BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
REMEDIES--SOCIAL AND FINANCIAL
Prohibition and Female Suffrage--Free Silver and Protective
Tariff-- "Communism"--"They Had All Things in
"Collectivism"--Babbitt on Social Upbuilding--Herbert
Spencer on Socialism--Examples of Two Socialist Communities--"Nationalism"
--General Mechanical Education as a Remedy--The "Single
Tax" Remedy--Henry George's Answer to Pope Leo XIII on
Labor--Dr. Lyman Abbott on the Situation--An M. E. Bishop's
Suggestions--Other Hopes and Fears--The Only Hope--"That
Blessed Hope"--The Attitude Proper for God's People Who
See These Things--In the World but Not of It.
there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?" "We
would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her,
and let us go every one unto his own country: for her judgment
reacheth unto heaven." `Jer. 8:22;
51:7-9` VARIOUS are the remedies advocated as "cure-alls"
for the relief of the groaning creation in its present, admittedly
serious, condition; and all who sympathize with the suffering
body-politic must sympathize also with the endeavors of its various
doctors, who, having diagnosed the case, are severally anxious
that the patient should try their prescriptions. The attempts
to find a cure and to apply it are surely commendable, and have
the appreciation of all kind-hearted people. Nevertheless, sober
judgment, enlightened by God's Word, tells us that none of the
proposed remedies will cure the malady. The presence and services
of the Great Physician with his remedies--medicines, splints,
<PAGE 470> bandages, straitjackets and lancets
will be requisite; and nothing short of their efficient and persistent
use will effect a cure of the malady of human depravity and selfishness.
But let us briefly examine the prescriptions of other doctors,
that we may note how some of them approximate the wisdom of God
and yet how far they all fall short of it--not for the sake of
controversy, but in order that all may the more clearly see the
one and only direction from which help need be expected.
Prohibition and Female Suffrage as Remedies
two remedies are usually compounded, it being conceded that prohibition
can never command a majority support unless women have a free
ballot--and doubtful even then. The advocates of this remedy show
statistics to prove that much of the trouble and poverty of Christendom
are traceable to the liquor traffic, and they aver that if it
were abolished, peace and plenty would be the rule and not the
heartily sympathize with much that is claimed along this line:
drunkenness is certainly one of the most noxious fruits of civilization;
it is rapidly spreading, too, to the semi-civilized and barbarous.
We would rejoice to see it abolished now and forever. We are willing
to grant, too, that its abolition would relieve much of the poverty
of today, and that by it hundreds of millions of wealth are annually
far worse than wasted. But this is not the remedy to cure the
evils arising from present, selfish social conditions, and to
meet and parry the grinding pressure of the "Law of Supply
and Demand," which would progress as relentlessly as ever,
squeezing the lifeblood from the masses.
indeed, squander the millions of money spent annually on liquors?--the
very poor? No, indeed; the rich! The rich specially, and secondly
the middle class. If the liquor
<PAGE 471> traffic were abolished tomorrow,
so far from relieving the financial pressure, upon the very poor,
it would have the reverse effect. Thousands of farmers who now
grow the millions of bushels of barley and rye and grapes and
hops used in the manufacture of liquor would be obliged to cultivate
other crops, and thus in turn further depress farm produce prices
in general. The vast army of tens of thousands of distillers,
coopers, bottlers, glassworkers, teamsters, saloon-keepers and
bartenders, now employed in and by this traffic, would be forced
to find other employment and would further depress the labor market,
and hence the scale of daily wages. The millions on millions of
capital now invested in this traffic would enter other lines and
force business competition.
this should not deter us from desiring the removal of the curse,
if it were possible to get a majority to consent to it. But a
majority will never be found (save in exceptional localities).
The majority is composed of slaves to this appetite and those
interested in it financially, either directly or indirectly. Prohibition
will not be established until the Kingdom of God is established.
We merely point out here that the removal of this curse, even
if practicable, would not cure the present social-financial malady.
The Free Silver and Protective Tariff Remedies
freely concede that the demonetization of silver by Christendom
was a masterstroke of selfish policy on the part of money-lenders
to decrease the volume of standard money and thus to increase
the value of their loans; to permit the maintenance of high rates
of interest on such debts because of the curtailment of the legal
money, while all other business investments, as well as labor,
are suffering constant depreciation as the results of increasing
supply and competition. Many bankers and money-lenders are
<PAGE 472> "honest" men according
to the legal standard of honesty; but, alas! the standard of some
is too low. It says, Let us bankers and money-lenders look out
for our interests, and let the farmers, less shrewd, look out
for themselves. Let us delude the poorer and less shrewd by calling
gold "honest money" and silver "dishonest money."
Many of the poor desire to be honest, and can thus be brow-beaten
and cajoled into supporting our plans, which, however, will go
hard with the "reapers." Under the influence of our
talk about "honest money," and our prestige as honorable
men, our standing as financiers and wealthy men, they will conclude
that any views contrary to ours must be wrong; they will forget
that silver money has been the standard of the world from earliest
history, and that gold, like precious stones, was formerly merchandise,
until added to silver to meet the increasing demand for money
sufficient to do the world's business. As it is the rate of interest
is falling in our money centers; how much lower the rate of interest
would be if all silver had a coin value and money were thus more
plentiful! Our next move must be to retire all paper money and
thus bolster up the rate of interest.
the law of supply and demand every borrower is interested in having
plenty of money--silver, gold and paper; under the same law every
banker and money-lender is interested in abolishing paper money
and in discrediting silver; for the less money there is of a debt-canceling
value, the more that little is demanded. Hence, while labor and
commercial values are dropping, money is in demand and interest
nearly holds its own.
already shown, the indications of prophecy seem to be that silver
will not be restored to equal privileges with gold as standard
money in the civilized world. But it is manifest that, even if
it were fully restored, its relief would be but
<PAGE 473> temporary: it would remove the
peculiar incentive now being given to manufacturers in Japan,
India, China and Mexico; it would relieve the farming element
of Christendom, and thus remove part of the present pressure under
which every one labors "to make both ends meet"; and
thus it might put off the crash for a while longer. But apparently
God does not wish to thus postpone the "evil day"; and
hence human selfishness, blind to all reason, will rule and ruin
the more quickly; as it is written, "the wisdom of their
wise men shall perish"; and "neither their silver nor
their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's
wrath." `Zeph. 1:18`;
`Ezek. 7:19`; `Isa. 14:4-7, margin;
wisely gauged so as to avoid creating monopolies and to develop
all the natural resources of a land, is undoubtedly of some advantage
in preventing the rapid leveling of labor the world over. However,
at the very most it is but an inclined plane down which wages
will go to the lower level, instead of with a ruder jolt over
the precipice. Soon or later, under the competitive system now
controlling, goods as well as wages will be forced to nearly a
common level the world over.
"Free Silver" nor Protective Tariff, therefore, can
claim to be remedies for present and impending evils, but
Communism as a Remedy
proposes a social system in which there will be community of goods;
in which all property shall be owned in common and operated in
the general interest, and all profits from all labor be devoted
to the general welfare-- "to each according to his needs."
The tendency of Communism was illustrated in the French Commune.
Its definition by Rev. Joseph Cook, is--"Communism
means the abolition
<PAGE 474> of inheritance, the abolition of
the family, the abolition of nationalities, the abolition of religion,
the abolition of property."
features of Communism we could commend (see Socialism), but as
a whole it is quite impracticable. Such an arrangement would probably
do very well for heaven, where all are perfect, pure and good,
and where love reigns; but a moment's reflection should prove
to any man of judgment and experience that in the present condition
of men's hearts such a scheme is thoroughly impracticable. The
tendency would be to make drones of all. We would soon have a
competition as to who could do the least and the worst work; and
society would soon lapse into barbarism and immorality, tending
to the rapid extinction of the race.
some fancy that Communism is taught in the Bible and that consequently
it must be the true remedy--God's remedy. With many this is the
strongest argument in its favor. The supposition that it was instituted
by our Lord and the Apostles, and that it should have continued
to be the rule and practice of Christians since, is very common.
We therefore present below an article on this phase of the subject
from our own magazine:
"They Had All Things in Common"
all that believed were together, and had all things common; and
sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men,
as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord
in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat
their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God,
and having favor with all the people."
was the spontaneous sentiment of the early Church: selfishness
gave place to love and general interest. Blessed experience! And
without doubt a similar sentiment, more or less clearly defined,
comes to the hearts of all who are truly converted. When first
we got a realizing sense of
<PAGE 475> God's love and salvation, when
we gave ourselves completely to the Lord and realized his gifts
to us, which pertain not only to the life that now is, but also
to that which is to come--we felt an exuberance of joy, which
found in every fellow-pilgrim toward the heavenly Canaan a brother
or a sister in whom we trusted as related to the Lord and having
his spirit; and we were disposed to deal with them all as we would
with the Lord, and to share with them our all, as we would share
all with our Redeemer. And in many instances it was by a rude
shock that we were awakened to the fact that neither we nor others
are perfect in the flesh; and that no matter how much of the Master's
spirit his people now possess, they "have this treasure in
earthen vessels" of human frailty and defection.
we learned, not only that the weaknesses of the flesh of other
men had to be taken into account, but that our own weaknesses
of the flesh needed constant guarding. We found that whilst all
had shared Adam's fall, all had not fallen alike, or in exactly
the same particulars. All have fallen from God's likeness and
spirit of love, to Satan's likeness and spirit of selfishness;
and as love has diversities of operations, so has selfishness.
Consequently, selfishness working in one has wrought a desire
for ease, sloth, indolence; in another it produced energy, labor
for the pleasures of this life, self-gratification, etc.
those actively selfish some take self-gratification in
amassing a fortune, and having it said, He is wealthy; others
gratify their selfishness by seeking honor of men; others in dress,
others in travel, others in debauchery and the lowest and meanest
forms of selfishness.
one begotten to the new life in Christ, with its new spirit of
love, finds a conflict begun, fightings within and without; for
the new spirit wars with whatever form of selfishness or depravity
formerly had control of us. The "new mind of Christ,"
whose principles are justice and love, asserts itself; and reminds
the will that it has assented to and convenanted to this
change. The desires of the flesh (the selfish desires, whatever
their bent), aided by the outside influence of friends, argue
and discuss the question, urging
<PAGE 476> that no radical measures must be
taken--that such a course would be foolish, insane, impossible.
The flesh insists that the old course cannot be changed, but will
agree to slight modifications, and to do nothing so extreme as
vast majority of God's people seem to agree to this partnership,
which is really still the reign of selfishness. But others insist
that the spirit or mind of Christ shall have the control. The
battle which ensues is a hard one (`Gal.
5:16,17`); but the new will should conquer, and self with
its own selfishness, or depraved desires, be reckoned dead.
`Col. 2:20; 3:3`; `Rom. 6:2-8`
does this end the battle forever? No--
"Ne'er think the victory won,
Nor once at ease sit down;
Thine arduous task will not be done
Till thou hast gained thy crown."
yes, we must renew the battle daily, and help divine implore and
receive, that we may finish our course with joy. We must not only
conquer self, but, as the Apostle did, we must keep our bodies
under. (`1 Cor. 9:27`) And this,
our experience, that we must be constantly on the alert against
the spirit of selfishness, and to support and promote in ourselves
the spirit of love, is the experience of all who likewise have
"put on Christ" and taken his will to be theirs. Hence
the propriety of the Apostle's remark, "Henceforth know we
no man [in Christ] after the flesh." We know those in Christ
according to their new spirit, and not according to their fallen
flesh. And if we see them fail sometimes, or always to some degree,
and yet see evidences that the new mind is wrestling for the mastery,
we are properly disposed to sympathize with them rather than to
berate them for little failures; "remembering ourselves,
lest we also be tempted [of our old selfish nature in violation
of some of the requirements of the perfect law of love]."
