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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
“WHAT WILL THE POOR DO WITH THE RICH?”
UNDER this caption quite a striking article has appeared recently in the London Daily Mail. The form of the question is very suggestive. It is not a great while since the question continually asked was, “What shall we do with the poor?” How shall we build almshouses for them, restrain them, and arrange soup-kitchens and shelter for those out of work? It is quite a new question, therefore, to reverse the matter and say, “What shall the poor do with the rich?” This great change has been effected by two things: (1) The public demand for universal suffrage which has only prevailed, except in our own land, for a comparatively short time; and (2) the other factor in the situation is the increase of knowledge. Many are running to and fro, and knowledge is being increased—and knowledge, as some one has said, is power. The poor have learned that they are in the majority, that each vote has its count, and that the majority of votes means the control of the government. It is surprising that it has required so long a time for the masses to awake to the power that is in their hands through the ballot. When they do become thoroughly awake it is very easy to be seen that with the power in their hands the poor will see to it that the rich do not have as great advantage in the future as in the past.
Only in this last election, as we have stated, have the British voters gotten awake to the situation, and now they are planning for the future, arranging to take over as much of the government as possible into their own hands and to effect legislation favorable to their own interests. In the United States a similar movement is on foot amongst the labor unions. It may be a few years before it reaches the point of danger to the present social structure, but its coming is inevitable. We may be sure that it will be heard in full force and weight by the end of “Gentile times.” In Germany matters have already progressed further. The Socialists there would have matters in their own hands were the voting privileges theirs on the same basis that they are in the United States and Great Britain. The Germans, however, foresaw something of coming conditions and shielded the government and the wealthier and middle classes from the poor by providing certain conditions under which the favored classes have a larger number of votes at the polls. Nor do we think this an unreasonable position—that education and property should be represented. The point we make, however, is that all these matters are culminating on time. Hearken to the words of Scripture, applicable now: “Go to now, ye rich men; weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.”—Jas. 5:1.
We quote below the article referred to:—
“WHAT WILL THE POOR DO WITH THE RICH?”
“Of peculiar importance and significance at the present time, when England is wondering whether or not the Socialist Party is in the immediate future to control the fate and fortunes of the United Kingdom, is Sir Henry Wrixon’s political study, published under the obscure title of ‘The Pattern State.’ Sir H. Wrixon stands far aloof from purely British controversies; he is an Australian publicist and statesman; yet his contribution to political science is the more valuable since he has seen in Australia the working of the very tendencies which he describes.
“The great problem of today, to his mind is, ‘What will the poor do with the rich?’ The general election in England has marked a change more profound than the French Revolution. Power has passed finally and forever from the English middle-class to the wage-earner. Nor is it probable that the conditions which now exist in this country will speedily change. The middle class, Sir Henry thinks, were accessible to argument and reason; the wage-earning class are not. The middle class sought, on the whole, the interests of the nation, and were divided because some took one view and some another of what those interests might be. The wage-earning class seek first and foremost their own personal interest, to ameliorate their own economic condition, to obtain higher wages and greater
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comfort from the State, at the expense of others, and, in a word, to eliminate the struggle for existence. Hence they are and will remain solid and united. The political pendulum will swing no longer.
THE DREAM OF MR. GLADSTONE
“The political forecasts of the immediate past have been belied. Political reformers, down to the late Mr. Gladstone, thought that the wage-earners would, if given votes, be content to follow the judgment ‘of those who have superior opportunities, and have also, or are supposed to have superior fitness of all kinds.’ The very contrary has happened. The wage-earners, instead of voting for the orthodox Liberal or the orthodox Unionist, have voted for Labor members, trade unionist representatives, and others of their own class and station, without the education and training which gave Mr. Gladstone’s ‘superior fitness’ to govern. The poor are not following the lead of the well-to-do, but are kings in their own right.
“This kingship of the people (by ‘the people’ being understood the poor, who are in every nation the majority) will produce immediate and inevitable results. In the first place, we shall see the rule of ignorance.
“‘Theories and proposals that under a middle-class rule would be regarded as too wild to require an answer will be favorably regarded even by learned professors. … They will be discussed with all the care and respect that is due to a monarch’s words.’
“Municipal government in England and the United States has already shown that political intelligence does not widen as we descend in rank and station, and that universal education has not the enlightening results which were promised in its name. Hence the prospect of the future is the rule of the wire-pullers, bribing the electorate with the plunder of the rich, to be bestowed in the form of ‘political outdoor relief.’
