“The future of Christian civilization depends on those who have grasped Douglas’ idea”
Here is the second part of excerpts from Eric Butler’s book, Releasing Reality, subtitled Social Credit and the Kingdom of God, which was produced in 1979 to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Clifford Hugh Douglas — the Scottish engineer who conceived the Social Credit financial proposals. Butler’s book demonstrates how Social Credit brings a new relevance to every aspect of man’s affairs.
by Eric D. Butler
Policies and philosophies
Douglas observed that a problem correctly stated is already half solved. The starting point for solving the problems of human beings must be to ask the question, “What is the purpose of man himself, and of his activities?” The basic problem is, therefore, philosophical.
Douglas implicitly accepted the Christian philosophy when he wrote: “The group exists for the benefit of the individual, in the same sense that the field exists for the benefit of the flower, or the tree for the fruit. . . Christ’s famous rejoinder to the Pharisees, that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath”, clearly revealed Christ’s concern with the supreme value of the individual. Christ’s revelation paved the way to free the individual from the domination of the group or the system.
Examining this question more closely in The Realistic Position of The Church of England, Douglas stressed that a genuinely Christian society is one in which power is effectively in the hands of the individual members of that society, who are then in the position to make free choices, accepting of course personal responsibility for the choices made. The purpose of the anti-Christ, Douglas warned, was to force man into bigger and more highly centralised groups in which man’s most divine attribute, his creative initiative, is killed.
One of the most illuminating statements made by Douglas, one which reveals his proper humility in the search for truth, was that the rules of the Universe transcend human thinking, and that if the individual wished to live in a world of harmony, he should make every endeavour to discover those rules and then obey them. Douglas did not say how things ought to work; “we are trying to release reality,” he said, “in order that things can work in accordance with their own nature.” Douglas warned that passing laws indefinitely, in an attempt to make systems work in defiance of reality, could only complicate the defects in these systems.
No state monopoly
It was only natural that those whose only understanding of Social Credit was that it was merely some type of credit-expansion scheme for overcoming the conditions of the Great Depression, should believe that all that was necessary was for governments to nationalise the banks, thus breaking the “private credit monopoly.”
Douglas was not primarily concerned with the private monopoly of credit creation, but with the monopoly itself. Nationalising the banks merely changed the name over the doors without changing policies. And a government monopoly can be even worse than a private monopoly, sheltering behind the facade that it has been “democratically elected.”
The credit of a society belongs to the individual members of that society, and governments should have to come to individuals for required credits in the same way that a company is dependent upon shareholders for its share capital. A state monopoly of credit creation and issue is one of Karl Marx’s ten steps for communising a state. This policy is an expression of a philosophy diametrically opposed to the philosophy of Social Credit.
Dividends to individuals
Douglas said that the proper role of the state is to distribute dividends to individuals. The individual must be free to decide how best to use his own credit. During the Great Depression of the thirties, when Marxism was making an enormous appeal to large numbers of desperate people, Stalin’s colleague, Molotov, made the comment to the “Red” Dean of Canterbury, Dr. Hewlett Johnson, that the Soviet leaders knew all about Social Credit and that it was the only movement they feared. Relating a revealing experience he had with the famous Fabian Marxist leader, Sidney Webb, Douglas said that after he had effectively disposed of all the arguments against the practicability of his proposals, he was confronted with the real objection to those proposals: Webb said that he did not like the purpose of the proposals, the purpose being to free the individual from the domination of those exercising power over him.
What Douglas did was to bring a new strategy and tactics to an age-old problem: the struggle by the individual to defend himself against all manifestations of the will-to-power. With the precision of the trained engineer, he analysed the basic defects in the finance-economic system.
Some of his most brilliant comments deal with the true purpose of man and the threat to that purpose by the advocates of centratised power using financial, economic and political institutions to enslave. One of his most brilliant revelations was that the true purpose of production was consumption, and that the policy of “full employment” was in defiance of the progress of the industrial arts, which made it possible for the genuine requirements of the individual to be provided with progressively less labour.
Nothing caused so much bitter opposition to Douglas as his observation that, so far from labour creating all wealth, the major factor in modern production was the use of solar energy in various forms to drive automatic and semi-automatic machinery, and that as the individual was an heir to a cultural heritage, he was morally entitled to a type of dividend. Such a policy was contrary to the carefully-fostered view that the individual could not be trusted with this type of freedom which Douglas had demonstrated was both practical and desirable. Opposition to the principle of a dividend based upon an inheritance was a manifestation of the will-to-power philosophy.
God’s Kingdom can only come on earth if individuals seek to know — God, to serve God and to advance His purpose for man. Christ commanded, “Be ye perfect.” Striving for perfection is only possible when the individual possesses the freedom to do so. The goal of perfection means that Christ came to restore, to make atonement with God possible. Atonement means at-one-with, and Christ said that it was only through Him that the individual could come to know the Father, to make complete contact.
