Social Credit: Not Socialism, Not a Political Party
Because of the word in the term "Social Credit",
some people erroneously assume it to be a form of Socialism, and automatically
reject it. On the contrary, Social Credit is the best way to fight Socialism
and Communism, and to protect private property and individual freedom. A
Dominican father, who had studied the Social Credit proposals, even wrote:
"And if you want neither socialism or communism, bring Social Credit in a
row against them. It will be in your hands for weapons with which to fight
And in 1939, a commission of nine theologians appointed by
the Bishops of Quebec found that Social Credit was not tainted with Socialism
or Communism and was worthy of close attention. In fact, Social Credit wants to
make every member of society a capitalist, a shareholder in the wealth of the
country. If the expression "social" credit scare some people,
Douglas's financial proposals can also be referred to under other names: public
credit, economic democracy or New Economics.
Not a political party
Concerning the issue of political parties, it is true that
parties called "Social Credit" existed in the past, and that is why
some people may be confused: a "Social Credit" party existed on the
federal scene in Canada for a while and was even in power in the province of
Alberta, Canada, from 1935 to 1971, and in the province of British Columbia,
from 1952 to 1991 (except for three years, from 1972 to 1975). None of these
provincial parties applied Social Credit. (The very day he took office as
premier in 1952, Bennett, B.C. "Social Credit" leader even said that
his party would do absolutely nothing to apply Social Credit principles.
Actually, there was nothing even closely related to real Social Credit in this
party or its platform; it should have been more accurately called
A Few Principles
Man is a person
Man is a person. He is not a mere animal.
All people live in society. The more perfect people are, the
more life in society is perfect. The society of angels is more perfect than
human society. As for the three divine persons, they live in an infinitely
intimate society, however, without merging into one.
Moreover, this Divine society is proposed to man as a model:
"That they all may be one, as you, Father, in me, and I in you."
Since men are human persons, they also live in a society.
Association responds to a need of man's nature.
Man is a social being 4:18pm
Life in society's responds to man's nature for two reasons:
1. Because the human being is a universe, in God's image,
and receives from the model, of whom he is the image, the tendency to give of
himself, to communicate the wealth which he possesses;
2. Because he is also a universe of indigence, in the temporal
as well is in the spiritual world. The human being needs other human beings to
come out of his indigence. He needs others physically for his conception, birth,
and growth. He needs others intellectually, too: without an acquired education,
what intellectual level would a being who is born ignorant achieve?
We we will not speak here of his spiritual indigence, nor of
the need he has for the society called the Church.
In our studies, we will restrict ourselves to the temporal
order, without, however, losing sight of the subordination of the temporal
order to the spiritual order, because both the temporal and spiritual orders concern
this same man, and because the final end of this man takes precedence over all
Louis Even was born on March 23, 1885, on the “La
Poulanière” farm, in Montfort-sur-Meu, a municipality 30 kilometres west of
Rennes, in Brittany, France. This municipality was also the birthplace of Saint
Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. Louis Even inherited his great devotion to
Mary from this illustrious patron saint. He became a fervent propagandist of
the Rosary throughout his 89 years upon earth.
Louis Even was the fourteenth child (out of sixteen)
of Pierre Even and Marguerite Vitre. At home, he received a sound Christian
education. His elementary studies were made at the school of the village.
On August 4, 1896, at the age of 11, he entered the
juvenile school of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, in Livré. On February
2, 1901, he began his novitiate in Ploërmel. In July of the same year, an
antireligious campaign began raging in
France, with the enforcement of the Association Law, which restricted the
activities of religious communities. Then in 1903, the Brothers of Christian
Instruction were notified by the French Government that they had to dissolve
their Institute. Henceforth, it was forbidden in France for the Brothers to
wear the religious habit and to teach.
The Brothers decided to send their best students on a
mission. Louis Even was part of the group. He left France for Canada in
February of 1903. From there, he was sent to teach the Indians of the Rocky
Mountains, in Montana, U.S.A. He stayed there until 1906. This allowed him to
acquire a perfect knowledge of the English language, which was to be enormously
useful to him later on when he would study Social Credit in the books of Major
C. H. Douglas.
Louis Even returned to Canada for good on June 24,
1906, the feast day of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of the French
Canadians. That same year, he taught at Grand Mère, Que. From 1907 to 1911, he
was a teacher at St. Francis' School, in Montreal.
