Communism is the reaction of the people of all countries to the insufficiency, insecurity, and lack of freedom caused by capitalist industrialism. Capitalist industrialism is industry which has become too big to be self controlled, and is careless of the rights of the rest of society with which the directors of Big Business have lost contact. Communism threatens to destroy civilization—is destroying it. We cannot remove the bad effects unless we remove the causes. We will have Communism as long as we have its cause, industrialism. Capitalist industrialism must be replaced by a safer and more humane system of production if civilization on this earth is to survive.
We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of lining up either with the Left against the Right, or the Right against the Left. If the Right means Order, an intelligent regard for social experience, for history, then we are with the Right. If the Left means justice for the dispossessed, and a decent determination to end the miseries of the victims of industrialism, then we are with the Left. But there can be no conflict between Order and Justice. There is a terrible conflict between people. This is the war of ideologies. There is a terrible conflict between those who want order but are careless of justice, and those who want justice but are careless of order. To take sides in this war is to identify ourselves with the evils of the side we espouse and blind ourselves to the good on the other side. Distributists refuse to condone evil and condemn good in this way. They make a direct attack on the problem. They are daring enough to try to get all the good and steer away from all the evil.
In those countries where either Left or Right has come to dominate the State this detachment is no longer possible. In Russia or Germany men have to choose which army they will serve under. But we still have time. How long we will have time we do not know, probably not very long. But we have not yet lost our political rights. We are still free to fight for the Middle Way. If we do not do so, we will deserve the tyranny which will be our unavoidable lot. But it is not going to be easy.
Distributists are well aware that their programme is one which is opposed to “the present trend.” The “trend” is toward the bigger and bigger, the more and more complicated, the less and less understandable, and increasing dehumanization and increasing mental slavery. Those who believe that happiness is to be achieved by floating with the stream will not have the slightest interest in the Distributist programme. They will drift smoothly along with the stream, until they go over the cataract and down the rapids. Though their children and grandchildren may be given sufficiency and security by their masters, they will certainly not be given freedom. Freedom is not something that is given by a dictator, even if the dictator is benevolent. Freedom must be fought for and worked for and suffered for. No one will fight and work and suffer for what he does not believe in. Our ancestors saw the need for political freedom, they suffered and fought and worked for it, and they got it. Then we lost the benefit of what they had gained because we lost economic freedom. If we want to regain this, and want it enough to sacrifice for it, it may still be regained. If we do not, it will certainly be not regained. There is still a reasonable chance that an economic revolution can win back happiness for the people. It can still be done if we dare to use our intelligence and our free will.