BECAUSE all too often politics has been used by the unscrupulous to acquire
advantages for special privilege at the expense of public welfare, it has gained for
itself, in the minds of many, a noxious odor. Yet this is merely one more example of
the principle — exemplified by aviation, and still more recently and forcefully by
atomic fission — that anything which can be used for good can also be used or evil.
Cosmic alchemists must be realistic, willing to face facts without being influenced
by popular prejudice. And the fact concerning important changes in the social
structure, by which people can be benefitted, is that the only way they can be brought
to pass is through politics. Under a democracy, those elected to office are supposed to
enact legislation that will carry out the desires of the people. If they pass laws
disapproved by the people, it is likely they will not be returned to office at the next
election. But even in a dictatorship, the dictator, to remain in power, must be able to
sell his ideas to his immediate henchmen, and if he is to be successful in any really
large enterprise he must have the willing support also of a large portion of the people.
It is the desire of the cosmic alchemist that all the people of the world shall make as
great intellectual and spiritual progress as possible, and for reasons briefly stated in
Chapter 1 he believes this can be accomplished only by providing freedom from
want, freedom from fear, freedom of expression and freedom of worship to all the
people of the world.
These freedoms, or any one of them, can only be gained by the people of the world
exerting sufficient political pressure upon their leaders to cause them to strive to
devise means to attain them.
Already, in the two preceding lessons, it has been shown that only through proper
organization can poverty and war be abolished. And such organization is possible
only under governments which permit it. That is, they are dependent upon politics.
The fear of want and the fear of war are not the only fears harbored by man. There is
the fear of death, the fear of disease, the fear of failure, and many other fears. Nor can
there be freedom from fear among a people who are persecuted because they have
different religious views than those advocated by the state. And the only manner in
which man can be freed from these other fears is through adequate knowledge and
freedom to govern his actions by this knowledge.
When he understands after-death conditions, he should no longer fear death. When
he understands how to protect himself from disease, and gains the viewpoint of the
spiritual alchemist relative to it and other disagreeable experiences, he will no longer
fear them. But to gain the knowledge which will thus banish fear, he must have
access to the facts. And this he can have only where there is freedom of expression
and freedom of worship.
From the standpoint of the cosmic alchemist the best kind of government for a people
is one that gives no undue advantage to any group or class, but which affords the
greatest opportunity for every individual to develop his highest talents, and which
affords him an incentive to use these talents in a manner that will benefit others as
well as himself.
As any astrologer quickly can demonstrate, people are not born equal in the sense
that they have equal natural aptitudes which can be developed into abilities. But all
should be given the opportunity to develop into abilities such natural aptitudes as
their charts of birth show they do have. Regardless of race, sex, creed or color, people
should be given equal opportunity to work, equal pay for doing the same work, equal
political opportunities, equal educational opportunities, equal social opportunities
and equal recreational opportunities.
But they cannot have such equal opportunities if they permit the form of government
under which they live to be selected for them by some hereditary strain, by some
special privilege group, or in any other manner than through self-determination. And
even when there is self-determination there are always individuals seeking special
privileges and always groups striving to gain unfair advantage over other groups.
Here in democratic America, for instance, groups which largely submerge their
selfish interests in time of war in the all-out struggle for national victory, in time of
peace work almost exclusively for their own advantage with little regard for the
effect upon other groups or upon the nation. Many of these groups subsidize press
publicity and maintain political lobbies in the effort to gain the advantages they
desire. Other groups work as energetically to thwart these efforts and instead gain
advantages for themselves.
Agriculture works vigorously for high prices for agricultural products, and
vigorously opposes high prices for the products of industry; while industry works for
high prices for industrial products and low prices for the products of agriculture.
The labor unions struggle continually for full employment and to raise wages; while
organized capital seeks a condition where enough people are unemployed that it can
always hire help and force wages down.
