BRITISH AND CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY.
Melbourne Argus, May 28, 1949.
(The second of a series in accord with the Syllabus of a Study Course conducted by the Victorian League of Rights.)
Before we can profitably study any type of policy — political economic or financial — it is first essential to understand that all policies stem from philosophies. Every policy is the result of the individual’s conception of reality — his philosophy. To give rather a simple example: If a person is walking across a street and sees a car coming towards him he immediately formulates a policy to meet the situation as he sees it. If an individual’s perception of reality has been dulled or destroyed by propaganda his policies will naturally be based upon what he believes to be reality.
Even when people use the same terms it does not mean that they have the same conception of reality; that their philosophies are similar. The Socialist speaks about “democracy” and “freedom,” but a little questioning soon reveals that he usually means the very opposite of what these terms mean to anti-Socialists.
The Totalitarian Philosophy
If one person believes that the individual should serve the State, while another believes that the State exists to serve the individual, there is no chance of these two people reaching any agreement on matters of policy. For example, a different financial policy is required to subordinate the individual to the State from one which will enable the individual to control his own affairs.
There are two basic philosophies in the world, and, because these philosophies are diametrically opposed to each other they naturally result in conflicting policies.
The first philosophy is one which conceives of all power and authority arising from a point outside, or EXTERNAL, to the individual.
This philosophy, which can be best termed totalitarian, gives rise to policies which necessitate a highly centralised form of organisation to enable them to be imposed upon the individual. This philosophy leads to the conception of individuals as “masses” — so much raw material to be planned by those superior people who feel that they know what is best for all. Communism, Socialism, Nazism, Fascism, and various other isms are merely different labels for policies all stemming from this one basic conception or philosophy.
The inevitable result of the totalitarian philosophy is the Police State.
The second philosophy conceives of all power and authority arising from WITHIN the individual. This philosophy is the Christian philosophy, which conceives of reality as an environment in which the individual can make the greatest self-development. Christ summarised this philosophy when he said that “The Kingdom of God is within ye.”
The Christian philosophy is one of genuine freedom.
It has resulted in self-discipline, voluntary association, and the flowering of the human personality as opposed to regimentation, the stifling of initiative, and dull uniformity. The British way of life is rooted in the Christian philosophy, and, if that way of life is to be preserved and extended, the British peoples everywhere must face the fact that nothing less than a wider and better understanding of what the Christian philosophy means can provide a basis for enduring policies of any description. Those people who term themselves Christians and who at the same time support Socialist policies, clearly indicate that their understanding of the fundamental Christian philosophy is either confused or very blurred. Socialist policies are designed to subordinate the individual to the group — the abstraction — whereas the coming of the explosive Christian idea freed the individual from the domination of the group.
Principles of Association
Having clearly grasped how all policies are rooted in philosophies, it is now essential to examine how policies necessitate some form of organisation for their attainment. All organisation has to do with the association of individuals. And, just as certain principles govern the associations necessary for, say, bridge-building, so do certain principles govern associations necessary for achieving political, economic, and financial objectives.
Individuals associate because they desire to obtain some common objective which would be impossible for them to attain if they worked for it separately. There is what can be termed an increment of association — a profit in the real sense of the word. To the extent that individuals forming associations are convinced that they are attaining the objectives for which they are associating, the associations will function vigorously, progress, and be successful.
But if individuals find that their associations are not producing desired results, they lose faith, and the associations start to disintegrate.
Before dealing with why the people’s organisations are not producing the results desired, it is essential to outline the difference between policy and administration. The specification of results required is what is termed policy. The application of methods used to achieve these results is administration. The Socialists, in particular, deliberately confuse these two terms in order to foster the idea that the people can “democratically” own and conduct every form of organisation in the community. Genuine democracy enables the individuals comprising a community to decide policy — the specification of results. But administration must, if it is to be successful, be left to persons who are prepared to accept responsibility for obtaining the results desired. Probably the nearest approach to a genuine democracy yet seen has been in the economic field under a system of free, competitive enterprise.
Freedom of Choice.
Consumers as a whole have no desire to own shoe factories; all they desire is the democratic right to decide what type of shoes they want produced. They know nothing about the methods of producing shoes, only judging by results produced.
To ensure that his policies are implemented, the consumer requires effective means of control of producing and retailing organisations. He must possess sanctions. Now the most effective sanction possessed by the consumer under free, competitive enterprise is the right to penalise any business organisation by withholding his money “vote” and placing it with an alternative organisation.
This matter can be studied further by examining what happens in sporting organisations. While the individual has the democratic right to decide whether he will play cricket, football, or any other sport, it is fantastic to suggest that once a game starts it can be played on the democratic principle. A captain must be appointed, and all players agree to obey the captain’s instructions while the game is on.
Instead of allowing the individual the right to use his own money “votes” as he thinks fit, the Government and the planners behind the Government take the individual’s money from him and spend it for him. Progressive nationalisation under centralised Government planning results in the consumer losing control of the policy of production, the wage-earner finds he cannot change his work because he doesn’t like it, and there is no opportunity whatever for the enterprising wage-earner to start in business for himself. When the complete Monopoly State is created, as a result of centralised Government planning, the individual cannot even contract out of society.
The progressive destruction of economic democracy has been the direct result of the perversion of the people’s political organisations. Instead of regarding governments merely as instruments through which they should lay down a general framework of rules for society within which individuals have the maximum of freedom to pursue their own policies, particularly in the economic sphere, electors have been misled into believing that all types of administrational matters should and can be decided by the political vote.
The political vote can be used by electors to insist upon, say, a general financial policy to enable the people to possess adequate purchasing power to buy their own production, but to try and use the political vote to decide how the individual shall spend his purchasing power can only result in tyranny.
To summarise: A people who wholeheartedly accept the Christian philosophy, upon which the British way of life was built, will make all institutions their servants, and insist that all policies permit the individual ever-increasing opportunities for self-development. The present confusion between means and ends will disappear.
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