The notion and institution of the aristocracy is often portrayed today as a class of ostentatious, exploitative, and oppressive overlords. This is the modern sung narrative spun by the established media and socio-political order. While it may correspond as a description to some individual aristocrats and monarchs throughout history, it also applies to most modern elected politicians, businessmen, bankers and other financial heavy weights of the bourgeois class that govern the world today and keep the population truly in chains with a monopoly over the creation and control of credit or money and enforce upon them a state of servility and artificial scarcity. Major Clifford Hugh Douglas made this exact point in his publication The Big Idea:
“I can imagine many readers, at this point, feeling the inclination to comment in accordance with the orthodox conception of a downtrodden peasantry rising spontaneously to rid themselves of a vicious tyranny. Like so many of these ‘all black and pure white’ pictures, this idea is more remarkable for simplicity than accuracy. Quite apart from the important truth so well put by Sir William Gilbert, that ‘Hearts just as pure and fair, may beat in Belgrave Square, as in the lowlier air, of Seven Dials’, and that, if it were not so, we ought at all costs to treasure our slums as the only school of virtue, there are three significant facts which apply to both the French and the Russian revolution. The first is that they were not spontaneous. The second is that neither of them was a peasant revolution –- that is to say, while both of them attacked and massacred the landowners, it was not the tenants of these landowners who were active –- it was town mobs and mutinied soldiers. And the third and most significant of all, is that both of these revolutions cut short a period of high prosperity”[i]
One may ask what does the subject of aristocracy have to do with the cause of Douglas’s Social Credit economic monetary reform? Well, there are many parallels between the philosophical vision of Douglas Social Credit and the values of the aristocratic class and their way of life, such as the emphasis on leisure over that of mere servile work for the sake of work, the provision of absolute financial security to individuals (who are thus free from physical or material want or struggle), and the development of the cultural inheritance which can be freely passed on to future generations for their benefit in service to the individual. The values of Douglas Social Credit and of traditional aristocracy both stand in opposition to the systems of unfettered liberal capitalism and Marxist socialism. Both of these seek the elimination of traditional hierarchy, leisure, familial structure, ethnic and cultural identity, solidarity and genuine individual creativity and enforce real servility in place of real freedom. Both support the policies of full employment and economic slavery to the financial oligarchs via the monopoly credit and private banking. The individual capitalist or Marxist collective are just two means to the same end.
The dictionary description for ‘aristocracy’ means rule or leadership by the best and most virtuous. Social classes and ruling cultural elites are both a natural and necessary development in human societies and communities, even in societies that claim to be egalitarian, such as liberal democratic and communist regimes. Historic examples of this can be found in ancient Rome with the paterfamilias, in medieval Europe with knights and nobility, in ancient Japan with the samurai and daimyo classes or in the case of the indigenous peoples of Africa, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands, their traditional tribal chiefs and elders. In all these aristocratic hierarchies and societies, the merchant bourgeois classes whose main focus is on the accumulation of money and speculation with the same were ranked amongst the lower classes and subjected to that of the ruling aristocracy in the form of a nobility, monarchical dynasty, or warrior class, whose main goal was the fulfilling of one’s duty towards the community or family, the development of cultural values, or the maintenance of familial honour or posterity, rather than just mere accumulation of money and commercial pursuits. But with the advent of mass mania for equality and democratic levelling in the last century, the rule by the aristocratic class and its attendant values have been replaced by rule of the bourgeois merchant class and high finance masquerading as a façade of political and social freedom and equality, since no human society can function without some sort of hierarchy (whether it be for good or evil). Famous English writer C.S. Lewis elaborated this point perfectly in his 1943 “The Spectator” essay titled “Equality”: “Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, atheletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison”.[ii] It is a rather politically incorrect historical truth that many of the aristocratic families and royal dynasties which have ruled over the centuries have actually held back the tide of the excesses of the merchant bourgeois classes and the oligarchies of money and kept their domination in check by preventing them from defining economic and cultural life to varying extents. Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of the famous British TV series Downton Abbey put the matter quite simply and directly: “You see, the point of a so-called great family is to protect our (the people’s) freedoms."[iii]
Since people of the aristocratic classes are not exclusively pre-occupied with accumulation and commerce (at least in theory) and are financially independent and secure, they are free to devote themselves to higher ideals such as political, military, social service to the nation or people, academia, culture, or religious and spiritual causes. With this secure way of life, they can develop a sense of honour and noblesse oblige, that is, to dutifully take care of and protect the interests of all the servants and people under their charge or domain since they rely on the other classes under them as much as the common people rely on them for the achievement of the common good and to maintain the integrity of the community. The noble profession of domestic service undertaken by individuals hired by aristocratic households to perform most or all necessary household labour (cooking, cleaning, laundry, driving, etc.), manage the affairs of the household and provide daily services to the family members adds dignity, grace and order to a household and provides greater leisure time for the family. Such honourable service towards one another enriches the culture of both the principal families and persons in service as well as of society as a whole.