Those on the public pay roll work for higher taxes, so that money may be available to
enable them to retain their jobs; while the general public works to have taxes, which
they must pay, lowered. And states compete greedily for government appropriations
which will benefit themselves at the expense of the tax payers of all the states; and
cities and counties strive to grab as great a share as possible of the available tax
money.The movies organize to find means of drawing patronage that otherwise would spend
their money on sports or other forms of entertainment; and other types of
entertainment form groups to draw trade from the movies.
These groups too often ignore the public welfare and exert political pressure to get
legislation passed that benefits themselves at the expense of the nation. In other
words, they enter that class of individuals which we term special privilege. And
special privilege means that others are deprived of the equal opportunities which are
essential for the greatest intellectual and spiritual progress of the people of the world.
To correct or prevent the injustices of special privilege, people must have the
opportunity to select their leaders and to bring pressure to bear to get just laws made.
But this opportunity alone suffices little until a people are educated enough properly
to reason correctly from facts, and have access to all the relevant facts.
It has often been pointed out that the backward peoples of the world are not yet ready
for self government. These peoples, it is urged, are so ignorant of what kind of
government is good for them that they can readily be induced to place in power
individuals who would rob and enslave them. And it is undoubtedly true that having
had little access to facts, and no experience in self government, they would make
mistakes. But Germany was not considered a backward nation when it was robbed
and enslaved by Hitler’s cunning propaganda, nor was Italy considered a backward
nation when Mussolini was given power of life and death over its people.
The United States was not considered a backward nation when in 1943 it permitted
two special privilege groups — the American Astronomical Society and the
American Society of Magicians — to get astrological broadcasts ruled off the air.
Nor when, as at present, the big newspapers and magazines are either owned,
subsidized, or otherwise largely under the control of big corporations which are
interested in suppressing or distorting facts which if widely known would prevent
them making huge profits.
Yet if self determination is to result in proper benefits to the people who exercise it,
the people, whether of a backward nation or a progressive nation, must have access to
as many facts as possible relative to what will give them the most opportunities, and,
instead of being led into slavery or poverty by some demagogue or some self-seeking
group, must have the intelligence to discern inversive propaganda and to recognize
and work for conditions which will really benefit them.
Capable Leaders Needed
–In the attainment of these benefits they should enlist the services of capable
leaders. Government should be managed, not by individuals who muddle even their
own small affairs, but by the best possible ability obtainable. For that matter, the fact
may as well be faced that under any form of government that has existed in the past or
is discernible in the future, the many are always governed by the few. So long as there
are those with more energy, intelligence and ambition than their fellows, these will
find some means by which to direct the destinies of other people. The ability of the
cleverest to influence and manage the less clever cannot be abolished by law. But
proper legislation can prevent the clever from gaining too great power and wealth at
the expense of others.
When a person is taken to a hospital because of a serious accident, the relatives do not
gather and take a vote on what shall be done for the patient. Instead, they select as
good a surgeon as they can find, permit him to do what he thinks is best, and hold him
responsible for results. Realizing that the surgeon is a specialist in his line, they make
no attempt to dictate to him what to do. Such undue interference would jeopardize the
life of the patient.
Nor is any successful business of size conducted by permitting numerous share
holders to vote on the many decisions that from time to time arise. Instead, a board of
directors is elected, or a group of men of ability selected, to pass judgment on
policies; and these commonly select some one individual to hold responsible for the
administration of these policies.
In the San Joaquin Valley some years ago a farming colony was promoted in which
every individual was to have an equal voice in every decision affecting the colony.
