Marjorie Douglas, the only daughter of Clifford Hugh Douglas, told me some years ago that her father had said to her, not long before he died, that there was little hope of seeing Social Credit in action until there had been a religious revival. In the light of this statement by Douglas it is not an easy task to fit my subject of "The Christian Basis of Social Credit" into the theme of this seminar - "The Christian Dynamic in the 21st Century". Here we are five and three-quarter years into the 21st Century.
So what is this "Christian dynamic" which we are discussing? The etymological root of the word "dynamic" is the Greek word dynamis meaning power. The dictionary defines "dynamics" as "the science that deals with forces acting on bodies to produce or alter motion." If we are to consider the main established Christian churches we would have to ask ourselves whether or not these bodies are now more interested in adapting themselves to the modern fashionable conventions of society rather than in espousing the truths brought by Jesus Christ to the churches which bear his name. In many cases I regret to say the former appears to be the case. The result appears to be a reduction in attendance at such churches, whilst what have been described as the unconventional churches, who in many cases follow the latter approach, are attracting more and more people even if this receives little coverage in the controlled media.
When we talk about Christian we are talking about religion, which means we must consider the origin of that word. For the purposes of what I am talking about I go to the word re-ligare which means "to bind back" to the real world. It was Douglas who wrote: "Christianity is either something inherent in the very warp and woof of the universe, or it is just a set of interesting opinions" to those who 'adapt' the Faith to fit their politics or their economics it is clearly the latter. So for the purposes of my talk I am referring to the Christian dynamic as the traditional understanding of Christianity, which binds the faith back to reality and the real world.
There are no doubt many in this room, who have been asked the question, "What is Social Credit?" There are possibly some, who have come to find that answer. As a result of an article by the late Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs, entitled "The Left and The Right and The Truth", which I published in the British "On Target" he received so many letters that the only way to answer that question was to publish a booklet. Since a lot of what I wish to say was said by Geoffrey in far better terms than I can manage, I am going to freely use his words without the constant repetition of quotation marks. I feel that I am able to use Geoffrey's words, because he in turn uses the knowledge imparted to us by C.H. Douglas.
One lady when writing to Geoffrey Dobbs asked if he could sum up the gist of Social Credit in a single sentence. Certainly he could - even in two words: practical Christianity! But does that satisfy? Unfortunately, No! because the word Christianity has been so misused that it can now mean almost anything, including the religion of the World Council of Churches, which expressed itself in subsidising terrorists in Africa and Latin America, who murdered and mutilated Christians, closed down churches and missions and kidnapped children from schools to bring them up as Marxist atheists.
Social Credit is a name given to a certain movement of the human mind and spirit (not an organisation), which stems originally from the mind and writings of a man of great insight and genius, the late Clifford Hugh Douglas. Its aim is to 'bind back to reality' or ' express in practical terms' in the current world, especially the world of politics and economics, those beliefs about the nature of God and man and the Universe which constitute the Christian Faith, as delivered to us from our forefathers and NOT as altered and perverted to suit current politics or economics which stem from a non-Christian source. It is often the best Christians who are the most chary about getting involved in politics or economics, because experience has taught them that this commonly means putting 'Caesar before God', i.e. in modern terms giving some passionately held political or economic belief or 'ideology' precedence over Christianity.
This movement has been influencing the world for sixty years. Its effects have been widespread, but unpublicised. One of its gifts to the human mind and at least the English language is the term: the social credit (without caps) which is the name of something which exists in all societies but which never had a name before because it was taken for granted. We become aware of it only as we lose it: 'credit' is another word for 'faith' or 'confidence', so we can also call it the Faith or Confidence which binds any society together - the mutual trust or belief in each other without which fear is substituted for trust as the 'cement' of society.
