REALITY 311DST FUTILITY
By Michael de la Bedoyere
THE Communist challenge to the free world has changed history and created a new situation. That is a fact—and it is still a fact even if we hold that the challenge is an evil one and its ultimate aim monstrous. But that it is a fact is something which we, and especially the politicians, are very slow to recognise.
. True, the menace itself is at last being fully recognised, and most important steps are being taken to withstand it. But what is not recognised, or only very slowly being recognised, is the actual change in men and in ideas which has come about because of the measure of Communist success.
Yet the ultimate solution to the world's problem cannot possibly be found in mere resistance to the new menace, even if the menace he overcome. Nor are we thinking of the disaster of a new world war. Even if we somehow overcome the menace without a third world war, we shall be no nearer a solution if we fail to take full account of what has been happening all this time to millions of human beings.
For even though Communism itself is evil, it does not necessarily follow that all the changes which have come about through the success of Communism are equally evil. Some of them may he very good. And whether good or had they have taken place, and we must understand, absorb and build on them.
The failure to appreciate this is the real cause of the futility— the constant missing the point—of the international political conferences which succeed one another throughout the year and which make the news headlines especially at this season.
The real aim of such conferences is to stave off the day when the realities of the new world will have to be faced. The politicians are all engaged in trying to build security and peace either on the defence of the status quo or according to private nostrums of their own which, if carried through. would add to their own power and influence. With one accord they shy away from any realism which could injure party electoral prospects.
INTO a political world of this sort, with its one fundamental aim of saving its skin by force and wealth, both of which are in themselves utterly barren. the Christian should bring a decisively new atmosphere.
Like others, he wants to save his skin, or rather he wants to save the conditions within which he can live a decent Christian life, but he knows that this can only he done in the long run by the absorption into the Christian pattern of all that is constructive and potentially good and rejecting all that is bad, quite apart from whether the good comes from a tainted source or the bad from a hallowed one.
The Christian is the realist who deals with the facts as they are, not the accidents of theories and policies and precedents which clash against one another and can only lead to crises, armed neutralities and wars.
A most remarkable example of the true Christian voice irrupting like a bombshell .into a world of evasion and mere reliance on artificial defences of artificial divisions has been given to the whole world this month by the Hierarchy of Australia which has sponsored the statement, The Future of Australia.
In it the Australian Bishops most plainly tell their people that Australia as we know it is likely to cease to be altogether unless they face the facts of the world.
This is revolutionary news for Australia because no one else dares to tell the truth and prepare the people for the sort of actions which alone can save them in the end. But it is hardly less revolutionary news for the rest of us, not only because we are all so closely linked together, but because we also desperately need to face the realities as the Australian Bishops are asking their people to face them.
ASIA today is in a ferment, and Russian Communism is not the cause.
"The tremendous pressure of Asia's millions upon Asia's undeveloped resources " was making itself felt before Communism began to exploit it.
And Communism's exploitation of it, even though it might result in a political and economic enserfdom of Asia, does not make Asian poverty and gross economic maladjustment any less of a crying evil,
As the Australian Bishops point out. the political movements created in Asia by the realisation of their intolerable situation are movements which call for Christian sympathy and help.
The desire for independence and self-expression in Asia is a seeking for something which we ourselves value as a Christian blessing. The movement for peasant proprietorship and a fairer division of the land is something for which Christians work within their own countries even though life there is infinitely more justly ordered.
Under Communist suzerainty and propaganda this deep-seated demand of Asia has been encouraged to grow to a revolutionary pitch. Not least because we may well believe that Asia's ultimate fate under Communism will be even worse than it is today, it is the duty of the Western world to rival Communism in meeting this demand with every kind of practical help and encouragement Only so can we face the facts and hope to save Asia from Communism where Asia is still free, and ultimately to suck away from Communism by our practical love those who have fallen for the Communist guile.
Nor can we too readily dismiss the possibility that the Russians may be clever enough to give to the Asians a political deal which the majority will not find intolerable.
Plan for Australia
BUT the most interesting part of
the Australian Bishops' statement is the part that comes down `to immediate practical realities for Australia itself. The Bishops do not stop at generalisations, however true and wise.
They face the fact that Australia itself is a Continent which has been traditionally safeguarded for a very high standard of living for a few million people. Such a situation, while actually living in the shadow of Asian aggression, would seem ludicrous were it not for a long conditioning into the belief that it is just and natural. And certainly there is little comfort to be found in a security system which cannot he set in motion without the outbreak of war itself.
Emphasising the gradual
destruction of missionary Christianity in Asia tinder the Communist advance, the Australian Bishops sec Australia as a Continent into which a Christian immigration from the West could flow, thus building it up into a Christian bulwark in the SouthEast whose destiny could ultimately be to bring Christianity again to a new Asia.
WILL this he enough ? Would
it not be more realistic, wiser and nearer to the Christian mark if the wide spaces of Australia were opened to migrants both from the West and from the East? In this way first-aid would he given where it is most urgently needed and the work of conversion could begin from the most telling gesture of practical charity.
But whatever we think of this, the world is still a very long way from seeing anything done to rectify that crying anomaly of a relatively empty Continent, its own Christianity in many ways enfeebled, threatened from without, and facing the " tremendous pressure of Asia's millions," now being rapidly exploited by Godless forces.
And let us remember that this is our problem, as well as Australia's — an example of the problem which faces the whole world.