THE COMMONWEALTH THAT WILL ENDURE
AN ADDRESS BY MR. SOLON E. LOW
Chairman: The President, Major F. L. Clouse
Thursday, April 3, 1947.
MAJOR CLOUSE: Gentlemen of the Empire Club of Canada and our audience of the air, many people in many lands today are asking the question "What is the future of the British Empire?" Those outside seem more puzzled about this question than those inside. The people of the British Empire take it for granted that they belong to that strange agglomeration of states which has endured for centuries and will continue ever upward as a matter of course. The British Crown for many hundreds of years has encircled the glories of the British people and ensured prosperity and peace to a sceptical and often unappreciative world.
Our distinguished guest today will address us on the subject "Can the Commonwealth endure?"
Solon Low was born at Cardston, Alberta, and was prominent in the field of education for many years before his election to the Alberta Legislature in 1935. He was appointed Provincial Treasurer in 1937 by Mr. Aberhart and became national leader of the Social Credit Party in 1944.
Mr. Low studied Social Science and Economics at the Univ. of Alberta and the Univ. of S. California. A keen student of political, social and economic problems and a staunch imperialist.
It is my pleasure to introduce the Hon. Solon Earl Low, M.P., National Leader of the Social Credit Party in Canada.
THE HON. SOLON EARL Low: When I was invited to come to Toronto to speak to your club, I was confronted with the task of choosing a subject which would be at once an interest and a challenge to your members. I was influenced in my choice partly by the fact that you are the Empire Club, and therefore interested in and concerned about the Commonwealth; and partly by the most alarming situation in which Britain and the Commonwealth find themselves today as a result of a number of forces some of which have been hard at work over nearly twenty years.
In February, 1930, Winston Churchill, in a speech to the Navy League, said: "During the last few years a sense of powerlessness must have come across those who have taken part in the triumphant exertions which the British Empire has made in the present century. Some spring seems to have been snapped in the National consciousness. There is a readiness to cast away all that has been won by measureless sacrifices and achievements. We seem to be the only great nation which dare not speak up for itself, which has lost confidence in its mission, which is ready to resign its hard won rights."
This concern on the part of a great Briton has been shared by many others whose studies have led them to some understanding of the tragic decline in the Empire Spirit. Thousands wonder what has happened; millions looking down the years ask: "Will the Commonwealth endure?" It is because I should like to throw some light on this question that I chose to speak on "The Commonwealth that Will Endure".
I make no apology for my faith in the Commonwealth, nor for nay determination to do all in my power to preserve it in all its strength and splendid achievement, for to this day it has been the only successful demonstration in all the world of true international co-operation for purposes of peace as well as of defensive war. I am humbly grateful for the brilliant lesson the Empire has taught the world on how to weld together hundreds of millions of people of every color, race, and creed in existence, with only a bond of common devotion to a great ideal-freedom and justice. This matchless achievement was accomplished, as we all know, mainly through progressive decentralization and the extension of the principle of self-government as soon as the people in the component parts were ready to accept that responsibility.
I belong to a political organization that has often been called "Imperialistic" because of its ardent support of the Commonwealth and the high ideals for which it has stood over the decades. Recently, Toronto Saturday Night, in its analysis of the Richelieu-Verchers by-election results, referred to Social Credit Members of Parliament as "those Imperialists from Alberta". I was surprised to find a newspaper of the calibre of Saturday Night slavishly aping the stupid attempts of the Communist enemies of the Empire and all for which it stands, to break up our ranks by calling us "Imperialists." I do not know what they mean by "Imperialist". More than likely they don't either. But of this I am certain; if by the term they mean someone devoted to the achievements in effective international co-operation, in decentralization for the development of true Christian democracy, and in dispensing justice, all to the credit of the British Empire, then I am proud to be called an "Imperialist". If they mean a supporter of the satanic, aggressive and grasping policies of the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street"; if they mean policies of unrighteous dominion and power over men, of centralization of authority, as well as aggressive offensive war-making to snatch lands or trade privileges, then I disclaim any association whatever with the name "Imperialist". I do distinguish between the British Empire and its magnificent achievements and constructive policies on the one hand, and the Bank of England and its practices, intrigues, and alliances on the other. I am concerned over the future of Britain and the Commonwealth. It would be tragic for this and generations yet unborn if the Commonwealth were to be destroyed, for it has been and is yet a power for good in this world. I do not wish to witness its passing. But can it endure? That is what I will discuss today.
