- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 29 Apr 1948, p. 383-397
- Armour, Major Stuart, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Reference to the speaker's address of 18 months ago, entitled "Do We Face Ideological Conquest?" Now, an address concerned with "Where do we go from here?" or "Whither, then, are we headed?" A discussion of the subject of individual freedom. An examination of some of the things which are being said and done these days against our freedom in own country. Finding means of defeating those who seek to "thwart the wills and destroy the souls of nations." Preserving individual freedom, surely the most valued of all our possessions. The unique economy of Canada. Arguments against being influenced unduly by the economic planning of other countries. Indications of how much Canadians have lost faith as to the future of their own country. Productivity figures under capitalism in Canada. The things we take for granted. The creation of confusion as one of the prime objectives of those who seek to use economic and social chaos as a stepping stone to political power. Life under the Russian Government. Democratic socialism, socialism, and totalitarianism: some clarification of terms. A brief historical look at these terms. Socialism as the Trojan Horse of Communism. Some salient points from Britain's White Paper, "Economic Survey for 1947." The Socialist programme now being carried out in Britain. Comparing the Communist Manifesto of 100 years ago with the objectives of the British, our own and other Socialist parties. The nationalization of various institutions in Britain, and what that means. Activities of the Socialists and the Communists in Canada. The dangers of electing a socialist government. A look at the Russian, Italian, Austrian and German governments after World War I, each of which started with democratic aspirations in varying degree; all finding themselves driven to totalitarianism. Looking at some of the actions of our Canadian labour leaders. The need to curb organized labour in the United Kingdom. A quote from Henry C. Simons of the University of Chicago that "There is no place for collective bargaining, or the right to strike, or for effective occupational organization in the socialist state." Attempts at persuasion of the rank and file of the Canadian organized labour movement, by some of the most influential of our labour leaders, that socialism can give and will give our workers a better deal than they now enjoy. Hoping that the people of Canada will come to realize the dangers to individual freedom inherent in socialism. The need to stand in need of greater watchfulness than has hitherto been necessary, and why.
- Date of Original
- 29 Apr 1948
- Language of Item
- Copyright Statement
- The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
- Empire Club of CanadaEmail
Agency street/mail address
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
100 Front Street West, Floor H
Toronto, ON, M5J 1E3
- Full Text
THE EMPIRE CLUB OF CANADA
"THE ANNUAL MEETING"
Chairman: The President, Mr. Tracey E. Lloyd
Thursday, April 29, 1948.
Mr. LLOYD: Gentlemen: As you have already been notified, this is the annual meeting of The Empire Club and the closing meeting for our year 1947-48. In accordance with the constitution I will not make a complete financial report as the audited statement will appear in detail W the Year Book. However, owing to the increased cost of paper and printing, etc., I regret to report a deficit for the year's operation of the Club of $529.53. However, we have a credit balance of $1,905.89, as well as Dominion of Canada bonds held $1,500.00.
Our membership figure has also shown a decline throughout the year to a total membership of 1,398, or a net decline of 46 members from a year ago.
We introduced 123 new members into the Club but sustained some heavy losses through death-24 members in all passing away during this last Club year, including one of our past presidents, Dr. F. A. Gaby. We trust that the next year will show substantial gains in membership as there must be many who subscribe to our principles and our motto, who are not members of the Club.
We also wish to express the thanks of the Club to the officers of CJBC for broadcasting each week the addresses from our Club. I might add that these broadcasts are without expense to us.
I would like to particularly express my thanks to the Chairman of the Speakers' Committee, Mr. T. A. Pugsley, who has provided excellent speakers throughout the season and who has co-operated in every way with your President.
I would not differentiate between any of our speakers but would suggest that it must give Mr. Pugsley and our members a great deal of satisfaction to know that one of our guests throughout the year. Mr. Paul G. Hoffman, President of the Studebaker Corporation, has been chosen by the President of the U.S.A. for about the biggest job in the world today-the distribution of European relief.
I wish to express my gratitude to the Executive Committee you elected a year ago who have supported me in every way throughout the year and have assisted in the administration of your Club. Our various executive meetings have been fully attended and every member has been willing to do their full share in our successful operation.
I will now call upon Squadron Leader Norman A. Nunn, Chairman of this year's Nominating Committee to read the report of that committee.