They had a huge tract of land, part lying on one side of the road and part on the other
side. It had been decided to use practically the whole tract for raising small grain. No
difficulty arose until the plowing had been finished and the time for seeding was at
An argument then started whether to seed the north side piece first, or the south-side
piece. As the result of the argument a meeting was called in the assembly building to
put the matter to vote. A few more practical men implored the rest to get the seed in
the ground with no delay as already it was time for the rains. But there were numerous
long winded speakers, and they did not finish on the first evening, so that the vote was
postponed until the next formal meeting a week hence. Nor did the speakers finish on
this occasion. It took three weeks, with a meeting but once a week, to get the matter
settled. In the meantime the rains arrived and mostly passed. Adjoining farms had
splendid crops that year; but the seed put in the ground three weeks too late failed to
mature a crop. As a consequence the colony disbanded and the land was taken for its
What every business concern needs, and what every government needs, was needed
by this colony. It needed men of exceptional knowledge and ability in positions of
responsibility, with sufficient authority to enable them to carry out their decisions.
This much certainly should be clear: To have a good government, we must have the
best possible brains to run it.
This brings up the question as to how the best possible brains may be secured for such
tasks, and how they may be prevented from using their authority for the advancement
of personal interests rather than for those for which they were selected. Large
business concerns seem to have solved this difficulty rather well. For important
positions they customarily pick men with training and experience along the line of
the position they are expected to fill. These men are judged, not by their vote getting
ability, but by their past performance in other positions of some responsibility.
A railway president may have started with pick and shovel on a section gang, and
have worked up through the various departments. Through long experience and
arduous training he is a specialist in railroading. So, likewise, the superintendent of a
manufacturing plant often makes his start as a mechanic, then becomes foreman of a
department, and finally achieves still higher. There is, no doubt, some favoritism
shown in business advancement; but the competition of other concerns is so keen that
favoritism is largely routed in the interest of self-preservation. Consequently, we
find the men at the head of present-day large business and manufacturing concerns.
almost without exception, to be men of outstanding ability.
But can we say as much of those we select to run our government? Are the governors
of our various states as thoroughly trained in the principles and practices of sound
administration, as the presidents of railroads are trained in the principles and
practices of railroading? Or take the men at the head of our national government and
compare them in ability with the men at the head of nation-wide merchandising
concerns, at the head of nation-wide banking systems, and at the head of
manufacturing organizations with nation-wide distribution.
Merchandising, banking, or manufacturing cannot be successfully carried out on a
large scale by men who have spent most of their lives occupied with something
entirely different. Yet the science and art of government is more difficult than any of
these. An MD must pass four years at medical school, must pass examinations, and
usually must serve a considerable period as intern at some hospital before he is
permitted to practice. A lawyer also must have requisite schooling and pass certain
tests before being admitted to the bar. But a jack-of-all-trades who turns his hand a
few years to politics, if he is a convincing talker and a hail-fellow-well-met, need
know nothing of governmental principles nor have had any experience in
administration, to win enough votes to get him a post where he exercises much
influence over the destinies of his fellow man.
This is common knowledge; but what can be done about it? It is to be hoped that
legislation and political administration may be critically studied and formulated
before long into definite sciences to be taught in colleges. Any individual, then, who
becomes a candidate for a given office, should be required to show, by his college
certificate, or by passing special examinations prepared for those who have studied at
home, that he is thoroughly familiar with what already is definitely known about
government. Instead of having to experiment on the public with every idea that enters
his mind, to find out if it actually will work, he should be thoroughly familiar,
through his studies, with ideas that already have been tried out, and to what extent,
and why, they have or have not, succeeded. The starting point of every political
career should be a thorough schooling in the science of government.
But because a man or woman has a diploma that entitles the holder to practice a given
profession is no assurance of real ability. Ability is tested out and increased by the
actual application of knowledge No one would think of giving a newly graduated
engineer charge of some great project. He would be tried out, and given opportunity
to gain experience, in connection with smaller and less important ventures. As he
demonstrated actual ability through doing, he would be advanced to more important
positions. If past performance warranted, in time he might be placed at the top.