1. Character of People
It is only expressing what has become obvious to most honest people, to say that a country or an Empire can be no stronger than the character of its people. But that fact is often overlooked entirely. Last summer I sat at dinner, along with Government dignitaries out at the Ottawa Country Club-a dinner tendered to Field Marshal Montgomery. I heard the great soldier discuss in an address what in his opinion constituted the strength of Canada. He named and explained five factors, in their order of importance, affecting that strength, First and most important amongst these factors was the Character of the People of Canada. I am sure he was right. Likewise, the strength of Empire or of Commonwealth rests first and foremost upon the character of the peoples within it. Hence, it follows that if good character endures the Commonwealth will remain strong and will stand a better chance of enduring down the years.
But what are the ingredients of strong character of a people? We naturally think of things such as honesty sobriety, thrift and soon. Yes, these are obvious elements of ranking importance. But there are some others rarely considered, that also rank as important in that thing called strong national or empire character. I shall mention but a few of them.
Our fathers before us spilled their blood freely in an effort to win and establish securely amongst Anglo-Saxon people, and for all generations to follow, the freedoms we have come to enjoy. They demonstrated that they loved freedom more than they loved life. Thousands gave their lives to win the freedom to speak freely their opinions and criticisms; freedom to worship Almighty God in their own way in their own churches; freedom to take part in their own government; and freedom to live their lives as individuals and not as parts of regimented groups. They fought and won the noble battle against the Divine Right of Kings. Are we now to surrender to the Divine Right of the State? Our fathers hoped and prayed that we their sons would take up the torch and struggle on in an effort to root these freedoms more securely and to extend them, as our legacy to succeeding generations. Our fathers knew that if our attitude towards our freedoms became careless, they would depart from us as surely and as silently as darkness steals upon the world with the setting of the sun. How have we of this generation replied to the challenge of our fathers? Sir Owen Seaman summed up that challenge in these immortal lines
I SAW THE MORNING BREAK
Ye that have faith to look with fearless eyes
Beyond the tragedy of a world at strife,
And trust that out of night and death shall rise
The dawn of ampler life;
Rejoice, whatever anguish rend your heart,
That God has given you, for a priceless dower,
To live in these great times and have your part
In Freedom's crowning hour;
That you may tell your sons who see the light
High in the heavens--their heritage to take
"I saw the powers of darkness put to flight,
I saw the morning break!"
Can we say: "We helped to put the powers of darkness to flight
We saw the morning (of real freedom) break?"
It is an ugly fact that our generation has been busy bartering its freedoms for a mess of pottage. We have been too ready to hand over our personal freedoms to the "State" in return for promises of Social Security. Satanic powers behind the scenes have planned scarcities, depressions, wars, punitive taxes, and strife, with the diabolical purpose of crushing our spirit, destroying our moral fibre, so that we will easily yield to the enticements of handouts from a State in return for surrender of dearly-won freedoms. Millions of those who make up the Commonwealth have surrendered to the importunities of mealymouthed corrupters who have persisted in advancing the doctrine of the Supreme State-Marxism. They have been blind to the fact that an uncorrupted citizenry can build a great State: but no State ever builds an uncorrupted citizenry. They forgot that no man is politically free who depends upon the State for hand-outs, for the planning of his affairs, and the management of his business. "Statism" fostered by dynamic apostles spawned in the cesspools of Marx, Engels and Lenin, has beaten down initiative, wiped out human industry, destroyed character and prostituted the electors in many parts of the world. The Commonwealth by no means has escaped its evil influence. England, Australia, New Zealand have become tainted. "Statism" has raised its ugly head right here in Canada, and has succeeded in spreading its poison far and wide through the opiate doctrines of Modern Socialism and Bolshevism. They both hold out and pay lip service to "larger freedoms". But it is a lip service only. Let me point out that the policy of compulsion and force which is spreading across the world, everywhere, festered out of Europe largely as a result of the teachings of Marx. Every country which has attempted to go down the road to socialism, baiting its people with the Marxian cry "liberty and equality" has ended up without either "liberty" or "equality". Let us remember that this alien philosophy of "Statism", or "totalitarianism" is always imposed upon the people in the name of "liberty" and "equality".