SQUADRON LEADER NUNN: Gentlemen: The following recommendation of the Nominating Committee for the year 1948-49 has been submitted:
Officers: President--Mr. Thoinas H'. Howse. 1st Vice-President--Mr. T. A. Pugsley. 2nd Vice-President--Mr. George Hardy. 3rd Vice-President--Mr. Sydney Hermant. Honorary Secretary--Mr. R. Ford Ralph. Honorary Treasurer--and Treasurer--Mr. W. W. Comber, C.A. Honorary Auditor--Mr. H. T. Jamieson, C.A. Executive Committee Col. F. F. Arnoldi, D.S.O. Mr. W. L. Anderson. Mr. H. C. Bourlier. Mr. J. A. Cole. Mr. H. (T. Colebrook. Brig-. Colin A. Campbell, O.B.E., D.S.0. Mr. S. S. Fletcher. Mr. Frank Gerow. Mr. John W. Griffen. Mr. Warren B. Hastings. Mr. Horace Harpham. Mr. G. A. Lascelles. Sq./L. Norman A. Nunn. Mr. J. P. Pratt, K.C. Major A. O. Thompson, M.C. Col. J. E. Wilson, M.C. Ex-officio members of the Executive Committee Immediate Past President: Mr. Tracy E. Lloyd. Past Presidents Mr. Ellis W. Wilkinson Mr. William Brooks. Col. A. E. Kirkpatrick, V.D. I move that this report be accepted.
Mr. TRACEY E. LLOYD: Gentlemen: You have heard the report of the nominating committee, which has been duly moved by Squadron Leader Nunn and seconded by Mr. Charles LaFerle, are there any further nominations?--there being no further nominations--I declare the nominations closed and those whose names you have heard read, to be elected by acclamation.
I shall now call upon our President elect, Mr. Thomas H'. Howse, to speak to us.
EMPIRE CLUB NOTES
Mr. Chairman and fellow members of The Empire Club of Canada. I cannot let this opportunity pass without telling you how deeply I appreciate the great honor you have conferred on me today in electing me as your President for the coming year, and I fully realize that in common with all honors of this nature, it carries with it no small measure of responsibility.
I would also like, on your behalf, to extend to our retiring President, my good friend Tracy Lloyd, our hearty congratulations on a very successful year, and our sincere thanks for his untiring efforts in the interests of the Club throughout the past year. I am sure we have all greatly enjoyed the meetings under his very able chairmanship, during which his natural wit and humour have at all times been very refreshing.
In conclusion, gentlemen, may I just say that with the assistance of the excellent executive committee which you have elected to support me, I am looking forward to the coming year with every confidence and will do my utmost to maintain the traditions and promote the purpose for which the Club was founded, which is crystallized in our motto "Canada and a United Empire."
AN ADDRESS BY
MAJOR STUART ARMOUR, D.S.O.
Chairman: The President, Tracy E. Lloyd
Thursday, April 29th, 1948
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
We welcome to our closing meeting of the 1947-1948 addressed the Club a year ago last October. Major Armour served in World War I from 1914-1919, being awarded the D.S.O. and the Belgian Croix de Guerre for his services, and in civilian life is a well known journalist and author, was associated with Mr. Gilbert Jackson, and is now Economic Adviser to the President of the Steel Company of Canada.
Our Guest of Honour both writes and speaks effectively and convincingly and today he has chosen a subject which gives him a wide scope.
I will now call on Major Stuart Armour, D.S.O.; who has chosen as his subject:
MAJOR ARMOUR: Some eighteen months ago it was my privilege to address the members of this distinguished body. At that time, the title of my talk was, "Do We Face Ideological Conquest?". While that still stands as a question unanswered, it does seem to me possible that it may be a question already somewhat out-of-date. That is not to say that the danger of ideological conquest has disappeared, but rather that freedom is now locked in so deadly a conflict with totalitarianism that other sorts of conquest may be attempted.
Make no mistake about it, a world-wide effort is now being made, as our Prime Minister put it at Williamsburg recently, "to establish a tyranny over the human mind, to thwart the wills and destroy the souls of nations as well as of men". Who wins this bitter conflict will determine the shape of things to come for many generations.