So far from ignoring the material world, Christ said He had overcome it. Man did not live by bread alone, but sufficient bread was essential. “Give us this day our daily bread.” God the Father has provided an abundance of the material things required for the “life more abundant” which Christ spoke about.
“Full employment” denies access to the Kingdom
The overriding policy being used to deny man access to the potential real security and expanding freedom, which is his birthright, is that of “full employment.” Although the policy blatantly contradicts every advance in technology, it is promoted persistently as the most important objective towards which man can strive.
The underlying philosophy is materialistic, treating the human being as so much raw material to be fed into an expanding mass production system, and anti-Christian, because it denies that the major factor in modern production is inheritance.
When Douglas first put forward the policy of a national dividend for the individual as a right reflecting the reality of inheritance, it was scathingly denounced as “something for nothing.”
Life itself is a gift, as are the most important factors which sustain life — water, air and unlimited solar energy. The failure to accept God’s gifts with proper respect is a manifestation of man’s false pride, a refusal to accept the truth that man is not self-sufficient, that he does depend upon God and His abundant Universe, abundant in mate-rials and the laws which, if discovered and applied, provide both security and freedom.
The tendency to worship science as some type of God is but further evidence of man’s false pride. Science cannot create anything. It is but an orderly method of discovering and using that which already exists. Formulae are but man-devised instruments which man has invented to increase his effectiveness in arranging associations which result in natural action.
Each new generation inherits knowledge built up by previous generations. Even ideas are inherited. As pointed out by that great scientist, Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further than other men, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”
As Douglas said, every generation of mankind receives contributions from two sources: the effort of human beings applied to instruments which have been created by previous generations.
Douglas summarised: “We have an association between the present and the past yielding an increment which is present; and relatively to one another, the past is enormously the most effective element in this association.”
One of the most shallow statements by those who endorse the “full employment” policy, is that “hard work never hurt anyone.” So far from being true, much hard work has had a brutalising effect on the individual. And activities which can be seen to be unnecessary, except to obtain a monetary income, are soul-destroying. Human drudgery is not conducive to man seeking the Kingdom of God.
The major contributions to civilisation have come from those who have enjoyed relative security and freedom. But in defiance of the facts, many Christians support the policy of “full employment” on the authority of St. Paul’s statement that if a man did not work, neither would he eat. That statement was generally true when Paul made it. There was a time when human energy was the only means of production. But St. Paul had never seen or even envisaged a computer-controlled automated production system.
(Editor’s note: commenting on this passage of St. Paul, Pope Pius XI wrote in his encyclical letter Quadragesimo Anno: “But the Apostle in no way teaches that labor is the sole title to a living or an income.”)
A much greater authority than St. Paul, Christ, said something much more fundamental and of permanent value:
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?.. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field; how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin... Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not more clothe you, 0 ye of little faith?” (Matt. 6:26-30.)
Christ said that He came in order that the individual might enjoy the life more abundant. He did not say, as a former Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Montagu Norman said, that poverty was good for people.
The great Christian philosopher, St. Thomas Aquinas, said that “Spiritual danger ensues from poverty when the latter is not voluntary... no man ought to live unbecomingly.”
Increasing freedom from compulsory economic activity does not presume growing idleness. Such freedom would place the individual in the position where he could participate in the type of activity which appealed to him. There would be a flowering of creative activity with individuals employing themselves. It can be predicted with certainty that an intensification of the policy of “full employment” can only hasten the growing disintegration of what is left of Christian civilisation. Regeneration depends upon that and associated policies being opposed and rejected.
Social Credit action must reject the old power game of divisive party politics. It must seek to unite, to heal, in accordance with the Christian law of love. As the Kingdom of God is within each individual, access to the Kingdom is available NOW.
Regeneration of civilisation must start with regeneration of the individual. The development of the Kingdom of God can start now with individuals seeking to use their initiative, in association with others who are also “practical Christians,” to resist wherever possible the policies of evil. Refusal to act is a failure to strive to enter the Kingdom.
Douglas said that “Christianity, democracy, and Social Credit have at least three things in common: they are said to have failed; none of them is in the nature of a Plan, and every effort of some of the most powerfully organised forces in the world is directed to the end, not only that they shall never be accepted, but that as few persons as possible shall ever understand their nature.”
Douglas devoted considerable attention to stressing that genuine Christianity, Democracy and Social Credit were all concerned with ensuring that individuals had effective control over their own lives and accepted personal responsibility for how they used power. Christianity’s alleged failure is that of individuals who failed to grasp the message of real freedom which Christ brought and to take Christ’s advice.
The genius of Douglas enabled him to present the true nature of both democracy and Christianity. Douglas has provided the key to the door which must be opened to enable the individual to enter the Kingdom... But that key must be turned by individuals with the knowledge and the will to do so. The future of Christianity now depends upon those who have grasped the Truths — the glimpse of reality discovered and presented by Douglas.
The full text of other books of Eric Butler and Douglas are available on the internet at this address: www.alor.org/Library1.htm