Our correspondents are urged to Unlit their letters to 300 words; otherwise they are liable to be shortened or omitted altogether. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be ignered.—Editor.
DOUG LAS FAL LAO ES
SIR,—Your correspondent Torben Laub goes very far when he states there are no fallacies in Major Douglas's theories. One can be briefly stated: that is, that we cannot increase consumption without touching profits. impossible? Why: because capitalist accumulation leads to over-capitalisation and so to ovsrproduction relative to distribution of purchasing power.
It is not of any avail to increase purchasing power sufficiently to absorb production without curtailing accumulations.
Capitalists obviously cannot make a profit by increasing their sales to their work-people; since they cart only do so by allocating claims to a larger share of the annual product than before, i.e., by taking smaller profits. What Douglas does Is, that he attempts to create purchasing power without diininishing the annual share of capitalists in the national product. " Something out of Nothing."
As for the question of " inflation," if a province run on the Douglas socialcredit scheme avoids it, it will only be by such a State control of, or interference in, the management of industry as will necessitate an actual control of retail prices which must eventually lead to a communistic state.
I do not wish to deal with the ethics of the Elouglus social-credit scheme or whether a form of Christian and Catholic communism would be possible, but simply to point out that the Douglas scheme may lead us blindfold into Communism, and I think most of us would desire a very critical examination of the scheme before committing ourselves to it.
C. E. SETON.
Beacon Hill, Hindhead. November 16.
SIR,-1 am glad to sec in your leading article (November 15) that you are prepared to provide a refutation of the technical errors in Major Douglas's socialcredit theories. It is all very well to sty that these errors have often been demonstrated, but it is by no means easy to come across the demonstrations.
Being interested in the matter, and having occasion to visit a bank manager friend, I asked him straight out like: " What is the answer to Major Douglas?" He said: " Do you really want to know?" And I said: " I certainly do." So then he handed me a copy of the Journal of the Institute of Bankers for January, 1935, in which Professor T. E. Gregory's lecture on the subject was printed.
I read this with great interest and much enlightenment on various matters, but when it came to Major Douglas it was very unsatisfactory. The lecturer misquoted Douglas's own words and produced us an example of a commercial undertaking a totally different kind from that uponiebich Douglas was arguing.
Major Douglas in his A plus B theorem refers to " a factory or other production organisation," and argues therefrom. Professor Gregory, without any apology, bases his refutation on a description of how a shopkeeper's business works. I am not saying Professor Gregory is wrong in his conclusions; I am only saying that he misleads the reader by misquotation and confuses him by choosing a totally different kind of example.
You cannot say I have not tried to get to the truth of the matter, and if the Journal of the Institute of Bankers cannot do better we are justified in asking you
to help us.
SIR,—Your disclaimer of hostility is most welcome. May I point to one or two things which gave the impression of such hostility.
In the first place, until about three years ago Douglas's social-credit proposals were practically unheard of by any but his own followers. Secondly, to extend the term " social credit " to cover all manner of criticism of the present financial system and thereby saddle Douglas with all the errors of the many schemes for credit reform, is such an easy way of discrediting him by indirect means that the extended use of the term seerps to indicate either ignorance of the subject or else an unfair method of damaging one who cannot be proved wrong by the reason. . . .
Those of us who were social-crediters when the press (7 by accident or design) totally ignored Douglas have long foreseen that this silence would give way to an insidious attack by means such as those referred to above. It is not surprising therefore that when we saw our prophecies fulfilled in the Catholic Herald, we smelt hostility. I am glad to have your assurance that we are mistaken. Perhaps you will respect our views and not (a) misuse the name " Social Credit " which belongs to Douglas, and lb) suggest that everybody knows that Douglas is a fool, when the truth is that very few know anything about him at all.
I think you are wise not to give space to a refutation of the technical errors (so-called). It would be far better for a Catholic paper to expose, if possible, the moral fallacies.