"the present distress," therefore, while each has all
that he can do to keep his own body under and the spirit of love
in control, sound judgment, as well as experience and the Bible,
tells us that we would best not complicate matters by attempting
communistic schemes; but each make as straight paths as possible
for his own feet, that that which is
<PAGE 477> lame in our fallen flesh be not
turned entirely out of the way, but that it be healed.
Sound judgment says that if the saints with divine help
have a constant battle to keep selfishness subject to love, a
promiscuous colony or community would certainly not succeed in
ruling itself by a law utterly foreign to the spirit of the majority
of its members. And it would be impossible to establish a communism
of saints only, because we cannot read the hearts--only "the
Lord knoweth them that are his." And if such a colony of
saints could be gotten together, and if it should prosper with
all things in common, all sorts of evil persons would seek to
get their possessions or to share them; and if successfully excluded
they would say all manner of evil against them; and so, if it
held together at all, the enterprise would not be a real success.
saints, as well as many of the world, are so fallen into selfish
indolence that nothing but necessity will help them to be, "not
slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."
And many others are so selfishly ambitious that they need the
buffetings of failure and adversity to mellow them and enable
them to sympathize with others, or even to bring them to deal
justly with others. For both these classes "community"
would merely serve to hinder the learning of the proper and needed
communities, if left to the rule of the majority, would sink to
the level of the majority; for the progressive, active minority,
finding that nothing could be gained by energy and thrift over
carelessness and sloth, would also grow careless and indolent.
If governed by organizers of strong will, as Life Trustees and
Managers, on a paternal principle, the result would be more favorable
financially; but the masses, deprived of personal responsibility,
would degenerate into mere tools and slaves of the Trustees.
sound judgment it therefore appears that the method of individualism,
with its liberty and responsibility, is the best one for the development
of intelligent beings; even though it may work hardships many
times to all, and sometimes to many.
judgment can see that if the Millennial Kingdom were established
on the earth, with the divine rulers then
<PAGE 478> promised, backed by unerring wisdom
and full power to use it, laying "judgment to the line and
righteousness to the plummet," and ruling not by consent
of majorities, but by righteous judgment, as "with a rod
of iron"--then communism could succeed; probably it would
be the very best condition, and if so it will be the method chosen
by the King of kings. But for that we wait; and not having the
power or the wisdom to use such theocratic power, the spirit of
a sound mind simply bides the Lord's time, praying meanwhile,
"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done
in heaven." And after Christ's Kingdom shall have brought
all the willing back to God and righteousness, and shall have
destroyed all the unwilling, then, with Love the rule of earth
as it is of heaven, we may suppose that men will share earth's
mercies in common, as do the angels the bounties of heaven.
Experience proves the failure of communistic methods in
the present time. There have been several such communities; and
the result has always been failure. The Oneida community of New
York is one whose failure has long been recognized. Another, the
Harmony Society of Pennsylvania, soon disappointed the hopes of
its founders, for so much discord prevailed that it divided. The
branch known as Economites located near Pittsburgh, Pa. It flourished
for a while, after a fashion, but is now quite withered; and possession
of its property is now being disputed in the Society and in the
courts of law.
communistic societies are starting now, which will be far less
successful than these because the times are different; independence
is greater, respect and reverence are less, majorities will rule,
and without superhuman leaders are sure to fail. Wise worldly
leaders are looking out for themselves, while wise Christians
are busy in other channels-- obeying the Lord's command, "Go
thou and preach the Gospel."
The Bible does not teach Communism, but does teach loving,
considerate Individualism, except in the sense of family communism--each
family acting as a unit, of which the father is the head and the
wife one with him, his fellow-heir of the grace of life, his partner
in every joy and benefit as well as in every adversity and sorrow.
God permitted a communistic arrangement in the primitive Church,
referred to at the beginning of this article; but this may have
been for the purpose of illustrating to us the unwisdom of the
method; and lest some, thinking of the scheme now, should conclude
that the apostles did not command and organize communities, because
they lacked the wisdom to devise and carry out such methods; for
not a word can be quoted from our Lord or the apostles advocating
the communistic principles; but much can be quoted to the contrary.
the Apostle Peter (and probably other apostles) knew of, and cooperated
in, that first communistic arrangement, even if he did not teach
the system. It has been inferred, too, that the death of Ananias
and Sapphira was an indication that the giving of all the goods
of the believers was compulsory; but not so: their sin was that
of lying, as Peter declared in reviewing the case. While
they had the land there was no harm in keeping it if they got
it honestly; and even after they had sold it no harm was done:
the wrong was in misrepresenting that the sum of money turned
in was their all, when it was not their all. They were
attempting to cheat the others by getting a share of their alls
without giving their own all.
a matter of fact, the Christian Community at Jerusalem was a failure.
"There arose a murmuring"--"Because their widows
were neglected in the daily ministrations." Although under
the Apostolic inspection the Church was pure, free from "tares,"
and all had the treasure of the new spirit or "mind of Christ,"
yet evidently that treasure was only in warped and twisted earthen
vessels which could not get along well together.
apostles soon found that the management of the community would
greatly interfere with their real work-- the preaching of the
gospel. So they abandoned those things to others. The Apostle
Paul and others traveled from city to city preaching Christ and
him crucified; but, so far as the record shows, they never mentioned
communism and never organized a community; and yet St. Paul declares,
"I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel
of God." This proves that Communism is no part of the gospel,
nor of the counsel of God for this age.
the contrary, the Apostle Paul exhorted and instructed the Church
to do things which it would be wholly impossible to do as members
of a communistic society--to each "provide for his own";
to "lay by on the first day of the week" money for the
Lord's service, according as the Lord had prospered them; that
servants should obey their masters, rendering the service with
a double good will if the master were also a brother in Christ;
and how masters should treat their servants, as those who must
themselves give an account to the great Master, Christ.
`1 Tim. 5:8; 6:1`; `1 Cor. 16:2`;
Lord Jesus not only did not establish a Community while he lived,
but he never taught that such should be established. On the contrary,
in his parables he taught that all have not the same number of
pounds or talents given them, but each is a steward and should
individually (not collectively, as a commune) manage his
own affairs, and render his own account. (`Matt.
25:14-28`; `Luke 19:12-24`. See
also `James 4:13,15`). When
dying, our Lord commended his mother to the care of his disciple
John, and the record of `John (19:27)` is,
"And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."
John, therefore, had a home, so had Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
Had our Lord formed a Community he would doubtless have commended
his mother to it instead of to John.>
the forming of a Commune of believers is opposed to the purpose
and methods of the Gospel age. The object of this age is to witness
Christ to the world, and thus to "take out a people for his
name"; and to this end each believer is exhorted to be a
burning and a shining light before men--the world in general--and
not before and to each other merely. Hence, after permitting the
first Christian Community to be established, to show that the
failure to establish Communities generally was not an oversight,
the Lord broke it up, and scattered the believers everywhere,
to preach the gospel to every creature. We read--"And at
that time there was a great persecution against the Church which
was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout
the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the
<PAGE 481> apostles," and they went everywhere
preaching the gospel. `Acts 8:1,4; 11:19`
is still the work of God's people to shine as lights in the
midst of the world, and not to shut themselves up in convents
and cloisters or as communities. The promises of Paradise will
not be realized by joining such communities. The desire to join
such "confederacies" is but a part of the general spirit
of our day, against which we are forewarned. (`Isa.
8:12`) "Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for
him." "Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye
may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, and to stand
before the Son of Man." `Luke 21:36`
Anarchy as a Remedy
want liberty to the extent of lawlessness. They have apparently
reached the conclusion that every method of human cooperation
has proved a failure, and they propose to destroy all cooperative
human restraints. Anarchy is therefore the exact opposite of Communism,
although some confound them. While Communism would destroy all
Individualism and compel the whole world to share alike, Anarchy
would destroy all laws and social restraints so that each individual
might do as he please. Anarchism is merely destructive: so far
as we can ascertain, it has no constructive features. It probably
considers that it has a sufficient task on hand to destroy the
world, and will better let the future battle for itself in the
matter of reconstruction.
following extracts from a sixteen page booklet published by the
London Anarchists and distributed at their great May-day parade,
gives some idea of their wild and desperate notions:
belief that there must be authority somewhere, and submission
to authority, are at the root of all our misery. As a remedy we
advise a struggle for life or death against all authority--physical
authority, as embodied in the State, or doctrinary authority,
the result of centuries of ignorance
<PAGE 482> and superstition, such as religion,
patriotism, obedience to laws, belief in the usefulness of government,
submission to the wealthy and to those in office--in short, a
struggle against all and every humbug designed to stupefy and
enslave the workingmen. The workingmen necessarily must destroy
authority: those who are benefited by it certainly will not. Patriotism
and religion are sanctuaries and bulwarks of rascals; religion
is the greatest curse of the human race. Yet there are to be found
men who prostitute the noble word 'labor' by combining it with
the nauseating term 'church' into 'Labor-Church.' One might just
as well speak of a 'Labor-Police.'
do not share the views of those who believe that the State may
be converted into a beneficent institution. The change would be
as difficult as to convert a wolf into a lamb. Nor do we believe
in the centralization of all production and consumption, as aimed
at by the Socialists. That would be nothing but the present State
in a new form, with increased authority, a veritable monstrosity
of tyranny and slavery.
the Anarchists want is equal liberty for all. The talents and
inclination of all men differ from each other. Every one knows
best what he can do and what he wants; laws and regulations only
hamper, and forced labor is never pleasant. In the state aimed
at by the Anarchists, every one will do the work that pleases
him best, and will satisfy his wants out of the common store as
pleases him best."
would seem that even the poorest judgment and the least experience
would see in this proposal nothing but the sheerest folly. In
it there is no remedy either proposed or expected: it is but the
gnashing of teeth of the hopeless and despairing; yet it is the
extremity toward which multitudes are being driven by the force
of circumstances propelled by selfishness.
Socialism or Collectivism as a Remedy
as a civil government would propose to secure the reconstruction
of society, the increase of wealth, and a
<PAGE 483> more nearly equal distribution
of the products of labor through the public collective ownership
of land and capital (wealth other than real estate), and the management
of all industries by the public collectively. Its motto is, "Every
one according to his deeds."
differs from "Nationalism" in that it does not propose
to reward all individuals alike. It differs from "Communism"
in that it does not advocate a community of goods or property.
It thus, in our judgment, avoids the errors of both, and is a
very practical theory if it could be introduced gradually and
by wise, moderate, unselfish men. This principle has already accomplished
much on a small scale in various localities. In many cities in
the United States the water supply, street improvements, schools
and fire and police departments are so conducted, to the general
welfare. But Europe is in advance of us along these lines; for
many of their railroads and telegraphs are so conducted. In France
the tobacco business with all its profits belongs to the government,
the people. In Russia the liquor business has been seized by the
government and is hereafter to be conducted by it for the public
benefit financially, and it is claimed also morally.
following interesting statistics are from
"Social Upbuilding" by E. D. Babbitt, LL. D., of the
College of Fine Forces, New Jersey:
governments own their telegraph lines.
governments own their railroads in whole or in part, while only
nineteen, the United States among them, do not.
