Page 3, 28th November 1947

28th November 1947
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Page 3, 28th November 1947 — Light in the Darkness
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Light in the Darkness

THIS article is going to be very much in the first pzrson singular ; for I am going to say quite

freely just what I think. It will take a somewhat different line from the preceding articles. It comm:ts no one else ; and it claims

no authority. It is all I can see.

I presume, first, that there is real darkness, and it is not a smoke ecreen put up to enable all kinds of regulations, infring.ng many liberties, necessary enough fur night, but not necessary in the light of ordinary day. I assume there is a world shortage of Nod. This is understandable enough with the whole world engaged in war for twelve years out of the last half century. The weather nearly everywhere has been so abnormal that Old Testament prophets would have regarded it as a divine punishment. The first of these conditions would also explain the scarcity of raw materials, since so much has been stink in the sea or blown to dust. The scarcity of labour is a little more difficult to understand; fcr this last war d.d not kill so many (on our side) as the previous war.

It looks as if more people than usual were trying to live without working; and this always prevalent aim has now begun to affect the working classes. One explanation of that is the insurance against unemployment on the one hand, and the lowering of high reward on the other. For instance, it has been the case that when wages were increased by only a little, one had then to Pay income tax, and so received even less than before. It is commonly declared chiefly by those who are in sheltered positions. that. men will not work without fear at one end and high rewards at the other. It is not so in the army, or the priesthood, nor is it supposed to dominate the best of the medical profession; but this spirit apparently operates less elsewhere, despite much Christian exhortation and the wide adoption of such mottoes as "Service, not Self .. ." Everyone is being insured from the cracre to the grave, and it is bound to !ecrease incentive. Curiously enough, insurance is supposed to have worse effects on the lower orders, even if they pay for it, for other classes have long resorted to these safeguards.

Promises have been made, perhaps for political purposes, to present the fear of no work at all; then aga;nst too long work: indeed the idea has been spread about that we could get all we needed by about two hours work a day. Meanwhile everyone tries to get into c'eaner and less exhausting kinds of jobs. The result is that Welsh miners, who used to read Shakespeare and sing hymns, though spending loin time hewing coal, have begun to take a dislike to going down the mine. If the workers would only work harder and be content with lower wages, we should be able to buy more food from abroad, and inflation would be evaded. But few arc in a position to urge this upon them.

A Long-dated Darkness I think this darkness has been gathering for a long time. Two wars have only hastened a process by which a nation starting on a predominately machine-mass-manufacturing line was likely to find itself starving before long. We were the first to advance along this line. It is not surpris.ng that we are the first to find how it works out. As others follow the same road, we lose our markets, competition gets fiercer, tariffs are put higher, and it all leads

to wars, in which we lose all our investments. nvestments. Soon the whole world will have stores of gold, or diamonds, cosmetics or bombs; and nothing to eat.

If we return to free competition and private enterprise will the whole world he set free from this insane deadlock ? I have to admit that under that system wonderful things turned up on my breakfast table every morning. It always seemed a miracle; for it was not anyone's chief aim to give me these things, but to get my money.

The aim produced quite different effects. I discovered, however, that there we're other breakfast tab!es less well supplied, indeed, hardly any breakfast, sometimes not even a table.

Again, I admit that America, the greatest exponent of private enterprise, is now being begged to feed the rest of the world which has started to go the other way. But on recent visits I gathered that there are fears of most predigious s'umps not far off; and meanwhile they must produce far more than they themselves need, to sell abroad. if they are to maintain their high standard of life; but no one has any dollars to pay for it, and it is dollars they want.

At this point I shall be seriously reminded that the Church has always stood for the natural right of pdvate property; the tendency to collectivism has been condemned by Papal Encyclicals, indeed,. Popes have successively conticinned Liberalism, Socialism and Communism; and never has Conservatism been condemned ! That is serious. But was not private property, according hp the scho'astics, a bit of a concession to fallen man, and to prevent ructions? Did not the medieval

economic scheme also include " no usury " and " just price "? What happens to the one principle left when the two others cease to operate ? Moreover, in the Middle Ages d.d it mean private property in anything; and to any amount; private property in other peoples private property; and private property in usury ? Have not succeeding Encyclicals given more place to corporately possessed property ?

It is all a question of what shall be socialised, in what way. and when. About some things everyone will want to be Conservative, in others Liberal, in sonic Socialist and in some Communist (air, for instance), and I shall always want to be anarchist about matters of taste: Bach or Base and so on. Yet I am shouted at to be one or the other totality,. The test will be how they work; but for everyone; and whether they move fly all to work at what is needed most and first.

I must confess that I am very much in the dark about finance. But so, I gather, is everyone else. I once asked a Chancelor of the Exchequer how he knew how many notes to print; to whom he distributed them, and what they pave him for them. Perhaps he was not allowed to ten, or he thought I should not understand; but he aneeered not a word. But then I gather that the late head of the Bank of England confessed that it was a mystery to him also. If theologians, politicians and economists Fame together confessing they were in the dark, apd to pray for light, perhaps we might get some given us. But that would mean all round humility, even to confessing ignorance.