Look at the countries which have followed MarxGermany with its "National Socialism", Italy with its "Fascist Socialism", and Russia with her "Bolshevistic Socialism". Where are liberty and equality today in these countries? Under the blood and rubble of Socialism! In the beginning every single one of these countries was led to believe that they would have democratic or benevolent socialism. That may have been the honest intention, but it soon became evident that complete State monopoly is the only way socialism can work effectively. But I declare that more class warfare, hatred, anti-semitism, and bloodshed, have festered out of Marxian-Atheistic-Communism than from any other source in history. Marx taught class hatred and warfare, compulsion, force and bloodshed. Christ taught freedom, inducement, and love. The issue today is Christ or Marx, Christianity or pagan chaos. If our Empire peoples resolutely reject the Marxian appeal to materialism, and if they will rally to the cause of freedom first, our Commonwealth will endure. Christ said, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all else shall be added unto you". If He were here today He probably would say: "Seek with all your souls, might, mind, and strength to secure the maximum of personal freedom for every individual in the Commonwealth, and all the essentials of Social Security and abundant living will follow as a natural consequence."
It takes strong National or Empire character to reject those things which inevitably contribute to dependence or to moral and spiritual decadence of the individuals comprising it, because the materialistic appeal is very strong. Such attractive slogans as "Social Security", "Planned Economies in the Marxian sense of the term", "Full
Employment", etc. appeal mightily to people weary of fighting a hidden enemy that periodically wreaks the havoc of booms depressions, and wars. But every one of those slogans, if it becomes the major conscious effort of Government, will result in the dependence, moral and spiritual decline, and indeed the enslavement of the people. We can recover and develop strong national character by rallying our people to a mighty, conscious effort to preserve self-reliance, private initiative, personal independence; these constitute the core of moral fibre. A Commonwealth of folks of that calibre will soon be wide awake enough to unite for successful battle against the hidden enemy within our gates. Nothing can crush the Commonwealth built upon the foundation of sound National or Empire Character.
II. Enemies Within Our Gates:
Every great country has its enemies. The British Commonwealth, as she became greater year by year, also found enemies rising against her. In this century the worst foes of the British Commonwealth have been those of our own household, as one authority on the subject has said, "Who-some through blindness, some through inertia, some through perfidy-have weakened our resistance to the two most formidable enemies Britain has ever had". Twice in this century we have been in mortal conflict with Prussian Militarism which aimed to strike down and utterly destroy the Empire. By the Grace of Almighty God and through the help of friends, we were able to vanquish the German menace. Since the close of World War 1 we have been at war with the world force we now know was Bolshevism. The attack of this force has been superbly organized and persistent. Composed of a vast army of ruthless enemies of the existing social order, and strangely enough, financed in the initial stages by the same group of world figures who financed Germany's war against us in 1914, and the rise of Hitler twenty years later, Bolshevism or Communism has sought to destroy the Commonwealth because we have stood as the main barrier to its domination of the whole world. What PanGermanism failed to do by force of arms, the insidious new force has been trying to do by infiltration, indoctrination, disruption, fear, and diabolical subterfuge.
Bolshevism could have been nipped in the bud in 1918. A prominent Government official in the Netherlands called upon the Nations of the World to rise against it and destroy the evil doctrine in its infancy. Every nation realized at that time that Bolshevism would have to be dealt with before long; even Britain was conscious of this necessity. But no serious and effective action was taken because of the blindness, or inertia, or fear, or perfidy of many of the British people. It is a matter of tragic record that Britain surrendered to Bolshevism, largely as a result of enemies who had been allowed to come or to develop within her gates. Only the awakened conscience of a united people can provide motivation for victorious action, but Britons slept or basked in ignorance and unbelief, or cowered in abject fear while Bolshevism expanded and grew to a force that now threatens the world.