The social credit is thus a result, or practical expression, of real Christianity in Society, one of its most recognisable fruits; and it is the aim and policy of social crediters to increase it, and to strive to prevent its decrease. There are innumerable commonplace examples of it which we take for granted every day of our lives. How can we live in any sort of peace and comfort if we cannot trust our neighbours? How could we use the roads if we could not trust others to observe the rule of the road? What would be the use of growing anything in gardens, farms or nurseries if other people would grab it? How could any economic activity go forward - whether producing, selling or buying - if people cannot, in general, rely upon honesty and fair dealing. We see, do we not? - that Christianity is something real with desperately vital practical consequences, and by no means a mere set of opinions which are 'optional' for those to whom they happen to appeal.
Of course, social crediters are not the only people who are trying to promote the social credit. Most decent, sane people instinctively do so, including many God-fearing people of other religions, and even some atheists who were brought up in Christian homes and are living on the moral capital of their parents or teachers.
Just as there are social crediters, conscious and unconscious, trying to build up the social credit, so there are others - social discrediters - trying to destroy it and break it down, at present with all too much success. The conscious ones include the collectivists and other revolutionaries, who quite openly seek to smash all the links of trust and confidence which enable our society to function until the Day of the Revolution dawns - the Day when all the services which support us break down, and chaos, misery, poverty, hunger and terror take over, and the rule of the most ruthless violent and cunning can be established, and if necessary, maintained by 'continuous revolution'. This is the natural expression of the religion which rejects God, and hence sees men and women as clever-brained fleshlumps, spewed up by a witless, purposeless and impersonal chain of physico-chemical forces operating en masse. Naturally, then, the human masses ought to be ruled by force by the cleverest and most powerful men, though after centuries of Christianity it may be necessary at first in controlling them to use some of the language and 'ideals' of Christian morality.
This religion is wholly false and out of touch with reality. So much so that, even in the former USSR which after decades of communist rule could not feed itself, though it was formerly the world's main granary, the most wonderful faith existed between fellow Christians who shared their common faith in God and trusted each other not only with their welfare, but with their freedom and their lives. Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, which is the ultimate condition of the social credit.
But it is the unconscious social discrediters who are responsible, in the West, for the present success of the conscious ones. Among these are many who operate the mass 'media' and the education system, who would deny that they were collectivists or atheists (though there are plenty who wouldn't), whose language is often moralistic, or even 'Christian' but whose practice and policy are destructive of the social credit. The mass media subject us to a continuous stream of selective reports of acts or words of social discredit: murders, rapes, thefts, violence to persons and property, sadism, sexual perversion, kidnapping, blackmail, bad faith, corruption, quarrels, offensiveness, callousness, blunders, and endless political diatribe and chicanery, which we know is having a cumulative effect, notably on the young who are without defence against it, especially as its effect is too often reinforced in school. Have you noticed how interviewers on radio or TV always pry into the most trouble-making and faith-destroying aspects of anything which can be made into a scandal? If it is not scandalous, it is not, or is scarcely, 'news'; and now they even pre-empt every possible event with a suggestion of scandal before it occurs! Yet all this implies that the general background, which is still 'normal' and un-newsworthy, is one of common honesty, decency and good-will - the great body of the social credit which holds our society together and is taken for granted, though it is now being eroded and is in dire danger unless consciously maintained.
But if this is so why do so many decent, sane, normal people, who have no sympathy with the collectivisers, participate in discreditable actions, or fail to do the obviously honest and common sense thing? Why do the shops and the manufacturers foist upon us so many shoddy, rubbishy, throw-away things, at outrageous prices and trick us into buying them with clever packaging and advertising? Why do consumers now have to take what they are given, instead of ordering what they want? And above all, why do millions of decent working people take part in ironically named 'industrial action', deliberately designed to damage services to their fellow men? They can't all be collectivists or callous criminals! What on earth can make normal decent people descend to this spiritual level? We all know what it is? There is one common factor running through this destructive and discreditable action: the compulsive need for more money to meet the ever-rising cost of living.