A first parallel between Douglas Social Credit and the aristocratic way of life can be seen in the lives of leisure led by the aristocratic societies and the leisure which could be provided and extended to all by a Social Credit economic and monetary system via the national citizen’s dividend. Thanks to the technological automation of industry, the need for human labour and hence full employment to supply society with all the goods and services it needs to survive and thrive is being progressively attenuated.
A second parallel can be found in the land, wealth, and assets developed and built up over long periods of time and many generations by aristocratic great families as being akin to the gradually developed and accumulated cultural heritage of a whole given society or nation. Social Credit holds that this inheritance is the basis for the National Dividend, as it is a universal credit for the more widely abundant goods and services that the cultural heritage has rendered available. This is also reflected in how aristocratic families are often intimately tied to the lands they hold and develop upon.
A third parallel can be found in Social Credit’s vision of society as a coinciding aristocracy of producers and democracy of consumers, where the goods and services produced reflect the real and genuine needs of the consuming people, just as the landed aristocratic households of the past coordinated farming production for their respective communities.
A fourth parallel can be found between Social Credit’s social philosophy which acknowledges the primacy of the individual over that of the collective whilst still maintaining a strong sense of solidarity between individuals and the independence of the aristocracy with their individual family structures and estates that were nevertheless socially bound to king, country, people and servants. Indeed, some members of the British noble aristocracy were ardent advocates of Douglas Social Credit, including Hastings Russell, the 12thDuke of Bedford and Charles Bennet, the 8thEarl of Tankerville.
But contrary to the civilized principles of Douglas Social Credit and the aristocracy, the rise of the financial oligarchs and their monopoly of credit has replaced values of solidarity and the noblesse obligeof the aristocrats with a selfish, narcissistic pursuit of money, and a ruthless and brutal competition for labour and economic security. Douglas again explains this precisely in his publication “Security: Institutional and Personal”:
“A great deal of our trouble in this country (United Kingdom) arises from the fact that, while we place great faith in the aristocratic ideal (if you prefer to call it the principle of leadership I shall not object), yet we have allowed all those influences which make the aristocratic ideal reasonable and workable to be sapped and wrecked by the exaltation of money as the sole certificate of greatness, and have allowed cosmopolitan and alien financiers to obtain a monopoly of money. We have retained the ideal and allowed the material of which it is constructed to become hopelessly degraded. In consequence, we are governed in the aristocratic tradition by a hypocritical and selfish oligarchy with one idea, and one fundamental idea only; the ascendancy of money, and the essential monopoly of it. The essence of the aristocratic tradition is detachment--the doing of things in the best way because it is the best way, not because you get something out of it. That requires that the leader shall be secure. No one is secure nowadays. At the root of the growing danger of Government and other embodiments of execution is the idea that human beings are all alike. So far from this being the case, I believe that as human beings develop they become increasingly different.”[iv]
This transition which removed aristocratic virtue and replaced it with obsession for money took place especially in Europe following the devastating First World War that dethroned and dissolved centuries-old dynasties and aristocracies. As Evelyn Waugh explained in his famous novel Brideshead Revisited:"these men must die to make a world for Hooper ... so that things might be safe for the travelling salesman, with his polygonal pince-nez, his fat, wet handshake, his grinning dentures"[v]
Thus, it is from this new world order of credit monopoly and it’s socialist-capitalist Hegelian dialect that the labour theory of value becomes the source and summit of life where everything is reduced to the lowest common denominator; that is the worship of money and one’s labour value in the formal economy of paid work, where human persons are reduced to mere productive commodities that must sell themselves to the highest bidder. Here it is fitting to quote the Biblical verse from 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the desire of money is the root of all evils”.[vi] From this punitive and de-humanizing mentality of infatuation of work for the sake of work, values such as leisure, financial security and independence (that don’t require paid work), creativity, contemplation, family life and free gifts (via inheritance or a National Dividend, etc.) are shunned or at least severely limited and only widely attainable by those who have acquired great wealth via the most scrupulous and avaricious means in the commercial world. On this point, the German philosopher, Joseph Pieper, had the following to say in his book Leisure: The Basis of Culture:
“Of course the world of work begins to become - threatens to become - our only world, to the exclusion of all else. The demands of the working world grow ever more total, grasping ever more completely the whole of human existence…. The inmost significance of the exaggerated value which is set upon hard work appears to be this: man seems to mistrust everything that is effortless; he can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired with toil and trouble; he refuses to have anything as a gift.”[vii]
What is most ironic about the current modern day and age of supposed ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ is that even in the feudal aristocratic society of medieval ‘Merrie England’, it is reported by reputable historians that the average peasant only had to work for 15 weeks of the year under pre-industrial conditions in order to provide for his family and he also enjoyed 150 official holidays each year.