Nor have we in Canada been free from complacency in this respect. We have not been watchful. Many of our people have surrendered to Marxian advances. Canadian authorities, derelict in their duties, watched on while paid agents of Moscow spread their poison and sowed the seeds of popular World Revolution. Bolshevism dug deep in our country before World War II. It spread alarmingly during the "Hungry Thirties".
It is well known that some of the leaders of the movement were interned during the war for deliberately impeding the war effort. Most of them were released when they promised not to continue being naughty boys.
Friendship for Russia Leagues sprang up over the whole country to try to help Canadians to understand the Bolsheviks. Russia gestured with the dissolution of the Third International, but recent investigations have shown that the Communist Party of Canada continued to spread Stalin's plan for Popular World Revolution in spite of all that Britain, the Dominions, and the United States of America were doing to save Russia from the Nazi. Communists penetrated deep into the Armed Forces, the Research Council, into key government positions. This infiltration was drawn to the attention of Canadian Officials by at least one officer in the Canadian Naval Staff Headquarters, as well as by Special Investigation Constables in the R.C.M.P., as early as 1943 and 1944. Yet little or nothing was done to counter the nefarious underground until Gouzenko's .sensational revelations in 1945. Even he had finally to appeal to newspapers before he could arouse Canadian officialdom to undertake an investigation.
The Royal Commission's Report on the Bolshevik Espionage in Canada revealed a shocking state of affairs. It confirmed much of what had already been committed in written reports to higher officials months before. It revealed a condition of discordant loyalties in Canada; Canadian-born and very well educated men and women admitted that they had betrayed their country because they felt that they had loyalty to International Communism that took priority over their loyalty to Canada! Here was open-treason as a result of intense Bolshevist influence. But I contend that the officials in high places who allowed these poor wretches to succeed in their nefarious work are just as guilty of treason against Canada and the Empire as are those who have been tried and condemned in our Courts of Law.
It would be too much to expect the Commonwealth to survive the continued undermining influences of these enemies within our gates. We have not been watchful on the ramparts of the Empire! Surely our education in citizenship of late has failed to produce the strong attachments and loyalties necessary for building a great Sisterhood of Nations. And no wonder. The pens and voices of such men as B. K. Sandwell of Toronto Saturday Night activated a wave of international hysteria which rocked Canada during the years of the late war. Its purpose seems to have been to wean away our loyalty to Canada and the Commonwealth and to substitute for it loyalty to some mythical supernational world state. Is it any wonder then, that we have had here a sorry demonstration of discordant loyalties, and that educated men and women did transfer their attachments to a world Bolshevik ideal? For what other tangible one was there? Education for dynamic and faithful Canadian Citizenship is a must from this day on.
It is now time that Canadians awakened to the dangers facing her. Unitedly, we must set about correcting the conditions in our political, economic, and social life that provided the fertile ground for the growth of Communism. People who are getting the results they want from the management of their affairs are happy, contented people, insulated from subversive influences. Bolshevism always takes deep root and grows fastest amongst frustrated, discontented people who have become embittered through getting from the governmental management of their affairs the results they do not want. It stands to reason, therefore, that the surest antidote to Communism is a revitalized democracy that guarantees social and economic justice to all of its people regardless of race, color, religion or political faith. Democracy is now facing its most exacting test. If it is to survive, this way of life must demonstrate that it can produce for individuals, results which are superior to the results obtainable from any other way of life. I am convinced that democracy and responsible enterprise can render Canadian people immune to any questionable alien philosophy-an immunity that comes from widespread happiness. But we must never allow Canada to fall again upon the evil days of the Hungry Thirties if we hope to put an end to Communistic advances. Our country is one of the great parts of the Empire. It is my belief that she can yet save the day for the whole Commonwealth by cleaning up her own house now while there is yet time. A strong Canada, free from Communist disruption, free from inertia and the paralizing fear of totalitarian frightfulness, can very well be the energizing influence towards recovery of an Empire that has suffered paralysis in many of its parts, a paralysis brought on by political "idealists" who may have been sincere, but who certainly have been susceptible to dangerous guidance.
