thumbnail of Window on the world; Joyce Cary
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The National Association of educational broadcasters in cooperation with the British Information Services presents window on the world a tape recorded series of talks by eminent British citizens this week our speaker is the novelist Mr. Joyce Carey. His subject the political novel here now is Mr. Joyce Carey. People are accusing me of saying in a novel that I've just written that politicians have to be crooks especially politicians in a democracy. Now I'm glad of a chance the chance of this broadcast to deny it is because actually it's just the opposite that I believe what I think is it does especially in a democracy that a politician ought to be known for honest men and used to be an honest man because it's just a democracy that he has to persuade us to trust him. If he were a fascist or a communist he would simply give orders and say you jolly well to do what I tell you or I'll
shoot you. But in a democracy he has to be Swedens he has to persuade us to give him his support and votes. Of course this means that he has to be good at persuasion and the best way of persuading people is to talk well to make the kind of speeches that move their feelings and move them in the way that the speaker wants to move them. Now I think it's this fact more than any other that has got to democracy is a bad name over and over again as you know some of the special gift of using words to get people excited to move their passions has got a great power over the mall and is used as part of the debate ends. Of course this part of the word it's not peculiar to politics. It applies to all sorts of communication to religion to
literature. You've got poets preach playwrights all writers use these power to get their fix and these effects are extremely decisive in human history. We think that the mark of a feasible position is always in its freedom from censorship. It is not afraid of the world and this is another reason why democracies get a bad name because they allow freedom of every kind to opinion and to the press. Everything gets published in a democracy and it's just just in the most advanced and the freest kind of democracies that you get the papers of course most full of every kind of crime and murder in the world. And if there's any corruption going on anywhere you hear all about it everything comes out and especially the bad things because the press like sensation and they like a scandal. Now in an autocratic state
it's quite the other way scandals are carefully hidden away and you don't. Corruption isn't seen. But this doesn't mean that there are no scandals or corruption in the autocracy it's just the opposite. The history of the fascist and communist states is full of scandal but a kind of different kind of scandal. Of course certain kinds of corruption. You'll find them in all states crimes like bribery favoritism robbery blackmail you get them in all governments or anybody who's got any power. You must have people must have power in any government they got Party got favors to give and they can be bribed or blackmailed. Get it in business to everyone. But democracies have a special kind of corruption peculiar to themselves and that is misuse of the word in an autocracy on the other hand. The typical corruption is misuse of the law.
You set the police on to arrest your opponents on false charges. You have political prisons and at the worst of course who murdered the other people. The Russian trials were classic examples of corruption in an autocracy. And both Stalin and Hitler used a great deal of murder they murder the opponents quite freely and they believed in murder. They really did pay and they believed it was false and oppression paid. They believed in the state in authority at its very strongest and lots of Germans and Russians agreed with them. Now that's a point I want to make. Every state needs laws. You've got to have some authority even in a democracy. And in the all talks you have to have some liberty you have to allow people to invent or you wouldn't get any industrial progress and everywhere in the world you find certain kind of people who believe in
authority. Also in democracy you find people who believe in lots of law having lots of law stopping things by law and at the end you have also scores the people who believe in liberty who trust in liberty and want as much of it as possible. These are two different kinds of people and most of politics in any state in the world is a fight between two different kinds of people to different kinds of temperament. And that's what my last two novels are about. I've written a trilogy about politics and I've tried to make it about real politics. The first one is called Prisoner of grace is about a liberal politician who really does believe in liberty who thinks liberty is good for people and he thinks that pay and conditions and education will give them more liberty and that's quite true. It gives them more freedom to move about and to give more power in the world. The second book of the trilogy which is called the law is about this man's
childhood as a poor boy. He is a son of a lay preacher and a farm worker. And for a time he's very poor and miserable frustrated. He becomes a Marxist then he gets sick of Marxism and violence and he returns to religion because he shares that politics and religion is a blind alley. Now the third book which is causing all the fuss came out this year and it's quite different. It's a statement of a man who believes in authority. He doesn't call himself a fascist and he hate fascism but he has a fascist mind. He has been a soldier and he asked for country can't be run like a good regiment by men who believe in duty and discipline and don't try to grab all the money they can find for themselves. He says Why all this rottenness of corruption and lies. You get in a democracy. You're perfectly honest man. And he's not a cruel man and he he is just like those people who eat
drink which is really evil. And to say why don't you stop it by law. That is to say people are people who want to make the world good by law. Now people who believe in liberty on the other hand he can make people good by all. The only way is by education and by trusting them and giving them a sense of responsibility as free men to behave like good citizens and they won't have a sense of responsibility if you push them around by law. Of course this means that people who believe in liberty. They say you've got to put up with a lot of evil because you can't stop it if you try to stop it by law. They say you will get much worse evil and that's what I believe. And I think stopping itself is evil. I think censorship is an evil because it deprives people of the sense of responsibility. And I think that a lot of evidence for that. But this of course means that the world can never get rid of all evils. It will always be a dangerous place it will always be full of tragedy. There will always be smashed live and smashed Mocha's.