Australia one can ride 1,000 miles (first class) across the country
for $5.50, or six miles for 2 cents, and railroad men are paid
more for eight hours labor than in the United States for ten hours.
Does this impoverish the country? In
<PAGE 484> Victoria, where these rates prevail,
the net income for 1894 was sufficient to pay the federal taxes.
Hungary, where the roads are state-owned, one can ride six miles
for a cent, and since the government bought the roads, wages have
Belgium, fares and freight rates have been cut down one-half and
wages doubled. But for all that the roads pay a yearly revenue
to the government of $4,000,000.
Germany, the government-owned roads will carry a person four miles
for a cent, while the wages of the employees are 120 per cent
higher than when the corporations owned them. Has such a system
proved ruinous? No. During the last ten years the net profits
have increased 41 per cent. Last year (1894), the roads paid the
German government a net profit of $25,000,000.
has been estimated that government ownership of railroads would
save the people of the United States a billion dollars in money
and give better wages to its employees, two millions of whom would
doubtless then be needed instead of 700,000 as at present.
Germany, is called the cleanest, best paved and best governed
city in the world. It owns its gas works, electric lights, water
works, street railways, city telephones, and even its fire insurance,
and thus makes a profit every year of 5,000,000 mark, or $1,250,000,
over all expenses. In that city the citizens can ride five miles
as often as they please every day in the whole year for $4.50,
while two trips a day on the elevated railroads of New York would
F. G. R. Gordon has given in the Twentieth Century the
statistics with reference to lighting a number of American cities
and finds that the average price of each arc light by the year,
when under municipal control, is $52.12 1/2 while the average
price paid to private parties by the various cities is $105.13
per light each year, or a little more than twice as much as when
run by the cities themselves.
average price for telegrams in the United States in 1891 was thirty-two
and a half cents. In Germany, where the telegraphs are owned by
the government, messages of ten words are sent to all parts of
the country for five cents.
<PAGE 485> From the greater distances and
higher prices for labor, here, we would probably have to pay from
five to twenty cents, according to the distance. The remarkable
advantage of having each municipality control its own gas, water,
coal and street railways, has been demonstrated by Birmingham,
Glasgow and other cities in Great Britain."
good, we answer, so far as it goes. But still no sane man will
claim that the poor of Europe are enjoying the Millennial blessings,
even with all these Socialist theories in operation in their midst.
No well informed man will undertake to say that the working classes
of Europe are anywhere near on a par with workmen in general in
the United States. This is still their Paradise, and laws are
even now being formed to limit the thousands who desire still
to come to share this Paradise.
while we rejoice in every amelioration of the condition of Europe's
poor, let us not forget that the nationalization movement, except
in Great Britain, results not from greater sagacity on the part
of the people, nor from benevolence or indolence on the part of
Capital, but from another cause which does not operate in the
United States-- from the governments themselves. They have taken
possession of these to avoid bankruptcy. They are under immense
expense in supporting armies, navies, fortresses, etc., and must
have a source of revenue. The cheap rates of travel are with a
view to please the people and also to draw business; for if the
rates were not low the many who earn small wages could not ride.
As it is, the fourth-class cars in Germany are merely freight
cars, without seats of any kind.
full view of such facts let us not delude ourselves with the supposition
that such measures would solve the Labor Problem, or even relieve
matters for more than six years, and that but slightly.
have reason to believe that Socialism will make great progress
during the next few years. But frequently it will
<PAGE 486> not be wisely or moderately advanced:
success will intoxicate some of its advocates, and failure render
others desperate, and as a result impatience will lead to calamity.
Capitalism and Monarchism see in Socialism a foe, and already
they oppose it as much as they dare in view of public opinion.
The Church nominal, though full of tares and worldliness, is still
a powerful factor in the case; for she represents and largely
controls the middle classes in whose hands is the balance of power
as between the upper and the lower classes of society. To these
Socialism has hitherto been considerably misrepresented by its
friends, who hitherto have generally been infidels. Rulers, capitalists
and clergymen, with few exceptions, will seize upon the first
extremes of Socialism to assault it and brand it with infamy,
and temporarily throttle it, encouraging themselves with specious
arguments which self-interest and fear will suggest.
can but rejoice to see principles of equity set in motion, even
though they be but temporary and partial. And all whose interests
would be affected thereby should endeavor to take a broad view,
and to relinquish a portion of their personal advantage for the
intimated the movement will be crushed under the combined power
of Church, State and Capital and later lead to the great explosion
of anarchy, in which, as indicated in the Scriptures, all present
institutions will be wrecked--"a time of trouble such as
was not since there was a nation."
even should Socialism have its own way entirely, it would prove
to be but a temporary relief, so long as selfishness is
the ruling principle in the hearts of the majority of mankind.
There are "born schemers" who would speedily find ways
of getting the cream of public works and compensations for themselves;
parasites on the social structure
<PAGE 487> would multiply and flourish and
"rings" would be everywhere. So long as people recognize
and worship a principle, they will more or less conform to it:
hence Socialism at first might be comparatively pure, and its
representatives in office faithful servants of the public for
the public good. But let Socialism become popular, and the same
shrewd, selfish schemers who now oppose it would get inside and
control it for their own selfish ends.
and Nationalists see that so long as differences of compensation
are permitted selfishness will warp and twist truth and justice;
and in order to gratify pride and ambition it will surmount every
barrier against poverty that men can erect. To meet this difficulty
they go to the impractical extremes which their claims present--
impractical because men are sinners, not saints; selfish,
Herbert Spencer's View of Socialism
Herbert Spencer, the noted English philosopher and economist,
noticing the statement that the Italian Socialist Ferri supports
his theories, wrote: "The assertion that any of my views
favor Socialism causes me great irritation. I believe the advent
of Socialism to be the greatest disaster the world has ever known."
great thinkers agree that competition or "individualism"
has its evils that require drastic remedies, they deprecate the
enslavement of the individual to social organization: or rather
the burial of all individuality in Socialism, as eventually the
greater disaster; since it would create armies of public employees,
make politics still more of a trade than at present, and consequently
open the way more than ever to rings and general corruption.
following from the Literary Digest (Aug. 10, 1895), has
a bearing upon the subject in hand as going to show
<PAGE 488> that Socialistic principles would
not endure unless supported by some kind of force--so strong is
selfishness in all mankind:
"Two Socialist Communities"
practical trials of Socialism attract the attention of students
of social economy abroad. In both cases the original promoters
of Socialist communities are doing fairly well, in one they are
even prosperous. But the attempt to live up to the teachings of
Socialistic theorists has failed in both instances. The erstwhile
communists have returned to methods which scarcely differ from
those of the bourgeoise around them. A little more than
two years ago a party of Australian workingmen, tired of a life
of wage-slavery relieved only by the hardships of enforced idleness,
set out for Paraguay, where they obtained land suitable for farmers
who have no large machines at their disposal. They called their
settlement New Australia, and hoped to convert it into a Utopia
for workingmen. The British foreign Office, in its latest official
report, gives a short history of the movement which caused many
men to exchange Australia, 'the workingman's Eldorado,' for South
America. We take the following from the report mentioned:
aims of the colony were set forth in its constitution, in which
one of the articles runs as follows: 'It is our intention to form
a community in which all labor will be for the benefit of every
member, and in which it will be impossible for one to tyrannize
another. It will be the duty of each individual to regard the
well-being of the community as his chief aim, thus insuring a
degree of comfort, happiness and education which is impossible
in a state of society where no one is certain that he will not
ideal was not realized. Eighty-five of the colonists soon tired
of the restrictions imposed upon them by the majority, and refused
to obey. New arrivals from Australia made up the loss occasioned
by this secession; but the new arrivals, dissatisfied with the
leader of the movement, elected a chief of their own, so that
there were now three parties in the colony. The equal division
of the proceeds of
<PAGE 489> their labor soon dissatisfied a
number of the workers, who, in opposition to Socialist rules,
demanded a share in proportion to the work they had done. The
strict enforcement of Prohibition was another cause of dissatisfaction,
especially as its infringement was punishable by expulsion without
a chance of getting the original capital sunk in the undertaking
refunded. The colony was on the point of breaking up, when the
erstwhile leader of the movement succeeded in getting himself
appointed judge by the Paraguayan authorities, and surrounded
himself with a police force. There is hope that the colony will
now become prosperous, but Socialistic regulations have been discarded.
experience of the miners of Monthieux is somewhat different. In
their case it was prosperity that caused the Socialistic theories
to be set aside. The Gewerbe Zeitung, Berlin, tells their
story as follows:
Monthieux, near St. Etienne, is a pit which was given up by the
company which owned it a couple of years ago, and the miners were
discharged. As there was no chance for employment in the neighborhood,
the workmen begged the company to turn over the pit to them, and
as the owners did not believe that the pit could be made to pay,
they consented. The miners had no machinery, but they worked with
a will and managed to find new veins. They made almost superhuman
efforts and managed to save enough of their earnings to purchase
machinery, and the discarded mines of Monthieux became a source
of wealth to the new owners. The former owners then endeavored
to regain possession, but lost their suit, and the labor press
did not fail to contrast the avarice of the capitalists with the
nobility of the miners who shared alike the proceeds of their
labor. The mines of Monthieux were pointed out as an instance
of the triumph of Collectivism over the exploitation of private
the miners extended their operations until they could no longer
do all the work without help. Other miners were called in, and
did their best to further the work. But the men who had first
undertaken to make the pit a paying one refused to share alike
with the newcomers. They knew that the wealth which lay beneath
their feet had been
<PAGE 490> discovered by them with almost
superhuman efforts; they had, so to speak, made something out
of nothing, why should they share the results of their labors
with the newcomers, who had, indeed, worked all this time, but
elsewhere? Why should they give to the new comrades of the harvest
they had not planted? The newcomers should be paid well, better
than in other mines, but they should not become joint owners.
And when the newcomers created a disturbance, the 'capitalistic'
workingmen fetched police and had them thrown out of their council
Nationalism as a Remedy
is a later development of theory along the lines of socialism.
It claims that all industries should be conducted by the nation,
on the basis of common obligation to work and a general guarantee
of livelihood; all workers to do the same amount of work, and
to get the same wages.
combinations, trusts and syndicates, of which the people at present
complain, demonstrate the practicability of our basic principle
of association. We merely seek to push this principle a little
further and have all industries operated in the interest of all,
by the nation--the people organized --the organic unity of the
present industrial system proves itself wrong by the immense wrongs
it produces; it proves itself absurd by the immense waste of energy
and material which is admitted to be its concomitant. Against
this system we raise our protest: for the abolition of the slavery
it has wrought and would perpetuate, we pledge our best efforts."
favorable points, common to both, we have mentioned favorably
under the caption "Socialism or Collectivism as a remedy";
as a whole, however, Nationalism is quite impracticable; the objections
to it being in general the same that we urged foregoing against
Communism. Although Nationalism does not, like Communism, directly
threaten the destruction of the family, its tendency would
<PAGE 491> surely be in that direction. Among
its advocates are many broadminded, philanthropic souls, some
of whom have helped, without hope of personal advantage, to found
colonies where the principles of Nationalism were to be worked
out as public examples. Some of these have been utter failures,
and even the practically successful have been forced to ignore
Nationalist principles in dealing with the world outside
their colonies: and, as might be expected, they have all had considerable
internal friction. If, with "one Lord, one faith and one
baptism" God's saints find it difficult to "preserve
the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace," and need to
be exhorted to forbear one another in love; how could it be expected
that mixed companies, claiming no such spirit as a bond, could
succeed in vanquishing the selfish spirit of the world, the flesh
and the devil?
colonies on this Nationalist plan have started and failed within
the past few years, in the United States. One of the most noted
failures is that known as the Altruria Colony, of California,
founded by Rev. E. B. Payne, on the theory "One for all and
all for one." It had many advantages over other colonies
in that it picked out its members, and did not accept all sorts.
