Michael de lit Bedoyere
THERE can, of course, be no question of the Holy Father, when he gave his very important address last Saturday to the International Catholic Congress of Social Studies, having in mind particularly the Schuman Plan for the pooling of the heavy industries in Europe ; yet just because the Pope was enunciating once again fundamental Christian principles in the light of contemporary dangers, the wise reader can derive from it light even on this latest politicosocial proposal.
Pius XII was really underlining the evil of irresponsibility in industrial enterprise as always the basic danger to be guarded against and the fundamental cause of our present political troubles in the international field.
Irresponsibility arises from carrying too far any one of the factors which, pro
perly balanced together, QU ensure industrial health, peace and prosperity.
The private property motive, in the virtually untrammelled original capitalist sense, was the major cause of irresponsibility in the past, and against it the social teaching of the Popes was in the van, for that teaching made it clear that the end of industry was not power or selfenrichment, but the moral and social welfare of the person, whether in the case of those who use the products of industry or those engaged in producing them.
But there comes a time, the Pope warns, when even the guarantees of the rights of producing labour can be overweighted with the result that a system which once was badly overbalanced in one direction threatens to be as badly overbalanced in the opposite direction, and with equally fatal results.
The Nation State
nRGANISED labour can be as irresponsible towards the community of persons as capitalism ever was. Indeed in one sense it can he more fatally so.
Over capital as over labour there falls the shadow of the nation-state. It was in capitalist days that the nation-state developed into a sinister and dividing power, militating against what the Pope describes as " the collaboration of all the people of goodwill in the whole world in loyal understanding and perfect agreement in action on a large scale." And world war was the result of the increasing national association with the main capitalist centres.
But today a similar process is at work, and in a far more brutal and
cynical fashion. The strength of labour has become the handiest instrument for the increase of the power of the nation-state, socialistically and in the end communistically organised.
Socialism was doubtless tolerable and in some respects grand so long as it remained true to its international ideal. But its greatest failure has lain precisely in its rejection in practice of internationalism.
Socialism has become highly national, and for obvious reasons. The power of central control which socialism requires is only available in the governing and administering organisation of the existing nationstate, and the area in which control can he intelligently and successfully planned is no larger than the nation, at any rate at the start.
That is why we now have in Britain a perfect example of a working measure of socialism strictly organised on the national scale and far more suspicious of any kind of internationalism than the less socialised continental countries.
Comma nistNationalism THE alternative line of socialist evolution from excessive labour power in productive enterprise is the Communist one.
The Communists have nominally retained their international idealism.
but in doing so have slipped back even more crudely and obviously into the oldest of nationalist vices, namely aggressive imperialism. 'I he internationalism of Communism has simply been put at the service of the nation which first put Communism into practice, namely, Soviet Russia, Moscow, while professing to free the workers of the world, i.e., to raise their newly-acquired industrial power to the full political level, is actually engaged in a political campaign of world conquest and the complete enserfdum of the world's workers to the Russian-directed Communist party.
How right. therefore, the Holy Father is in warning the world that
the cause of the intensification of " the ruinous cold war " and the threat of " an incomparably more disastrous hot and burning war " is the irresponsibility to the universal rights and needs of the human person as such, inevitably shown when the due factors for moral industrial enterprise become so unbalanced in a sectional direction.
THE reader will doubtless see for -1" himself how all this has its bearing on the great opportunity which the Schuman Plan offers at least to the Western world.
"lhe Communists are attacking it with all their might, not only because it threatens enormously to increase the effective power of the non-Communist world, but because they claim that it will increase the power of the capitalists. This latter part of the argument is echoed by the more consistent anti-Communist Socialists.
In so far as the Schuman Plan is not socialist, but envisages rather an international authority in which all interests are duly balanced, it will obviously decrease the present capitalist power over Europe's heavy industries, which, unlike ours, are not threatened with nationalisation.
Unfortunately British socialism has become so bogged in its nationalism that it is prepared to ruin any real initiative towards " the collaboration of all the people of goodwill in the whole world in loyal
ment in action " rather than yield understanding and in perfect agree
anything decisive in its national and socialist control.
Nor can we expect anything else. Our Government's whale attitude towards the idea of a more closely united Europe has been frigid. For the sake of appearances, it will give cautious verbal blessings, but carefully refrain from any concrete action that matters.
The reception given to the Schuman Plan would also be accorded to any plan involving an actual loss of serious national sovereignty: and, whatever the French hope, it is not likely, unless a real conversion takes place, that our present Government will ever agree to the Schuman Plan as the French rightly envisage it to be, namely a genuine yielding of national sovereignty for the common good. LAS Labour not, stand alone does eins This coolness.
British nationalism. which grew so rapidly in the heyday of capitalism when this country's immense resources and key position put it in a position in some ways analogous to that of Russia today (though, of course, on a relatively benevolent, humanitarian and democratic basis. for those were still civilised times) has become excessively tough.
However much our more conservative and traditional classes may dislike the socialism of their nationalist-minded political opponents, they are one with them in their nationalism. And that nationalism is the deeper feeling.
Mr. Churchill, however, has on occasion shown himself able to rise above these pettier attitudes in his grasp of the greater goods and the great loyalties. Nor is this to be wondered at. In these days it is the deepest patriotism to work for the linking of one's beloved country with others of like minds to attain that which the wider vision can apprehend.
Protnise of peace
IT is not patriotism, but mere stupidity, to dig in one's heels and sink in the quicksands alone.
One may hope therefore that, in default of the right lead from the Government, Mr. Churchill himself will have the courage to lead his party, however reluctant to follow much of it may be. towards the adventure which alone promises peace and prosperity for Europe, and ultimately for the world itself.