Because he had proved himself the best man for the position, the position would be
Dictatorship and Aristocracy
–Of all the forms of government, when an unusually talented man is at its head, a
dictatorship or an absolute monarchy is the most efficient. In either case authority is
so centralized that the man-power and the material resources of a country can be
organized and directed in a manner that is quite impossible under other forms of
government. There is one man at the top whose word is law. Making a survey of the
country’s needs, he decides how much acreage shall be placed in this or that crop, and
how many men shall be engaged in the production of each commodity. Without red
tape or long delays the energies and the man-power of the country are thus
completely mobilized and directed into channels of production that yield the most in
the way of goods and public improvements for the nation.
Why, then, are not dictatorships more popular?
This we can perceive readily, not merely from theory but by reviewing the conditions
in this and other countries during each of the World Wars. Because of the threat to the
existence of the country, in war time there is necessity for the utmost efficiency; and
to gain this efficiency the authority of those in high position is increased until there is
virtually a dictatorship. Those who were not engaged directly as combatants were
told what to do. Factories that had been built to manufacture peacetime articles were
commanded to manufacture war products. There was conscription of men. People,
regardless of wealth, were regulated in the amount of various foods they might
procure, and in the amount of various products they might buy. Very little account
was taken of the desires or inconveniences of individuals. The only thing considered
of consequence was whether it helped or hindered the nation as a whole.
Thus it is under a dictatorship the freedom of the people to decide the kind of lives
they will live is taken from them. They are slaves of the state. A man, or group of
men, at the top decide what is good for people, and force them to live according to this
decision. And under competent guidance such a dictatorship may make for the
utmost in industrial advancement. But it tends to prevent the development of talent
and individual initiative except such as has the approval of those in authority. The
dictator may determine what religion alone is to be permitted in the country, may
decide that all facts shall be suppressed except those favoring his regime, and may
divert the wealth and resources of the nation to furthering his own ambitions.
The slave, in the olden days, was usually well taken care of; and when he exhibited
promise often the opportunity was given him to develop his talents. But in spite of
being parts of a more efficient industrial machine, men find both slavery and rigid
dictatorship irksome. A dictator has the power, and it was thus used by both Hitler
and Mussolini, to deprive people of the things they otherwise could have had, to
encourage fear, to curtail expression and to prevent religious freedom. Either a
dictator or an absolute monarch has it within his power to thwart all the things for
which the cosmic alchemist works, including freedom from want, freedom from
fear, freedom of expression and freedom of worship.
When a man, or a group of men, gain absolute authority over others, they are very apt
to abuse their power to their own selfish advantage. As a matter of fact there have
been only a few monarchs, such as Napoleon, Louis XIV, Ivan the Terrible, Peter and
Frederick who have been real rulers. Most of the others, like Kaiser Wilhelm who
merely voiced the thoughts and policies of the Junker crowd, and Hirohito who was
but a front and took orders from the Japanese military caste, have been the tools of
dazzle, display and seeming authority through which a powerful and secret group has
been able to work its will upon the people. And this will, as revealed by the history of
monarchies, with the gaining of complete authority by the few, has almost always
been to practice oppression on those less fortunately situated.
The aristocracy of the past not only despoiled the people of their wealth, but it used
them, as hunters now use dogs in the pursuit of dangerous game, in the sport and
pastime of war. Nor do we find, with rare exceptions, that aristocracy has nursed and
developed the highest in culture. The Greek drama was encouraged and supported by
the business men of that day. The fortunes of Roman gentlemen also made possible
the literary works of Horace, Lucretius and Virgil. The merchant guilds erected the
Gothic cathedrals, and the treasures of the banking house of Medici were largely
responsible for the renaissance. Very seldom has aristocracy contributed either
influence or ability toward the development of those things that make for higher
standards of living, or for an appreciation of art, music and literature among the
Socialism or Private Enterprise
–The only safeguard the people have against exploitation and oppression is to retain
in their own hands the power to select their leaders and to change their leaders and
through these leaders to form and administer just laws. And even when such
democratic processes prevail there are always present those who seek to have laws
passed which will give them special privileges. The only safeguard against them is an
enlightened and vigorously interested public opinion.