On one side in this vital and never-ceasing struggle are the Totalitarians--fanatical, ruthless, and completely unscrupulous. On the other are those who still believe in personal freedom, and the largest possible measure of self-government.
The Totalitarians all know we are in a war; and they act always on that assumption. The lovers of freedom, on the other hand, are apt to feel there is, perhaps, something to be said for this or that piece of Marxian legislation; and that anyway, men with good Anglo-Saxon names cannot really be such bad fellows after all.
Whither, then, are we headed? Or if you prefer more colloquial language, "Where do we go from here?"
We are still, I take it, by and large a freedom-loving people. As such we are presumably still believers in that system now usually described as free enterprise, but which I prefer to call by the simpler and more forthright word, capitalism. But our freedom of action seems to become less almost every day. Always, of course, dictatorship over us is extended for the best of motives or "in the public interest".
Our individual freedom does not belong to any one class of our population; it belongs to every Canadian. Quite uniquely our freedom is something to which we have all contributed, and in which each of us has a share. Out of that individual freedom, and out of capitalism, which is at once both the cause and an effect of such freedom, we have made progress here almost unmatched in all the world. Yet despite the benefits we still enjoy and the new vistas which now open before us, there are those who weep because we Canadians are not so happy as those who are said to enjoy the fruits of collectivism.
We are being, for instance, asked, in all seriousness, to contemplate the superior joys of living in Britain or Scandinavia or Australia or New Zealand. Our socialists even go so far as to say, "Planning on behalf of the common people means abundant production and efficient distribution." Ask the British people for their frank comments on that one! They also say, "Planning does not mean regimentation". Get a Latvian, a Czech, a Bulgarian, a Roumanian, or a Russian to comment on that one--if you can!
Let us, then, examine together, briefly, some of the things which are being said and done these days against our freedom in this our own country. By doing so, perhaps we may find means of defeating those who seek to "thwart the wills and destroy the souls of nations", and may thus play some part in the preservation of individual freedom--surely the most valued of all our possessions.
One of the wonders of this era is the wonderful nonsense which hundreds of thousands of otherwise apparently intelligent people have come to accept as fact at the hands of those who are so plainly doctrinaires. Stranger still is the widespread acceptance as truth of the teachings of those who are so clearly animated by envy, hatred, and malice. The success of such egregious people in creating here a climate of opinion which has no real basis in the facts of our past accomplishments, nor in the promise which the future holds for us, is truly remarkable. In the light of that success, many Canadians have been brought to believe they should, sheep-like, follow almost any course of action which the enemies of capitalism may care to suggest. Consequently, many Canadians now feel we should do things which are by no means consonant with our own circumstances, solely because of what has been clone in Britain, or New Zealand, or Sweden, or Denmark.
This is Canada. We have an economy which is unique. Our national economy is no more like that of the countries I have mentioned than our climate is like that of Hawaii. Yet over and over you hear it said that we should have this law or that regulation because New Zealand has it, or Sweden has it. You only have to look at our statute books to realize the extent to which we have already been led astray in this respect.
How far many Canadians have lost faith as to the future of their own country was disturbingly indicated in two Gallup Polls held within the past eight months. The first poll indicated that no less than 50% of the people of Canada favoured a government guarantee to "every person" of "a decent steady job". The second, taken in February, 1948, found that 38% of our people would rather work for government than in business.
Whether the 50% of the people who answered the first Gallup question as they did realised it or not, they were in effect asking the Government to become their employer. Surely these people must realize that government itself produces nothing. Should it not be clear to anyone who can reason, that any and all government lives only by levying upon the productivity of its citizens?
Under capitalism, and the individual freedom that goes with it, overall productivity has risen during this century in Canada to heights hitherto regarded as fantastic. But, more important still, per capita productivity has also tended to rise with it. Thus our people have long enjoyed not only liberty, but real income far in excess of that enjoyed by all but those who share this great continent with us. Hence it is that under capitalism and personal freedom we have acquired amenities in such abundance. In fact we take for granted things which are beyond the reach of most of the rest of mankind. And remember that the telephones, motor cars, radios, washing machines, and other comforts we enjoy have not been a result of economic planning, or of state control. They are the fruits of capitalism and free enterprise.