Then he became deaf and could not teach to children
anymore. He was sent to Laprairie, at the Brothers' printing shop, which was
very primitive at the time. Being hard-working and very brilliant, he developed
the printing shop and expanded it considerably. He acquired new machines, and
to learn their workings, he had to study German, since the manuals for the
machines were in German. He also studied Latin on his own. This apprenticeship
of printing was to be very precious to him later on for the foundation of his
Providentially (because he was deaf and could no
longer teach children), he quit the community of the Brothers of Christian
Instruction where he had acquired a sound religious and intellectual formation,
for he was a man of study and reflection, always having a book in his hand. He
was well prepared to carry out in the world the mission that God had destined
for him. He was released from his vows on November 20, 1920.
Garden City Press
Immediately, he was employed in Ste. Anne de Bellevue,
west of Montreal, at Garden City Press, a printing shop owned by J. J. Harpell,
a Catholic of Irish descent. There too, Louis Even left an indelible mark of
his genius on the firm.
On December 10, 1921, Louis Even married Laura
Leblanc, and fathered four children: François, now a lawyer; Gemma, a teacher;
Rose-Marie, a teacher and a secretary; and Agnès, a teacher. Being in charge of
a family himself, it helped him to better understand the financial problems of
the working-class families.
J. J. Harpell was more than just a businessman: he
wanted to promote the intellectual development and general knowledge of his
employees, by having them attend evening classes. In Louis Even, Harpell had
found the priceless master who could make him realize his aspirations. Louis
Even worked as a typographer, a proofreader, and a foreman. He translated into
French the periodical The Instructor — the organ of J. J. Harpell's
Gardenvale study circle. He trained new workers, and he was the teacher for
the employees' evening classes.
One day, in 1934, right in the middle of the
Depression, Mr. Fielding, then Minister of Finance in Mackenzie King's Liberal
Government in Ottawa, said to Mr. Harpell, who was a close friend of his: “If
you want to know where the financial power lies in Canada, look towards the
banks and the insurance companies.”
Then Messrs. Harpell and Even decided that the evening
classes for the next fall would revolve around the study of money and credit.
They set about immediately, trying to find out a book on the subject. They
received several books and manuscripts; one of them was I. A. Caldwell's book, <M>Money,
What Is It?, which was later translated into French by Louis Even.
But it was a simple 96-page booklet that brought him the light he was looking
for. It was entitled: From Debt to Prosperity, by J. Crate Larkin, of
Buffalo. It was a summary of Major Douglas's monetary doctrine — Social Credit.
“Here is a light upon my way,” said Louis Even. He
then got all of Douglas's books, plus books of other authors on the same topic.
He recognized in Social Credit a whole series of principles which, once
applied, would make a perfect monetary system and put an end to the Depression.
Immediately, he said to himself: “Everybody must know this.” From then on he
only thought about the means of realizing this wish.
The contacts established with The Instructor (and its
French-language version, Le Moniteur), had given birth to new study
circles, affiliated with that of Gardenvale, all over Quebec; in Sherbrooke,
Quebec City, Trois-Rivieres, and Shawinigan. At the request of these new
circles, Mr. Even went to give them lectures. He naturally spoke to them about
Social Credit. Then he held public meetings across the Provinces of Quebec,
Ontario, and New Brunswick.
Louis Even translated into French the brochure From Debt to
Prosperity. He also wrote articles on Social Credit in Le Moniteur,
which was sent to some 1,200 French-speaking subscribers across Quebec, New
Brunswick, Ontario, and the Prairie Provinces.
In August of 1936, Louis Even founded another
periodical, the Cahiers
du Crédit Social (literally, Social Credit Brochures), which he wrote up
during the evenings, still working at Garden City Press during the day, and he
held conferences here and there in the region on weekends. From October of 1936
to August of 1939, a total of 16 issues of the Cahiers du Crédit Social were
published, for 2,400 subscribers.
It was during this same period that Louis Even
published his great brochure, Salvation Island (now entitled The
Money Myth Exploded), which he would sell for a nickel a
piece to the audience after his conferences. As of today, this brochure (also
published in the form of a 16-page leaflet) still remains the A.B.C. of Social
Credit, for beginners. It now circulates throughout the world, by the
millions, in seven different languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish,
German, Portuguese, and Polish).