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

Part I: Philosophy



IN dealing with the subject of Values in its human aspect, many points of practical importance arise. One of these can probably best be seen in correct perspective, by an examination of common human motives. It is involved in the complaint against the modern cooperative industrial system, that its routine operations are soul killing, monotonous, and without interest, and that a remedy can be found, and can only be found in a return to handicraft.

A good deal of the criticism which has proceeded from "Intellectuals," concerned, and rightly concerned, with the desperate defects of contemporary society, has been directed to stress this point. It is an aspect of modern industrialism which lends itself to picturesque treatment and sentimentalism, and probably the exploitation of it offers more emotional reward to the would-be reformer, and obtains wider acquiescence from his public, than is the case with the more mechanical aspects of the same problem.

While it may be necessary, for these and other reasons, to suspect over-emphasis, there are solid grounds for the complaint, and it is well worth examination.

In so doing, we may employ a conception which will be familiar to students of Eastern Philosophy, which regards the world, or society, as a macrocosm or "Great Man," reflecting on a gigantic scale the microcosm or individual man. In this conception every attribute of the human individual is repeated on a mighty scale in the "World Man," and, to this World Man, the "Prince of this World," the human individual bears very much the same relation that the blood corpuscle of the individual does to the human body. It is no part of the purpose of this book to offer any opinion as to the extent to which this conception has any basis in absolute truth, but it is undeniable that it does form a convenient basis in estimating the probable success of any suggested set of human relationships.

Now the interest of the blood corpuscle, if it can be imagined to have an interest, is only concerned with the body of which it is a constituent in so far as the continued existence of that body tends towards its own progressive evolution, and the interest of the human individual in society is similar. Any other conception, besides being pharisaical and sentimental, is an invitation to all those influences which stand ready to exploit the individual under cover of such phrases as Public Interest and National Duty. But it is equally true, so far as we can see, that the expansion of the human unit is dependent upon the progress of society. That is to say, upon environment. Virtue may flourish in the gutter, but if Virtue can only flourish in the gutter, as some people would have us believe, then it is time that the nature of Virtue received severe scrutiny. If these relationships be admitted, at any rate for the purpose of a working hypothesis, it seems to follow that the human individual has two aspects, one of which is functional, and specialised, and is only concerned with the health and well-being of the "Great Man," i.e. Society, of which he forms a part. Out of this aspect, he benefits indirectly, not directly. This is exactly the position of the individual in regard to the division of labour which forms the basis of co-operative industrialism. To proceed with our chosen analogy, the individual can, in the nature of things, only form a constituent of one function of the Great Man, at any one instant of time. There is nothing to prevent his forming a constituent of another function at a subsequent period of time. There seems to be nothing inherently absurd in a man being a brick-layer in the morning, and a Company Director in the afternoon, and, in fact, there are good grounds for imagining that something of this sort may come to pass. But the point it is desired to stress at the present moment, is that, in this aspect, the individual is not serving his individuality, but ought to be serving his environment in the best way possible, and direct artistic gratification from work performed in this way is neither specifically to be looked for, nor is it the immediate object of the work. It may even be the cause of a narrow outlook.

Whether society as a whole can be imagined to have an individuality of its own or not, it may be repeated that Society's individuality is not a prime interest of the human individual. It is an auxiliary interest, and may even be a perversive interest. It is most probably true that there can be no divergence between true Public Interest and any true private interest; if it were so, words would have lost their meaning; but it is certain that no crushing of individuality by Society can ever conduce to the well-being of other individuals. The human individual, under the same conception, contains either in a latent or active form, every function and attribute, although on a minute scale, which can be imagined to reside in a world society. Consequently, although work for its own sake, or employment as an end and not a means, is objectionable when it is purely functional, or to put the matter in everyday terms, since it is plainly desirable to cut down the amount of time necessary to improve the general environment at whatever rate is deemed desirable, work for its own sake may quite easily be essential to the well-being of the individual. The difference is subtle, but it is vital. To knit a jumper or to dig and plough because of the satisfaction of knitting a jumper or of creating a garden or a wheatfield, or even because it is healthy, is one thing, and it may happen as a by-product that the jumper or the wheatfield will be superlatively well done; to knit jumpers, or to dig and plough ten hours a day, six days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, because unless this is done the mere necessities of existence cannot be obtained, is quite another. To dress neatly, comfortably, and suitably, taking half an hour over the process, seems reasonable; to spend the day in dressing is monomania - our forbears called it "possession." When we do things under the compulsion of Society, we are blood-corpuscles, not individuals; we are doing them in the interests of Society primarily, and only secondarily, if at all, in the interests of our own individuality. As society is at present constituted, it is quite definitely to its advantage, and tends to the perpetuation of the present form of Society, that Lancashire mill operatives should work the maximum number of hours at a very dull occupation, with the minimum of change of work, and if individuals had no interests as such, that is to say, if they were Robots, contemporary society would probably work very well, and no difficulties would arise. But Lancashire mill operatives are developing individualities, and their interests are clearly not the same as those of Society as at present constructed. In one way or another the various units which compose the Society are proclaiming unmistakably their objection to a purely passive role, and the conflict which we see proceeding all over the world at the present time will clearly determine whether Society has power to remould the individual so that he becomes purely a passive agent in respect of purposes which he cannot understand, and has no means of estimating, or, on the other hand, whether the individual by non-co-operation or otherwise, can break up or remould Society. For my own part I have small doubt as to the outcome.