mr. L. D. Byme:
“Notwithstanding a mental stature unusual in any society, Douglas’s outstanding characteristic was a profound humility — a humility which was reflected in his writings and in his life... Where others viewed the world in terms of mankind’s struggles and achievements, and society as the creature of man’s brain and behaviour, with the realism of the engineer and the penetrating spirituality of a Medieval theologian, Douglas saw the universe as an integrated unity centered in its creation, and centered in its Creator and subject to His Law.
“It was the basis of Douglas’s philosophy, of which Social Credit is the policy, that there is running through the warp and woof of the universe the Law of Righteousness — Divine Law — which he termed the Canon. He must seek it actively, and to the extent that he finds it and conforms to it, he will achieve harmony with the universe and his Creator. Conversely, to the degree that he ignores the operation of the Canon and flouts it, he will bring disaster upon himself.
“It was inherent in Douglas’s writings that he viewed society as something partaking of the nature of an organism which could have ‘life and life abundant’ to the extent it was God-centred and obedient to His Canon... Within it (this organism) the sovereignty of ‘God the Creator of all things visible and invisible’ being absolute, there must be full recognition of the sanctity of human personality, and, therefore, of the individual person as free to live his life, and within the body social, to enter into or contract out of such associations as, with the responsibility to his Creator, he may choose. And no person may deny another this relationship to God and his fellow men without committing sacrilege.
“This concept, reflecting the ideal of Christendom as the integration of Church and society which was the inspiration of European civilisation for centuries, involves adherence to a policy in every sphere of social life, economic, political and cultural. This is the policy which Douglas termed ‘Social Credit.’
“Looking out upon the world with a clarity of vision which was unique in his time, Douglas saw a doomed civilisation committed to the opposite policy, stemming from a conflicting philosophy, a philosophy which deified man and sought to subjugate the world to him.”
In a 1933 address, The Pursuit of Truth, Douglas stressed that his primary concern was with rightness in all things, that there was running through the universe something called a “canon”, and that “genuine success only accompanies a consistent attempt to discover and conform to this canon in no matter what sphere our activities lie.”
Money is a man-made symbol
While it is true that the world-wide Social Credit Movement which came into existence played the major role in publicizing how financial credit is created and destroyed by the banking system, long before Douglas appeared on the public scene, a number of authorities had explained to select audiences how money was created in the form of financial or bank credit.
And, of course, those who operated the credit-creating system over the centuries were well aware of the enormous power they exercised — so long as people generally believed that banks only loaned out money first deposited with them, and were generally ignorant about the realities of a money system.
Irrespective of what form it takes, money is but a man-made symbol of no value unless real wealth is created. Just so long as sufficient people can be mesmerized into believing that, for example, a credit symbol is more important than a pound of butter, they are at the mercy of those who create and control the symbols. The shadow is more important than the substance!
Douglas once recalled how not long after he had published his findings on the basic defect in the modern finance-economic system, he was asked by a representative of one of the Wall Street international finance groups what he proposed to do about obtaining a rectification of the defect. As Douglas said, at that stage he did not fully appreciate the fact that his discovery and proposals struck right at the core of a monopoly whose representatives, so far from relinquishing the power they already exercised, were determined to protect and increase that power.
Subsequently every effort was made to suppress, or misrepresent and pervert what Douglas was proposing. The hostile reaction of an unholy alliance of international bankers, Marxists and various other groups, including those do-gooders who earnestly claim to know what is best for the individual, brought into clear relief the fact that it was the philosophical challenge of Social Credit which was seen as the major threat by all representatives of the will-to-power.
Douglas, the physical man, died in 1952. But the truths he revealed now belong to eternity. They are essential for the regeneration of civilisation, irrespective of how long that regeneration takes. Those who have grasped those truths have the responsibility of carrying the knowledge of them forward into the future.
To the extent that western civilisation still continues is only possible because the spiritual and moral capital of the past has not yet been completely exhausted. But one only has to consider the plight of the disorientated youth, victims of an insane policy of "full employment" at a time when the computer has given an even bigger impetus to the Industrial Revolution than did the introduction of solar energy via the steam engine, to realise what the future must be.
Cut off from their own heritage it is not surprising that large numbers of the youth of western nations are recruited for political violence, or turn to drugs and other forms of escapism. Disintegrating Rome also had a youth-revolt problem.