A Little Light But I nromised to talk about light. Well I do see a little light, in which

rejoice. and wonder if it would be worth following further.

In this shortage of food and clothing I am happy about one thing that we are all sharing alike. Communism with a vengeance, and inescapable. but in the right place. I wonder if it would be wise to carry this further and since the basic rations arc having to be subsidised. allow basic rations to everyone free. Those who liked delicacies could work harder to get them.

We are suddenly being forced to realise that the people who can do things and make things are the most important people.

I have always admired them, and felt they had the rest of us in their gr.p if they cared to use their power; tor they are about 90 per cent. of all people anywhere. They can have us at their mercy whenever they

like. And now they are showing this in strikes and threats to do worse. It seems to me that the only way to stop this is to see that they have no one to strike aga.nst but themselves. That means they must have property in their work; and in mass production how can you have property at all save in some corporate fashion 7 One man cannot own all the tools for making an engine, or a factery needed for making the

atomic bomb.

Then at last we have discovered that agriculture is the basic craft, takes a long time to learn, and means every agricultural labourer must know half a dozen crafts. This means we must see that enough land is reserved for agriculture; and that it is cultivated, and not allowed to grow thist'e-down or ragwort. Then property in land can never be allowed to be absolute. It must be distributed. We must not force people to be farm labourers, but we must make it possible for more to be. and it must be regarded as a vocation. Does this mean that the land ought to belong to the people, perhaps under the name of the King ? I understand there are no other real title deeds to a foot of it. But there must be security of tenure for those who use it for the purnose agreed and necessary. so tax them least; let the great man have his park and leave it to whom he likes.

We can all enjoy tht look of it. But let him pay the heaviest tax.

It is also assumed that to save money is not wrong, despite various warn,ngs against hoarding and not to be over-anxious for the morrow. What about setting up Municipal Savings banks where anyone can pay in what they like, and take it out when they will. And no interest; far the poor man is not anxious about the little it would mean for him, and it would save armies of clerks calculating 2 per cent. on 3/6 for five and a half hours. The deposits could be used for building houses, and renting them to those who would thus gradually buy them with their rent. Make no interest claimah'e when the capital had been repaid, say twice over. Otherwise all the basic industries go bankrupt. and we shall only continue the upside principle of money being able to be made more easily, and the, farther off you stand from production.

One of the Greatest Revolutions

It is all happening. We are passing through one of the g;eafest revolutions in history; and in this happy country, with no blocdshed thank God. We might Christianise it; it is doubtful if we can reverse the process.

And now I shall be reminded that all this has nothing to do with religion, which has not even been hitherto mentioned, whereas other writers have put that first. But this article, if it appears. will be in a Catholic journal, where it is assumed that we possess a faith that brings almost unbearable joy; that we must express that faith in fellowship and in such works as visiting those in prison, feeding and clothing the needy and ministering to the sick. That should be voluntary. Is it because it has been left undone, that it has now to he enforced ? And is anything wrong with organising it and planning it ?

Someone is sure to say that I have forgotten Original Sin. Not at all; but I believe in baptising it out of people with water and the Spirit, and teaching the nations that we are all meant to be united in one body, and brought into the life of love and self-giving which constitutes the Blessed Trinity. If things DI worse, and we all have to fast, well Catholic, are used to that, and the Trappists work hard without beer or beef, bacon or baccy. However, to emphasise the spirituality of what I have been saying, I will conclude with Scripture.

Give us this day our daily bread. If ye have not proved faithful with the unrighteous Mammon, who will trust you with the true riches?

A man's life consists not in the abundance of things which he possesses.

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him work w;th his hands the thing that is good, so that he may have wherewith to give to him that is ii," need.

If a man will not work neither shall he eat.

W. E. ORcHaRD.

SIR BARRY DOMVILE

From Admiral to Cobh, Boy. By Ace-fare! Sir Barry Dtenvile, K.B.E., C.B.. C.M.G. (Boswell Publishing Co., 12s. 6d.) THIS is a book I opened, prepared for the immediate emergence of some bogy or hobby horse of doubtful colour which would have made some kind of case for the gallant admirable's three years detention under 188 in Brixton and the riding of which would make the book tedious. The hobby horse is there

all right. It is "Judmas" Judaeo Masonic influence in public affairs, but it only canters across the stage once or twice and that very convincingly. For the rest the Admiral's account of the prologue to his arrest, his life in prison and his comments are, whether one agrees with Sir Barry or not, excellently well told in a breezy racy style not lacking a salty humour. Entertaining throughout the book is an awful reminder of the possible abuses of wide Governmental powers denying the normal legal freedoms of the subject. Excusable as a piece of panic legislation in a time of gravest national emergency 1811 and its Advisory Committees and the imprisonments for three years and more are a black spot. A full and impartial history of its working a freedom loving nation should now in time of peace insistently demand.




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