Our correspondents are urged to limit their letters to 300 words; otherwise they are liable to he shortened or omitted altogether. Letters must bear a name and address (not necessarily for publication) or they will be ignored.—Editor.
DR. COULTON AND M. GILSON
, SIR,-1 have so much respect for M. Etienne Gilson's character and intellect, and such natural concern for the good name of my own country, that I venture to ask him to withdraw (in default of precise evidence) his accusation that Gt. Britati has been actuated mainly, if not entifoy, by hypocritical self-interest in this Abyssinian dispute. I feel quite certain that informants who have really talked this over with many others in different classes of society—I should name Mr. Eric Gill, your frequent contributor, among such well-informed persons—would assure M. Gilson that the last 15 years have seen a remarkable and sincere wave of international idealism in this country. Nobody would deny that behind this, as in all countries and all ages, there is a very great deal of materialism; but I, for one, am convinced that there is no more in proportion than there was even in the brightest periods of Europe's past. After all, even medieval monasticism was not so ascetic but that it sometimes claimed to have prospered in wealth through its adherence to righteousness; and that would seem a retrograde ethical code which should deter men from doing the just thing wherever justice happened to coincide with self-interest.
When a cleric rises to a considerable income and the purple, or a statesman to £10,000 a year, or a philosopher or historian or literary critic to the eminence which earns him a pound a minute for his lectures, we do not jump to the conclusion that these men have sold themselves to Mammon. M. Gilson rightly warns us against building upon a foundation of lies; but there is no royal road to truth through accusing our brethren of falsehood. Indeed, it seems probable that what Christ spoke of as the one unforgivable sin was that of ascribing other men's good works to the inspiration of Beeleebub.
G. G. Com. oN
St. John's College, Cambridge.
THE CORPORATIVE ORDER
SIR, --The recent letter from Mr. Christopher Dawson in your columns, headed " Fascism and the Corporative Order," has interested me extremely, as in it Mr. Dawson gives such earnest support to what he describes as a " genuine corporative order which is the only way out of the false dilemma created by the existing conflict between capitalism and socialism." Such a corporative order is, of course, the essence of British fascist policy, but Mr. Dawson implies some doubt as to the fascist method of attaining this desirable end.
Will Mr. Dawson be good enough to explain to us how it can be possible to establish the corporative order without recourse to some form of extreme authoritarianism, involving the suppression of those powerful elements in present society who would be bound to resist the institution of a just system in which they could no longer thrive? Mr. Dawson must be very well aware of the immense power exercised in a capitalist-democracy by individual plutocrats, and the huge trusts and combines which arc an increasingly pernicious factor in the administration of the present State.
Does he expect these great capitalist interests to be suddenly actuated by a pure ethical passion for the triumph ol
justice and morality? Does he await a " change of heart " in the plutocrats and the high linanciers who are the lords of the present system, or does he think they will abdicate their supremacy without a struggle? When one remembers that the national press and almost every other instrument for fashioning public opinion is helplessly in the hands and in the pockets ot the great anonymous moneypower which is the tyranny of democracy. how is that tyranny ever to be overthrown except by vesting the people's government wilfi dictatorial authotii to carry out the people's will?
Moreover, that corporative order which Mr, Dawson rightly believes to be most nearly in accord with Christian social principles has oilier and hardly less formidable enemies to overcome. It must contend also with the jealous hatred of socialists and communists. who entertain quite contrary opinions as to the proper organisation of society. They. too, are anxious to influence the struggle which shall decide the future of this nation. Already. their lawless bands of hooligans threaten the right of the fascist to put his case to the public. and attempt to terrorise the streets of our cities. So that no one who is not a socialist agitator or an internationalist dare raise his voice at the street corner.
If, like Mr. Christopher Dawson, we are honestly convinced that it is only through the Christian col porative order that society may be justly ruled in conformity witla moral principles, then surely we ought not w shrink from the application of methods of authority, even though they be somewhat unfashionable BRITISH FASCISM
SIR,—We have read with interest several letters in your paper from members of the British Union of Fascists.
We should like to correct some inaccuracies made therein regarding the British Fascists, until lately a limited liability company.
This organisation, which was only forced into liquidation within the last few months, was founded in 1923, hence it has more than " several years " service to its credit. Twelve years ago it was purely anti-communist but subsequent events made it necessary to form a definite political policy, one of our members having contested a seat in the L.C.C. elections in 1933 and again in 1934.
The three members of our executive committee to whom no doubt one of your correspondents refer as " practically all responsible leaders " left our organisation to join Sir Oswald Mosley when he was the leader of his new party early in 1932. He did not start the British Union of Fascists until late in 1932.
