Aberhart and the monkey business
The Western Socialist
The Social Credit circus in Alberta is still going strong, and Premier Aberhart, who is
supposed to be responsible for the whole mess, has been called a liar, a hypocrite, a
blasphemer, a Fascist, a coward, a tyrant, a Communist, and many other things, by his
various brands of critics. He has also been told that he should be “locked up, horse-whipped, or even hanged”. But many of these critics seem to forget that they themselves
dallied with the Social Credit nonsense years before Mr. Aberhart got the bug in his
bonnet. Abie just beat them at their own game, that is all.
Judging by the criticism levelled at Aberhart and Social Credit at the present time, a
person would come to the conclusion that neither had existed previous to the year 1934 or
thereabouts. They both seem to have dropped on to the stage of history together, about
four years ago, and neither appears to have a past. But the fact remains that they both
have a past that their critics either don’t know anything about, or would rather forget
about. For many years before Mr. Aberhart became an advocate of Social Credit, he was
making the welkin ring over the radio in a way that was far more offensive to intelligent
people than his propaganda of Social Credit is now, but there was never a word of
criticism directed against him then by any “person of note” in the Province of Alberta,
and hereby hangs a tale.
It will not surprise many people to learn that before Mr. Aberhart became addicted to
Social Credit he was an opponent of the “monkey business”. No person who believed
himself descended from monkeys could possibly be intelligent enough to understand and
accept the Social Credit philosophy. Only people “whose souls are lighted with wisdom
from on high”, could do that. It was a gift of God.
Readers of the Western Socialist will remember the good old days of ten or fifteen years
ago in the United States when the champions of the Lord girded on their armor and went
forth to battle to save civilization from the “hellish doctrine of evolution”. There were
giants in the United States in those days. Men such as William Jennings Bryan, the Rev.
William Bell Riley, and many others who labored valiantly in the Lord’s vineyard. But
we were not without our champion in Alberta. Mr. Aberhart did his best to imitate those
great men, and did it very well indeed from a fundamentalist point of view. Sunday after
Sunday he thundered from his pulpit in the Prophetic Bible Institute in Calgary against
the scoundrels who were trying to make monkeys of us all. Of course he had no
opposition in Alberta, but that made no difference, it was a good theme anyhow.
The modernistic preachers of the gospel, wherever they might be, who accepted and
defended the theory of evolution, were his special meat, and he called them all the names
his critics are calling him today. In one broadcast I listened to he told us that these
preachers were worse, much worse, than Darwin, Spencer, Huxley, Tom Paine “and the
rest of the dirty bunch”. Of course Tom Paine was not an evolutionist but Mr. Aberhart
did not know that, and anyhow, he was a critic of the bible and that was just as bad from
the point of view of a man who believes the book from “kiver” to “kiver”.
At this time the U.F.A. government was in power in Alberta, and was carrying on what
it called a campaign of education the object of which was to make the people of Alberta
the best educated, and most intelligent people in the world with regard to politics,
economics, and all questions relating to society. The results of this U.F.A. program of
education was demonstrated a few years later when Mr. Aberhart introduced his Social
Credit proposal of $25.00 a month for every bona fide citizen to be paid out of our
“cultural heritage” without taking a cent’s worth of wealth away from any person who
actually had it.
Nevertheless, the U.F.A. was out to educate the people, and as I did not consider Mr.
Aberhart’s fundamentalist propaganda was very educational, I wrote a letter to the
Department of Education stating that I thought it was the duty of that institution to
challenge such propaganda in the interests of education. The Hon. Perren Baker was
Minister of Education at the time. He did not answer my letter personally, but his
understudy did. He explained that the Provincial government had no control over the
radio, and that if I wanted the fundamentalists put off the air I would have to take the
matter up with the Dominion government. I replied that I had no desire to put anybody
off the air, but I thought it was the duty of a Department of Education of a government
that claimed to be out to educate the people, to see that the people heard both sides of the
argument, and it was not necessary to control the radio to do that. The answer to that was
just a line telling me that my letter had been received. That was all, and that was that. It
was a nice polite way of telling me to mind my own business.
You see, so long as Mr. Aberhart was denouncing the theory of evolution, abusing all
evolutionists and calling the great scientists and philosophers “a dirty bunch”, he was not
considered a menace to the political supremacy of the U.F.A. government. Furthermore,
any attempt to challenge his ignorant ravings would have been sure to drive away
thousands of good religious sheep from the U.F.A. fold. Of course, if the Hon. Perren
Baker, and other members of the U.F.A. government, had known that a few years later
Mr. Aberhart, backed by his Social Credit “yes-men”, would overthrow the U.F.A.
government, establish himself as Premier, and, in addition, appoint himself Minister of
Education of the Province of Alberta, it might have been different. But then, the Hon.
Perren Baker, and other members of the United Farmers of Alberta government, were not
prophets like Mr. Aberhart.
F. J. McNey