P. E. HOLWELL.
Montserrat, Bridgefield, ITALY AND PEACE
SIR,—One trusts that Fr. Akel and also Mr. Richards have noted the letter of Mr. Willoughby-Meade, in yours of the 15th inst. Also to remember that the peace of 1919 was hardly signed before a party of Italians seized some ports in the Adriatic, on a paltry pretext, and caused much trouble to the League.
Fr. Akel takes Mussolini too seriously. Does he not remember that the former Emperor William also uttered many childish threats, warning us of the vengeance of Germany? But, to-day the German nation are just the reverse to what he promised that they would be. I venture to suggest that Englishmen can ignore this threat that Fr. Akcl puts forward. Sanctions are merely the penance imposed, and rightly by the League on Italy for her breaking her bond. in the face of the unanimous vote of the League, can Italy justly complain because she is condemned for her breach of trust?
I agree with Fr. Akel, the trouble will be after the war that all nations with territory occupied by black populations will be in great danger; the mentality of the black and the unrest caused is bound, as we have seen in past years, to end in rebellions and minor wars, and this was no doubt what the League had in view, and tried to avoid, in her patient pleading with Mussolini to be reasonable.
Mr. Richards argues that Italy wants "political sovereignty." Agreed; but at whose expense? Once the League admits this right to Italy where will it stop? Japan has an eye on Borneo, and also Australia.
Mr. Richards's last paragraph does him no credit. The League tried, as in cases in years gone by, to get what used to be called a "mixed court" in existence, to teach the Ethiopians to manage their own affairs; this would be a good thing for them and also the rest of the world, and would perhaps have given them more satisfaction than Italian rule. liad Italy been reasonable it would have saved much unrest. It would have been better for Italy, and saved her the cost of a war that her financial position cannot stand. Where then is there reason for the offensive statement "honour amongst thieves," a most uncalled-fur and not honourable remark? One would do better to support the League of Nations in her honest endeavour to preserve peace and to reduce Italy to a reasonable state of mind, than to make offensive remarks and start mudslinging at those who have done their best in a good cause.
E. BOHLTON. Sheffield,
SIR,—We have had two admirable letters from Father Akel under the above heading to which all right-thinking men will, I feel sure, readily acquiesce; but granting Father Akel's point, Italy's pacific intentions, the corollary would seem to imply a warlike attitude on Britain's part. Is Britain looking for war? And by Britain I don't just mean the dumb masses of the British people, who had little, if any, voice in the last parliament and will have none at all (if we are to judge by events) in the coming one; I mean the capitalist puppets who control the government exploiting the country for their own private gains to the detriment of the people; arc they looking for war?
It is a pity the Catholic Church has apparently become, to no small extent, identified in the public mind with upholding the domination of this oligarchy.
• • • •
B. F. MORGAN.
7, Belgrave Road, S.W.I.
SIR,—While thanking you for your appreciative remarks about an article of mine in the current number of The Month, entitled " What is a Catholic Press?", may
I state that nothing is further from my thoughts than to deny the capacity for religious acts to all but those who accept the Church's authority. You state that I "come perilously near " doing so, but give no reference.
In my article I make two separate dis
tinctions: (1) between Catholics and nonCatholics, and (2) between the " religious" and " secular " life of Catholics. In fact
I explain at some length that non-Catholics "may, through living up to their consciences, be in the way of salvation owing to the supernatural grace mediatsd to their souls through the interior action of the Word which enlightens them."
Furthermore, your statement that "every human act . . . may and should be also
a religious act " is not. I think, denied in its substance in my article. On the contrary I state that " all the good acts ... of a Catholic ... may have a supernatural value." My sole point is that the word " religious " is properly applicable only to acts that are specifically connected with the worship of God. In other words, for the sake of clear thinking it seems to me that the word " secular " should be more spiritualised and the word " religious" more narrowed in scope than is often the case. This seems to me to follow from reflection on our Lord's words: " Render to Cesar, etc."