Thus while it is perfectly clear that the cosmic alchemist should work to establish
democratic processes throughout the world, and for the enlightenment which
prevents special privilege from using democratic processes to exploit the people, it is
not yet clear to what extent government ownership and management of natural
resources, industry, agriculture, business and all other economic activities should
supplant private enterprise. But this is the great issue before the world today, and a
struggle for supremacy between the two systems is inevitable. It is a struggle that
relates not only to the manner in which the affairs of a particular nation are to be
conducted but, unless each system is modified to embrace many features of the other
and thus presents a modified form acceptable to all important nations, it is a struggle
that inevitably will pit nation against nation and system against system in a contest
for world mastery.
Agricultural people are dependent upon their land for a livelihood. It is quite natural
of them, therefore, to desire to own the land. Owning the land gives them a feeling of
security, a feeling that they have control of the source of their living. For this reason a
farming population resists socialism which would deprive them of the private
ownership of their lands.
As a people turn from agriculture to industrialism they wish to retain the same feeling
of security that they had in the past. Now, however, instead of being able to raise what
they eat, and what they wear, they must purchase these with the returns from
industrial work. Such employment, however, unlike the work they did upon the land
they owned, must be furnished by some organization. Unless they can find an
organization willing to employ them they cannot secure the necessities of life. In the
past private enterprise even in normal times has not been able to furnish jobs for all
willing to work, and under exceptional conditions the distress resulting from
unemployment — some 14 million being forced into idleness in the U. S. a few years
after the commencement of the Pluto Period in 1930 — has been intolerable and
The worker feels, and rightly, that he is entitled to security. A job is not to be owned
in the same way that land is to be owned; but he feels that he should have quite as
much control of it. The socialist solution is for the government to own the resources
and control the organizations and the jobs. Instead of being initiated and conducted
by privately owned organizations in competition with other privately owned
organizations, all would be conducted through the avenue of politics.
As opposed to this political method of conducting affairs we have the development
of corporations, trade associations, trade unions, syndicates, and chain groups. In
competition these develop a high degree of efficiency, the most efficient often
absorbing the others until, like J. P. Morgan and Co., which exercises a governing
power over huge groups of railroads and industries through its banks, they are so
powerful that they have little to fear from competition. At this stage, unless these
great organizations take unusual care to function for the general welfare quite as
much as for profits, it is necessary for the government to establish regulatory
We have the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Interstate Commerce Commission, the
Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission, all empowered to
prevent unfair practices of huge organizations. Yet it certainly is an unfair practice
for the great privately owned and managed enterprises to acquire either so much of
the raw materials or the machinery of production that millions are made poverty
stricken through inability to have access to these essentials for production. And in
addition, this enforced idleness and unproductivity detracts from the wealth and
prosperity of the nation and of the world.
While there is full employment it may be wise for the government to permit private
enterprise to handle business and industry. subject to certain government controls.
But it certainly is not wise to depend entirely on private industry to furnish that full
employment which alone can give freedom from want. Here government should step
in. Instead of abolishing the private ownership of business, which is the method of
socialism, the government could set up adequate reserves, to be used in the
construction of roads, public buildings, canals, dams for flood control and generation
of electrical power, irrigation systems, reforestation, erosion checks and other things
beneficial to the whole population. Such a reserve set aside for the purpose of
absorbing the unemployed in constructive government work would, through keeping
money in circulation, be of advantage to everyone, and be an insurance against hard
But whether accomplished through this method or through a still wider application of
the principles of socialism, full employment must be insured. Those who are
dependent upon employment will then have that feeling of security that all people
demand. Not only will it make for freedom from want, but people will not live in fear
of being deprived of a means of getting a livelihood. And we may be quite confident
that they will never cease struggle and agitation until, either through the wisdom of
those engaged in private enterprise, through governmental regulation, or through the
application of the principles of socialism, they have this security.
