"Not (Heaven forbid!) the Party"
SIR—May I develop an argument (it has point here as well as in Australia) inevitably obscured in your report of my talk at the Devereux. I did not mean that Catholics command the Labour Party in the sense that they control its offices and machinery, but that we can command the support a working men (and of all men honest about the social problem) if we will take our ideas to them. The Australian (and the Englis.hman, I believe) does not readily respond to Marxism. He feels it alien to his tradition and to his real desires. He is sceptical of its apocalyptic vision. He does not really believe in an earthly paradise. He knows too much about men. He has Russia before his eyes. And, in a country like Australia, he is all too familiar with the typical vices of bureaucracies.
On the other hand, be is restive under
the present disorder. Marxism offers a
shrewd diagnosis. Its criticism is actual, vivid, related to his own experience. Even so, he accepts its programme only because he knows of no adequate alternative.
We have the alternative. And our experience is that when we can bring our ideas to the working man, his ideas crystalIke. He really wants, and he can be made to realise that he really wants, what we want: property. Not merely economic security, but moral responsibility in the ownership of material things.
We have an enormous advantage in our approach to the normal man : his instinct is with us. In the conditions of modern urban and suburban life, that instinct may atrophy; but we can still appeal to it. Our job is to rationalise his instinct, to make him see the sense of it.
This is our job. If we do our job we can command not a political party (Heaven restrain that ambition!) but the world. We can command it in this sense, that we can restore a Christian climate: an environment in which political and economic actions will be influenced by the Christian values. And we can do it best, I believe, by a clear and candid approach to the ordinary men about us.
PAUL McG MILE,