Moreover, it had a Lodge form of government of very thorough control.
Its founder, giving the reasons for the failure, in the San Francisco
Examiner, Dec. 10, 1896, said:
was not a complete failure;...we demonstrated that trust, good
will and sincerity--which prevailed for a part of the time--made
a happy community life, and on the other side, that suspicion,
envy and selfish motives diabolize human nature and make life
not worth while.... We did not continue to trust and consider
one another as we did at first, but fell back into the ways of
the rest of the world."
some people demonstrate by experience others know by inductive
reasoning, based upon knowledge of human
<PAGE 492> nature. Any one wanting a lesson
on the futility of hope from such a quarter while selfishness
still controls the hearts of men, can get his experience cheaply
by boarding for a week each at three or four second-class "boarding
General Education of Mechanics a Remedy
The Forum some years ago an article appeared by Mr. Henry
Holt, in which he endeavored to show that education should be
largely industrial, to fit a mechanic to readily turn from one
employment to another--he should "learn a dozen" trades.
While this might for a time help a few individuals, it is manifest
that such a measure would not solve the problem. It is bad enough
as it is, when plasterers and bricklayers may be busy while shoemakers
and weavers are idle; but what would be the effect if the latter
also understood bricklaying and plastering? It would multiply
competition in every trade, if all the unemployed could compete
for the busy jobs. The gentleman, however, deals well with two
comprehensive truths, respecting which education is needed. He
simpler of these truths is the inevitable, even if cruel--the
necessity of Natural Selection. I do not say it's justice. Nature
knows nothing of justice. Her machinery pounds remorselessly along
in a set of hard conditions, but, after all, pounds out of those
conditions the best they will yield. True, she has evolved in
us intelligences to slightly direct her course; and it is in using
them the function of justice comes up. But we can direct her only
in channels fitted to her own currents: otherwise we are overwhelmed.
Now, no one of her courses is broader and more clearly marked
than that of Natural Selection, and in the exercise of our little
liberties and suffrages, we are never so wise as when we fall
in with it--when, for example, we raise a Lincoln from his cabin.
But so far, we are vastly more apt to prefer the demagogue, and
then we suffer. Socialism proposes to extend
<PAGE 493> the danger of this suffering into
the field of production. The captains of industry are now chosen
purely by natural selection--at least with a very moderate abnormality
in the action of heredity, which rapidly cures itself: if the
son does not inherit fitness, he soon ceases to survive. But with
increasing freedom of competition, and increasing facilities for
able men without capital, to hire it, it is substantially true
that industry is at present directed by Natural Selection. For
this, the Socialist proposes to substitute artificial selection,
and that by popular vote. A general knowledge of the superiority
of Nature's way would cure this madness.
other truth so difficult to impart clearly, but not impossible
to give some conception of, is the more important. It is difficult,
not so much because it calls for some preliminary education, as
because dogma has been fighting it for thousands of years, and
fights it still. To most who read this, every one of these assertions
will probably appear strange, when the truth is named in the familiar
phraseology --The Universal Reign of Law. Yet it is the fact that
hosts of men who think they believe in it, pray every day that
it may not be--that exceptions may be made in their cases. People
generally--and legislators generally--in a matter of physiology,
would send for a doctor; or in a matter of machinery, for an engineer;
or in chemistry, for a chemist; and would follow his opinion with
childlike faith; but in economics they want no opinions but their
own. They have no idea that such matters are, like physical matters,
under the control of natural laws--that to find those laws, or
learn those already found, requires special study; and that to
go counter to them, in ignorance, must bring disaster as fatal
as in perversity...
workingman needs, then, not only instruction in the trade-school
and in certain economic facts, but the kind of instruction in
science and history that will give him some conception of Natural
Law. On the basis thus provided could be built some notion of
its control in the social as well as in the material world; and
also some realization that human law is futile, or worse, except
as, by close study and
<PAGE 494> cautious experiment, it is made
to conform to the Natural Law. Hence would come the faith that
no human law could make the unfit survive, except at somebody
else's expense; and that the only way to enable them to survive
at their own, is to make them fit."
it is well that all should learn that these two laws control in
our present social system, and that it is not in the power of
man to change nature or nature's laws; and hence that it is impossible
for him to do more than tinker present social conditions, and
temporarily improve them a little. The new and more desirable
laws necessary to the perfect, the ideal society, will require
supernatural powers for their introduction. Learning this lesson
will help to bring (instead of a discontent which aggravates itself)
"godliness with contentment," while waiting for the
Kingdom of God and praying, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be
done on earth as in heaven."
The Single Tax Remedy
because he saw the effects of Communism and Nationalism and Socialism,
as pointed out above, Mr. Henry George devised a scheme of some
merit, known as the "Single Tax Theory." This may be
said to be the reverse of Socialism in some respects. It is Individualism
in many important features. It leaves the individual to the resources
of his own character, efforts and environment; except that it
would preserve to each an inalienable right to share, as the common
blessings of the Creator--air, water and land. It proposes very
little direct alteration of the present social system. Claiming
that the present inequalities of fortune, so far as they are oppressive
and injurious, are wholly the results of private ownership of
the land, this theory proposes that all lands become once more
the property of Adam's race as a whole; and claims that thus the
evils of our present social system would speedily right themselves.
<PAGE 495> that this re-distribution of the
land shall be accomplished, not by dividing it proportionately
among the human family, but by considering it all as one vast
estate, and permitting each person as a tenant to use as much
as he may choose of what he now possesses, and to collect a land-tax
or rental from each occupant proportional to the value of the
land (aside from the value of the buildings or other improvements
thereon). Thus a vacant lot would be assessed as heavy a rental
or tax as an adjoining lot, built upon, and the untilled field
as much as the adjoining fruitful one. The tax thus raised would
constitute a fund for every purpose for the general welfare--for
schools, streets, roads, water, etc., and for local and general
government; hence the name of the theory, "Single Tax."
effect would of course be to open to actual settlement thousands
of town lots and barren fields now held for speculative purposes;
because all taxes being consolidated into one, and being removed
from cattle, machinery, business and improvements of every kind,
and all concentrated upon the land would make the land-tax quite
an item; graduated, however, so as to show no favoritism, poor
farm lands or remote from transportation being taxed less in proportion
than better lands, and those nearer to transportation. City lots
similarly would be assessed according to value, location and surroundings
a law, made to become operative ten years after its passage, would
have the immediate effect of reducing real estate values, and
by the time it would become operative millions of acres and thousands
of town-lots would be open to any one who could make use of them
and pay the assessed rents. Mr. Henry George took advantage of
the fact that Pope Leo XIII issued an Encyclical on Labor, to
publish a pamphlet in reply, entitled, "An Open Letter to
Pope Leo XIII," etc. As it contains some good thoughts along
the lines of our topic and besides is a further statement of
<PAGE 496> the theory under discussion, we
make liberal extracts as follows:
An Extract from an Open Letter
by Mr. Henry George to Pope Leo XIII, in Answer
to the Latter's Encyclical on the
Perplexing Labor Question.
seems to us that your Holiness misses its real significance in
intimating that Christ, in becoming the son of a carpenter and
himself working as a carpenter, showed merely that 'there is nothing
to be ashamed of in seeking one's bread by labor.' To say that
is almost like saying that by not robbing people he showed that
there is nothing to be ashamed of in honesty. If you will consider
how true in any large view is the classification of all men into
workingmen, beggarmen and thieves, you will see that it was morally
impossible that Christ, during his stay on earth, should have
been anything else than a workingman, since he who came to fulfil
the law must by deed as well as word obey God's law of labor.
how fully and how beautifully Christ's life on earth illustrated
this law. Entering our earthly life in the weakness of infancy,
as it is appointed that all should enter it, He lovingly took
what in the natural order is lovingly rendered, the sustenance,
secured by labor, that one generation owes to its immediate successors.
Arrived at maturity he earned his own subsistence by that common
labor in which the majority of men must and do earn it. Then passing
to a higher--to the very highest--sphere of labor, he earned his
subsistence by the teaching of moral and spiritual truths, receiving
its material wages in the love offerings of grateful hearers,
and not refusing the costly spikenard with which Mary anointed
his feet. So, when he chose his disciples, he did not go to land
owners or other monopolists who live on the labor of others, but
to common laboring men. And when he called them to a higher sphere
of labor and sent them out to teach moral and spiritual truths,
he told them to take, without condescension on the one hand, or
sense of degradation on the other, the loving return for such
<PAGE 497> saying to them that the 'laborer
is worthy of his hire,' thus showing, what we hold, that all labor
does not consist in what is called manual labor, but that whoever
helps to add to the material, intellectual, moral or spiritual
fulness of life is also a laborer.*
assuming that laborers, even ordinary manual laborers, are naturally
poor, you ignore the fact that labor is the producer of wealth,
and attribute to the natural law of the Creator an injustice that
comes from man's impious violation of his benevolent intention.
In the rudest state of the arts it is possible, where justice
prevails, for all well men to earn a living. With the labor-saving
appliances of our time it should be possible for all to earn much
more. And so, in saying that poverty is no disgrace, you convey
an unreasonable implication. For poverty ought to be a
disgrace, because in a condition of social justice, it would,
where unimposed by unavoidable misfortune, imply recklessness
sympathy of your Holiness seems exclusively directed to the poor,
the workers. Ought this to be so? Are not rich idlers to be pitied
also? By the word of the Gospel it is the rich rather than the
poor who call for pity. And to any one who believes in a future
life, the condition of him who wakes to find his cherished millions
left behind must seem pitiful. But even in this life, how really
pitiable are the rich. The evil is not in wealth in itself--in
its command over material ---------- *"Nor should it be forgotten
that the investigator, the philosopher, the teacher, the artist,
the poet, the priest, though not engaged in the production of
wealth, are not only engaged in the production of utilities and
satisfactions to which the production of wealth is only a means,
but by acquiring and diffusing knowledge, stimulating mental powers
and elevating the moral sense, may greatly increase the ability
to produce wealth. For man does not live by bread alone...He who
by any exertion of mind or body adds to the aggregate of enjoyable
wealth increases the sum of human knowledge, or gives to human
life higher elevation or greater fulness--he is, in the large
meaning of the words, a 'producer,' a 'working man,' a 'laborer,'
and is honestly earning honest wages. But he who without doing
aught to make mankind richer, wiser, better, happier, lives on
the toil of others--he, no matter by what name of honor he may
be called, or how lustily the priests of Mammon may swing their
censers before him, is in the last analysis but a beggarman or
<PAGE 498> things; it is in the possession
of wealth while others are steeped in poverty; in being raised
above touch with the life of humanity, from its work and its struggles,
its hopes and its fears, and above all, from the love that sweetens
life, and the kindly sympathies and generous acts that strengthen
faith in man and trust in God. Consider how the rich see the meaner
side of human nature; how they are surrounded by flatterers and
sycophants; how they find ready instruments not only to gratify
vicious impulses, but to prompt and stimulate them; how they must
constantly be on guard lest they be swindled; how often they must
suspect an ulterior motive behind kindly deed or friendly word;
how if they try to be generous they are beset by shameless beggars
and scheming impostors; how often the family affections are chilled
for them, and their deaths anticipated with the ill-concealed
joy of expectant possession. The worst evil of poverty is not
in the want of material things, but in the stunting and distortion
of the higher qualities. So, though in another way, the possession
of unearned wealth likewise stunts and distorts what is noblest
commands cannot be evaded with impunity. If it be God's command
that men shall earn their bread by labor, the idle rich must suffer.