Miff-1,1EL DE LA BEDOYLRE. November 15.
iwe thank Count de la Bcdoyere for this clarification of his article. Respecting the end of hiti first paragraph above, we had in mind p. 401, lines 18-23 of The Mona:. But his letter clears up the doubt.—Eorrog.] SIR,—A footnote to your last week's leader on " What Is a Catholic Press?"
THE PEACE PROBLEM Sie,--The condemnation of nationalism is 'a welcome sign of resistance to war, provided such condemnation is followed to its logical conclusion; but it seems that many who theoretically repudiate nationalism assume that it is very different from patriotism, although the distinction is by no means clear. Here are two points for examination:— 1. What precisely constitutes a
" country "? Hills, rivers, fields, and factories? Government or state or people? Is the ',atria an eternal unchanging element, or is it an unstable abstraction so that, for example, a Neapolitan soldier could patriotically endeavour to slaughter in 1859 individuals whom a few years later he would patriotically endeavour to protect?
2. Consider the case of a present-day Italian, physically fit but a trifle over military age; he has doubts of the justice of the Ethiopian war. Is it reasonable that he should turn to his government for moral advice?
Anyone who resolves for himself these points will, I believe, be led to one of two conclusions, namely :— (a) That the established system of international war must be supported or at any rate tolerated. because it is inexpedient to seek reform in the delicate politicoreligious sphere. Or
(b) That re-examination is essential of the facts or suppositions upon which rest the scholastic's conception of the State and its alum: dominium.
SIR,—in the article written by a resident in Rowton House which appears in this week's number of the Catholic Herald the suggestion is made that there is need for a spiritual influence in these hostels.
This may be true. The question is, how cart the matter best be tackled?
To my mind, there is something wrong when a person in comfortable circumstances lets his mind become too much absorbed in the thought of the spiritual state of a person in very uncomfortable circumstances. In the story of the Good Samaritan, the rescuer proved the living Christianity of his own soul by giving relief in the pressing physical needs of the man he rescued.
Rowton Houses are, as I know, excellent hostels. For the money paid for a night's lodging one could not expect to Obtain more than they provide. Yet it is a fact that most of the men living in such places are in a constant state of great wretchedness. It is with difficulty that the majority can scrape enough together to pay for lodging and the minimum of food. Cleanliness, the wearing out of boots and clothes, bad teeth, illness which is not quite bad enough to get them into hospital, are matters causing almost continuous worry, and worse than worry. Most of them long for work, yet are hampered in their endeavours to find it by the inability to pay for stamps or fares; for under-nourished men cannot walk everywhere.
Probably the most spiritualising influence that could be brought into a .Rowton House would be the chance of regular work. Work was the first medicine of the soul offered to Adam. Once the mind and body arc harnessed for so many hours a day in any definite activity the chances are that had habits will drop away. Though no word of religion may have been uttered, yet healthful activity will be restored in the soul.
lf the country as a whole felt the tragedy of unemployment in the same way as it felt the menace of war, and was moved to bestir itself with the same energy, the trouble might be conquered in a very short time. No government can be expected to accomplish miracles unless the full weight of the country is behind it. In the war every man did his bit. The same attitude is necessary now.
The first step is to arouse more fully the imagination of those who live in security. to make the lives of poor people real to those who have never been in want.
Si,--The Catholic Church teaches that human beings are not mere numbers. Rowton House treat us as mere numbers. -Human beings require a certain amount of time and space and quietness. In Rowton House we have none of these things. The population can only stand the noise and crowds of the streets because they have a home to relax in each day. Come to Royston House and get nervous dyspepsia.
M. P. B.
THE ARCI !BISHOP'S EXAMPLE
SIR,—I have been for some years interested in Labour policy for the advancement of the working-classes. It seems to me that we always have to wait for reforms to be agitated for by the extremists.
Slum clearance, wages, and sweated conditions of labour, all seem to be drawn attention to when the sufferers cannot tolerate them any longer.