By comparison, New Zealander Kerry Bolton has described the modern situation perfectly:
"When a culture comes to be based on the pursuit of wealth and neglects its moral, religious, social, and ethnic foundations, the measure of people becomes their ability to produce and consume in the economy of what has become an ossified Civilisation. Material well-being becomes the dominant aim; what today is called the ‘American Dream’ which is what the globalists want for the entire world. At this time of a culture’s cycle, when economic considerations dominate, and hence when the ruling class is an oligarchy or an elite of money, rather than a trained and disciplined nobility, the measure of a potential citizen is based on how that person might contribute to the economy."[viii]
Prime manifestations of the primacy of economics and economic values today are the forcing of both mothers and fathers to work outside the home and compete in the labour force and economic life, thus leaving the children in the care of third-party providers, such as commercial day care facilities. The so-called feminist movement of the last century, which claims to liberate women actually is a movement promoted by the financial oligarchs to transform women and mothers into more worker drones and mortgage slaves, thus suppressing family life and rendering the establishment and fostering of it hard, especially for the poor. The forcing men to take jobs outside of the family home (or at least its immediate vicinity) at the onset of the industrial revolution has been similarly harmful towards the health and security of the family unit and the raising of children. The neo-liberal capitalist economic policies that have been implemented by Western governments in the later part of the last century have promoted selfish individualistic materialism and unbridled lust for money as the defining societal culture and have enlarged gaps between rich and poor, destroyed communities, and crushed the poor and disadvantaged with an artificially imposed dog-eat-dog struggle, financial insecurity, and brutal competition. The financial oligarchs, private banking elites, and their political proxies have sought to reduce the power, freedom, and financial security of family units by atomizing individuals via both the legal and economic suppression of the hereditary principle with the abolishing of hereditary political structures, the imposition of death duties or inheritance taxes, property taxes and the abolishing of primogeniture and entail which breaks the structural unity of families and their landed estates and property, thus dissolving their financial and material patrimony and independence. And since the family unit by nature, is the basic and important building block of a human society, the systematic undermining and destruction of it has devastating consequences for the future health and survival of a given society, nation, or people.
As a result of this, many ancient aristocratic families have been bankrupted and forced to sell off their ancestral homes and estates, which they had spent centuries building up. Some were even reduced to a state of poverty and destitution, as they were unable to re-establish their place in a bourgeois world of money and frantic commercial competition and servitude. It is true, even in a lot of cases, that the ancient aristocratic classes and families have been subject to just as much unjust oppression, spoliation and disenfranchisement by the bourgeois merchants and financial oligarchs as the working poor and peasant classes have been. And it has historically almost always been the case that after a particular nation’s traditional aristocratic hierarchy is overthrown or destroyed, new unjust and immoral forms of hierarchy take their place. This was no less the case in the United States following the war of independence which established and promoted human chattel slavery, as Christopher Ferrara explains in his book Liberty, the God that Failed:
"The antebellum slave class provided the laboring foundation of what passed for a hierarchical society in a nation whose Founders - led by Washington, Madison, and Jefferson, all slave-owning Southerners -had proudly abolished all titles of nobility as a matter of constitutional law. The Confederate Constitution did like-wise. The Constitutions of both rival powers, in the same spirit of the Enlightenment from which the first had issued, leveled the field for the emergence of a Montesqueian commercial civilization based on ‘absolute’ Lockean property rights."[ix]
Marxist socialism is also a destructive economic ideology because it seeks to abolish all forms of hierarchy and authority, whether they be aristocratic, familial, religious or civil, and to prohibit, or at least severely limit, the ownership of private property and enterprise. Marxism seeks to reduce life itself to a purely materialistic concern involving eternal warfare between the differing classes of society as opposed to class solidarity. Although Marxism does acknowledge many of the injustices and shortfalls of liberal capitalism, its grave mistake is that it associates the excesses of greed and avarice of the bourgeois merchant class with all forms of hierarchy, property and authority. Of course, it must be admitted that some of the aristocracy and royal dynasties in recent history have aided and abated the causes of the merchant and banking oligarchs and thus rightly arouse condemnation.
