Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 2. 1965.
Social Credit — Conspiracy Theory
The "conspiracy theory of society" has been a feature of this century's history. Inasmuch as the Second World War Was fought to stop the persecution of minorities, it was fought to deny the conspiracy theory. The racist theories which led to the persecution of the Jews are a nationalistic beliefs which the theory leads to It has parallels in history as far back as the Roman persecution or Christians and even further. Its danger is the conversion of a state of reason into an emotion-laden one of unreason.
The conspiracy theory is common in postwar society. The States of South Africa and Indonesia have shown it in mild forms. While this article will consider two examples of it found not in nations but in political movements, the difference between theory and practice must not be exaggerated.
The first movement is the John Birch Society. In 1957 one Robert Welch published "The Politician," in which he saw Communism rampant through the American nation The "politician" was Elsenhower, whom Welch said had been "a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy." Welch believed that John Foster Dulles was a communist agent"; that Franklin Roosevelt was guilty of "plain unadulterated treason"; and that democracy is "a weapon of demagoguery and a perennial fraud."
In 1958 the Society was founded and its "Blue Book" published Welch announced that World War II was "largely brought on through the word-wide conniving of Stalin's agents" and that the Communists had had the full co-operation of the American Government then and since. The Society aimed at fighting the Communist conspiracy by its own tactics—front organisations publication breakup of rallies The Society attracted immediate and widespread support from the Right, particularly little-known but powerful businessmen.
The second movement is Douglas, or Social Credit. The origins of the movement are well known and can be passed over here. Its significant strength is in Canada New Zealand, and to a lesser extent in Australia and Great Britain.
The conspiracy theory of Social Credit has been often referred to in newspaper correspondence columns. It is the conspiracy of the International Banking movement. Professor A. J. Danks described it in his 1955 demolition of Douglas economic theory:
"The Douglas theory has had a long history now, and ample time has elapsed for its consideration, especially during the last slump ... It can hardly be argued that a meritorious theory which achieved plenty of publicity would be overlooked or misunderstood by all.
"So another explanation has to be found. The Theorem becomes a form of social dynamite to be concealed and suppressed, at all costs, in the interests of a small group of vaguely designated Bankers and International Financier.
"The conspiracy is a good means of persuasion. The ordinary man in his vanity, can readily stand to be told that he is getting less of the material benefit from life than he deserve He also derives some moral satisfaction from the tale that somebody, a sinister and shadowy back room Ruler of the World is by cunning and indirect means, filching some of his hard earned dues. His attention diverted from the faulty logic of social credit, the prospective social crediter can wallow in a vague and satisfying emotion of frustration.
"Primitive people took it out on the Scapegoat; the Romans supplied bread and circuses; the Nazis offered up the Jews; the social crediters will throw you a banker or two."
The similarity in the conspiracy phobias of the two movements is not at first sight great. Yet a Social Credit publication examined them last year and announced to its readers: "The International Financial Conspiracy and the International Communist Conspiracy are one and the same thing."
The publication is "The Social Crediter," a fortnightly paper published in England and Australia. The article is entitled "No Co-Existence," and has been reprinted in pamphlet form. It concludes:
The one objective of all who wish not only to retain their freedom, but even, in a frightening number of cases, to save their lives is to contribute in every way to the overthrow of the Conspiracy. The one body which knows what has to be done, and how to do it but which needs every ounce of support it can get, financial and educational and moral, is the John Birch Society.
The Social Credit Secretariat will ... make available the educational material (of) the John Birch Society, We ask our readers to contribute as much money a they possibly can to enable us to finance the necessary lock; to themselves buy, read, and get read by others, the books we recommend. The John Birch Society is the spearhead of the attack on the Conspiracy. Their efforts will be enhanced by the support of as much educated opinion as can be mobilised throughout the world There is probably no other body of people than Social Crediters better able to mobilise that opinion. We are an International movement, while the John Birch Society ... is not.
The article deals at considerable length with the Conspiracy.
Communism, it states, is not to be identified with the Communist Party.
"It is an international conspiracy, staffed in its upper echelons by the richest men in the world, and other power seeker who are attracted to its secret council and highly placed secret agents placed ana kept in position by self-deception Just for power, blackmail corruption terror, murder, and most of the crimes known to man. The Communist Party is one of the organ of the Conspiracy controlled in secret from the top and used as an agency for recruiting thugs and criminals, and for spreading corruption, subversion, and terror."
The absurdity of this view hardly needs to be outlined. Facts are twisted to fit pre-conceived views. Amazing "facts" are casually revealed—there is more than 50 per cent conspiracy control in 100 of the world's 130 countries; the USA Government is totally controlled by the Conspiracy. However the Birchites estimate blandly that the chances against their success have been reduced from about one in a hundred when they started to about one in four today."
The article is not signed. The assertions are not documented This is because others who have revealed both the Conspiracy and their names have "in many cases been murdered, or met with 'accidents,' or been driven to suicide."
The "Social Credit Secretariat" has been committed to the aim and presumably the methods of the John Birch Society. In their eyes they have begun the fight of the international social credit movement against the Conspiracy.
The international social credit movement is in fact a strange mixture of economic eccentrics, Canadian puritans, New Zealand welfare State optimists, and French nationalists. Against this background, two important points must be made. First, that we in New Zealand must suspect the overseas movements. Aside from the Australian and British elements, the Fascist tendencies of the Canadian parties have been well documented. Second, that Rightist elements are found in the New Zealand Social Credit movement.
Local social crediters have written often and at length of the French nationalism of the Canadian party has gone some way towards discrediting that section. The totalitarian actions of the original Alberta Social Credit Government (e.g. the press-censorship laws of 1937) were quickly disallowed by the Federal Government yet deserve to be remembered as a similar warning. Now the British and Australian movements are in disrepute.
It is well to remember that the Labour Party has philosophical links with Social Credit. One Labour Minister Joined the Social Credit movement after holding office But the Right has always been present. In a mild form, the only social credit MP ever Captain Rushworth, represented the conservative, farming area, Country Party.
In its more extreme form, consider these views of a 1954 Social Credit candidate:
"During the last war the nearest bomb to the Bank of England was a conventional one which fell near St. Paul's but did not explode, and that wasn't by accident, either.
"The assassination of Abraham Lincoln can be attributed directly to the use by the Federal States of a certain amount of debtfree money, and the opinion expressed by a London financial paper that such a Government should be destroyed.
"It was intended that Russia should have the secret of the atomic bomb in order that the two great armed camps into which the world has been divided should be evenly matched."
Social Crediters often write and speak of the movement as the only effective answer to Communism—"the very approach used to justify support for the John Birch Society Even a faintly League of Empire Loyalist touch is found in the plaintive slogan "Vote Social Credit — Prevent the Empire's breaking up" found particularly on billboards (Someone really should tell them that the Empire became the Commonwealth decades ago.)
Thus the article, the "Social Crediter," and the Secretariat's actions are disturbing in their implications, New Zealand Social Crediters would be well advised to heed these warning signs, study the writings of such as Professor A J. Danks, Martin Nestor, Professor J. B. Condliffe, and the Royal Commission's report, and dissociate themselves from the company and ideas in which they now find themselves.