C.H. Douglas Out of Print ...... Mondo Politico
Social Credit, by
Major Clifford Hugh Douglas

Part I: Philosophy



WE live so close to a world shot through with the theory of rewards and punishments that the relation between the system and its results is apt to escape us. We are told for instance, with all the emphasis which can be given to the assertion by the prestige of names much in the public eye, that our present distress arises because we are a poor nation as the result of a great war. The idea inherent in this is that war is wicked, poverty is painful, and wicked people who went to war ought to endure pain, and, therefore, we ought to be poor. And because of this logical morality the idea is accepted almost unquestioningly by millions of people who only have to use their eyes to see the patent absurdity of it. Is there a manufacturer in this country, or for that matter in any other, who is not clamouring to turn out more goods if someone will give him orders for them? Is there a farmer who is complaining that his land and his stock are unable to cope with the demands for agricultural produce which pour in upon him? If so, an explanation as to why nearly three million acres of arable land have gone back to pasture in the last twelve years, would be interesting.

On the other hand, it is patent that, in spite of this enormous actual and potential reservoir of the goods for which mankind has a use, a large proportion of the population is unable to get at them. What is it, then, which stands in between this enormous reservoir of supply and the increasing clamour of the multitudes, able to voice, but unable to satisfy their demand? The answer is so short as to be almost banal. It is Money. And as we shall see, the position into which money and the methods by which it is controlled and manipulated have brought the world, arises, not from any defect or vice inseparable from money (which is probably one of the most marvellous and perfect agencies for enabling co-operation, that the world has ever conceived), but because of the subordination of this powerful tool to the objective of what it is not unfair to call a hidden government.

Now it is impossible to conceive (in spite of a good deal of cynicism to the contrary) of a government which has not a policy, although that policy may be far from apparent. The conception of government postulates that certain lines of action and conduct shall be inhibited, and that the persons governed shall be allowed to proceed only in some predetermined direction. In other words, government is limitation, and from the nature of the limitations it is possible to determine the policy of the organisation imposing the limitations. For instance, while it is true enough to say that extensive military preparations do not necessarily mean war, the qualification implied in this statement is that the main threat which such preparations constitute will be sufficient to achieve the desired result without the actual use of military force. The military preparations impose a limit on action in certain directions, and then become indications, and often valuable indications, of the policy of nations.

Similarly, if we consider dispassionately the situation to which reference has just been made (a world which is either actually or potentially overflowing with material riches, and, at the same time, a population which is prevented from obtaining them by a set of rules supported by every possible device that legal organisation can devise), we can say that we are in the presence of an effective and active government, irrespective of the source of that government; and that government must have a policy. For our immediate purpose, it is nearly irrelevant whether that policy is a conscious policy, in the sense of having been put into a clear and logical form by some body of men, however small, or whether it is unconscious in the sense that it is the outcome of something we call human nature. The important matter is to get a clear conception of what the policy is as a first step to supporting or opposing it, if it is agreed that we have any measure of self-government, or ought to have any.

One of the first facts to be observed as part of the social ideal which leans for its sanctions on rewards and punishments, is the elevation of the group ideal and the minimising of individuality, i.e. the treatment of individuality as subordinate to, e.g. nationality. The manifestations of this idea are almost endless. We have the national idea, the class or international idea, the identification of the individual with the race, the school, the regiment, the profession, and so forth. There is probably no more subtle and elusive subject than the consideration of the exact relation of the group in all these and countless other forms, to the individuals who compose the groups. But as far as it is possible to sum the matter up, the general problem seems to be involved in a decision as to whether the individual should be sacrificed to the group or whether the fruits of group activity should be always at the disposal of the individual. If we consider this problem in connection with the industrial and economic situation, it is quite incontestable that every condition tending to subordinate the individual to the group is, at the moment, fostered. Institutions which would appear to have nothing in common and to be, in fact, violently opposed, can be seen on closer investigation to have this idea in common, and to that extent to have no fundamental antagonism. Pre-war Germany was always exhibited as being reactionary, feudal, and militaristic to an extent unequalled by any other great power. Post-war Russia is supposed by large masses of discontented workers, to be the antithesis of all this. But the similarity of the two is daily becoming more apparent and it is notorious that the leaders of pre-war Germany are flocking to post-war Russia in increasing numbers, in the lively hope of the fulfilment of the ideals which were frustrated by the Great War. The latest pronouncements on industrial affairs by Russian statesmen are indistinguishable from those of American, German, or British bankers (which statement is not intended as undiluted praise). It is significant that the arguments voiced from all of these quarters are invariably appeals to mob psychology - "Europe must be saved "Workers of the World unite, etc. The appeal is away from the conscious-reasoning individual, to the unconscious herd instinct. And the "interests" to be saved, require mobs, not individuals.

No consideration of this subject would be complete without recognising the bearing upon it of what is known as the Jewish Question; a question rendered doubly difficult by the conspiracy of silence which surrounds it. At the moment it can only be pointed out that the theory of rewards and punishments is Mosaic in origin; that finance and law derive their main inspiration from the same source, and that countries such as prewar Germany and postwar Russia, which exhibit the logical consequences of unchecked collectivism, have done so under the direct influence of Jewish leaders. Of the Jews themselves, it may be said that they exhibit the race-consciousness idea to an extent unapproached elsewhere, and it is fair to say that their success in many walks of life is primarily due to their adaptation to an environment which has been moulded in conformity with their own ideal. That is as far as it seems useful to go, and there may be a great deal to be said on the other side. It has not yet, I think, been said in such a way as to dispose of the suggestion, which need not necessarily be an offensive suggestion, that the Jews are the protagonists of collectivism in all its forms, whether it is camouflaged under the name of Socialism, Fabianism, or "big business," and that the opponents of collectivism must look to the Jews for an answer to the indictment of the theory itself. It should in any case be emphasised that it is the Jews as a group, and not as individuals, who are on trial, and that the remedy, if one is required, is to break up the group activity.

The shifting of emphasis from the individual to the group, which is involved in collectivism, logically involves a shifting of responsibility for action. This can be made, it would appear, an interesting test of the validity of the theory. For instance, the individual killing of one man by another we term murder. But collective and wholesale killing, we dignify by the name of war, and we specifically absolve the individual from the consequences of any acts which are committed under the orders of a superior officer. This appears to work admirably so long as the results of the action do not take place on a plane on which they can be observed; but immediately they do, the theory obviously breaks down. There may be, ex-hypothesi, no moral guilt attributable to the individual who goes to war; but the effect of intercepting the line of flight of a high-speed bullet will be found to be exactly the same whether it is fired by a national or a private opponent. Nations are alleged to have waged the first world war, but the casualties both of life and property fell upon individuals. There is no such thing as an effective national responsibility - it is a pure abstraction, under cover of which, oppression and tyranny to individuals, which would not be tolerated if inflicted by a personal ruler, escape effective criticism.

We do not know what is the automatic reaction consequent on the killing of one individual by another, as distinct from the non-automatic and artificial reaction involved in the trial and punishment of a murderer in a court of law. But we do know that over every plane of action with which we are acquainted, action and reaction are equal, opposite, and wholly automatic. Consequently, there is nothing to indicate that the automatic consequences of a given action will exhibit any difference if committed under the orders of a superior officer, or not. Further, it may be observed that non-automatic "punishment" really constitutes a separate group of actions and reactions.

If we throw a stone into a still pool of water, the ripples which result are not eliminated by throwing in a second stone, although they may be masked, and to the extent that legal punishments represent, not the ripples from the first stone, but the casting of the second, it will be seen that a complicated situation is inevitable.