No discussion of the enemies within our gates would be at all complete without some reference to a type of fellow who, though he may not be acting from motives of malevolence or perfidy, nevertheless does succeed in doing as great damage to the Commonwealth spirit as do the Communists by their subversive and disruptive tactics. In Canada we don't have to worry about the chap who doesn't know. Me usually holds his counsel. The fellow who does cause infinite trouble is the one who doesn't know he doesn't know. All too often he is a person of moderate or substantial means or of moderately-important position, as a result of which he wields considerable influence in his community. All too often he is himself influenced by slick-sounding slogans that he is fond of throwing around as if he knew what they mean. There are many of them in Canada; doubtless millions of them throughout the Commonwealth. Currently one hears these fellows talking volubly about such things as "Britain's callous disregard of her pledged word to the Jews of the world to help them to establish a national home in Palestine"; "Government at the International Level"; "The Evils of British Imperialism"; "Empire Trade Preferences Must be Abolished"-and so on. I wish I had time to deal with all of these in some detail to illustrate how crafty disrupters, both within Canada and in other countries, use such slogans to induce an emotional hysteria which spreads like a tidal wave, undermining the Empire and destroying its prestige. Who are these enemies? You will find them in the ranks of the Communists at the bottom, and amongst the International gangsters at the top, both of whom find ready disciples amongst the "don't-know-they-don't-knows" in Canada and other parts of the Commonwealth. But time permits me to mention very briefly but two of them.
The first of these is the Palestine problem. Any well-informed student of the problem knows that Britain has not callously disregarded her pledge to the Jews given in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. After Balfour and Lloyd George yielded to forces and influences against which they appeared to be powerless, it was found that a Military leader had already in 1915, in the name of the British government given pledges to the Arabs which could not be redeemed if that given to the Jews in 1917 were to be fulfilled. Both Jew and Arab have hotly demanded the redemption of Britain's pledges to them, with the result that she has found herself on the horns of a real dilemma. Bolshevik organizations and hotheads in Palestine began to use terrorist methods to back up their persistent demands that Britain open wide the door to Jewish immigration into Palestine. The continuous demands and serious incidents, even during Britain's time of sore trials and her darkest hours in the early part of World War 2 when she needed in the most urgent way the friendship and support of the Arab peoples in the near and middle East and the Moslems of Egypt, weakened the whole Empire and its war effort. When the war ended, as usual Britain was left with the whole complicated and delicate problem to solve by herself, while the "don't-know-they-don't-knows" here and in the United States especially, have continued the undermining process by taking up and repeating the destructive uninformed criticism of Britain. It is obvious that the grave problem of Palestine must be solved soon in a manner which will safeguard the best interests of both Jew and Arab, as well as the Commonwealth interest in the life-line of Empire-the Suez Canal. We all are anxious to see just solution. Until this is an accomplished fact there can be no guarantee of peace in the world, nor of returning vitality and strength to a weakened Empire. But let us all realize how difficult such a solution is to find and to apply to the satisfaction of all concerned. It will be useless to turn the mandate over to the U.N.O. if the nations composing it do not acknowledge "the moral right of the British Empire to survive as a national community with as much security for its welfare and freedom as can be achieved in an insecure and disintegrating world". (Sir Norman Angell)
And now to my last point. On Monday next, the eighth of April, representatives of the nations are to meet in Geneva to draw up a world trade charter. In preparation for that important meeting the enemies of the Commonwealth for months have been spreading the demand that Empire Trade Preferences must be abolished at once. They throw up a smoke screen to hide their real intent by claiming that until Empire Preferences are removed there can be no chance for a fair and expanding world trade. Where does the demand come from? It can be traced to certain interests in various countries, interests that are determined now that Britain is down, to kick the life completely out of her. But the cry of these enemies of the Empire is readily taken up and spread throughout Canada and other countries of the world by the "don't-know-they-don'tknows" who thereby unconsciously lend themselves to the diabolical service of the destroyers, simply because they do not take the trouble to get at the truth.
Now there are certain countries which for some years have been carrying on a very aggressive policy of foreign trade and investment. They have insisted upon favorable balances of exports over imports, and upon leaving these balances for investment in the countries to which they have sent their goods. By way of example, Canada has had difficulty in the past in balancing her payments with the U.S.A. whilst on the other hand we have had a surplus account with other nations. This has been mainly because the U.S.A. refuses to accept imports of Canadian goods sufficient to pay for her exports to Canada. This same policy the United States has insisted upon following with Britain, and some other parts of the Commonwealth. During recent years the United States has attempted to force upon all nations who would trade with her, a most-favored-nation-clause in her trade agreements. The strict application of this clause in her trade relations with Japan was unquestionably one of the important factors which goaded that country into preparing for and declaring war on the United States. The "most-favored-nation" clause is enemy number one of the British Commonwealth today.
Just why do I make that assertion? Let me illustrate the answer by quoting from Ludwell Denny's "America Conquers Britain", page 407:
"We were Britain's colony once. She will be our colony before she is done; not in name, but in fact . . . We shall not make Britain's mistake. Too wise to try to govern the world, we shall merely own it. Nothing can stop us. Nothing until our financial empire rots at its heart, as empires have a way of doing. If Britain is foolish enough to fight us, she will go down more quickly, that is all . . . Our weapons are money and machines. The other nations of the world want money and machines. Our materialism, though not power, is not matched by theirs. That is why our conquest is so easy, so inevitable."
There you have the point-of-view of the powerful interests who would destroy Britain and the Commonwealth by the force of trade weapons. How do they propose to do it? They have already gone far in their conquest. Nations of great productive potential, whose goods Britain and Canada and others need to keep up a standard of living, have refused to balance their trade with us by accepting our goods in payment for those they export to us. They have left their favorable balances in our countries for investment in industry and resources, with the result that a very substantial percentage of Canadian and British industry is owned and/or controlled by foreign interests, and consequently our economies among other disabilities, must bear the strain of all the evils of increasing debtor relationship. It is not beyond possibility that what Mr. Denny has forecast, the complete industrial conquest of Britain, will become reality unless world trade policies undergo immediate and radical change.
At the world Conference beginning next week in Geneva it should be laid down as absolutely fundamental that international trade must be a two-way street. Every country should accept the responsibility of receiving imports in full payment for her exports. I think some world pool idea might be worked out that will give full play to desirable multilateral arrangements, but for the sake of future peace and world security all the member nations of the pool will have to be willing to accept in full settlement of their export accounts imports of goods from the pool, thus leaving no nation in their debt.
Thus far Empire Preferences have been fairly effective protection for the members of the Commonwealth against the threat of industrial conquest by other nations. The members of the Commonwealth should unitedly and with stern determination resist the efforts of rivals and enemies to remove them. Empire Preferences should not be removed until all the nations of weaker economies have been provided with adequate safeguards against the impact of nations of great productive potential. Industrially powerful countries must be made to recognize their responsibility in this respect.
Canada should take the lead in rallying the Commonwealth to the support of this ideal. How effectively it is done will determine whether our Commonwealth will survive.
It is patently clear that the Commonwealth is beset by ruthless enemies from within, and that there must be guiding hands and sinister influences hard at work to destroy her from without. Canada is a major partner in the Empire, hence one of the best guarantees of a strong enduring sisterhood must be a strong, virile, united and independent Canada. We are a land of great opportunities. The Creator endowed us with many supreme gifts. But the measure of our gifts and opportunities make our responsibilities all the greater.
Canadians, today, face the most serious challenge of their lives. It is a challenge to test our spirit and our courage and our strength. To the extent we rise to it and meet it with unflagging faith, to that same extent we contribute to the endurance of the whole Commonwealth.
I have faith in the high destiny and mission of the Commonwealth. There must yet be much for us to accomplish for good in this world, otherwise our lands would not have been preserved for us through successive miracles, the latest of which occurred at Dunkirk in World War 2. There is evidence of an awakening consciousness in all parts of the Commonwealth which does give one hope. We face grave problems and difficulties, it is true, but under Divine guidance I feel sure we will be able to set our various houses in order so that we can go down the years still the great example of harmony and international co-operation for the achievement of peace and abundant living.