So now at last I have come to the question of money, which is what some people think that Social Credit is all about: but it isn't! Social Credit is an attempt to apply Christianity in social affairs; but if money stands in the way, then we, and every Christian must concern ourselves with the nature of money, and just why it stands in the way, as it surely does. There is a dire need for more people to look deeply into the operation of our monetary system, though that is not everyone's job. But when the consequences are so desperate, everyone can at least grasp the outline of what is wrong, and could be put right, which will enable them to act accordingly.
But is not that the responsibility of the financial experts, the bankers and economists, who advise governments? Yes, indeed! Then how can we know better than they? In technical terms we cannot, and must not pretend to, but as the ultimate users of money, the customers, so to speak, for their expertise, we, and we alone are in a position to judge best whether the results are satisfactory to us, and we all know that they are notoriously, and appallingly not so, whatever government is in power, and not only in Britain or Australia, but all over the world. We have had all too much of this exploitation of expert status and jargon to 'sell' us what we do not want, and is often, contrary to common sense and sanity. In economics, we have a dreary and continual wrangle between the political parties and their economic pundits as to which evil should be favoured most. The reason for this, and proposals for remedy were put forward over half a century ago by C.H. Douglas, who was an engineer and an industrial accountant in touch with the realities of the economy rather than the theory, and his predictions have come true with terrible accuracy. But because he showed so clearly that the monetary trap that we are in is wholly artificial, and can be evaded only by a change in the accepted methods of banking which would make the full redemption of debt possible, his ideas are not only rejected, but the faintest whisper is not allowed to enter the debate on the choice of economic evils. Perhaps if more people tried we might break in occasionally as has happened recently, for it is vitally important that more people should learn that there is an alternative to disaster.
We all know that the 'economic' service given by governments and their advisers is appalling, but it is on a world scale. Very few of us are motor mechanics or economists, and we have to trust the experts to deliver the results required; that is part of the social credit. But when they consistently give us the opposite of what we want, and fall back on 'status' and prestige and technical jargon to insult our common sense with a denial of the obvious facts of observation and experience, then it is time to remember that it is our water supply they fluoridate and we have to drink it, and it is our money they are devaluing and restricting, and we have to live on it.
Quite early in the history of Social Credit we learnt the elementary lesson that 'democracy' is nonsense when applied to techniques and methods of obtaining a given objective. This is the sphere of the specialist and the expert who must be held responsible for devising the correct methods, while the sphere of the consumer and the public is to insist upon the results required and to replace the experts who do not deliver them, or require that our representatives do so. This works well until we come up against a monopoly of experts (probably paid by a bigger Monopoly such as the State or Big Business) who decide that they know best what we ought to have, which is invariably what we do not want. They assure us that what we do want is ridiculous or undesirable or technically impossible, even when we have had it before and know it is possible. We then have to look for honest experts, who will look into the matter technically, advise us whether it really is possible, and if so propose effective means of obtaining the desired objective. Douglas had a name for such people who provide the public with correct technical advice on how their objectives may be realised: the Civil Servants of Policy.
In a sense, Douglas himself was the first of them, as he used his expert knowledge of engineering, including pioneer work in automation, and in industrial accountancy, to put his finger on the defect in the financial system, and to propose effective means of correcting it. Douglas's Christianity was of the deep, taken-for-granted sort. He was no Bible-thumper or text-quoter. He started by simply assuming that people meant what they said and that the purpose of production was to produce what people as consumers wanted as exactly as possible with as little waste of materials, energy or human effort as was practicable. Having drawn attention to a failing in the way money was issued and controlled which prevented this purpose being achieved, he expected that it would be honestly investigated and put right if confirmed. Instead he found that those who controlled the economy through finance were well aware of the situation, but had quite other purposes in mind, mainly the full employment of the working lives of the whole population as hired labour, forced by the need for 'pay' to carry out the purposes of those who issue and direct the flow of money (i.e. bank credit).