And they do. See the utter vacancy of the lives of those who live
for pleasure; see the loathsome vices bred in a class who, surrounded
by poverty, are sated with wealth. See that terrible punishment
of ennui of which the poor know so little that they cannot
understand it; see the pessimism that grows among the wealthy
classes--that shuts out God, that despises men, that deems existence
in itself an evil, and fearing death yet longs for annihilation.
Christ told the rich young man who sought him to sell all he had
and to give it to the poor, he was not thinking of the poor, but
of the young man. And I doubt not that among the rich, and especially
among the self-made rich, there are many who at times, at least,
feel keenly the folly of their riches and fear for the dangers
and temptations to which these expose their children. But the
strength of long habit, the promptings of pride, the excitement
of making and holding what has become for them the counters in
a game of cards, the family expectations that have assumed
<PAGE 499> the character of rights, and the
real difficulty they find in making any good use of their wealth,
bind them to their burden, like a weary donkey to his pack, till
they stumble on the precipice that bounds this life.
who are sure of getting food when they shall need it eat only
what appetite dictates. But with the sparse tribes who exist on
the verge of the habitable globe, life is either a famine or a
feast. Enduring hunger for days, the fear of it prompts them to
gorge like anacondas when successful in their quest of game. And
so, what gives wealth its curse is what drives men to seek it,
what makes it so envied and admired --the fear of want. As the
unduly rich are the corollary of the unduly poor, so is the soul-destroying
quality of riches but the reflex of the want that imbrutes and
degrades. The real evil lies in the injustice from which unnatural
possession and unnatural deprivation both spring.
this injustice can hardly be charged on individuals or classes.
The existence of private property in land is a great social wrong
from which society at large suffers, and of which the very rich
and the very poor are alike victims, though at the opposite extremes.
Seeing this, it seems to us like a violation of Christian charity
to speak of the rich as though they individually were responsible
for the sufferings of the poor. Yet, while you do this, you insist
that the cause of monstrous wealth and degrading poverty
shall not be touched. Here is a man with a disfiguring and dangerous
excrescence. One physician would kindly, gently, but firmly remove
it. Another insists that it shall not be removed, but at the same
time holds up the poor victim to hatred and ridicule. Which is
seeking to restore all men to their equal and natural rights we
do not seek the benefit of any class, but of all. For we both
know by faith and see by fact that injustice can profit no one
and that justice must benefit all.
do we seek any 'futile and ridiculous equality.'... The equality
we would bring about is not the equality of fortune, but the equality
of natural opportunity...
in taking for the uses of society what we clearly see is the great
fund intended for society in the divine order, we would not levy
the slightest tax on the possessors of wealth, no matter how rich
they might be. Not only do we deem
<PAGE 500> such taxes a violation of the right
of property, but we see that by virtue of beautiful adaptations
in the economic laws of the Creator it is impossible for any one
honestly to acquire wealth, without at the same time adding to
the wealth of the world...
Holiness in the Encyclical gives an example of this. Denying the
equality of right to the material basis of life, and yet conscious
that there is a right to live, you assert the right of laborers
to employment, and their right to receive from their employers
a certain indefinite wage. No such rights exist. No one has a
right to demand employment of another, or to demand higher wages
than the other is willing to give, or in any way to put pressure
on another to make him raise such wages against his will. There
can be no better moral justification for such demands on employers
by workingmen than there would be for employers to demand that
workingmen shall be compelled to work for them when they do not
want to and to accept wages lower than they are willing to take.
Any seeming justification springs from a prior wrong, the denial
to workingmen of their natural rights...
justified David, who when pressed by hunger committed what ordinarily
would be sacrilege, by taking from the temple the loaves of proposition.
But in this he was far from saying that the robbing of temples
was a proper way of getting a living.
the Encyclical, however, you commend the application to the ordinary
relations of life, under normal conditions, of principles that
in ethics are only to be tolerated under extraordinary conditions.
You are driven to this assertion of false rights by your denial
of true rights. The natural right which each man has is not that
of demanding employment or wages from another man; but that of
employing himself--that of applying by his own labor to the inexhaustible
storehouse which the Creator has in the land provided for
all men. Were that storehouse open, as by the single tax we would
open it, the natural demand for labor would keep pace with the
supply, the man who sold labor and the man who bought it would
become free exchangers for mutual advantage, and all cause for
dispute between workman and employer would be gone. For then,
<PAGE 501> free to employ themselves, the
mere opportunity to labor would cease to seem a boon; and since
no one would work for another for less, all things considered,
than he could earn by working for himself, wages would necessarily
rise to their full value, and the relations of workman and employer
be regulated by mutual interest and convenience.
is the only way in which they can be satisfactorily regulated.
Holiness seems to assume that there is some just rate of wages
that employers ought to be willing to pay and that laborers should
be content to receive, and to imagine that if this were secured
there would be an end of strife. This rate you evidently think
of as that which will give workingmen a frugal living, and perhaps
enable them by hard work and strict economy to lay by a little
how can a just rate of wages be fixed without the 'higgling of
the market' any more than the just price of corn or pigs or ships
or paintings can be so fixed? And would not arbitrary regulation
in the one case as in the other check that interplay that most
effectively promotes the economical adjustment of productive forces?
Why should buyers of labor any more than buyers of commodities,
be called on to pay higher prices than in a free market they are
compelled to pay? Why should the sellers of labor be content with
anything less than in a free market they can obtain? Why should
workingmen be content with frugal fare when the world is so rich?
Why should they be satisfied with a lifetime of toil and stinting,
when the world is so bountiful? Why should not they also desire
to gratify the higher instincts, the finer tastes? Why should
they be forever content to travel in the steerage when others
find the cabin more enjoyable?
will they. The ferment of our time does not arise merely from
the fact that workingmen find it harder to live on the same scale
of comfort. It is also, and perhaps still more largely, due to
the increase of their desires with an improved scale of comfort.
This increase of desire must continue; for workingmen are men,
and man is the unsatisfied animal.
is not an ox, of whom it may be said, so much grass, so much grain,
so much water, and a little salt, and he will
<PAGE 502> be content. On the contrary, the
more man gets the more he craves. When he has enough food, then
he wants better food. When he gets a shelter, then he wants a
more commodious and tasty one. When his animal needs are satisfied,
then mental and spiritual desires arise.
restless discontent is of the nature of man--of that nobler nature
that raises him above the animals by so immeasurable a gulf, and
shows him to be indeed created in the likeness of God. It is not
to be quarreled with, for it is the motor of all progress. It
is this that has raised St. Peter's dome, and on dull, dead canvas
made the angelic face of the Madonna to glow; it is this that
has weighed suns and analyzed stars, and opened page after page
of the wonderful works of creative intelligence; it is this that
has narrowed the Atlantic to an ocean ferry and trained the lightning
to carry our messages to the remotest lands; it is this that is
opening to us possibilities beside which all that our modern civilization
has as yet accomplished seem small. Nor can it be repressed save
by degrading and imbruting men; by reducing Europe to Asia.
short of what wages may be earned when all restrictions on labor
are removed, and access to natural opportunities on equal terms
secured to all, it is impossible to fix any rate of wages that
will be deemed just, or any rate of wages that can prevent workingmen
striving to get more. So far from it making workingmen more contented
to improve their condition a little, it is certain to make them
are you asking justice when you ask employers to pay their
workingmen more than they are compelled to pay--more than they
could get others to do the work for. You are asking charity.
For the surplus that the rich employer thus gives is not in reality
wages, it is essentially alms.
speaking of the practical measures for the improvement of the
condition of labor which your Holiness suggests, I have not mentioned
what you place much stress upon--charity. But there is nothing
practical in such recommendations as a cure for poverty, nor will
any one so consider them. If it were possible for the giving of
alms to abolish poverty there would be no poverty in Christendom.
is indeed a noble and beautiful virtue, grateful to man and approved
by God. But charity must be built on justice. It cannot supersede
is wrong in the condition of labor through the Christian world
is that labor is robbed. And while you justify the continuance
of that robbery it is idle to urge charity. To do so--to commend
charity as a substitute for justice, is indeed something akin
in essence to those heresies, condemned by your predecessors,
that taught that the gospel had superseded the law, and that the
love of God exempted men from moral obligations.
that charity can do where injustice exists is here and there to
somewhat mollify the effects of injustice. It cannot cure them.
Nor is even what little it can do to mollify the effects of injustice
without evil. For what may be called the superimposed, as in this
sense, secondary virtues, work evil where the fundamental or primary
virtues are absent. Thus sobriety is a virtue, and diligence is
a virtue. But a sober and diligent thief is all the more dangerous.
Thus patience is a virtue. But patience under wrong is the condoning
of wrong. Thus it is a virtue to seek knowledge and to endeavor
to cultivate the mental powers. But the wicked man becomes more
capable of evil by reason of his intelligence. Devils we always
think of as intelligent.
thus that pseudo charity that discards and denies justice works
evil. On the one side it demoralizes its recipients, outraging
that human dignity, which, as you say, 'God himself treats with
reverence,' and turning into beggars and paupers men who, to become
self-supporting, self-respecting citizens, only need the restitution
of what God has given them. On the other side it acts as an anodyne
to the consciences of those who are living on the robbery of their
fellows, and fosters that moral delusion and spiritual pride that
Christ doubtless had in mind when he said it was easier for a
camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man
to enter the kingdom of heaven. For it leads men, steeped in injustice,
and using their money and their influence to bolster up injustice,
to think that in giving alms they are doing something more than
their duty towards man and deserve to be very well thought of
by God, and in a vague way to attribute to their own goodness
<PAGE 504> belongs to God's goodness. For
consider: Who is the All-provider? Who is it that as you say,
'owes to man a storehouse that shall never fail,' and which 'he
finds only in the inexhaustible fertility of the earth.' Is it
not God? And when, therefore, men, deprived of the bounty of their
God, are made dependent on the bounty of their fellow-creatures,
are not these creatures, as it were, put in the place of God,
to take credit to themselves for paying obligations that you yourself
say God owes?
worse, perhaps, than all else is the way in which this substituting
of vague injunctions to charity for the clear-cut demands of justice
opens an easy means for the professed teachers of the Christian
religion of all branches and communions to placate Mammon while
persuading themselves that they are serving God...
your Holiness, as faith without works is dead, as men cannot give
to God his due while denying to their fellows the rights he gave
them, so charity, unsupported by justice, can do nothing to solve
the problem of the existing condition of labor. Though the rich
were to 'bestow all their goods to feed the poor and give their
bodies to be burned,' poverty would continue while property in
the case of the rich man today who is honestly desirous of devoting
his wealth to the improvement of the condition of labor. What
can he do?
his wealth on those who need it? He may help some who deserve
it, but he will not improve general conditions. And against the
good he may do will be the danger of doing harm.
churches? Under the shadow of churches poverty festers, and the
vice that is born of it breeds.
schools and colleges? Save as it may lead men to see the iniquity
of private property in land, increased education can effect nothing
for mere laborers, for as education is diffused the wages of education
hospitals? Why, already it seems to laborers that there are too
many seeking work, and to save and prolong life is to add to the
model tenements? Unless he cheapens house accommodations he but
drives further the class he would benefit,
<PAGE 505> and as he cheapens house accommodations
he brings more to seek employment and cheapens wages.
laboratories, scientific schools, workshops for physical experiments?