Whatever prosperity now exists in the world is largely due to organization by which
leaders or managers have the control of large resources. Under either system of
government, then, unless the benefits that so largely determine prosperity are
relinquished, the managers must be given access to vast material means that they can
induce labor to function, and that raw materials and machines may be had in
quantities and handled in such ways as to afford economical production. Under any
system, to free people from want sufficiently that they may develop higher standards
of life and culture, there must be huge concentrations of wealth and vast groups of
well organized men. The problem that confronts each political system therefore is the
same: how to secure the most efficient managers, how to insure that these managers
will perform their functions in the most efficient manner, and how to insure that they
will utilize the products of combined wealth and organization for the general welfare
instead of for the selfish ambition of the few.
Because competition weeds out those with less ability the managers of big
corporations in this country usually are efficient. But too often the corporations are
managed to insure immense profits to their stockholders rather than for the benefit of
a wider public. Large oil interests are accused of attempting to gain, through corrupt
public officials, vast holdings that belong to the people. Power interests are believed
to be engaged in grabbing natural resources and making the public pay usurious
profits for their development. It is charged that there is a monopoly on the production
of aluminum. To the extent private enterprise, whether through gigantic corporations
or through smaller groups, shows the desire to benefit themselves unduly at the
expense of the public, to that extent will the political method have to be invoked to
In this country, up to the present time, the political method has been applied through
politically appointed groups given legal authority to exercise a certain amount of
control. That is, when people or groups do not exercise their functions in a manner
conducive to public welfare, laws are passed and agents appointed to administer
these laws. Thus as affecting the well being of the consuming public we have the
pure-food act, the drug act, meat-inspection laws, fire prevention regulations,
building regulations, and laws of sanitation. In the interest of the employee we have
laws regulating the hours of work, the conditions surrounding work, the amount of
compensation, and safeguarding against dangerous machinery. Then there are laws
governing the employer’s liability and determining how and when wages shall be
paid. Other regulations are imposed on banks and institutions of trust. Those who
enter certain professions and callings also must, in the interest of the public, prove
This political method of regulating affairs is on the increase. Wherever and whenever
an industry or a group fails to control itself in the interest of the general public, the
public, through the political method, is compelled to assume the responsibility of that
control. Thus in this country it would seem that the amount of control exercised by
the government, and the extent to which it takes over and manages business and
industry in the future, will depend upon the deportment of private enterprise and the
deportment of organized labor.
Telephone service throughout the nation can be completely paralyzed by the strike of
the 263,000 members (1946) of the National Federation of Telephone Workers, lack
of steel can cause a shut down of the majority of the factories in the nation should the
800,000 CIO steelworkers (1946) go on strike, a strike of the Railway Brotherhoods
can tie up transportation, a strike of the A.F.L. and CIO packing house workers can
cut off the supply of meat from the nation, a strike of the 500,000 members (1946) of
the United Mine Workers can deprive the nation of coal, and strikes of other unions
can prevent the people of the nation from getting clothing, groceries, gas, light, local
transportation and other things on which life directly depends or upon which the
ability of people to continue productive activity depends.
It is not in the public interest, and should not be tolerated, that one group should
starve all the other people of the nation, cause illness and hardship to many thousands
through lack of heat, or prevent the other people of the nation from continuing the
productive activities upon which their subsistence and the welfare of the nation
depend. Therefore, when a strike or a lockout seriously threatens the welfare of the
nation there seems to be no recourse but for the government, at least temporarily, to
take over the industry under dispute.
The danger under the system of private enterprise is that big business will control the
government to its own advantage and to the disadvantage of the people as a whole.
Think, for instance, of the power to influence public sentiment of such an
organization as the National Association of Manufacturers with a membership
(1946) of 14,500 corporations employing 10 million workers.