But because we are free I say because we are free people living in a free creative world always in change. We have to take the evil and the tragedy. We can try and ameliorate them as far as possible but they will always go wrong because the only alternative possible tentative is a police state. Every detail of conduct would be regulated like a jail or like a school. And it just can't be done. People wouldn't take it. Now I've tried to show nice he knows this real world of danger and conflict and how real men act and think in politics and to do that with each novel in the first person. And I mean each man speaks for himself and give his own point of view. And of course he thinks that point of view is the only right point of view. The first man the liberal was a man called número and the authoritarian was a man called Lekha the soldier. And each of them was got absolutely first class arguments which on point of view.
Now some critics have called pneumo the liberal a crook and let her a fool. But I mean Im a crook and I didn't mean that of her fool either. I meant be real people people who could meet any day struggling to do what they think right in a real world according to their own ideas. The World As We Know It of course they are they are they are real people I meet them we are people they have their own faults and weaknesses Nimo for instance like every clever man who gets power in politics thinks that everything will go to the devil if he loses power. You know you have a man and when he does lose power he tries his best to get back by making all sorts of promises and seeking allies in treating a good deal. Now you see this process going on on all the time in politics and it isnt a wicked persons and this is your process and this Apache guy uses unscrupulous means to get into pop Nemo that is to say is meant to be like a real
man with real faults. He often deceives himself about his motives and that is pretty common among men of this type. This is a man of action spellbinder. They dont go in very much for self-criticism and that too active so too instant in the world. Now this brings his back then to the first point. How far may such men go in persuading the people to give them power. Maybe it lives. May they make promises they know can be fulfilled what is right and wrong in politic. What she does for starters to start with we see that politicians are just like advocates Council in court lawyers. They each of them try to persuade us by making a case. Just like Council quote when they are defending or prosecuting a prisoner they try to persuade the jury by making up a case for the prosecution or defense. And we know the
rules. We see them in practice every day. They mustn't tell lies but they can make the strongest possible argument for one lot of facts and run down the other lot of facts and all this is held to be quite legitimate. It is quite legitimate because we have found after a lot of experience that in the real world that it is the best way of getting at the truth the truth is somewhere between. Now roughly speaking what I suggest is that this which is right in the courts is right in politics so far as argument and persuasion go to say in an election and is there for the same reason. The citizen may get at the truth between the two sides but this applies only to the time of election and it applies only to persuasion when your politicians win the election and get power. The opposition gets
different at once. What we got to ask them is how far is a ruling statesman allowed to deceive the people. The questions about his policy are always doing it. Newspapers are always complaining of it. Now how far are they right and how far is he right now. That means that we have to trust our state men are and our ambassadors to do the honest best for our good. They may have to keep secrets from us and therefore we have to trust them we don't know what they're doing. And it's just because even in a democracy that we can't always know what I state my to imply that we've got to be able to trust them and why it's so important for statesmen to keep the name of honest men so that we can trust them. You have been listening to Mr Joyce Kerry speaking on the political novel. Listen next week one window on the world will present the Earl of listo former
Secretary of State for India. His topic. The British Commonwealth. This has been a tape recorded presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters in cooperation with the British Information Services. This is the NAHB radio network
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Window on the world
Joyce Cary
Producing Organization
British Information Services
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-7p8tfx8h).
Episode Description
British novelist Joyce Cary discusses the political novel.
Series Description
A series of short talks by well-known British personalities on the subjects usually associated with them.
Broadcast Date
Talk Show
Radio programs--United States.
Media type
Producing Organization: British Information Services
Speaker: Cary, Joyce, 1888-1957
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-30-36 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:13:51
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Window on the world; Joyce Cary,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 26, 2024,
MLA: “Window on the world; Joyce Cary.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 26, 2024. <>.
APA: Window on the world; Joyce Cary. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from