Questions of ihe week
by Michael de In nedoyere
" IT is not a third world war that will benefit us in our struggle in Malaya, but rather world peace." This sentence is an extract from Malayan Communist Party documents, intended for circulation within the party only, and seized by the police in Singapore.
The revelation is certainly not unexpected, nor it the Malayan Communist Party of quite the same standing as the Moscow ; hut, given the Communist international solidarity, it is instructive to have this frank Communist admission that the pursuit of the Communist international victory through the methods of cold war will benefit from world peace, as the Communists conceive the latter.
The exploitation of such peace is probably the most successful and ingenious, as it is also the most cruel, of the Communist "double-think " tactics. Not many are really likely to be deceived by this " double-think " when it is applied to democracy. Even there one can work up a certain plausibility about the people speaking together with one voice as opposed to the democratic ineffectiveness of the party-divided West, but the trick in this case is scarcely more than a camouflage for dictatorship, and has been equally used, though not so intelligently, by the tyrannies of the Right, Peace. however, now that modern weapons threaten the end of civilisation, goes much deeper than democracy, and the temptation to do anything to obtain any kind of peace is almost universal.
For very many of the sincerest and most anti-Communist people it requires a very real effort of mind and will to resist any campaign to assure peace, especially when the latter comes in response to open and admitted preparations for effective self-defence in war, and possibly atom war.
Moscow, of course, which behind the scenes is arming as hard as it can, counts very heavily on this universal desire for peace in order to weaken the popular support for the establishment of that degree of strength in the West which can force Communism to stop its aggressive permeation all over the world. In fact, as the sentence in the Malayan Communist documents indicates, its aim is to prevent the possibility of a real Western challenge which it could not safely defy, lest the dreaded " third world war " upset all its plans. Like Hitler before him. only far more subtly. Stalin uses the fear of war as the best weapon for victory without war.
Whereas a few years ago a headline " Moscow Wants Peace " would have seemed magnificent news, the Moscow tactics have now reached that stage of success which means that the same headline is very bad news, since Moscow's peace simply means Moscow's simplest road to victory over civilisation.
'Against Airist inns
THIS particular tactic is especially
effective when it is directed against Christian bodies, since the latter are par excellence the defenders of " peace on earth."
At best, war, preparations for war, and most of all the idea of war with the hideous weapons which modern science has made possible, give Christians an uneasy conscience.
War for the Christian has to be justified with considerable difficulty; peace seems to he its own justification.
Hence Moscow is at present engaged in " declaring peace " with all its might on the Catholics and other Christians behind the Iron Curtain. and one is thankful to note that the leaders at any rate have the great courage not to fall for the clever trick. But probably the Communists'did not expect an easy victory with the leaders. They look rather to the less instructed faithful generally, and they are confident that many of the latter who would resist any open attack on their faith will be deceived by this basic pseudoChristianity. In view of the fact that many in Western Europe are far from happy about the present position, Moscow's hope cannot he ill-founded.
THE plain answer is enshrined in the very text which constitutes the basic Christian call to peace. " Glory to God in high heaven, and peace on earth to men that are God's friends."
In other words. God's law is prior even to peace. Indeed peace. for the Christian. only means the situation consequent on human obedience to God's law and response to God's love, in other words. justice and charity.
Whatever the difficulties of war and preparations for war for the moralist, whatever the plausibility of this ingenious Communist trick, the Christian need go no further than the second chapter of St. Luke.
And if verse 14 is a double-edged weapon, since justice and charity are far from triumphant on the antiCommunist side also. all the better. The Christian thus learns his positive as well as his negative duty.
In any case. there is no call to heed the Communist campaign whose purpose is the establishment with the least trouble and risk of the reign of Godless tyranny and injus tice in the world. Whatever that may be, it is certainly the real opposite of the Christian conception of peace.
Wages will rise
IT is becoming evident that the
present wages stabilisation policy of the Government and T.U.C. cannot stand up against the longer term effects of devaluation.
In these circumstances it will
prove to be necessary to substitute for it some new formula which will give justice and encouragement to the wage and salary earners, while holding in check the vicious spiral of mounting wages and mounting prices with its consequent disastrous results not only for social order within the country, but the maintenance of our vitally necessary exports.
The trouble is the difficulty of finding a formula which flies in the face of economic laws.
An enormous amount has been done by the modern State to cushion the harsh effects of economic laws, and the method used is fundamentally simple.
It is artificially to distribute those natural effects in such a way that they fall more severely on those capable of standing them and much less severely. if at all, on those who are weakest. To speak more accurately, one should say : those who, while individually the weakest, have become corporately the strongest. The undefended weak still get a pretty raw deal. Even so. the actual effects of the laws remain with us. and the process of equitably distributing the burden has practically reached its limit. Hence the present puzzle. There is only really one answer, and it now looks as though the Government and the T.U.C. realise the truth.
By and large wage increases must move in step with increases in production. This in most cases means increases in quantity, as well as quality, of work done.
The view is not a popular one. since our generation has been so universally taught that high wages are a natural right and has so rarely been reminded of the corollary that hard work which can earn wages is a natural duty.
Moreover it is extremely difficult to work this idea of more wages for more work, i.e. the incentives system, into our whole labour system which has grown up in order to defend the worker from the capitalist exploitation of the duty to earn wages or be sacked.
But between now and the autumn the solving of this problem is the
most urgent consideration before the country.
THE condemnation by the Archbishop of Canterbury of his Communist Dean will pro
bably raise a smile in the case of most people. Of course, it is not news in this country that the
Archbishop is powerless in the face of the situation, seeing that the Dean's tenure of office is dependent not on the Church of England but the State, and that he cannot be removed save for crime or the violation of ecclesiastical law.
But the situation is probably quite incomprehensible to people abroad who nowadays can hardly conceive of a religious Communion which is not mistress in her own house even to the extent of being able to prevent such a manifest abuse of a high ecclesiastical function.
We say this without wishing to judge Dr. Hewlett Johnson's personal motives which may well be sincere. But neither States nor Churches which have grave public responsibilities and exist for the good of the people can possibly afford to take sincerity of personal motive as a sufficient excuse for the committing of great public harm.
Though this situation, unlike the recently publicised views of another Anglican Dean on Euthanasia, does not directly affect the dogmatic and moral authority of the Established Church — though one could argue that it came very near it and indirectly might be even more harmful—it must cause the Catholic once again to wonder how it remains possible for the very many traditional Christian believers within Anglicanism to remain where they are.
It may he possible for them to argue that the centralised authority of the Holy See in the Catholic Church leads to counter difficulties, though in fact ecclesiastical status within the Church is well protected, but no one has pretended that the Church of God on its human side is perfect. How could it be? In these matters, a man has to look to the essence of the matter and not allow himself to be distracted by accidents.
If dogma and moral teaching are no longer safe in a religious Communion's keeping and if the elements of basic discipline cannot be maintained. it is impossible to set against such vital defects any accidental advantages of one Communion or the accidental disadvantages of another. 'I here lies truth: there lies the Church of God, where the treasure of Revelation and Tradition is fully safeguarded.