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The Social Credit conception of democracy

Written by Louis Even on Sunday, 01 January 2006. Posted in Social Credit

Less power for governments, more power for individuals

When individuals and families find themselves living in want and incapable of bettering their lot, they turn, almost instinctively, towards the Government. Why is this so ? Because they are conscious of their weakness, of their impotence, and they see no hope except in aid from the Government. They know that the Government is much more powerful than they are.

It is evidently the duty of the Government to sustain them in their weakness. But when these weaker members of the community have received aid for their immediate needs from the Government, they are not, by this fact, any stronger than they were before. Their weakness remains with them. They have received relief from the evils which oppressed them, but they were not made any stronger. Their lot remains essentially the same. Inevitably, they are going to be in need of aid from the Government again in the future.

To strengthen the weak

When the number of such unfortunates is great, when they must struggle incessantly to maintain a standard of living that is considerably below what is possible and feasible in our day and in our country, discontentment and bitterness is born, which grows in intensity and spreads widely and rapidly. They are only too ready to lend their ears to those politicians who preach that the only remedy is in a change of Government.

And yet experience should have taught them that a change of Government, in itself, changes nothing except perhaps for a few favored ones whose lot is improved at the expense of others.

It is certainly not a change of Government which is going to render the weak strong. It is not the fact of placing power in the hands of a certain group rather than in the hands of others that is going to place power in the hands of families and individuals.

What must be done is to take the power from where it has been concentrated, where it is excessive, and share it out amongst the members of society.

Modern governments have an excess of power. And they are taking more and more into their hands. This is the very nature of the vice, of the malady, of having power over others. The more power the Government has, the more it craves, though it may not proclaim this desire and may go to great lengths to persuade the people that it is they who govern.

Moreover, there are many voices ready to proclaim loudly and publicly that “we must have a strong government.” This is the voice of all the despots and dictators of all the centuries, not excluding our own. And it is the voice of those fools who believe that a strong government will make a strong people. (Note well that we are here speaking of power, not of authority.)

When power is concentrated in one place, it is there existing in that place, and it cannot be existing elsewhere. If you place all the power in the hands of the Government, there will certainly be none left to put into the hands of families and individuals and of intermediate forms of public bodies. You then have the Moloch-state absolute political dictatorship.

The Social Credit point of view

Today, we see all about us the evidence of centralization. It is evident in the financial system. It is apparent in industry. And it is showing very clearly in the political system.

Social Credit, which is essentially the concept of an order favoring the full and unobstructed development of the individual, seeks the realization of this order, not in the acquisition of that power (political or economic) which dominates the individual, but in the endowing with power of the individual himself. Such personal power would permit the individual to exercise freely his initiative and assume his own responsibilities in the pursuit of those legitimate ends which are proper To him.

Contrary, then, to the accusations of Fascism which have been hurled against Social Credit by the ignorant and malicious, authentic Social Credit is the most democratic of ideologies, far more democratic than the vast majority of other ideologies which are seeking to draw unto them the minds and hearts of men. Social Credit sees democracy as the limitation of Government’s power, and the augmentation of the individual’s power.

There should be no contradiction to such a conception of democracy. Is not democracy commonly presented to us as the contrary of dictatorship ? And does not dictatorship consist in the exercise of absolute power, by a chief or a party, over all the population, leaving no right of choice whatsoever to the individual ? Consequently, it can only be in the decreasing of the Government’s power, in order to increase the power of the individual, that the move towards dictatorship can be arrested and true progress made towards an authentic democracy (demos, power; kratos, power), towards the power of the people. The people” is not a pure abstraction; it is composed of individuals. Thus, it is the power of individuals which makes the power of the people.

In the economy

Those who teach that Social Credit consists of nothing more than the distribution of abundance to all, have but a very restricted idea of the true Social Credit.

The animals in a barn, for example, may be all very well fed and comfortably lodged. But for all this, they do not live in a democracy but in a dictatorship. It is the farmer, their master, who decides everything for these animals; what they shall do, how they shall be fed, what kind of lodging they shall have. This might very well be a image of State Socialism, of totalitarianism, but it is certainly not a true conception of Social Credit.

It is quite true that Social Credit looks towards a sharing of real wealth which will leave no one forgotten; but it does not rest there. Moreover, such a distribution of real wealth is not left to the arbitrary decisions of the Government, but is legally determined, and its flow mathematically determined, by the condition and amount of real wealth actually in existence or capable of being produced.

Let us repeat here again: it is the development and flowering of the human individual, through the assumption of his own responsibilities and the exercise of his own initiative, by free choice and decision, which is the object of the philosophy of Social Credit.

Assuring to each and every individual a part of the material goods of this earth does not enter into the Social Credit philosophy except as a means to an end; a means towards removing those obstacles which, without any good reason, hinder the development and perfecting of his being. But this elevation of the human being demands many other things which must flow from the individual himself. And if the economic system gives to the individual what is his from the system of production but, at the same time, does not leave him the freedom to exercise his own initiative, to assume his own responsibilities, then such a system still remains imperfect and wanting.

In his encyclical Mater et Magistra, John XXIII, while repeating the teachings of his predecessors regarding the right of each and everyone to the use of terrestrial goods, insists, as his predecessors did, on the right of the individual to the exercise of his own initiative. He writes:

It follows that if the organization and operation of an economic system are such as to compromise the human dignity of those who engage in it, or to blunt their sense of responsibility, or to impede the exercise of personal initiative, such an economic system is unjust. And this is so even if, by hypothesis, the wealth produced through such a system reaches a high level and this wealth is distributed according to standards of justice and equity.”

It is necessary, then, to take into account, in the economy, not only the sharing of wealth, but the facilities offered for the exercise of personal initiative and the assumption of personal responsibilities. For we are here dealing with human beings, and not with animals in the barnyard.

In politics

What we have said above, with reference to economics, likewise holds true in the field of politics. For in politics, the human being must be considered in all his dignity, and not treated as a simple instrument or tool to be used at will by governments or political parties. True Social Credit is genuinely concerned with the individual from this point of view.

That is why those who look upon the individual solely in respect to his role as a voter as if, in fact, he were nothing more than a means by which political parties may climb to power are far from being genuine Social Crediters, even though they may have taken unto themselves that title.

That is why, also, any group, any association or movement which does not provide for the cultivation of personal initiative among its individual members, but rather places the accent upon the group as a whole rather than upon the persons composing it, is simply nothing more than another form of collectivism. Such a group cannot rightly claim that its principles and activities are oriented towards an end which is truly democratic. And if such a group should dare to assume the name of “Social Credit”, it would be guilty of a hideous profanation of that name.

Furthermore, this is the reason why the school of the “Michael” Journal, which teaches authentic Social Credit, strives to develop in the individual a personal responsibility, an individual initiative. And while it is yet personal initiative, still it is aimed at a common end, a goal which will be the common good not only of the members of our Movement, but of all the citizens of society.

This is why the members of the Movement, especially those who are active workers, do not seek recompense in the acquisition of material wealth, but rather in the enrichment and development of their own beings, in the flowering of their personality, and, above all, since they are devout Christians, in the satisfaction to be gained in realizing the precept of the Master to work good for our neighbor.

To come back to our Social Credit conception of democracy in which the power of Government is diminished while the power of the individual is increased, let us quote, in finishing, the following passage from the work of Dr. Monahan entitled: An Introduction of Social Credit. Dr. Bryan Monahan, of Australia, was, in the 1960s, chairman of the Social Credit Secretariat, an organism set up by C. H. Douglas to preserve the purity of Social Credit doctrine.

Dr. Monahan writes as follows, on pages 104-105, in the above-mentioned work:

Governments today are almost infinitely evil; at all events, they contact infinite evil: they are robbers, liars, and hypocrites. They are corrupted by power, and the solution is: to withdraw the power back to the individual, to de-concentrate it. The only safe exercise of power is by the individual over himself, not over others. We call that power, at home in the individual, individual initiative. Essential Social Credit action is individual initiative. And where that initiative is exercised with that of others, in pursuance of a strategy, there is an increment of association. That is why there is a Social Credit Movement concerned with a single strategy to gain a common objective for the genuine benefit of all men.

There is no hope in a change of government. A new government inherits the excessive power of its predecessor, and in accordance with Lord Acton’s law, is corrupted by that power. What is essential is a change in the distribution of power as between Government and citizens. Such a change will not be initiated by the Government; it must, therefore, be initiated by the citizens. We have not got democracy; we can only get it by being democratic by limiting government.

The necessary reforms must begin in individuals as such. Every individual who makes the effort necessary to understand Social Credit brings Social Credit nearer. The spread of the correct conception of genuine democracy will make it progressively more impossible for the present totalitarianism to continue a situation which will bring its own mechanism for reform into being.

But against this must be set the time factor. Unquestionably, the would-be world dominators contemplate making their position impregnable, whatever the condition of public opinion, just as in Russia. For the present, they rely on the careful confusion of public opinion, and on diverting into relatively harmless channels such public opinion as shows signs of awakening to the real situation.”

The last sentence seems to us to explain perfectly the futile search for a rectifying of the present situation through the continual overthrowing of governments, whether they be of old or new parties, which results in nothing more than a deluding of the people and a restriction of their activities.

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