As Douglas pointed out, the two policies are wholly opposite and incompatible, but he soon found that in economics one is not permitted to raise questions of such a fundamental nature as 'what is money, and what are industry and commerce for?' Such questions are answered, not by economics or science of any sort, but by religion, and the answers are most revealing as to the type of religion which they express. It was in this way that social crediters discovered that the plain common sense which they were trying to bring to reality was in fact Christian in origin.
Douglas died in 1952, and most of his contemporaries who learnt their 'new economics' from him have also left us, so it is becoming urgent that more, younger people should study and become expert in the economics which sees money as a device at the service of people as producers, distributors and consumers, and how it differs from the economics which assumes it is a device for manipulating and controlling their lives. As a start, Douglas's works are available. Only those who have a special interest in monetary or economic affairs are likely to become expert enough to advise others in this field; but we all have experience or special knowledge in some field of human activity, which is certain to be affected by money, so that it is advisable for everyone to understand the broad outline of what money is, of how it could fulfil its proper function, and why it does not do so at present.
The first point about money is that it has now ceased to consist of a material commodity, such as gold, a part of the reality of this planet, given to us freely by the Creator. We still sometimes read about ordinary citizens, say in Australia, who pick up the odd nugget of gold which relieves them of all financial anxiety, for the rest of their lives, and there are still places where people pan for gold in old workings, and with luck, find enough to pay for their holiday. The point here is that, whatever debts men may later attach to it, the gold, when it comes into our hands, is free, and it is also permanent. It can circulate almost indefinitely as money. On the other hand, gold became a fetish for many people, and as the productive power of our technology increased, there was less and less sense in restricting the distribution of its products in relation to the amount of one particular metal which was found. The substitution of a system of pure accountancy - simply numerals on paper and, nowadays, magnetic charges on computer tapes - was an enormous advance without which our industry and commerce could never have expanded as they have.
But notice the changes which have occurred! The new money, commonly called bank credit, is entirely artificial, written into existence by certain men, who have a centralised monopoly of its issue and direction. Being purely symbolic it is subject to no natural limits whatever. It is as easy to write a million as a hundred pounds or dollars. And it does not come freely into existence, but always as a debt, i.e. a loan repayable to those who issue it. Money is the means to the most complete dictatorship over human lives which has so far existed. Just consider the power that it exercises over every aspect of our society, including our own lives, and all the media and the influences and institutions that press upon us.
If you will think it over, you will see that an economy entirely dependant upon debt money issued in this way cannot possibly repay the debt without bringing itself to a standstill in chaos and starvation and revolution, unless, of course, it borrows more and more. That is, we are caught in a trap of irredeemable debt from which in overall terms, there is no escape within the rule of the present money system, that all new 'credit' must be issued as a debt. To the Christian, there will be a familiar sound about this; but he knows also that there is a way out from 'irredeemable debt' through the Grace of God which is freely given to those who 'credit' (i.e. believe in) Christ - God incarnate in body on this planet. That is the way of redemption from debt of the individual human spirit. It is real, must there not be something parallel or equivalent for debt-ridden human society?
Is it not significant that in the money-world, 'credit' is merely the money-lenders name for 'debt'? They are the same thing. And 'debt-free credit' is a mere contradiction in terms but though, by and large, it is mathematically impossible, the banker will issue his loans only to those from whom he thinks he can get his money back, on a security such as your house or better still, a farm or factory making saleable goods, or best of all from a Government with the power of compulsory taxation; for compulsion becomes inevitable in attempting the impossible.
For the bulk of the population, the only saleable thing they have is their labour, their working lives; and the only way they can obtain the debt-money they need for themselves and their families is by hiring themselves to some employer who is deemed 'credit-worthy' by the money-lender. It is interesting to note that communist China is the new economic power house in the world. It is introducing so-called free enterprise under the control of the Communist Party. It is amassing huge financial surpluses. It is able to use these financial surpluses to either buy up or control enterprises, and in some cases governments in the so-called free-world. From a debt ridden society Russia by skilfully using its natural resources, particularly oil and gas, is now doing the same as China under the leadership of a former high official of the Communist Secret Police. All this proves is that money will serve any master. It is a danger that needs to be exposed and the Social Credit answer proffered as a solution.
So how do we escape from our current situation? Only by turning to the reality. When Our Lord was asked a trap money question; offering phoney alternatives: 'Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar?' He refused to fall into either trap of partisanship, but re-thought it so that he could receive a true answer, and that is what we should do when confronted with the political choice between more unemployment or worse inflation. What, then, is owing to God in His created world of more than ample economic resources for all our needs and vast technological know-how inherited freely from the past inspiration of scientists and inventors by the Spirit of Truth?
Surely, it is that the choice freely offered by Him shall not be withheld or distorted by a man-made system of accountancy which ought to facilitate that choice. It should reflect, not dictate the choices made by people, as in fact it does in a very partial imperfect fashion.
There is immense confusion of thought about this, much complicated by the puritan idea that it is wrong for anyone to receive 'something for nothing', even, it seems the gracious gifts of the Creator, handed on to us through our cultural inheritance. We should all 'merit' what we receive, through our 'honest sweat' for the common good in some 'job', but if our labour is not needed because some technical device will do the work better, then it is demanded that useless or redundant jobs should be created in order to cheat us into a feeling of self-satisfaction and righteousness, because we imagine that we can 'hold up our heads 'as we are' pulling our weight' and 'earning our living'. Although in fact probably about half the 'employed' population would be making a bigger economic contribution if they stayed at home, drawing the same income, and abstained from interference with the economic process, except maybe, to look after their house and family, dig their garden, and give their neighbours or anyone else who needed it, a helping hand with those little services which have been priced out by the 'employment' system; without, incidentally, flattering themselves that they were thereby 'meriting' all that they were receiving.
The real problem we have to face in the technologically advanced part of the world is how to make restrained and sensible use of vast productive resources far beyond the needs or reasonable desires of sane people. It is the problem of the poor man suddenly left a fortune sufficient for a lifetime of decent comfort, but which can easily be foolishly squandered in a few years if he gets into evil company. Despite all the efforts made recently to convince us that the earth is a poor, barren place, already grossly over-populated by a mass of witlessly proliferating humanity, in dire need of draconian regulation and control by a central world government and a vast bureaucracy, it is abundantly clear that wherever people are free to produce without interference, and their efforts are financially rewarding, ample produce becomes available, which may become 'burdensome surpluses' when purchasing power is restricted. Natural catastrophes apart, the extreme poverty and starvation in the Third World, of which we hear so much, are man made and where not due to war, revolution or civil chaos, are due to the maltreatment of nature under financial pressure, conservation, restoration and diversification, which offer the true, long-term economies, are always too expensive for the poor, and impossible for the debt-ridden.
As regards the Third World, vast loans from the industrialised countries have been 'written off' in the past, and there is now open discussion of the advisability (not possibility) of debt-free credits, or non-repayable loans to the poorer countries, though rather for the purpose of securing 'employment' in the giving country, and a form of economic hegemony, than for any good it might do to the recipients. What is possible on the larger international scale must be possible on the smaller scale within a nation, and debt-free credit, applied to price reduction, is the only way in which the progressive inflation inseparable from our present system of debt-financing can actually be brought to a halt without strangling the economy.
In the same way the only possibility of liberating people from the soul-destroying burden of useless routine labour or mechanical work better done by machines, and the even more soul-destroying burden of unemployment, is by distributing the 'wages of the machine' to all, not on our 'merits' but as our share in the cultural inheritance. This again would require the use of debt-free credit, not in unlimited amounts, but precisely to the amount required for the cancelling of debts, and which would otherwise be met by borrowing, or by 'cuts' and unemployment. In this way also the conflicting claims for 'social justice and equality' on the one hand, and industrial and commercial efficiency in meeting consumers' demands with freedom of choice in both work and consumption, could be met and resolved.