It may interest the readers of your paper to know that the British Fascists, Ltd., was founded by the late Miss Rotha LintornOrman, daughter of the late Major Charles Orman and grand-daughter of the late Field-Marshal Sir Lintorn Simmons (onetime minister plenipotentiary to Pope Leo XIII).
At the age of twenty-eight she realised the need for a counter-revolutionaryfascist—movement in the Empire. Without hesitation or personal consideration and with complete self-effacement she formed this organisation and for twelve long years gave everything to bring her great ideal into being. Her watchword and the watchword of her organisation was "For God, King and Country," and she lived up to it in every way. It may be truly said that never once in those twelve years did she fail to carry out the oath that both she and the members took "Service, without personal consideration."
The members of the British Fascists who remained faithful to their oath, are proud to think that they worked and may have been of a little help to their country and an utterly selfless founder and leader, who sacrificed her health and fortune in the service of England.
It is the name of Rotha Lintorn-Orman that will go down in history as the very gallant woman who first brought Fascism to England.
W. J. WEBSTER H. M. DOUGLAS M. E. M. DE BERTODANO
London. British Fascists.
ABOUT A BOOK SIR,—You correspondent, E. I. Watkin, has raised some extremely interesting issues in your columns. It is true that I am the author of a book entitled Civilisation as Divine Superman, published in 1932, some time before I became a member of the British Union of Fascists. The fascist movement cannot therefore be held responsible for any of the views which I express in this book.
Mr. Watkin's quotation from my book, which he assumes to be illustrative of the essential nature of the work, is particularly unfortunate, as it conveys an impression of gross materialism which is unjust. I would myself rather choose the following extract:
" It is not only suggested that civilization may be compared by analogy with a natural organism; it is asserted that civilization is a natural, if super, organism. Civilization is the true superman ' towards whom modern philosophy has been tending ever since Darwin propounded his principle of evolutionary advance in biology. It is only in the co-operation for a higher super-organic purpose that individual men become invested with the attributes of a ' superman.' "
As far as the book expresses totalitarian views regarding the state, I have, since joining the fascist movement, realised the error of this attitude. It may interest sour readers to know that a prominent member of the Catholic Evidence Guild succeeded in convincing me of the illogicality of regarding the State as an absolute. since this must imply that we have no means of distinguishing between good and bad States. I now fully appreciate the need of the State for moral guidtmee. as I said in my recent letter to the Catholic Herald.
There are many indications of support for the foregoing extract from my hook ill authoritative Catholic opinion. I could quote the words of a great German Catholic critic, Friedrich Muckermanrs S.J.. writing on " Christianity and Dictatorship " or of Fr. Cahill, S.J.. at the beginning of Tlw 1 ramework of the Chrivian Slate.
In conclusion. I should like to place on record the fact that I was moved to join the fascist movement in this country very largely by reason of the appalling pessimistic conclusions to which, like Spengler. I was driven by nty intensive study of world history. I was moved to do something to avert the impending catastrophe which seemed to threaten NVestern civilisation; to join with men whose lives were
THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIER
Ste,--A supply of free money to those in need is an excellent suggestion, but, while sympathising with social-credit reform, some of us regret that its advocates seem closely associated with economic nationalism, The attack seems always to be not upon finance or loans but upon international finance and foreign loans, not upon the speculator who misuses stock or foreign exchanges for his own enrichment, hut upon the money merchant who finances international trade and reaps a commission in the process. I do not sec that any element becomes evil by reason of its internationality; indeed, in a world half ruined by attempts at economic nationalism, the international banker seems one of the few remaining evidences of sanity.
Mr. Hollis tells us that the "great hope" will be realised on the day when foreign lending becomes impossible; it is well to know when the millennium will begin, but I for one have grave doubts as to the efficacy of nationalist economics to produce a superior world; in fact, looking backwards, one may believe that conditions fifty years ago—when, according to Mr. Hollis, the money power was dominant—compared favourably with those of to-day when, we are told, President Roosevelt with England has the whip-hand over the dark financiers, (Does "England" include Mr. Montagu Norman?) For how long must France retain the gold standard before the money power is "broken for ever"? And is the stability of foreign exchanges going to prevent war?
That full-blown economic nationalism is unfeasible seems demonstrated by the fact that when a government initiates tariff reform, it immediately has to negotiate international trading agreements to nullify the ill effects of the " reform" in question. And it is to be feared that some of the difficulties that faced socialcredit schemes sixty years ago still
persist. lf economic nationalism were practicable and if the programmes of credit-reformers are sound, it is strange why autocratic nationalist cliques, such as to-day command the military forces of Italy and Germany, should live in terror
of financiers. The notion of a sterling group dictating to the dictators I find relatively pleasing even if far-fetched, but apparently Mr. Hollis prefers uncontrolled nationalist fanatics to international financiera.
I write this letter reluctantly as one unacquainted with economics and finance, but I do think that a fuller understanding of the situation might be possible if the Catholic Herald could publish something for the defence; if, therefore, Mr. Hollis would make definite charges, preferably against actual individuals or organisations, perhaps the Economist or one of the banking journals would show us another aspect of the money problem.
Personally, I think the hopes of Major Douglas and his co-operators are disproportionately great and that the vital sphere of reform is the political one. With an ideal monetary system, the world would still bristle with terror so long as political nationalism can set men at one another's throats—without financial incentive: on the other hand, in a world where the menace of war had been banished and international co-operatien were the order of the day, it should not be difficult to set afoot any financial reforms that were desirable. The economic system may determine how men live, but it is the political one that determines whether they shall live at all.
JOHN Nina. September 23.
DIVINE WORSHIP Ste, —May 1 congratulate Mr. Robert Speaight on his article to-day on that perpetual bug-bear " repository art " and the " externals," which we tough-skinned .Catholics ignore—after the first groans
It is not only the alumni of the universities who are affected, for the " small fry," with equally important souls, are also repelled.
And what of ourselves? Only a few days ago I went into a church and found a Mass being celebrated for some dozens of children, who were singing (the girls, at least) some sort of plaintive hymn, and
wondered how much they realised the great action they were supposed to be taking part in. How could they? Surely they should have been reading (or having read to them in English), the mighty prayers of the Missal....
It is appalling to think of the way in which we waste our treasures. No wonder that the angels weep at times--even at Mass.
SIR,—The Catholic Herald is all that Mr. Chesterton says of it. I enjoy each edition from page one to twenty. Your paper is most progressive and newsy ani our paper here in Boston could take a lesson from it.
In passing, I should like to say this: I would like to see you keep the name "Catholic." in the title for it expresses all that we should be—universal, liberal and tolerani. The Christian Science Monitor broadcast their name far and wide, and TnE SEA CONGRESS 'SIR,—Your readers are aware that an international congress of the Apostleship of the Sea is to take place in London, October 4-7. Its promoters hope so much from it, that they doubly desire it to repose on a spiritual foundation of prayer, and have asked me to write as follows : The Bishop of Lamus is celebrating a pontifical Mass for seamen at Westminster Cathedral, Sunday, October 6, at 10.30. Very many priests in and outside London, have already promised to offer Mass for deceased seamen on October 7, or on some day that best suits them about that time. Well ovtr 3,000 convents in all parts of the world—by now probably mole nearly 10,000—are praying daily and offering parts of their Office for this intention and for the development of the work after the congress. The laity are earnestly begged to offer Holy Communion when best they can during the congress period; thousands of mothers, wives, sweethearts and children must be thinking daily of their seaman. May they join, at this time, in prayer for him. We re.spectfully beg the clergy to encourage them to do so, from the pulpit.
The great rally at the Queen's Hall, Langham Place, W.I, at 3 p m., Sunday. October 6, already provides a fine example of co-operation (the Police Guild, the Grail, sea cadets and Goan seamen, the Guild of Shop-Assistants and Warehousemen, various training-ships, the Catenians and Knights of St. Columba, the
Capt. Coombs, master mariner and barrister-at-law, though not himself a Catholic, will be speaking along with his Grace the Archbishop of Westminster, Fathet V. McNabb, Mr. Chesterton, ViceAdmiral Hornell and others, so clear arc all alike as to the needs of our C'atholic seamen. Information and tickets (nearly all free) are obtainable from the secretary, A.M.I.C., 23, Eccleston Square, S.W.1. But the essential point of this letter is to ask for prayers for a work that the imagination must picture, our intelligence appreciate, and our will resolve upon.
C. C. MARTINDALE, London.
e A BOUQUET
SIR,—As one of those whom you reached by your appeal through the post, a few months ago. I feel that I must thank and congratulate you on the great and immense improvement the ." Herald " has achieved in such a short time. Paper, print and format are all that anyone can desire at present, and, in my opinion, have left all rival papers far behind. For news that matters to the European it is the best I can find.
Articles arc line, reports comprehensive and satisfying, but I must say I enjoy your "Letters to the Editor" page as much as any. It shows that more and more Catholics are beginning to think and write on questions which we formerly "left to our betters"(?). You have unearthed one intriguing chap oh that page, at least, he is to me. His name is John Nibb; he seems a keen student of men and affairs.
R. T. HUGHES.
6, Robert Teri ace, StanILe. Co. Durham.