He but stimulates invention and discovery, the very forces that,
acting on a society based on private property in land, are crushing
labor as between the upper and the nether millstone.
emigration from places where wages are low to places where they
are somewhat higher? If he does, even those whom he at first helps
to emigrate will soon turn on him to demand that such emigration
shall be stopped, as it is reducing their wages.
away what land he may have, or refuse to take rent for it, or
let it at lower rents than the market price? He will simply make
new land owners or partial land owners; he may make some individuals
the richer, but he will do nothing to improve the general condition
bethinking himself of those public-spirited citizens of classic
times who spent great sums in improving their native cities, shall
he try to beautify the city of his birth or adoption? Let him
widen and straighten narrow and crooked streets, let him build
parks and erect fountains, let him open tramways and bring in
railroads, or in any way make beautiful and attractive his chosen
city, and what will be the result? Must it not be those who appropriate
God's bounty will take his also? Will it not be that the value
of land will go up, and that the net result of his benefactions
will be an increase of rents and a bounty to land owners? Why,
even the mere announcement that he is going to do such things
will start speculation and send up the value of land by leaps
then, can the rich man do to improve the condition of labor?
can do nothing at all except to use his strength for the abolition
of the great primary wrong that robs men of their birthright.
The justice of God laughs at the attempts of men to substitute
anything else for it."
* * *
within narrow lines trades unionism promotes the idea of the mutuality
of interests, and often helps to
<PAGE 506> raise courage and further political
education, and while it has enabled limited bodies of workingmen
to improve somewhat their condition, and gain, as it were, breathing
space, yet it takes no note of the general causes that determine
the conditions of labor, and strives for the elevation of only
a small part of the great body by means that cannot help the rest.
Aiming at the restriction of competition--the limitation of the
right to labor, its methods are like those of an army, which even
in a righteous cause are subversive of liberty and liable to abuse,
while its weapon, the strike, is destructive in its nature, both
to combatants and non-combatants, being a form of passive war.
To apply the principle of trades unions to all industry, as some
dream of doing, would be to enthrall men in a caste system.
take even such moderate measures as the limitation of working
hours and of the labor of women and children. They are superficial
in looking no further than to the eagerness of men and women and
little children to work unduly, and in proposing forcibly to restrain
overwork while utterly ignoring its cause, the sting of poverty
that forces human beings to it. And the methods by which these
restraints must be enforced, multiply officials, interfere with
personal liberty, tend to corruption and are liable to abuse.
for thorough going socialism, which is the more to be honored
as having the courage of its convictions, it would carry these
vices to full expression. Jumping to conclusions without effort
to discover causes, it fails to see that oppression does not come
from the nature of capital, but from the wrong that robs labor
of capital by divorcing it from land, and that creates a fictitious
capital that is really capitalized monopoly. It fails to see that
it would be impossible for capital to oppress labor were labor
free to the natural material of production; that the wage system
in itself springs from mutual convenience, being a form of cooperation
in which one of the parties prefers a certain to a contingent
result; and that what it calls the 'iron law of wages' is not
the natural law of wages, but only the law of wages in that unnatural
condition in which men are made helpless by being deprived of
the material for life and work. It fails to see that what it mistakes
for the evils of competition are really the evils of restricted
competition--are due to a one-sided competition
<PAGE 507> to which men are forced when deprived
of land; while its methods, the organization of men into industrial
armies, the direction and control of all production and exchange
by governmental or semi-governmental bureaus, would, if carried
to full expression, mean Egyptian despotism.
differ from the Socialists in our diagnosis of the evil, and we
differ from them as to remedies. We have no fear of capital, regarding
it as the natural handmaiden of labor; we look on interest in
itself as natural and just; we would set no limit to accumulation,
nor impose on the rich any burden that is not equally placed on
the poor; we see no evil in competition, but deem unrestricted
competition to be as necessary to the health of the industrial
and social organism as the free circulation of the blood is to
the health of the bodily organism--to be the agency whereby the
fullest cooperation is to be secured. We would simply take for
the community what belongs to the community; the value that attaches
to land by the growth of the community; leave sacredly to the
individual all that belongs to the individual; and, treating necessary
monopolies as functions of the state, abolish all restrictions
and prohibitions save those required for public health, safety,
morals and convenience.
the fundamental difference--the difference I ask your Holiness
specially to note, is in this: Socialism in all its phases looks
on the evils of our civilization as springing from the inadequacy
or inharmony of natural relations, which must be artificially
organized or improved. In its idea there devolves on the state
the necessity of intelligently organizing the industrial relations
of men; the construction, as it were, of a great machine whose
complicated parts shall properly work together under the direction
of human intelligence. This is the reason why socialism tends
toward atheism. Failing to see the order and symmetry of natural
law, it fails to recognize God.
the other hand, we who call ourselves Single Tax Men (a name which
expresses merely our practical propositions) see in the social
and industrial relations of men not a machine which requires construction,
but an organism which needs only to be suffered to grow. We see
in the natural, social and industrial laws such harmony as we
see in the
<PAGE 508> adjustments of the human body,
and that as far transcends the power of man's intelligence to
order and direct as it is beyond man's intelligence to order and
direct the vital movements of his frame. We see in these social
and industrial laws so close a relation to the moral law as must
spring from the same Authorship, and that proves the moral law
to be the sure guide of man, where his intelligence would wander
and go astray. Thus, to us, all that is needed to remedy the evils
of our time is to do justice and give freedom. This is the reason
why our beliefs tend towards, nay, are indeed the only beliefs
consistent with a firm and reverent faith in God, and with the
recognition of his law as the supreme law which men must follow
if they would secure prosperity and avoid destruction. This is
the reason why to us political economy only serves to show the
depth of wisdom in the simple truths which common people heard
from the lips of Him of whom it was said with wonder, 'Is not
this the Carpenter of Nazareth?'
it is because that in what we propose--the securing to all men
of equal natural opportunities for the exercise of their powers
and the removal of all legal restriction on the legitimate exercise
of those powers--we see the conformation of human law to the moral
law, that we hold with confidence, not merely that this is the
sufficient remedy for all the evils you so strikingly portray,
but that it is the only possible remedy.
is there any other. The organization of man is such, his relations
to the world in which he is placed are such-- that is to say,
the immutable laws of God are such--that it is beyond the power
of human ingenuity to devise any way by which the evils born of
the injustice that robs men of their birthright can be removed
otherwise than by doing justice, by opening to all the bounty
that God has provided for all.
man can only live on land and from land, since land is the reservoir
of matter and force from which man's body itself is taken, and
on which he must draw for all that he can produce, does it not
irresistibly follow that to give the land in ownership to some
men and to deny to others all right to it is to divide mankind
into the rich and the poor, the privileged and the helpless? Does
it not follow that
<PAGE 509> those who have no rights to the
use of land can live only by selling their power to labor to those
who own the land? Does it not follow that what the Socialists
call 'the iron law of wages,' what the political economists term
'the tendency of wages to a minimum,' must take from the landless
masses --the mere laborers, who of themselves have no power to
use their labor--all the benefits of any possible advance or improvement
that does not alter this unjust division of land? For, having
no power to employ themselves, they must, either as labor-sellers
or land-renters, compete with one another for permission to labor.
This competition with one another of men, shut out from God's
inexhaustible storehouse, has no limit but starvation, and must
ultimately force wages to their lowest point, the point at which
life can just be maintained and reproduction carried on.
is not to say that all wages must fall to this point, but that
the wages of that necessarily largest stratum of laborers who
have only ordinary knowledge, skill and aptitude must so fall.
The wages of special classes, who are fenced off from competition
by peculiar knowledge, skill or other causes, may remain above
that ordinary level. Thus, where the ability to read and write
is rare, its possession enables a man to obtain higher wages than
the ordinary laborer. But as the diffusion of education makes
the ability to read and write general, this advantage is lost.
So, when a vocation requires special training or skill, or is
made difficult of access by artificial restrictions, the checking
of competition tends to keep wages in it at a higher level. But
as the progress of invention dispenses with peculiar skill, or
artificial restrictions are broken down, these higher wages sink
to the ordinary level. And so, it is only so long as they are
special that such qualities as industry, prudence and thrift can
enable the ordinary laborer to maintain a condition above that
which gives a mere living. Where they become general, the law
of competition must reduce the earnings or savings of such qualities
to the general level-- which, land being monopolized and labor
helpless, can be only that at which the next lowest point is the
cessation of life.
to state the same thing in another way: land being necessary to
life and labor, its owners will be able, in return
<PAGE 510> for permission to use it, to obtain
from mere laborers all that labor can produce, save enough to
enable such of them to maintain life as are wanted by the land-owners
and their dependents.
where private property in land has divided society into a land-owning
class and a landless class, there is no possible invention or
improvement, whether it be industrial, social or moral, which,
so long as it does not affect the ownership of land, can prevent
poverty or relieve the general condition of mere laborers. For
whether the effect of any invention or improvement be to increase
what labor can produce or to decrease what is required to support
the laborer, it can, so soon as it becomes general, result only
in increasing the income of the owners of land, without at all
benefiting the mere laborers. In no events can those possessed
of the mere ordinary power to labor, a power utterly useless without
the means necessary to labor, keep more of their earnings
than enough to enable them to live.
true this is we may see in the facts of today. In our own time
invention and discovery have enormously increased the productive
power of labor, and at the same time greatly reduced the cost
of many things necessary to the support of the laborer. Have these
improvements anywhere raised the earnings of the mere laborer?
Have not their benefits mainly gone to the owners of land--enormously
increased land values?
say mainly, for some part of the benefit has gone to the cost
of monstrous standing armies and warlike preparations; to the
payment of interest on great public debts; and, largely disguised
as interest on fictitious capital, to the owners of monopolies
other than that of land. But improvements that would do away with
these wastes would not benefit labor; they would simply increase
the profits of land owners. Were standing armies and all their
incidents abolished, were all monopolies other than that of land
done away with, were governments to become models of economy,
were the profits of speculators, of middlemen, of all sorts of
exchangers saved, were every one to become so strictly honest
that no policemen, no courts, no prisons, no precautions against
dishonesty would be needed--the result
<PAGE 511> would not differ from that which
has followed the increase of productive power.
would not these very blessings bring starvation to many of those
who now manage to live? Is it not true, that if there were proposed
today, what all Christian men ought to pray for, the complete
disbandment of all the armies of Europe, the greatest fears would
be aroused for the consequences of throwing on the labor market
so many unemployed laborers?
explanation of this and of similar paradoxes that in our time
perplex on every side may be easily seen. The effect of all inventions
and improvements that increase productive power, that save waste
and economize effort, is to lessen the labor required for a given
result, and thus to save labor, so that we speak of them as labor-saving
inventions or improvements. Now, in a natural state of society
where the rights of all to the use of the earth are acknowledged,
labor-saving improvements might go to the very utmost that can
be imagined without lessening the demand for men, since in such
natural conditions the demand for men lies in their own enjoyment
of life and the strong instincts that the Creator has implanted
in the human breast. But in that unnatural state of society where
the masses of men are disinherited of all but the power to labor
when opportunity to labor is given them by others, there the demand
for them becomes simply the demand for their services by those
who hold this opportunity, and man himself becomes a commodity.