Christians in general seem to ignore the appalling spiritual burden put upon us all, and not just the abject poor by our monetary debt system, or rather by those who control it and support its policy. Inflation produces two, apparently contradictory, effects upon people, varying with their temperament; one is continual anxiety, even more upon the well-to-do than upon the poor - "Suppose I lose my job, what will happen to me? How much capital do I need to be secure in my old age? $30,000? $150,000? $300,000? With money halving in value every five years or even worse, can I possibly have enough? Should I put it in gold, property, bonds? And so on." And at times of monetary restriction, bankruptcies, nervous breakdowns and suicides increase; yet these are but the tip of the iceberg of mental and spiritual preoccupation with what should be merely a useful system of accountancy of that full provision for all our needs which, we have been assured, Our Father in Heaven has made for us, providing we seek first His Kingdom, which is within us. And a relevant part of that is observing and doing His Will as regards the 'nature of things' and the way they work in His Creation. This means gladly accepting the gift of the Holy Spirit of Truth in the inspiration of human integrity and invention, enabling us to devote less and less time and attention to the supply of our material needs, provided only that the work done in supplying those needs is honest and useful work.
The other effect of inflation is to encourage greed, self-indulgence, and short-sighted squandering of the earth's resources for monetary gain, mainly as wages. Since money is a disappearing asset, grab all you can while you have it! Indulge yourself! Spoil yourself! Give yourself a good time! (See advertisements). And if you are producing or selling, don't bother about quality. It's too expensive anyway, and the mugs will buy anything! It's the money that matters, but only for short-term, throw-away things. Everything important, like health and education must be paid for by the State. And if you are a 'worker', why give an honest day's work for a dishonest day's pay in disappearing cheat-money? If the bosses can cheat us, why not cheat them? Grab all you can while the going's good! That is the message that inflation gives to everyone.
Well then! Is Social Credit after all, just a scheme for reforming the money system? No, indeed! No more than Christianity is just a scheme for getting rid of the guilt and burden of sin. That is just a necessary preliminary to starting on the pilgrimage. No monetary 'scheme' can make men good. At best it can only increase their freedom to choose between good and evil, and remove a heavy burden of temptation to choose the evil. In any case, schemes, methods, techniques, are secondary to ends, and must vary with every situation and end in view; though correct technology is an essential part of the faith that works.
How then can our aims ever be implemented - especially as Party politics or other means of imposing them upon other people are quite incompatible with them? Seek first the Kingdom - and that means returning to God's reality, and comparing it with the all-too-pressing pseudo-reality of man's money dominated world, and taking the trouble to understand how much the Christian religion, which is in fact a part of the 'warp and woof of the universe', has been corrupted and turned from its path by the implicit, unconscious acceptance of the domination of 'money' with its false values, as a part of the 'reality' - of the 'modern, changed situation' to which, it is constantly urged, our religion must adapt itself.
Until that is put right, Christians cannot even start to restore the social credit - the faith of society; they may even be helping to destroy it. But after that, a great vista opens of hope and faith, thought and study and action. Hope, because we are not frustrated by 'the nature of things', only by the corruption, by power of certain men, and we know there is a way out. Faith, because it is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen; and we have the hope and have studied the evidence; but faith without works is dead, and ours is very much alive. So that leads on to action, which involves finding or discovering means which are precisely directed by our faith towards its aims, starting always with the small and limited objective, in the hope of leading on to greater things. Although there are now sixty years of history and experience behind this, it is still, and always will be, pioneering work, for ever breaking new ground, judging by results, and adapting means to ends until they are successful. Every social crediter is a focus for such action among his fellow citizens, helping them and showing them how to defend or increase the social credit by obtaining particular objectives chosen by them rather than by us.
As I said earlier I have freely quoted largely from the words of Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs because his words so aptly fit "The Christian Basis of Social Credit". There is a place for all of us in this adventure!
Anthony Cooney's Social Credit series.