“The elector will no longer be asked, What have you done for your country? but, What has the Government done for you? We have reached a condition of affairs where the political conditions are in absolute opposition to the industrial. At the polling station the worker is the equal of the master, nay, even his superior, since he has on his side a vast numerical advantage, which virtually reduces the employer to a state of political impotence. But within the factory affairs are reversed. There the employer is king, and his equal at the voting station is his inferior.
A BLACK OUTLOOK FOR INDUSTRY
“Such conditions could only persist while the attention of the voter was confined to ‘what are properly called politics, or the public affairs of the nation.’ If the scope of politics is extended—as it has been—so ‘as to include the management of the industrial side of life, with the purpose of there enforcing that equality which is so dearly prized on the political side of life, then we come directly upon that problem which western civilization must either solve or perish in the attempt to solve.’ In a word, political equality is irreconcilable with industrial inequality. One or other must go.
“This is clearly seen and understood by the Labor party; it is the doctrine also of a considerable body of Liberals, numbering not much less than 100, outside the Labor ranks, though Sir Henry does not note this. If that section gives effect to its doctrines, backed by the majority of voters, the whole order of civilization as we now know it must change.
“Already in the municipalities the change has begun. The exploitation of the few rich by the many poor, their oppressive taxation, and the provision of comfortable conditions for the poor, who find themselves
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possessed of supreme power in virtue of their numbers, is the system known as municipal Socialism. Already it is taken for granted.
“‘That it is the duty of the State to find work for its people; to provide all citizens with pensions in old age; to fix hours of work and rates of wages … and it is the duty of county councils to tax property so many shillings in the pound, to improve the surroundings of the poor.’
“The municipal Socialist, when resisted, can always appeal to an army of the proletariat and vote down those owning property. In fact a stage has been reached where taxation is levied on one small class by another large class, and spent wholly or mainly in the interests of the latter class. That is a state of affairs which earlier thinkers pronounced contrary to the rights of man; it is, in other words, a barely disguised tyranny.
INEVITABLE DECLINE AND FALL
“This tendency will proceed further, Sir H. Wrixon holds. The tyranny will become as complete as it was in the democracies of Greece, when the plunder of the rich was the normal rule, and as it was in the French Revolution, when the assertion of political equality was instantly followed by an attack on property. He points out that the modern demagogues exhibit a marked antagonism to private property, and propose to wipe it out of existence by graduated taxation.
“There will be no violent revolution, unless property resists by force, but simply a series of confiscatory laws. Industry after industry will be municipalized or taken over by the State, when efficiency will inevitably decline. ‘All the causes that promote expense and inefficiency’ will be present; absent only the causes which stimulate energy and inventiveness. There will be no penalties for slackness, and, if for a time, all goes well, this will be because the State is living on its accumulated capital. A gradual decay will set in, and either a fresh revolution will be accomplished, or the State will be crushed by some foreign power. … “
SOCIALISTIC PRESIDENT IN 1912
At the First Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, Rev. Chas. Steizle, secretary of the Church and Labor Department of the general Presbyterian Church, delivered a sermon in which he asserted that the labor problem is purely a religious question. He said in part:—
“For three years I have traveled all over the country. I have a personal acquaintance with all the labor leaders of the United States. It seems to me the workingmen are moving in two general directions: (1) Political; (2) economic. Who has not been appalled by the tremendous growth of socialism? In our own country the growth in the last four years has been sevenfold. If it increases in the same ratio in the next eight years the socialists will be able to elect a President.
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Whatever one may think of the economic value of socialism, this fact remains that socialism is becoming to thousands of workingmen a substitute for the Church.”
THE CLIMAX WILL SURELY COME
“Words will not wake up the masses to realize the maze into which capitalism is plunging them, but words will wake up a few of them. It will take conditions to do what words have not the power to do. And these conditions are coming like a cyclone. But when conditions begin to press harder and harder, when the clock strikes the ominous sound, precipitated by some insignificant matter, perhaps, then the words that the masses have read will come to them with great force.
“The howling of the abolitionists did not awaken the antagonism to chattel slavery, but the firing on Fort Sumter with popguns created a condition that made the people jump to their feet with a determination to settle the question of which power should rule the nation.”—Appeal to Reason.
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There can be no doubt about it that recent revelations of how rich men have acquired much of their wealth has come as a revelation to the general public. Though long known among the rich, it has been hidden from “the man in the street” by financial terms which he did not comprehend. With his increase of knowledge he has received a “shock.” His reverence for the rich and the great is shattered. This is but the precursor of the complete loss of confidence in everybody and every thing, pointed out in the Scriptures as the very foundation of the coming anarchy.
The immediate effect upon many is to lead them to philosophise thus: “So, so; I see now how it is all done! I used to wonder how a man could accumulate even one million dollars honestly, but supposed the honorable millionaires were the very personification of honor and justice, after the style of their requirements of the bank clerks and cashiers of railroads, etc. Now I see differently. Well, I hope my chance may come soon, that I also, by the methods which I see are ‘usual,’ may become a multi-millionaire.”
“The disposition among worthy and earnest men to ignore religious differences in pursuit of common and noble ends was strikingly shown at the recent international arbitration conference at Lake Mohonk. There, at the opening devotional exercises which marked each daily session of the conference, were to be seen as active participants a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in his scarlet robes, a Quaker in his simple garb, an Episcopal bishop, a Congregational judge, together with Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist clergymen. The Quaker read the hymn of peace, written by a Unitarian. The Roman Catholic and Quaker sang from the same book, and after a psalm the cardinal read prayers in English, with many a Protestant responding ‘Amen.’
“To say such a scene was remarkable is simply to recognize the fact that as respects religious and sectarian differences the world has moved forward out of that bigotry and intolerance which for so many ages obscured the vision and warped the judgment of many otherwise good and worthy men. We are doing now only what rational and sincere men should always have done in the past, and which they will continue to do in the future, until scenes like that at Mohonk will be so much in the natural order that they will cease to be notable.”—Leslie’s Weekly.
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In view of the above general tendency to religious toleration is it not remarkable the amount of intolerance that is displayed against all who sympathize with the teachings of MILLENNIAL DAWN? The manifestations of hatred and opposition come from all denominations, and the various persecutions in a small way practised against individuals in their homes, amongst their business and Church relatives, is surely remarkable. Why is it so? We might just as well ask why was it that Scribes and Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, all classes and parties of the Jews, opposed Christ and his simple, straightforward teachings at the first advent. Why was it that with the wide differences existing between themselves these all could unite in the opposition to the light, the truth? Whoever can answer those questions respecting the harvest of the Jewish age will be able probably in similar vein to answer the similar questions pertinent to the harvest of this Gospel age. General doubt and darkness on all theological questions is settling down rapidly upon all denominations—”They believe they know not what,” hence why should they any longer quarrel with each other? We know what we believe, and in that sense of the word are certainly amongst the few Christians. Our presentations in MILLENNIAL DAWN are clear cut, Scriptural; and the Scriptures are thus shown to be opposed to all the sects and parties of Christendom, and their various creeds are shown to be out of accord with the Word of God. “If the world hate you ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”—John 15:18,19.
THE CRIME OF SUGGESTION
It would appear that the average German citizen has a higher sense of the obligation of an oath than have some religious teachers. This is shown in the following report from the London Daily Mail. It causes us to wonder how the common people would decide the matter if some of the clergy were put on trial for the violation of their vows of ordination—in preaching contrary to their solemn covenants. The item follows:—
“Father Geisert, a Catholic priest, of Lautenbach, Baden, has been sentenced to a year in the penitentiary for attempting to induce a parishioner to swear falsely in the Catholic Party’s interest in the course of a bye-election contest for the Landtag.
“The priest made a pathetic supplication to his judges to let him off, confessing that the letter wherein
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he made the incriminating suggestion was written to a parishioner in a moment of foolish zeal, and that he had done penance for it many times over.
“The defense introduced as a last resort the evidence of Professor Mayer, the authority on ‘moral theology as related to the question of the oath.’ He declared that during the time of the Inquisition a certain ‘mental restriction’ was permitted to persons who took oath, and said that Geisert may have had this in mind when he advised his parishioners to lie.”
THE SOCIALISTS’ SCHEME
“The recent increase in the activity of socialist propagandists has been noticeable. The latest development is the formation of an intercollegiate society to spread the principles of socialism not only in the colleges of the country but among the pupils of high schools in the larger cities. Literature is to be distributed
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broadcast, while lecturers will be sent from school to school to explain the doctrines for which it is hoped to make many converts. Among those back of this movement we are not surprised to find E. Benjamin Andrews, Jack London and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.”—Pittsburgh Gazette.
HYGIENIC VALUE OF PRAYER
At a recent medical conference Dr. Hyslop paid a remarkable tribute to the hygienic value of prayer, says the English Churchman. In treating of the influence of moral and religious environment, he said it ought to be their object, as teachers and physicians, to fight against all those influences which tended to produce either indifference or intemperance towards religion. Of all hygienic measures to counteract disturbed hope or depression of spirits, he would undoubtedly give first place to the simple habit of prayer. Its effect on the mind was more beneficial than any other therapeutic agent known.
Apropos of which may be quoted the following from Longfellow’s “The Day is Done”:
“Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.”
— January 15, 1907 —