Draft of the Revised Eight Points

In the 1940s, the Industrial and Social Order Council wrote and circulated a revised version of the Foundations, known as the ‘Eight Points’. The full text of this is given below. The draft was accompanied by ‘queries’ on specific political and practical issues, and seems to have been widely read. It was never taken to Yearly Meeting because the need for practical ideas seemed more urgent than a theoretical restatement. The work on the Eight Points wasn’t wasted, though, because it fed into the ‘Social Testimony‘ which was sent to Yearly Meeting as part of ISOC’s 1945 report. It is also interesting in itself for the ways in which it illustrates some changes to language and attitudes – and some key ideas which have stayed the same. Note for example that the word ‘education‘ does appear here.

Draft of the Revised Eight Points

  1. Jesus taught that we are all members of one family which knows no barriers of race, sex or class. This belief leads us to a resolve to end all those inequalities in material standards of life that mar God’s purposes. It rules out the use of violence in personal, industrial and international relations.
  2. The true purpose of a good education should be to persuade men to accept the discipline of a dynamic community, without coercion, and to train the future citizens to play their part with understanding and a sense of obligation by providing everyone with an opportunity for full development.
  3. This training in brotherhood would help the growth of the divine personality in every human being and would produce a social order which by its refusal to treat men merely as instruments of production would give fullness of life to all.
  4. Differences of function in society are inevitable, but no position of authority should confer on any man the right to restrict the life of any individual for his own or another’s advantage.
  5. It is better to give than to take. This truth, when applied to social life, will effect a revolutionary change. Out of this will grow a spirit that finds joy in serving and gladly foregoes any advantages of wealth or prestige that lessen the well-being of others.
  6. The standards of morality applied to business and public affairs should be no different from those of our personal code of behaviour. Within each organisation co-operation and goodwill ought to provide scope for individual responsibility and initiative to every worker.
  7. The ownership and the use of land and capital should be under public control for the welfare of all mankind and human needs should be the purpose of the production and distribution of goods.
  8. The final loyalty of all men is to God. No state, party or person can usurp this loyalty without setting up an authority which destroys human personality. The State and its organisation should only be the expression of the general will and be subject to change from time to time in order that it may reflect the growth of man’s sense of God’s will.

The accompanying document begins:

In accepting the principles embodied in the Eight Foundations, do Friends understand that they can no longer tolerate the existing economic and political conditions and that the equal value of personalities is incompatible with the present industrial and class system? It is recognised that a Christian order of society cannot be achieved in a short time, but the following queries must be answered if the Eight Foundations are seriously applied.

There follow fifteen ‘queries’, often phrased as statements about policy with which Friends are invited to agree – for example:

4. A form of society which tolerates unemployment, poverty and the other social evils from which the country suffered before the war, stands condemned. Must there not be a national minimum wage sufficient to provide for all? Do Friends support all the assumptions and proposals of the Beveridge Report?

11. Lack of money is at present a bar to justice in the courts. Should the legal profession become a public service?