Contrary to popular perception, the conventional opposites of liberal capitalism and Marxist socialism are actually very much alike in that they both seek the atomization of the individual, the dissolution of aristocratic, familial and spiritual structures and the monopolizing of property and credit into the hands of the few, whether that means private or public control. It is also interesting to note that there is strong supporting evidence that the Russian October revolution and Soviet Communism, a regime which murdered millions of Russian peasants and only made things horribly worse for the working classes, were secretly bankrolled by financiers on Wall Street. Another rather quite contradictory aspect of Marxist ideology is its supposed opposition to the bourgeois merchant class, but it is exactly the bourgeois culture which it is aspiring to achieve and emulate, albeit via state control and direction of economic life and production. Columbian reactionary writer Nicolas Gomez Davila makes this point precisely in a number of his aphorisms: “1372A man is called a Communist if he fights for the state to assure him a bourgeois existence…1060 The proletariat gravitates to the bourgeois life, just as bodies gravitate to the center of the earth… 1827 It is not so much the plebian merriment that revolutions unleash which frightens the reactionary as the zealously bourgeois order that they produce… 1680 The supposed enemies of the bourgeoisie are expert gardeners who prune its caduceus branches. Bourgeois society is not in danger as long as its enemies admire what it admires.”[x] In conclusion, both liberal capitalism and Marxist socialism seek to enforce full employment and the servile worker state. They both maintain the banker’s monopoly of credit by ensuring the financial slavery of the masses via control by both opposing economic systems in a kind of Hegelian dialect of eternal thesis and antithesis, a dialectic that we see played out ad nauseumin mainstream political and economic debates.
In saying all this, the bourgeois class can and should still have a place in society as its values of professionalism and industriousness are necessary for the building and maintenance of modern society’s services and infrastructure. However, for the sake of the common good, the bourgeois classes must be kept subordinated to that of the aristocratic culture and values, since it cannot, by itself, provide the necessary cultural, moral, and spiritual foundations for building and maintaining a just, healthy and truly prosperous civilization. Regarding this, Davila again states: “1609 The reactionary does not condemn the bourgeois mentality, but rather its predominance. What we reactionaries deplore is the absorption of the aristocracy and the people by the bourgeoisie.” And, to drive the point home, Davila also states quite humorously that: “Rich people are only harmless when there is an aristocracy to despise them.”[xi]
Aristocracy, with its values of honour, duty, service, refinement and leisure, is not a forever vanquished relic of the past, but the only real platform for a civilized future. Hence the need for arevival and fostering of aristocratic institutions and communities which can contribute to the restoration of future civilization, similar to how the monasteries preserved and fostered the rebirth of civilization in the dark ages in Europe during the late first millennium. With the implementation of Douglas’s Social Credit economic and monetary reform, financial security and leisure can be extended to all classes of society. All this can be achieved without exploiting, enslaving, or impoverishing the masses of ordinary people, as much of the labour today can be performed by machines instead. Since the dividend will provide free financial security to all, the preconditions for aristocracy, such as domestic service, can be revived thanks to increased purchasing power and financial security for both the principal families and their employed house staff, thus ensuring harmony and solidarity between the difference classes of society. Douglas Social Credit will provide the foundation for a rebirth and development of a truly aristocratic class and nobility that is not exclusively based upon accumulation of money and will guide society and the nation towards the common good and a higher cultural plain.
[i] Major Clifford Hugh Douglas, The Big Idea( Bullsbrook, Western Australia: Veritas Publishing Company, 1942), 30.
[ii] C.S. Lewis, Equality (London, United Kingdom: The Spectator, 1943), 8.
[iii] Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, Downton Abbey (London, United Kingdom: Julian Fellows, Carnival Films 2015) episode 4, season 6.
[iv] Major Clifford Hugh Douglas, Security, Institutional and Personal (London, United Kingdom: K.R.P. Publications, 1937), 5.
[v] Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (London, United Kingdom: Penguin Books Ltd 2011), 125.
[vi] Douay Rheims Bible (London, United Kingdom: Baronius Press 2013).
[vii] Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture (San Francisco, United States: Ignatius Press 2014), 84.
[ix] Christopher Ferrara, Liberty, the God that Failed (New York, United States: Angelico Press 2012), 324.