Those who told the Gallup pollsters they favoured a Government guarantee of their jobs were saying, in effect, that they wished to live according to the Russian pattern. Now I suspect that neither that half of the people of Canada, nor the other half, actually wishes to live according to rules laid down by the Kremlin. But in the face of the proposals put forth nearly every day for solving fundamental economic and social problems by government fiat, it is small wonder that so many of our people are so confused that they have come to feel rather than to think.
Of course, the creation of confusion is one of the prime objectives of those who seek to use economic and social chaos as a stepping stone to political power. Unless one does feel that our people are merely confused, the response to those two Gallup Polls would, indeed, indicate a loss of courage so dangerous in its implications as to be really frightening.
Whether or not that be the case, the responses do serve as an illustration of misplaced faith; for they clearly indicate a belief on the part of a very substantial proportion of our people that government is endowed with the ability to provide happiness and prosperity without reference to the economic facts in the case. Let it be emphasized and reiterated, government has no monopoly of wisdom. For proof of that statement, look about you.
Of course, the Russian Government has tried, by crushing individual freedom, to raise the appallingly low standard of living of its people. But not even the most rabid enemy of Canadian business or the Canadian way of life would attempt, I think, to prove that they have yet succeeded in coming anywhere near what has long been taken for granted in this country. Certainly they have not succeeded in matching either our economic or our social achievements; for it can be said with truth that the least fortunate of our people have long enjoyed, and still enjoy, far greater comfort, as well as far greater personal liberty, than the average Russian; or those living within the Russian orbit.
As I have already suggested, those who answered the questions posed by those two Gallup Polls would probably recoil from even a suggestion that they favoured the Canadian adoption of the Russian way of life. If they were cross-examined, it would probably develop they favour--a "planned economy" or "government ownership", or perhaps "democratic socialism". These are all current shibboleths, and one can understand their unwary acceptance by people with a multitude of personal affairs to engage their attention.
Many of those who talk about democratic socialism really favour socialism without any qualification. Such people simply tack on the word "democratic" in order to allay the fears of those who instinctively realize that while socialism and totalitarianism may initially appear to differ in degree, they ultimately must become indistinguishable. In fact, one of the most impressive performances to be observed today is the persistance and skill with which socialists, and Canadian socialists in particular, seek to make democracy and socialism interchangeable words in the public mind. They came to be freely used side by side all over Europe when, after World War I, those who disbelieved in capitalism overthrew existing governments. Hard on the heels of the march on Rome came the ruthless dictatorship of Mussolini, himself a life-long Socialist, and Social Democracy in Germany soon gave way to the tyranny of Hitler. In Russia, while Kerensky may not have actually described himself as as Social Democrat, his programme was full of the sort of windy liberalism which has usually proved but the first step toward socialism. Furthermore, the Menshevik, or Social Democrat wing of Communism, helped Lenin and Trotsky to power in Russia.
After World War If it was again the Social Democrats who helped to make possible the engulfment by Communism of such countries as Hungary, Roumania, Bulgaria, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Furthermore, in all the countries over which the freedom-loving people of the Western world are now so gravely concerned, you have regimes which claim to be both socialist and democratic.
Let a Canadian authority in the person of the Rev. Charles Herbert Huestis testify to the affinity between Communisin and socialism. Writing in the Toronto Star of April 13, 1948, Dr. Huestis said: "When a Soviet citizen works he never forgets that he works socialistically." In the same article, Dr. Huestis goes on to remind his readers that Communism in Russia is not yet an achievement, but rather an objective. "The present Russian state", he says, is "socialism". Thus there does not appear to be, in the mind of this widely quoted Toronto Star philosopher, any very basic conflict between Moscow and the aims of Canadian socialism.
It is, of course, a fact that Communism has not yet been able to achieve power in any country which has remained true to capitalism. Here is a fact of enormous significance to each one of us here today: yes, and a fact of equal importance and significance to our children and their children.
In the face of what has happened to the world since Lenin, Trotsky and their handful of followers seized power in Russia in 1917, one is driven to the conclusion that socialism is the Trojan Horse of Communism. In this connection, the executive committee of the British Labour Party made the following declaration after the fall of Czechoslovakia
"Communists cannot achieve their aims without support from a minority within the camp of Democratic Socialism. .As in Czechoslovakia, so in Hungary, Ronmania, and Bulgaria, individual socialists, by permitting or abetting Communist attacks on democracy, have connived at their own destruction."