Now that the Archbishop of West
ABYSSINIA THE AGGRESSOR
SIR,—The first issue of your paper for which I have taken out a subscription confirms the painful impression I have long had that many English Catholics have fallen into the error of calling Italy the aggressor in her present conflict with Abyssinia, just because the League of Nations—prejudiced by pedantry and anti-fascist intrigue—has dubbed her so. Be it noted that the Pope has not, and if English Catholics try to be more papal than the Pope it is. because we are always prone to that form of nationalistic snobbery and timidity which dreads above all things the worn-but taunts which accuse us of being "foreign," " Irish," or " the Italian mission."
Let the truth prevail, and let English Catholics realise that the Amharic ruling race has at last drawn down on itself (and not on the divergent, victimised Abyssinian races, whom they have too long so cruelly oppressed) the just retribution of Italian invasion, to put an end to a long series of aggressions against Italian-protected territories. The full horror of these slave-raids can only be realised by one who has witnessed their results. . . .
For your correspondent Mr. WilloughbyMeade to dub Sr. Mussolini a robber, and ignore the fact that the Amharas (to quote a letter of Mr. Amery to myself) " have conquered the whole of southern Abyssinia by raids " is to emphasise with a different interpretation to what Viscount Cecil intended his words which you published in your last issue, " World peace is above all a question of education." The League of Nations, in declining even to consider Italy's printed accusations, has not helped towards that education. It simply wants to perpetuate the status quo,
however iniquitous. The pity of it is that so many English Catholics should, in taking up the same obstinate attitude, be repaying with the grossest injustice and ingratitude the noble nation which has always been England's best friend, and whose government is, under God, the shield between the Church at its centre and Bolshevism.
IFaglish Catholics who regard Italy as an aggressor share that view with most of their fellow-countrymen. It would seem, then, on Mr. Johnston's showing, that Great Britain as a whole is being "more papal than the Pope"! We would point out to him that the majority of the people in this country condemned Italy before the League's decision on the point was
TREATY REVISION Sus,—Mr. Hollis's frank presentation of the American view of Great Britain's responsibility for the present crisis makes disquieting reading, yet most of us, I fancy, are coming to realise that the iniquitous Versailles Treaty is at the root of our present troubles. Had Germany been treated in 1919 as France was after the Napoleonic wars how different would have been the situation to-day! And can we deny that Italy, as well as Germany, has a grievance? The secret Treaty of London (1915) promised her " colonial compensation ": yet the whole German colonial empire was divided between France and ourselves!
Still, this is no time for vain regrets. If, by a miracle, the Italo-Abyssinian affair is satisfactorily settled, may we not press upon our statesmen the necessity of attempting, even at this late hour, to right the wrongs committed in 1919-20? I would suggest that a European (not a World) congress be summoned at the Hague (to get away from the contentious atmosphere of Geneva and also to ensure the presence of Germany), which should endeavour :— (1) To expunge the war-guilt clause from the Treaty of Versailles and so start afresh with a clean slate. (In any case, Germany was not solely responsible for the war.)
(2) To re-distribute some of the colonial mandates in favour of Germany and Italy. S.W. Africa and the Carnesoons might be transferred to Germany on condition that she return to the League and sign the Western air pact; part of Somaliland and the Sudan to Italy.
(3) To restore Memel to Germany. (It is a purely German city, founded over six centuries ago by the Teutonic Knights.) (4) To revise the Treaty of Trianon by restoring the Magyar-speaking " frontier-fringe" to Hungary. (I fear the Transylvanian enclave would have to be left under Rumanian rule.) (5) Subject to a popular plebiscite, to allow the Hapsburgs to return to Austria and Hungary, the powers to guarantee the independence and integrity of the Little Entente states, after making the adjustments in favour of Hungary.