Hence, although the natural effect of labor-saving improvement
is to increase wages, yet in the unnatural condition which private
ownership of the land begets, the effect, even of such moral improvements
as the disbandment of armies and the saving of the labor that
vice entails, is by lessening the commercial demand, to lower
wages and reduce mere laborers to starvation or pauperism. If
labor-saving inventions and improvements could be carried to the
very abolition of the necessity for labor, what would be the result?
Would it not be that land owners could then get all the wealth
the land is capable of producing, and would have no need at all
for laborers, who must then either starve or live as pensioners
on the bounty of the land owners?
so long as private property in land continues--so long as some
men are treated as owners of the earth and other men can live
on it only by their sufferance--human wisdom can devise no means
by which the evils of our present condition may be avoided."
theory of free land (except for taxes thereon) is a broad
and a just theory which we would be pleased to see put into operation
at once, although we would not profit by it personally. It would
doubtless prove a temporary relief to society, although its destruction
of land values would create as much or more of a shock than Socialism
proposes, unless graduated, as above suggested, by previous announcement.
It would readily combine with the more moderate features of Socialism
and would give them greater lasting quality; because, the land,
one source of wealth, being in the hands of all the people
on such conditions, it never would be necessary for healthy, industrious
people to starve: all could at least grow crops sufficient to
feed themselves. While this, we believe, would be a wise and just
measure, and one in accordance with the divine law, as very ably
shown by Mr. George, yet it would not be the panacea for all the
ills of humanity. The groaning creation would still groan until
righteousness and truth are fully established in the earth and
all hearts are brought into accord with it, and selfishness would
still find opportunity to take all the cream, and leave only enough
skimmed milk for the barest necessities of others.
a proof that a single tax upon land would not alone meet the exigencies
of the social and financial trouble, nor avert the coming disaster
and social wreck, we cite an instance of its marked failure. India,
for long centuries, has had a single tax, a land-tax only--the
soil being held in common and operated under village control.
As a result about two-thirds of its population are agriculturalists--a
larger proportion than with any other people in the world.
<PAGE 513> Only of late years has private
ownership of land been introduced there by the English, and thus
far over a very limited area only. The people of India may be
said to be contented and comfortable; but it certainly
is not because they are rich and supplied with luxuries and conveniences.
Modern machinery is speedily revolutionizing their affairs and
cutting down their already meager earnings and compelling them
to live on still less or else starve. We have already quoted good
authority showing that the poor masses can but seldom afford to
eat the plainest food to satisfaction. See page 381.
we grant that the single tax or free land proposition would prove
to be only one factor of a temporary relief, it is all
that we can grant; for if selfishness be thwarted in one direction
it will only break out in another: nothing will effectually avail
but "new hearts" and "right spirits"; and
these neither the Single Tax theory nor any other human theory
for instance, that the people had the land; it would be an easy
matter for a combination of capital to refuse to purchase the
farm products except at their own figures --barely enough to permit
the producers to live--and on the other hand to control and fix
high prices upon all the agriculturalist needs to purchase--from
the farm fertilizer and farm implements to his family clothing
and home furnishments.
very condition is surely approaching--the Law of Supply and Demand
operates too slowly to satisfy the greed for wealth today. Labor
cannot stop the operation of this law, and is crowded both by
machinery and growing population; but Capital can counteract it
at least partially by forming Trusts, Combines, Syndicates, etc.,
for nearly or quite controlling supplies and prices. The Coal
Combine is an illustration.
what avail, we ask, would Single Tax be against this spirit of
selfishness? It would be powerless!
suppose that the free land and single tax proposition were to
go into operation tomorrow; suppose that tilled lands were exempted
from all taxes; that each farm were provided with a house, horse,
cow, plow and other necessities; suppose this meant the doubling
of the present area of cultivation and doubling of present crops.
It would insure plenty of corn and wheat and vegetables for the
healthy and thrifty to eat; but the great overplus would bring
so small a price that it would not pay to send it to market, except
under favorable conditions. It is sometimes so, even under present
conditions: thousands of bushels of potatoes and cabbage being
left to rot, because it does not pay to handle them. The first
year might draw from the cities to the aforesaid farms thousands
of strong and willing men anxious to serve themselves: this would
free the city labor market and temporarily raise the wages of
those who would remain in the cities, but it would last only one
year. The farmers, finding that they could not make clothing and
household necessities out of corn and potatoes, either directly
or by exchange, would quit farming and go back to the cities and
compete vigorously for whatever they could get that would provide
more for them than mere sustenance; for whatever would grant them
a share of life's comforts and luxuries.
free land is good as a preventive of starvation, and it is a proper
condition in view of the fact that our bountiful Creator gave
the land to Adam and his family as a common inheritance; and it
would greatly help our present difficulties, if the whole world
had a Jubilee of restitution of the land and remission of debts
every fifty years, as the Jews had. But such things would be merely
palliatives now, as they were with the Jews, and as they still
are in India. The
<PAGE 515> only real cure is the great antitypical
Jubilee which will be established by earth's coming King--Immanuel.
Other Hopes and Fears
have hastily scanned the principal theories advanced for the betterment
of present conditions, but it is manifest that none of them are
adequate to the necessities of the case. Besides these there are
any number of people who incessantly preach and pray about what
they see wrong, and who want somebody to stop the course of the
world, but who neither see nor suggest anything even simulating
in this connection we should not forget to mention some honest
but thoroughly impractical souls who vainly imagine that the churches,
if awakened to the situation, could avert the impending social
calamity, revolutionize society and re-establish it upon a new
and better basis. They say, If only the churches could be awakened,
they could conquer the world for Christ and could themselves establish
on earth a Kingdom of God upon a basis of love and loyalty to
God and equal love for fellowmen. Some of them even claim that
this, the Christ-spirit in the churches, would be the second coming
hopelessly impracticable this theory is, need scarcely be pointed
out. What they consider its strength is really its weakness--numbers.
They look at the figures 300,000,000 Christians and say, What
a power! We look at the same figures and say, What a weakness!
this vast number were saints, moved and controlled by love,
there would indeed be force behind the argument, and it would
seem thoroughly practical to say that if these were awakened to
the true situation they could and would revolutionize society
at once. But alas! "tares" and "chaff" predominate,
and the "wheat" class is small. As the great
<PAGE 516> Shepherd declared, his is but a
"little flock," like their Master of "no reputation"
or influence, and amongst them are "not many wise men after
the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble." (`1
Cor. 1:26`) "Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not
God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of
the Kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
no! The spirit of Christ in his little flock is not sufficient
to give them the Kingdom! The Church has never been without those
who had this spirit. As our Lord declared before he left us, that
he would be with us to the end of the age, so it has been fulfilled.
But he also promised that as he went away (personally) in the
end of the Jewish age, so he would come again (personally) in
the end of this age. He assured us that during his absence all
who would be faithful to him would "suffer persecution"--that
his Kingdom joint-heirs would "suffer violence" until
he should come again and receive them unto himself. Then he would
reward their faithfulness and sufferings with glory, honor and
immortality, and a share in his throne and its power to bless
the world with righteous government and knowledge of the truth,
and finally to destroy the wilful workers of iniquity from among
the workers of righteousness. For this not only the groaning creation,
but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the spirit
(`Rom. 8:23`) must groan and wait--
for the Father's time and the Father's manner of bestowal. He
has shown clearly that the time for these blessings is now at
hand, and that they will be introduced by scourging the world
with an awful time of trouble, which the saints, the little flock,
are to escape by being changed and glorified in the Kingdom.
lest any should ever say that wealth and educational advantages
would have permitted them to conquer the world, God has given
the nominal church--"Christendom"
<PAGE 517> --these very advantages. Yet these
opportunities seem to operate reversely, to cultivate pride, superciliousness,
and infidelity called "higher criticism"--and will eventuate
in the wreck of society. "When the Son of Man cometh, shall
he find [the] faith on the earth?"
The Only Hope--"That Blessed Hope"
for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great
God and our Savior Jesus Christ." "Which hope we have
as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast." "Wherefore
gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end
for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation
of Jesus Christ." `Titus 2:13`;
`1 Pet. 1:13`
considering this vexed question of Supply and Demand which is
doing so much to divide humanity into two classes, the rich and
the poor, we have as far as possible avoided harsh criticism of
either side; firmly believing, as we have endeavored to show,
that present conditions are the results of the constitutional
law of selfishness (the result of the Adamic fall) which dominates
the vast majority of the human family, rich and poor alike. These
deep-seated laws of constitutional selfishness are detested by
a small number (chiefly the poor) who, having found Christ and
come heartily under his spirit and law of love, would gladly abandon
all selfishness, but cannot. These laws often crowd small merchants
and contractors as well as employees. Yet so certain is their
operation that, if all the rich were dead today, and their wealth
distributed pro rata, those laws would within a few years reproduce
the very conditions of today. Indeed, many of the millionaires
of today were poor boys. And any system of laws that the majority
of men might enact, which would deprive men of the opportunities
for exercising their acquisitive and selfish propensities, would
sap the life of progress and rapidly turn civilization back toward
improvidence, indolence and barbarism.
only hope for the world is in the Kingdom of our
<PAGE 518> Lord Jesus Christ--the Millennial
Kingdom. It is God's long promised remedy, delayed until its due
time, and now, thank God, nigh, even at the door. Once more man's
extremity will be God's opportunity--"The desire of all nations
shall come," at a juncture when human ingenuity and skill
will have exhausted themselves in seeking relief without avail.
Indeed, it would seem to be the divine method, to teach great
lessons in schools of experience. Thus the Jews directly (and
we and all men indirectly) were taught by their Law Covenant the
great lesson that by the deeds of the Law no (fallen) flesh could
be justified before God. Thus did the Lord point his pupils to
the better New Covenant of Grace through Christ.
time of trouble, the "day of vengeance," with which
this age will close and the Millennial age will open, will not
only be a just recompense for misused privileges, but it will
tend to humble the arrogance of men and to make them "poor
in spirit," and ready for the great blessings God is ready
to pour upon all flesh. (`Joel 2:28`)
Thus he wounds to heal.
someone unfamiliar with the divine program may perhaps inquire,
How can the Kingdom of God be established if all these human methods
fail? What different scheme does it propose? If its scheme is
declared in the Word of God, why cannot men put it into operation
at once and thus avoid the trouble?
answer, God's Kingdom will not be established by a vote of the
people, nor by the vote of the aristocracy and rulers. In due
time He "whose right it is," he who bought it with his
own precious blood, will "take the Kingdom."
He will "take unto himself his great power and reign."
Force will be used, "He shall rule them [the nations] with
a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken
to shivers." (`Rev. 2:27`) He
will "gather the nations and assemble
<PAGE 519> the kingdoms and pour upon them
his fierce anger, and the whole earth shall be devoured with the
fire of his jealousy; and then [after they are humbled
and ready to hear and heed his counsel] he will turn unto them
a pure language that they may all call upon the Lord to serve
him with one consent. `Zeph. 3:8,9`
only will the Kingdom be established with force, and be a power
that men cannot resist, but it will so continue throughout the
entire Millennial age; for the entire reign is for the specific
purpose of vanquishing the enemies of righteousness. "He
must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet."