Britain's White Paper, "Economic Survey for 1947", admitted that "the task of directing by democratic methods an economic system as large and as complex as ours is far beyond the power of any governmental machine working by itself no matter how efficient it nay be". Thus, the idea of democratic socialism would seem to have been hit pretty hard in a publication of the British Socialist Government itself; for is not the very essence of socialism the "directing" of an economic system, no matter how large and complex it may be? And does not the British White Paper declare democratic methods to be inadequate to such a task? In other words, events have proved that bureaucratic economic planning and democracy cannot go hand in hand.
Communist dictatorship has so far been unable to achieve power in any country which did not first succumb to the blandishments of the Socialists. That, of course, is why the Communists and their fellow travellers in Canada are now so anxious to climb aboard our own socialist band waggon. There is a natural affinity between all leftists, since, in the final analysis, they all look to Karl Marx as their prophet.
Lord Inverchapel may say, as he did in Chicago recently, that the British Socialists reject Marx and Engels. The fact remains, however, that the Socialist programme now being carried out in Britain, was very largely laid down, by Marx and Engels, one hundred years ago in the Communist Manifesto. Furthermore, the British coal miners, and other large and powerful labour groups in Britain, are directed by avowed Communists. Moreover, when the test comes, there appears to be a tendency for all left-wing elements to coalesce in a common front against capitalism; even though the disastrous experience of France under the Popular Front of Leon Blum in the late 1930's now makes the leftists leery of adopting any such damaging label.
Observe how closely the Communist Manifesto, issued 100 years ago by Marx and Engels, does parallel the objectives of the British, our own and other Socialist parties, Here are some of the principal objectives set forth in the Manifesto
Abolition of private property.
Abolition of the right of inheritance.
Centralization in the hands of the state of credit, communication, transportation, "factories and instruments of production".
The Manifesto says further that private property is the enemy of the people, and only by its elimination can the ends of Communism be attained.
As part of its drive to achieve what are after all the objectives laid down in the Communist Manifesto, the Socialist Party in Great Britain has already nationalized the Bank of England. It has also nationalized all forms of transport, the generation of electricity, the manufacture of gas, and the mining of coal. The doctors of Britain may have escaped being turned into civil servants for the moment; but the British steel industry, despite a growing demonstration of efficiency, is still slated to fall under state ownership. Even British farmers are now told what they may or may not grow; and the owners of houses and other real estate are coming more and more under government regulation of one sort or another.
In Canada, our own socialists, and their Communist fellow-travellers, plan to follow the Marxian line by taking out of private ownership the life insurance companies, banks and the steel industry. These proposals, ambitious though they may seem, must, of course, be only a sort of appetizer. For the failure of state ownership and operation to match the efficiency of private operation always leads to the desire, if not indeed to the necessity, of taking over other industries. Thus in time all the "factories and instruments of production" fall into the hands of the state..
The Communist Manifesto lays upon Communists the definite responsibility of supporting any movement against the existing social and political order of things. Small wonder then that social democratic parties have already been used as stalking horses for Communism in half a dozen European countries, or that the Communists are now working so hard to ensure the political triumph of socialism in Canada.
But there are sincere people who argue that so long as an electorate is free to vote a socialist government out of power, there is nothing mutually exclusive in the words "democratic" and "socialism". This, as I have tried to show, is by no means the case; for if you elect a socialist government to power, and that government carries out its duty (which is to impose socialism), then you are committed to a new way of life. Furthermore, make no mistake about it, you have thrown freedom of the individual to the winds.
Further still, if a socialist government is true to its principles, that commitment to a new way of life is well-nigh irrevocable.
The governments of Russia, Italy, Austria, and Germany after the first World War each started with democratic aspirations in varying degree; all found themselves driven to totalitarianism. So it is hardly surprising that in Britain, as in Saskatchewan, we find today a socialist government strongly impelled in the same direction. Indeed, there appears to be so great an inevitability about such things that one almost suspects the operation of a natural law. As Premier Garson of Manitoba pointed out on June 9th, 1947, in his extremely able and immensely important broadcast, "How Free Are the Free Services of Any Government", and I quote
"There is not a police state in Europe for which the way was not made clear by building up the conception in the minds of its people that they must look mainly to the government for maintenance, support and initiative."
Since totalitarianism appears to be the inevitable end result of socialism, one marvels particularly at the present-day actions of some of our Canadian labour leaders. For organized labour has never demonstrated any ability to survive the sort of all-out Marxian socialism, complete with police state methods, which seems always to have followed the large-scale taking over of industry by the state. In fact, while the organized workers were the mainspring of the Russian revolution, and amongst the original supporters of both Hitler and Mussolini, they have been the greatest sufferers under Communism, Fascism, and Naziism, which, as I need scarcely remind you, are all forms of socialism.
It is possible, of course, that some of our leaders of organized labour picture themselves in the role of directors or commissars of industry, should they be able to sell socialism to the people of Canada. But history has proved over and over again that those who instigate revolutions seldom long survive as directors or dictators.
True, at the moment, organized workers are still the pampered darlings of the British Government. But unless that Government-and with it the mass of the people of Britain-are prepared to see British organized workers reach the position of being able to sell the office of Prime Minister to the highest bidder, then organized labour in the United Kingdom must eventually be curbed. The late Henry C. Simons, of the University of Chicago, and one of America's top-flight academic economists, put the matter thus in 1944:
"There is no place for collective bargaining, or the right to strike, or for effective occupational organization in the socialist state. And every intelligent Socialist, whatever his public utterances, knows as much."
But despite this knowledge, a determined effort is even now being made by some of the most influential of our labour leaders to persuade the rank and file of the Canadian organized labour movement that socialism can give and will give our workers a better deal than they now enjoy. Unfortunately, thanks largely to the misplaced faith of so many people, this doctrine finds considerable acceptance outside the ranks of organized labour .One finds ministers of the gospel and teachers, and even some academic economists, prepared to argue that labour would be better off under socialism than under capitalism.
However, since the current trend in Britain shows signs of following pretty closely the pattern already established by the pursuit of socialist goals in Russia, in Italy, in Austria, and in Germany, one can hope the people of Canada will come to realize the dangers to individual freedom inherent in socialism before it is too late. In fact, the people of this country are daily being subjected to a highly salutary course of instruction by the news out of Britain; which goes to show that even in a freedom-loving country, austerity and ever more stringent regulations are inevitably the result of abandoning capitalism in favour of stateism.
It has been argued that one must differentiate between the Communist left and the non-Communist left. But it seems to me that so long as leftists hold to the common objective of the state ownership and operation of industry, transport and other businesses, they may quite logically be lumped together. My attitude is that since they are all perforce bound in practice to become totalitarian, sooner or later, it does not greatly matter what label they may choose to wear in the meantime. Perhaps Euclid set this whole matter in its proper frame when he wrote: "Things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one another."
Is it perhaps fair on the basis of my analysis to say that we now stand in need of greater watchfulness than has hitherto been necessary? After all, Communism is clearly still on the march, and we are still sitting midway between Russia and the United States. A country in that possibly perilous position cannot, I submit, afford to give encouragement to political movements which have for their objective major changes in our economy or our long-established way of life.
Together with the United States, we constitute the last remaining citadel of capitalism on this earth. We are, therefore, together with the United States, one of the few remaining countries capable of helping those who have chosen to compound their difficulties by embarking upon bureaucratic economic planning. Thus, we are being called upon today to do our part in bailing out countries which have embraced state ownership, social security programmes, and other socialistic devices far in excess of what they can afford.
If you protest that we have nothing to worry about since the U.S. will take care of us, then let it never be forgotten that our own dependence upon U.S. assistance and goodwill is, and must remain, very considerable. In fact, that dependence might well be regarded as yet another argument for avoiding the possibility of putting ourselves out of step with Uncle Sam economically, socially or politically. If we desert democracy for stateism, we shall be untrue to the North American tradition, and we shall soon find ourselves cut off from the great benefits of that tradition.
These are all matters for earnest consideration as we make up our minds as to how we shall meet our manifold problems. Because of the position in which we now find ourselves, is it not in fact incumbent upon us to take very serious cognizance of opinion elsewhere than that within our own borders?