The danger under the system of politics (socialism) is that the government will be
controlled by a few whose good fellowship, wire-pulling and political strategy are
able to influence the greatest number of votes, and that productivity and distribution
will be handled by cumbersome bureaus and politically appointed managers whose
ability is chiefly confined to getting votes for the higher-ups.
Under any system of government the many will be ruled by the few. But the few who
run things under socialism may be wire-pullers and their friends who are unable
efficiently to handle production and distribution, while the few who run things under
private enterprise (capitalism) may be efficient but use their abilities for their own
advantage instead of for the benefit of the public.
Socialism thus has its disadvantages, and private enterprise has other disadvantages.
In each case the disadvantages chiefly relate to the personal equation of its managers.
Not only does this personal equation change from year to year, and not only is it
different in different countries, but just now it is difficult to determine the effect
atomic fission and perhaps the utilization of the cosmic ray will have on industrial,
political and international relations.
If we look back in history to the end of the Stone Age, we find that the use of iron
changed not only methods of warfare, but also radically changed society. Then, at a
much later date, gunpowder again changed methods of warfare, political boundaries,
and the economic situation of many countries. Within our own time aircraft have
once more changed the methods of warfare, narrowed the world to a space which
makes of it, relative to the ease of reaching any part, merely a small country, and has
revolutionized industry. And now comes atomic fission, a great new force to be used
for good or evil.
In view of great changes which lie immediately ahead, and in view of the as yet
unknown personal equation of the leaders in that near future, it seems wiser to place
reliance on observation rather than on untried theory. Each system is now being tried
out on a large scale in different parts of the world. It should be apparent, therefore,
before too long, from the actual results attained in these areas, whether private
enterprise or socialism will do most to insure all the people of the world freedom
from want, freedom from fear. freedom of expression and freedom of worship.
Every Nation, Every Group and
Every Individual Should Get a
–In a properly organized world, even as in a properly organized nation or in a
properly organized industry, there must be division of labor, specialization of parts,
and cooperation between those parts. Certain areas of the world are better fitted to
grow or manufacture certain products, and other areas are more suited to producing
other things. Each type of merchandise should be produced where conditions are best
suited to its production. And it should be a function of the United Nations
Organization to provide facilities for the equitable exchange of the products of one
region for the products of other regions.
When world planning or national planning is supplemented by compulsory measures
which regiment the people and force them into narrow grooves of activity, it
interferes with freedom of expression. But lack of world planning and national
planning is highly wasteful and interferes with freedom from want. It is not the
planning which is distasteful, but the compulsion which forces people to follow
activities they do not desire.
Through lack of national planning many of the natural resources of the U.S. have
been squandered. Timber now sadly needed for paper pulp and for building homes
was logged off in earlier days with no provision for reforestation. Oil was pumped
from the underground reservoirs and used up with needless extravagance. Farm land
was single-cropped to death until much is now worthless. In other areas the top soil
was loosened with no provision to keep it from blowing away, or from being washed
into the rivers. Ponds and swamps were tiled that crops might be raised on the land
thus made available, and the water no longer retarded, but drained into the rivers
almost as fast as it fell, caused the rivers to overflow, inundating and destroying not
only vast areas of farming land, but villages also.
It certainly contributes to want when car loads of oranges are dumped into the Pacific
Ocean, when peaches and apples are left to rot on the trees, and when wheat and corn
are used as fuel in the regions where raised, because they cannot be exchanged for the
products of other areas. And it certainly would not contribute to freedom from want
were all manufacturing concerns to concentrate on producing washing machines,
and neglect to produce other things.
Without compelling people to follow occupations distasteful to them, and without
curtailing either initiative or independence so long as they work no injury on others,
the government should make a survey of needs and make recommendations based on
this survey. Its recommendations should follow the quota system. Certain areas
should be called upon voluntarily to produce some crop in quantity such as indicated,
with plantings large enough to leave a margin of safety in case of unseasonable
weather. Different areas should be allocated other crops, and other regions called
upon for manufactured products of a type for which the area has production facilities.
What would people think of an auto manufacturer who, with no demand for his
engines except in his completed cars, built three or four times as many engines as he
could build or procure car bodies or chassis? World planning and national planning,
through the widespread dissemination of information, through tentative quotas
whose fulfillment depends upon the voluntary activities of people having regional
organization, and through inducements — including public opinion — to discourage
quotas being exceeded, but to encourage their being met, can prevent such unwise
use of time, materials and energies in world production as is illustrated by the
inefficient auto manufacturer.
Whether in time the resources, productivity and business of the countries of the
United Nations Organization are chiefly state owned and managed, or are chiefly
owned and managed by private enterprise, there will be, as now, division of labor.
Whenever there is division of labor there are groups which perform different tasks.
Some of these tasks take much preparation and a skill acquired only by many years of
application. Some require patient mental training and unusual intelligence, and some
require little but brawn. The most obvious groups today are the capitalist, the
merchant, the professional, the farmer, and the industrial worker. But within these
broad categories are lesser classifications. And between such groups, as previously
indicated, there is always a struggle for advantage.
Even should it come to pass that the members of all classes receive equal pay, some
groups, because of the greater strain, would feel that they should work shorter hours
than those under no such strain. There seems to be no prospect, therefore, under any
kind of regime, of everyone being satisfied. One coterie, for instance, may be able to
get more significance, or to exert greater political pressure than another group. Until
everyone becomes wise enough to strive to contribute his utmost to universal
welfare, and wise enough not to overestimate his own importance, there will be some
who struggle to gain an advantage in some manner over others.
The common method of solving such problems is for the stronger to ignore the claims
of the weaker. When there is a dictatorship, the less popular are shoved to one side
with little ado. In the representative form of government, the minority are voted
down by the majority. Right at the end of World War I a “dry” majority ignored the
desires of a “wet” minority. As a result there was prohibition that failed to prohibit,
because it was forced upon an unwilling group.
In any country there are always many groups, and these often pull in opposite
directions. And in the United Nations Organization there are many nations, some of
which will seek their own advantage at the expense of other nations. Yet when any
person has a grievance, and feels unjustly treated, he is in a mood to stir up trouble.
When any section of the human mind is repressed, it finds some outlet for its energies
through a destructive, and often subtle, channel. A repressed proletariat, a repressed
merchant class, a repressed professional group, a repressed religious sect, or a
repressed nation, are always a potential source of disturbance and dissension.
But psychologists find when adequate recognition is made of a repressed emotion or
thought, and some pains are taken, not necessarily to permit it to have its way, but to
reconcile it to the rest of the mental structure, that its power for damage ceases;
because it then works with, instead of against, the larger organization. They find,
also, in settling labor disputes, and even in larger political issues, that a minority
recognized, and such measures taken as will convince it that at least it has had a fair
hearing, tends to remove the animosity, even though the minority is not given that for
which it asks.In any form of government, therefore, if it is to remain stable, it becomes
fundamental that every group — in the United Nations Organization, every country,
and in the U.S., every state — and in so far as possible every individual in it, must be
given ample consideration and a square deal. In the modern world, disputes must be
settled through all the relevant facts being discovered and made public, with
conciliation and just arbitration based on these facts instead of violence or war.
As political measures arise, the cosmic alchemist will work for those that promise an
increase in productivity, for those that give assurance that there will always be
remunerative employment for every person who will work, for those that tend toward
the widest practical distribution of wealth, for those that will give economic and
cultural advantages to the greatest number of people, and for those that insure
adequate consideration of, and a square deal for, everyone, including even the
disfavored individual and the unpopular minority.
At all times he will work vigorously for these and other measures which, to the best of
his knowledge, will advance all the people of the world toward freedom from want,
freedom from fear, freedom of expression and freedom of worship.