It is easy to talk and plan and T do not underestimate the tremendous difficulties such proposals would encounter: the " diehard " outcry here at "giving away the Empire," the bitter opposition of the Little Entente, etc. But if we can make economic sacrifices in defence of the Covenant, why not political sacrifices to ensure a justcr settlement of Europe? To-day the Continent looks to us for leadership. Can we not use it to bridge the perilous gap between the Haves and the Have-Nots? An opportunity like the present will probably never occur again: if we fail to grasp it a new European war
S1R.—May I, as a schoolmaster, protest vigorously against the suggestion of Mr. Hugh Forbes, in his brilliant article on class war, that the reason so ninny of our Catholic young men imbibe the class war spirit is because of the lack of training at school.
The explanation is to be found in the profound ignorance of even so brilliant a writer. He assumes that youth first meets class war propaganda in the communist movement. Leo XIII told us clearly that the class war is the raison detre of the socialist movement. It is preached in the trade union lodges and, as everybody but your contributor knows, has been preached on the socialist Labour party platform for 40 years or more.
When Catholic youth have imbibed the class war spirit in these respectable circles it is not surprising if in disgust he leans more to the Left and joins the communists, for he sees the self-seeking socialist leaders, as Leo XIII pointed out would be the case, leading the lives of wealthy capitalists, putting up at swell hotels and leaving respectable fortunes.
Let us teach the whole of Leo XIII's Encyclicals and not the " jemmy " parts only. To teach the Chtirch's social principles to young men is difficult enough and as one who has tried both, I would suggest that only the simplest princisles can be taught in the day-schools. Wk ,,re far better employed in teaching chr,.ren to pray and hear Mass properly.
JOHN Ku Ross 44, The Crescent, Anson Estate, Longsight.
QUESTIONS FOR BLACKSH1RTS
SIR,—Your correspondent Mr. Forsyth concludes several very kind references to Sir Oswald Mosley with the request that I should issue a statement on the Mosley saautiitound.e towards birth-control and sterili
These are not matters on which the Fascist movement is prepared to be dogmatic; but they will be submitted after We come to power to the full consideration of medical and moral authorities. Mr. Forsyth may, however. be quite certain that one of the most important principles which we intend to maintain is the granting of a larger measure of private liberty to the individual citizen in return for the very necessary control of his public activity in the common interest. From this principle it follows that we can neither withhold knowledge of birth-control methods from the people, nor enforce sterilisation upon any individual. Knowledge of birth-control methods will be available to the community under Fascism, but at the same time the Catholic Church will be absolutely free to use such measures as it thinks appropriate to dissuade
In members of its communion from such
In the matter of sterilisation, this will be submitted, as I have said, to medical and moral authorities; but whatever decision is reached, no compulsion will be put upon the individual to submit to sterilisation. Any tendency to undue restriction of births would be counteracted by State propaganda, and taxation benefits in favour of parents, especially those with large families (as in both Italy and Germany to-day).
In conclusion, I would state that our objective is one of racial hygiene, and we are in no case in favour of restriction of population, when it is obvious that in an age of over-production we require more mouths to feed, and are fortunate enough as a nation to possess an empty and undeveloped empire to people with British stock.
A. RAVEN THOMSON. (Director theotif.uPoilic)y for
Fascist Headquarters, November 15.
THE CONTEMPORARY PLAY
SIR,—The notice of my meeting with the Catholic Stage Society in Manchester may be a little misleading without amplification. I think the future of the theatre is in the hands of the poet and the mimes, that we shall delight in verse spoken perfectly (without action) while our eyes rejoice in rhythmical significant movement (without words).
GERMAN RESTRICTION OF EXPORTS TO ITALY
The ReasonE It would be a grave mistake to imagine that the German declaration on the restriction of " additional " exports to Italy was caused by d desire to co-operate with the League, says the Neue Zurcher Zeitung.
The truth is that in her present condition Germany herself is suffering from acute raw material starvation and is des sperately trying to obtain credits. As her possible exports from home sources are rather insignificant, Germany wishes to restrict them rather than to arouse the anger of London and Geneva.
Both places must remain symnalhptict practices.