However, not deterred by the spectacle of Britain and other European countries striving with little success to recover their places in the world, while heavily encumbered by the high taxes demanded by socialistic measures, there are those in Canada who wish us to go and do likewise. Such people may protest they are only trying to improve the lot of their fellowmen. But I submit that in reality they are, unwittingly or otherwise, setting the stage for chaos.
No country with an economy tied to world markets can afford socialism. If we, who are probably more dependent on world markets than any people on this earth, so burden our costs of production as eventually to price ourselves out of world markets, the day will surely come when we shall find ourselves deep in depression. Should that day come, we can look forward to a degree of social and political unrest very tempting to those who know best how to exploit chaotic situations of that sort.
As part of the current, widespread effort to subvert both capitalism and freedom, one sees developing a most diabolically clever attempt to convict capitalism in advance of the commission of a crime. If this sounds paradoxial, let me recall to your minds how often you have seen or heard lately some phrase or other to the effect that unless this or that proposal is promptly accepted, the resultant decline in purchasing power will bring us to economic ruin. Thus the stage is being well set to fasten upon capitalism (or business, if you like that word better) the blame for any marked recession from the existing highly artificial level of business activity. If we do have a recession, it seems certain that the failure of management to accept proposals not in consonance with the economic facts in our case, will be used as an excuse for more and yet more governmental control.
The principal and most dangerous of such demands would appear to be the following: Ever increasing wage rates, a forty-hour week, more statutory holidays, and additional paid vacations; and all, of course, without any decrease in the amount of take-home pay, and with no assurance of any increase in per capita productivity. These spread-work demands are put forward in the sacred name of "Full Employment". Parenthetically, it is interesting to read what the first of two British White Papers, issued last year, had to say on the subject of spreading work. These are the words of that White Paper:
"We must remove the idea of spinning out production in order to avoid unemployment or of restricting output in order to safeguard earnings."
These words in the British White Paper (in effect) tossed out the window some fifty years of British Trades Union and socialist teaching. Unfortunately, however, they have not yet been taken to heart by British Trades Unions; and as a consequence, Britain's economic position is still so serious as to cause the gravest alarm throughout the Western world.
It is well to remember again that if capitalism fails to accept all the left-wing proposals, and there should be a depression, the Communists, Socialists and other left-wing elements will do their utmost to convict it of having caused all the grief and hardship inseparable from depression.
Perhaps, gentlemen, I have said enough here today to convince you that we are now, at this very minute, actually in the midst of a deadly struggle for the possession of the mind and soul of mankind. The fact that this is an ideological rather than a military struggle should not, I feel, blind us to its very destructive character.
The next step is, of course, for those of us who believe in freedom, and in capitalism upon which our freedom is based, to devise means of meeting the challenge of the Totalitarians; whether they be in the Government, the civil service, the trades unions, our colleges or the editorial rooms of our newspapers and other publications. Obviously every false or misleading statement made, or meretricious claim put forward, by the Totalitarians should be met by a factual rejoinder by the upholders of democracy. There must be an end to appeasement. Too long have those who believe in freedom allowed the battle to go against them by default.
It must, for one thing, be brought home to the people of this country, employers, labourers, and politicians alike, that the Canadian economy is a unique economy. Especially should the danger of doing things in Canada solely because they have been done elsewhere be pointed out to our people. The wage rates we pay, or the social services we provide, must be related to the economic facts pertaining to Canada; and not to those of other countries with markedly different economic, political, or social circumstances. That is not to say we should not follow the example of other countries in appropriate circumstances. But simply that we must be sure that the example we are being asked to follow is a good one for Canada, and not one which will eventually lead us down the path to economic ruin and into totalitarianism.
If capitalism is to be saved, and personal freedom thus preserved, it must never for a moment be forgotten that we are confronted by totalitarian-minded men and women who believe fanatically that our economic system has failed. They are equally sure in their own minds that those who oppose them are devils incarnate. Finally, all totalitarians embrace very firmly the deadly moral fallacy that the end justifies the means.
Totalitarianism is the proven enemy of freedom; and therefore we who love freedom dare not call anyone who espouses totalitarianism our friend. Defeat of this monster calls first for the recognition that it wears many faces -and then for the greatest possible measure of courage, endurance, industry and sagacity on the part of each one of us.