"His enemies shall lick the dust." "The soul that
will not hear [obey] that Prophet [the glorious Christ--antitype
of Moses] shall be destroyed from among the people," in the
will be bound--his every deceptive and misleading influence will
be restrained--so that evil shall no longer appear to men to be
good, nor good appear undesirable, evil; truth shall no longer
appear to men untrue nor falsehoods be caused to appear true.
as heretofore shown, the reign will not be one of force only;
side by side with the force will be the olive branch of mercy
and peace for all the inhabitants of the world, who, when the
judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, will learn righteousness.
(`Isa. 26:9`) The sin-blinded eyes
shall be opened; and the world will see right and wrong, justice
and injustice, in a light quite different from now-- in "seven-fold"
light. (`Isa. 30:26; 29:18-20`) The
outward temptations of the present will largely be done away,
evils will neither be licensed nor permitted: but a penalty sure
and swift will fall upon transgressors, meted out with unerring
justice by the glorified and competent judges of that time who
will also have compassion upon the weak.
`1 Cor. 6:2`; `Psa. 96:13`;
judges shall not judge by the hearing of the ear nor by the sight
of the eye, but shall judge righteous judgment. (`Isa.
11:3`) No mistakes will be made; no evil deed shall fail
of its just recompense: even attempts to commit crimes
must speedily cease under such conditions. Every knee shall bow
[to the power then in control] and every tongue shall confess
[to the justice of the arrangement]. (`Phil.
2:10,11`) Then, gradually probably with many, the new order
of things will begin to appeal to the hearts of some, and what
at first was obedience by force will become obedience from
love, and appreciation of righteousness. And eventually
all others--all who obey merely because compelled by force--will
be cut off in the Second Death. `Rev. 20:7-9`;
rule and law of Love will thus be enforced; not by consent of
the majority, but in opposition to it. It will be turning civilization
back from its republican ideas and placing mankind temporarily
under an autocratic rule--for a thousand years. Such autocratic
power would be terrible in the hands of either a vicious or an
incompetent ruler; but God relieves us of all fear when he informs
us that the Dictator of that age will be the Prince of Peace,
our Lord Jesus Christ, who has the welfare of man so at heart
that he laid down his life as our ransom price in order
that he might have the authority to lift out of our sin-defilement
and restore to perfection and divine favor all who will accept
his grace by obedience to the New Covenant.
in the Millennium it will become apparent to all that this course
which God has outlined is the only one adapted to the exigencies
of the case of the sin-sick, selfish world. Indeed, some already
see that the world's great need is a strong and righteous government:
they begin to see, more and more, that the only persons who can
safely be entrusted with absolute liberty are those who have been
<PAGE 521> soundly converted--who have renewed
wills, renewed hearts, the spirit of Christ.
The Proper Attitude for God's People
some may inquire, What must we who see these things in their true
light do now? Shall we if we own vacant land give it away
or abandon it? No; that would serve no good purpose unless you
gave it to some poor neighbor actually needing it: and then, should
he make a failure of its use, he doubtless would censure you as
the author of his misfortunes.
we are farmers or merchants or manufacturers, shall we attempt
to do business on the Millennium basis? No; for, as already shown,
to do so would bring upon you financial disaster, injurious to
your creditors and to those dependent on you, as well as upon
suggest that all that can now be done is to let our moderation
be known unto all men: avoid grinding anybody; pay a reasonable
wage or a share of the profits or else do not hire; avoid dishonesty
of every form; "provide things honest in the sight of all
men"; set an example of "Godliness with contentment,"
and always by word as well as by example discourage not only violence,
but even discontent; and seek to lead the weary and heavy laden
to Christ and the word of God's grace--through faith and full
consecration. And should you, by God's grace, be the steward of
more or less wealth, do not worship it, nor seek to see how much
you can accumulate for your heirs to wrangle over and misuse;
but use it, according to your covenant, for God's service
and under his direction; remembering that it is not yours to keep,
nor yours to use for yourself, but God's entrusted to your care,
to be used in joyful service, to the glory of our King.
a suggestion for the practical application of these remarks
<PAGE 522> to life's affairs we give, following,
a letter sent us by a reader of our semi-monthly journal, and
our reply to it as published therein. It may be helpful to others.
In the World but Not of the World
BROTHER: Last Sunday at our meeting we had a lesson from
`Romans 12:1`, and among many thoughts brought out from
such a prolific subject were some on the use we make of our consecrated
time. I am engaged in the grocery business; but the condition
of trade in general demands almost "eternal vigilance"
at the present time.
question which has presented itself to me many times is, Should
I, as one of the consecrated, put forth such efforts to make and
maintain custom as it is now necessary to do? I issue weekly price-lists,
many times offering goods at less than cost for baits, and I give
away many "gifts" with more profitable goods; not of
preference to that sort of dealing, but because all my competitors
are doing the same thing, and, to maintain my trade and living
(as I am not wealthy), I am compelled to follow suit.
objectionable feature about that kind of method is that it squeezes
my weaker brother in the same line of business. I am acquainted
with many of them; some are widows trying to make an honest living
by selling goods: but I am compelled to throw all my better feelings
to the wind and "wade in," no matter whom it injures.
This is a sad confession for one who is bidding for the position
of assisting our Lord in the lifting of mankind out of the chasm
of selfishness from which they must be saved in the age which
we believe to be so close at hand. I am not trying to get you
to justify my actions in this matter, but desire your opinion
as to the advisable course of God's professed children engaged
in business during the present time, when it is a case of the
big fish eating the smaller ones.
Yours in Christ,
reply: The conditions you name are common to nearly
<PAGE 523> every form of business, and prevail
throughout the civilized world increasingly. It is a part of the
general "trouble" of our times. The increase of machine
capacity and the increase of the human family both contribute
to reduce wages and make steady employment more precarious. More
men seek to engage in business; and competition and small profits,
while beneficial to the poor, are commercially killing the small
store and high prices. In consequence, small stores and small
factories are giving way to larger ones which, by reason of better
and more economical arrangements, permit better service and lower
prices. Larger stocks of fresher goods at lower prices and with
better service are to the general advantage of the public as compared
with the old-time small shops with stale goods, high prices and
careless service; even though temporarily some poor widows or
worthy ones may suffer through mental, physical or financial inability
to keep up with the new order of things. And even these, if they
can take a broad, benevolent view of the situation, may rejoice
in the public welfare, even though it enforces an unfavorable
change in their own affairs. They may rejoice with those that
are benefited and wait patiently for the coming Kingdom which
will make God's blessings more common to all than at present.
But only those who have the "new nature" and its love
can be expected to view things thus unselfishly. The present commercial
competition is not, therefore, an unmixed evil. It is one of the
great lessons being given to the world as a preparatory study
before entering the great Millennial age, when the business of
the world will be largely, if not wholly, on a socialistic footing--not
for the wealth or advantage of the individual, but for the general
however, the selfish competitive strain grows more galling continually
to those possessed of noble, generous impulses, whether Christians
or not. We are glad to note
<PAGE 524> your own appreciation of the subject
and your dissatisfaction with present conditions.
advice is that you keep a sharp lookout, and, if you see some
other branch of business less beset with competition and therefore
more favorable, make a change. If not, or until you find a more
favorable business, or more favorable conditions, we advise that
you continue where you are and modify your course to some
extent; i.e., divide matters as evenly as you can between the
three conflicting interests--your own, your competitors' and your
patrons' or neighbors' interests. If your business is meeting
expenses and affording a reasonable profit, endeavor to keep it
there, but do not push it in the endeavor to become "rich";
for "they that will [to] be rich fall into temptation
and a snare." (`1 Tim. 6:9`)
We should avoid all dishonorable competition or meanness toward
competitors, and any misrepresentation of goods to customers.
Justice and honesty must be carefully guarded at any cost:
then add all the "moderation" in favor of your competitor
that love may suggest and that circumstances permit.
are not forgetting the injunction, "Thou shalt not follow
a multitude to do evil" (`Exod. 23:2`),
nor counseling the slightest compromise with injustice. Your question,
we take it, is not whether you may do injustice, but whether love
will permit you to do all that justice would not object
to and that custom sanctions. The worldly heart does not scruple
about such "trifles:" it is your "new nature,"
whose law is love, that would prefer to see your competitor prosper,
and longs to do good unto all men as it has opportunity--especially
to the household of faith. Cultivate this "new nature"
by obeying its law of love in every way possible. "If
it be possible, so much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all
men"-- dealing generously and according to love. He who is
imbued with the spirit of love thinketh no evil toward his competitor,
<PAGE 525> and seeketh not his own welfare
merely, and would not rejoice in a competitor's failure.
difficulty is that the whole world is running on the depraved
basis of selfishness, which is quite incongruous to love. With
some the plane is higher, and with some lower: some limit their
selfishness to the line of justice, others descend in selfishness
to injustice and dishonesty, and the tendency is always downward.
The "New Creature" in Christ must never go below justice
and honesty, and must seek as much as possible to rise above this
highest worldly standard, toward perfect love. It is the fault
of the present competitive system that the interests of the buyer
and those of the seller are ever in conflict. No power can correct,
control and alter all this except the one power that God has promised--the
Millennial Kingdom, which shall enforce the rule of love and liberate
from the propensities and bonds of selfishness all who, when they
see and know the better way, will accept the help then to be provided.
* * *
have seen as inevitable under the present social law either the
crush of the masses of humanity into the mire, as the slaves of
wealth and intellect, or the crash of the present social order
under the reign of anarchy, and the Scriptural declaration that
it will be the latter; and that this will bring an awful retribution
upon all men, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, and by actual
demonstration teach men the folly of selfishness, and help them
in future to appreciate the wisdom of God's law of love; and that
the "great tribulation" will teach all a fearful, but
eventually a most profitable lesson. We are therefore prepared
to examine in our next chapter what the Scriptures have to tell
us respecting the fall of "Babylon"--"Christendom"--in
the great struggle in which this age shall end.
we have viewed the failure of Christendom to adopt the spirit
of Christ's teaching, and seen how the knowledge and liberty gained
from his teachings were blended with the spirit of evil, selfishness,
and as from present foreshadowings we mark the sure approach of
the dread calamity --anarchy and every evil work--we see the justice
of its permission, and read therein the divine law of retribution.
And though we lament the evils which incur the retribution, yet
realizing its necessity and justice, and having learned also the
ends of mercy to be attained eventually by this very means, our
hearts exclaim, "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord
God Almighty. Just and true are thy ways, thou king of nations."
"Wait for the morning--it will come indeed,
As surely as the night has given need;
The yearning eyes at last will strain their sight,
No more unanswered by the morning light:
No longer will they vainly strive through tears
To pierce the darkness of thy doubts and fears,
But, bathed in balmy dews and rays of dawn,
Will smile with rapture o'er the darkness gone.
"Wait for the morning, O thou smitten child,
Scorned, scourged, persecuted and reviled,
Athirst and famishing, none pitying thee,
Crowned with the twisted thorns of agony--
No faintest gleam of sunlight through the dense
Infinity of gloom to lead thee thence--
Wait thou for morning--it will come indeed,
As surely as the night hath given need."
--James Whitcomb Riley
BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON