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Sunday, 08 April 2018 21:42

Jordan Peterson, Classical Liberalism, and Douglas Social Credit

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     Jordan Peterson, the now famous Psychology Professor from the University of Toronto, has sometimes identified himself as a Classical Liberal. With his rise as an internet phenomenon, the social philosophy of Classical Liberalism and the political/economic systems inspired by it appear to be receiving a fresh impetus (or is it merely a final breath of air?) as the modern society in which we live, a society originally based on the principles of Classical Liberalism, sees itself falling deeper and deeper into a post-modern Marxist tyranny, both economic and cultural.

     While Peterson says many true and beneficial things and has, I think, done much good in a world that is rapidly retreating from the Classical Liberal ideal of a ‘free society’, it is critically important for Social Crediters to come to the realization that, far from being the solution to our societal ills, Classical Liberalism is very much part of the problem and that the social philosophy which Douglas advocated and which provides Social Credit with its undergirding is something fundamentally different from Classical Liberalism. Insofar as any one word might accurately describe it, the social philosophy upon which Douglas established his Social Credit vision of society is ‘Christian’ and not Liberal. Political, economic, and social Liberalism, i.e., the idea that coercive institutions are only justified if they maximize the negative rights of the individual, the right ‘not to be interfered with’, is, in fact, a very subtle and insidious corruption of the Christian ideal for society as something that exists to serve the individual and to secure the conditions of his well-being … so that he, in turn, might serve God and his neighbour. 

     Classical Liberalism is a false ‘philosophy’ in the Douglasonian sense of that word; that is, it provides us with a false picture or conception of reality. Public policy that is based on such a false philosophy must, and indeed has, led to disastrous results. Indeed, while a society based on the principles of Classical Liberalism might be infinitely preferable to the sort of society in whose direction we are steadily travelling, it is largely on account of that Liberalism that we have arrived at our present position in the first place.

     Political, economic, and social Liberalism – whatever its intentions in theory – has proven itself to be a highly corrosive force which, in the name of the individual, has destroyed many of the institutions, laws, mentalities, and customs that have traditionally protected the cultural and moral integrity of our society. There is not a single phenomenon decried – and rightly decried – by social and cultural conservatives, whether we speak of legalized abortion, euthanasia, pornography, and same sex ‘marriage’, or the rise of feminism and the breakdown of marriage and the traditional family order, or the erosion of civic values, manners, and personal responsibility, or the proliferation of a vapid and international consumerist culture with American accents everywhere, or the phenomena of mass migrations and the imposition of multiculturalism on organic communities, that has not been defended and indeed been championed and brought about in the name of individual ‘rights’. All these manifestations of corruption and decay are just Liberalism working itself out as it inexorably tends to its final and logical conclusion: total social disorder and disintegration.

     Since nature abhors a vacuum, the tremendous deficiency in social cohesion and direction which Liberalism leaves in its wake, i.e., its amorphous mass of atomized individuals with no bonds with or obligations to anything greater than themselves and with no common philosophy or policy, merely leaves the door open for the will of the strongest individuals in society to impose itself de facto on the rest of the community:

“... the average man in the street, including the average politician, the average statesman, and the average person, does not even know where he is going, much less how to get there. That is one of the chief explanations of the chaos now, and it leaves the way clear to those who have a conception of the world they want. So long as they have a clear-cut conception, together with the use of the organisation which alone can achieve success, and which is actually working in the world, they will continue to be the force which imposes present policy on the world. That is why the system stays, ...”[1] 

     While it speaks of the rights of every man in theory, Liberalism invariably leads to a society which passively accepts the law of the jungle, i.e., of ‘might is right’, as the general organizing principle in its affairs. Wherever Liberalism has been adopted as the reigning social and political philosophy, we have seen the domination of vested interests in the realm of economic policy over and above the common good for decades now, if not centuries. This is not at all surprising given that, in our modern societies, the single most powerful element is composed of financial elites. It is only more recently that we are beginning to see the transformation of that financial and economic monopoly and domination into a total cultural and political domination … a domination that goes so far as to undercut the very first principles of the Liberal social order itself. The audacity and irrational demands of the ‘Social Justice Warriors’, demands which Peterson has rightly opposed with such vehemence, have made the self-destructive nature of Liberalism increasingly evident. It is by means of such phenomena as Social Justice ‘Warriorism’, sponsored by the powerful in high places, that Liberalism eventually degenerates into tyranny.

     The deception involved in Liberalism is so satanically clever because it advances, under the guise of ‘freedom’, a state of affairs in which the unjust domination of the powerful reduces the bulk of the society into one form or another of what could only be described as slavery.

     Douglas recognized that this Liberal mechanism of occult control has been one of the most significant flaws in the operation of political affairs in post-Reformation England:

“Now, if you remember, the religious aspect of the Civil War was freedom of conscience, so-called; in other words, you were to be allowed, and you very rapidly did have, under the Protectorate, 57 religions, all different, and the only reason that you did not have 570 religions was that people could not think quickly enough. I am not saying that any one of them was either right or wrong. I am not interested. The rather subtle point I am trying to make is this – that the philosophies in the mind of the people in the country became completely chaotic, and that left the way open to the dominance of a philosophy which was not any one of them. I am not suggesting that the philosophy before the rise of the Protectorate was a right philosophy. What I am saying is that the attempts of the Stuarts was to have a unified principle behind their policy, and that it was completely offset under the plea of freedom of conscience, out of which there could not possibly come a coherent policy, nor did there.”[2]

     The notion that Liberalism must end in tyranny is surely ironic, but it is entirely what one might have predicted on the basis of a careful observation of both the natural world and of human history. We live in an imperfect world, indeed, in a fallen world according to Christian revelation and teaching. In the world as we know it, and not as we perhaps might have it, the establishment of order and the achievement and preservation of authentic progress require intelligently directed effort in the service of a realistic policy-objective. Things don’t flourish in an optimal manner if you simply leave them alone. If, for example, you want to have a garden with food sufficient to feed your family, you must take measures to secure the garden and to ensure that the conditions necessary for the growth and well-being, or the flourishing, of your fruits and vegetables will be met. This requires building protective barriers like walls or fences to keep rodents and other animals out, the use of various interventional measures to hold insects and other pests at bay, and perhaps the use of irrigational equipment or fertilizers to assure optimal growing conditions. If, in the name of some abstract ideal of ‘freedom’, you leave the garden completely undefended and the plants unprovided for, i.e., at the complete mercy of the vagaries of nature, you should not be surprised if and when the plants fail to flourish and your family starves as a result.

      Indeed, it would appear that, for various reasons which I cannot either explore or properly substantiate in the course of this present article, Liberalism was deliberately introduced, or else inserted as the dominant political/economic ideology in the West, in order to ensure that culturally, socially, and morally, the West would be eventually shorn of all its defensive armaments and supportive infrastructures and effectively and thoroughly gutted as a result. Liberalism has, in fact, served as a sort of Trojan Horse by means of which the barbarians have been led inside the gates of the city. The barbarians, of course, are not the enemy as such, but merely the blind tools of destruction employed by the superior forces who designed and built the Trojan horse and who convinced the West to receive it as a great gift. We cannot reasonably expect to either turn back the hands of time to an earlier period when the fruits of Liberalism were not so poisonous, as perhaps Peterson hopes to do, or that a bold reassertion of Liberal principles in the face of the intensifying insanity can save us. Liberalism cannot help us; it is how we got here. To reverse our fortunes we must replace Liberalism, which is simply a secular corruption of the traditional Christian social order, with the social principles of true Christianity.

     The general errors of Classical Liberalism appear to be at least threefold in nature: 1) the ‘individual’ with which Liberalism is preoccupied seems to be more of a theoretical abstraction, along the lines of ‘Rational Economic Man’, than something which has concrete men and women who actually do exist as its referent; 2) the rights that Liberalism seeks to maximize or promote are framed mainly – if not also exclusively – in negative terms, i.e., ‘the right not to be interfered with’;[3] and 3) Liberalism has simultaneously denied that anything outside of the abstract individual, such as concrete communities, the natural law, or even God Himself could be the possessor of legitimate rights which might limit or constrain the alleged negative ‘rights’ of individuals. The only limit which Liberalism admits is that no one should have the right to prevent others from exercising their negative rights. In its most extreme variation, that of libertarianism, Liberalism reduces the state to the role of a ‘night watchman’ whose only powers and duties involve protecting life and property.

     Thankfully, C.H. Douglas recognized (at least implicitly at the beginning of his career as a public figure and more and more explicitly in his later writings) that the social philosophy upon which his economic and political proposals were based and which he regarded as the correct or right way of looking at the world was not Liberalism at all – whether classical or otherwise – but was fundamentally Christian in orientation. [4]  

     In his very first book, Economic Democracy, Douglas indicated that the Social Credit vision for society was based on “... the supremacy of the individual considered collectively over any external interest.”[5] Superficially, this may sound like Liberalism, but Douglas immediately proceeded to qualify his statement by insisting that what he was advocating must not be confused with either anarchism or individualism (aka Liberalism), and, least of all, with any sort of collectivism:

     “First of all, it does not mean anarchy, nor does it mean exactly what is commonly called individualism, which generally resolves itself into a claim to force the individuality of others to subordinate itself to the will-to-power of the self-styled individualist. And most emphatically it does not mean collectivism in any of the forms made familiar to us by the Fabians and others.”[6]

     The contrasts with anarchism (i.e., the claim that no coercive institutions are justified) and collectivism (i.e., the claim that coercive institutions are justified because the individual is relatively unimportant and exists to serve the group in any case) are pretty stark and do not require exhaustive clarification. But Douglas also differentiates the Social Credit position on the nature and rights of coercive institutions from that of Liberalism.

     Social Credit differs from Liberalism precisely because it eschews, as does Christianity, the three errors that were mentioned earlier.

     Yes, groups and associations and society generally exist to serve the individual, so that the individual can survive and flourish. But the ‘individualism’ of Social Credit is not the rugged, self-sufficient individualism of the libertarian or the ‘me first attitude’ of the Classical Liberal. It is, instead, a social individualism which recognizes that human individuals exist as ‘persons-in-community’ and do not and cannot exist apart from the family and other organic associations of which they form a part. Because human individuals are dependent on these groups for their survival and flourishing, and even for their very existence, it must become clear that the functional necessities of these groups, i.e., what these groups require in order for them to continue in existence and to flourish, must also be fully respected for the sake of the individual. That is, if we seek to serve the individual, to maximize his legitimate claims to autonomy and freedom and to promote his well-being, it is not the abstract individual, nor this or that individual, but rather each and every concrete individual who must receive, on an equitable basis and in the context of his various organic bonds with others, his due share in the benefits of political, economic, and cultural association.

     From this it follows that the correct social order must not seek to merely maximize the negative rights of individuals, but to secure various legitimate positive rights for them. A positive right or a positive freedom is the guarantee that one will have access to various resources, whether economic, political, or even cultural, so that one can choose how to live one’s life and without which no number or degree of negative rights are of any use whatsoever. It can be entirely legitimate to impose limits on the negative freedom of this or that individual in order to ensure that all concrete individuals in the community possess the kind and degree of positive freedom that is their due if the true purposes of political and economic association are to be adequately achieved.

     From a Social Credit perspective, what matters above all is that associations, which only exist in the first place in order to serve the well-being of concrete individuals, can fulfill that purpose well. The demands of function must therefore trump any theoretical claim of this or that individual, or of some abstract individual, to not be interfered with. The assertion of various negative ‘rights’ on the part of the individual must be subordinated to the functional necessities of associations so that all individuals can be properly and satisfactorily served by the association in question.

     Individual bankers, for instance, can and ought to be forced to abide by the Social Credit monetary policy, i.e., the ‘Distribution of Credit’ (even if their personal benefits in terms of power and profit would be less than they are under the current ‘Monopoly of Credit’), if the imposition of that policy is necessary for an economic association to fulfill its true purpose well and to optimize, in the long-run, the economic advantages of every individual (including those of the bankers themselves). Economic Liberalism, i.e., the unrestricted free reign of the market (which exists nowhere on earth in a completely pure form in any case) is incompatible with Social Credit’s insistence on the priority of function over any abstract preoccupation with ‘freedom’.

     In the same way and for the same basic reason, political, social, and cultural Liberalism are also incompatible with a Social Credit and Christian society. To briefly cite just one other example, the old ‘White Australia’ policy is complete nonsense to the Liberal; it was an arbitrary and unjust limitation on individual migrants by the state …. migrants who, under the existing ‘Monopoly of Credit’, might be of great financial and hence economic importance. If we are all just atomized individuals floating in the ether, how can any ‘discrimination’ not based on financial or economic considerations be justified? But to the Social Crediter (and to the true Christian we might add) who is keen on minimizing social conflict and in protecting organic identities and cultures for the benefit of the individuals who were organically connected, racially and culturally, to the society that gave them birth, such a policy made a great deal of practical sense.

     Thus we see that for the Social Crediter, true freedom in association is not the ability to do whatever one wants within the widest possible limits (i.e., the night watchman state of the libertarian ideologue), but rather the ability of each and every individual to exercise his free initiative while calling, to the fullest extent possible, on the resources of society to help him achieve his legitimate aims.[7] From this point of view “... there is no difficulty in conceiving a condition of individual control of policy in the common interest, ...”[8] 

     In other words, all people should be free to exercise individual control of policy (both negatively and positively) so long as it does not threaten the common interest, i.e., so long as it is not anti-social. The common interest is what lies in the interest of each individual; i.e., it refers to those interests which all individuals necessarily have in common, or common policy.[9] And what is our most general common policy? Our most general common policy is for the various political, economic, and cultural associations which comprise a nation to be able to fulfill their true purposes to the extent that this is objectively possible and with the least amount of trouble to everyone. Social Credit insists that this common policy must be respected and fulfilled and this, in turn, requires reigning in all those who would make an abstract or theoretical ‘freedom’ an idol.

 

---------------

[1] C.H. Douglas, The Policy of a Philosophy (Vancouver: The Institute of Economic Democracy, 1977), 10.

[2] C.H. Douglas, The Policy of a Philosophy (Vancouver: The Institute of Economic Democracy, 1977), 4.

[3] The exception to this would be so-called ‘Welfare Liberalism” which also recognizes the legitimacy of positive rights and freedoms.

[4] As Douglas wrote: “… ‘Freedom’ does not interest people, as soon as they realise that it does not mean being free.” C.H. Douglas, The Big Idea (Bullsbrook, Australia: Veritas Publishing Company, 1983), 64. In contrast to the Liberal’s promotion of an abstract ideal of ‘freedom’, Social Credit is interested in providing each individual with real, concrete freedoms.

[5] C.H. Douglas, Economic Democracy, 3rd ed. (London: Stanley Nott, 1931), 5.

[6] Ibid., 5.

[7] Cf. C.H. Douglas, Economic Democracy, 3rd ed. (London: Stanley Nott, 1931), 142.

[8] Ibid., 135.

[9] Cf. C.H. Douglas, Security Institutional and Personal (Liverpool: K.R.P. Publications Ltd., 1945), 12. “To agree upon a policy, it is only necessary to find a common factor of human experience. There are certain people who foolishly say that it is impossible to agree upon a policy. I think that this is ridiculous. It is sometimes difficult to get agreement upon a policy for the other fellow, but there is no difficulty in getting an agreement about a policy for oneself.”

Last modified on Sunday, 08 April 2018 22:02

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3 comments

  • Comment Link Dale Friday, 15 June 2018 06:47 posted by Dale

    Also, why is Jordan Peterson against nationalism? Nationalism is completely natural and should be practiced by everyone like it's allowed to be with the Asians. I say allowed because if the money power wanted to push multi-culturalism and racialism on Asians it would be happening to them too. Super nationalism is bad, not ordinary nationalism.

  • Comment Link Dale Friday, 15 June 2018 06:35 posted by Dale

    Jordan Peterson acts like an agent of the money power.

    Also, while i agree Christianity has some good in it... I hate that religion and will never go back to that damn book. Creation is probably real, but that book is a lie written and inspired by men.

  • Comment Link Will Waite Thursday, 12 April 2018 19:08 posted by Will Waite

    I am not sure that you have characterised Peterson's views correctly though I agree with your comments on untrammelled Liberalism. Something I have always found refreshing about Peterson is his views on the stabilising influence of Western Culture and the credit he gives to Christianity for that culture. He has taken his cues about the importance of the individual directly from Christianity itself. It makes sense to me when he makes the connection between the Logos (loosely word), the power of the individual for creative expression and how creation, in the beginning, came about when God spoke into existence order from chaos. Every individual has the power to bring forth order from chaos by speaking the truth and from this is derived, at least in large part, the individual's importance according to Peterson.

    I will quote the opening paragraph of his book "Maps of Meaning"

    Something we cannot see protects us from something we do not understand. The thing we cannot see is culture, in its intrapsychic or internal manifestation. The thing we do not understand is the chaos that gave rise to culture. If the structure of culture is disrupted, unwittingly, chaos returns. We will do anything - anything - to defend ourselves against that return.

    I also recommend this video which you've probably already seen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nyw4rTywyY0

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