The Drift Towards Anarchy
Its Cause and Its Cure
Auckland Wright & Jaques, General Printed, Albert Street 1914
The Drift Towards Anarchy: Its Cause and Its Cure
[unclear: Soured] Fathers and Brethren,—
When the delegates attending the [unclear: meetings] of the Union in Timaru [unclear: February] re-elected me to the posi[unclear: on] of chairman of the Union, I was surprised and sorry. I felt that the [unclear: our] and the duty belonged by right [unclear: ome] of the other brethren who had [unclear: t] previously occupied the position. At [unclear: e] [unclear: time] I intended leaving shortly after [unclear: meetings] for the Homeland, and but [unclear: the] thought that I might have been [unclear: some] service to our Churches by [unclear: ns]of that visit, and that I would be [unclear: e] to return in time for these annual [unclear: things], I would have declined the posi[unclear: on]. Circumstances which I was un-[unclear: to] control prevented me from get-[unclear: away] at the date I had anticipated, [unclear: now] I find myself unfortunately [unclear: pelled] to be absent from the present [unclear: tings]. One consolation I have is [unclear: t] the presence of our distinguished [unclear: ors] from England, Dr. and Mrs. [unclear: ney], will more than compensate for [unclear: absence]. The Committee has decided [unclear: I] am to leave my address from the [unclear: to] be read at the meetings, and [unclear: a] deep sense of my own short-[unclear: ngs] I accept its decision, and leave [unclear: d] me this imperfect utterance, [unclear: h] has been produced amidst much and worry.
[unclear: When] I last addressed you fifteen [unclear: s] ago, from this chair, I took as my [unclear: ect] "Progress Towards Unity." I [unclear: s] reviewed some of the evidences of [unclear: press] being made towards unity in [unclear: religious], social, scientific, political, [unclear: international] life of the world. On [unclear: occasion] I feel impelled to take as [unclear: subject], "The Drift Towards [unclear: chy]." I suppose it is natural, or at [unclear: usual] that as a man grows older [unclear: loses] some of the buoyant optimism [unclear: uth], but I think that a calm survey [unclear: orld] movements to-day will convince [unclear: that], quite apart from any personal [unclear: permental] change which I may have [unclear: rgone], there is ample reason for a [unclear: ing] of' apprehension regarding the [unclear: ediated] future of our western civilisa-[unclear: tion]
[unclear: War], Hate, Anarchy, and Chaos,
[unclear: At] quite synonymous terms, at least [unclear: ote] analogous conditions, and the world has had them all in a pretty full measure during recent years, and unfortunately still has them over a wide range. When I last addressed you the American war with Spain, undertaken for the ostensible purpose of liberating the Cuban people, was still in progress. Its baneful effects on the American people were only revealed at a later date. During the same year the British war against the Boers in South Africa was begun, and lasted for nearly three years, costing a fabulous amount in blood and treasure. I believe the verdict of the civilised world will be that both wars were unnecessary, that both were prompted by selfishness and greed on the part of a few interested people, and that both were promoted by a press campaign of exaggeration and mendacity. Both, in-deed, might be designated monopolistic press wars. In both cases the people were misled and the worst passions of the human heart were stirred into activity, leaving behind a dreadful legacy of hatred and ill-will. In my judgment these two wars set back the hands on the clock of human progress by at least 25 years. It appeared for a time as if the result would be to displace the two English-speaking nations from the position of leadership of the great movement for the establishment of social justice and the realisation of the new and greater freedom.
In the case of America, the war spirit allowed the Government, with the apparent consent of a majority of the people, to trample under foot for a time the great ethical principle on which the Re-public was founded, viz., that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Of course the Philipinos were not fit for self-government in the opinion of American Jingoes, neither were American colonists fitted for self-government in the opinion of King George and his advisers. The election of Woodrow Wilson as President of the United States, with the declared intention of granting self-government to the Philipine Islands and the partial liberation of the American people by the reduction of robber, tariffs, gives a ray of hope that the great Republic has grown sick of wallowing in the mire of a military imperialism, and may once more page 2 assume a position of leadership among the nations in the march towards the new freedom.
In Great Britain the erstwhile Radical, Mr. Chamberlain, in order to cover up his South African tracks, tried to induce the people of the Homeland to turn their backs on the fiscal light which they had seen and followed for so many years, and to lead them back into the miry clay of tariff taxes. That ill-used word, "Protection," has covered up a multitude of sins in the past, and still continues to hide from the eyes of multitudes the infamy of a system of taxation which involves
The Robbery of the Many in the Interests of a Few.
Well might Lowell exclaim: "There is more in names than most men dream of; and a lie may keep it's throne a whole age longer if it skulk behind the shield of some fair-sounding name."
A tariff, like war, is always prompted by the selfishness and greed of a few people, and promoted and maintained by a campaign of misrepresentation. It depends for its existence on a spirit of hatred against the so-called foreigner, and the ridiculously absurd idea that the people of another country, who desire to give you twenty shillings' worth of goods and take only fifteen shillings' worth of goods in payment, must be regarded as your natural enemies. It is in essence the very antithesis of the spirit of Christian Brotherhood, and it is as much opposed to sound economics as it is to the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount. Fortunately for the people of Britain, this great heresy, notwithstanding £1,000 dinners at noblemen's palaces, has so far failed to delude a majority of the people. With nations, as with individuals, if they deliberately turn their backs on the light of truth which they have seen, they are on the high road to destruction.
A few years later a further example of national anarchy was furnished by Austria in the unwarranted annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in flagrant defiance of the most solemn treaty obligations. Next came Italy, with her costly and iniquitous war with Turkey and the annexation of Tripoli, followed closely by the most bloody war of modern times amongst the Balkan States. And the end of international friction is not yet in sight. All the great European nations, including our own Motherland, and also the United States of America, are engaged in a mad race for the increase of naval armaments. Germany, France, and Austria have quite recently increased the burdens of taxation and the sacrifice of time on their respective peoples for the purpose of adding to their land forces; while Lord Roberts and as active organisation in England are [unclear: en-] deavouring to induce the British people to adopt a system of universal military training, in imitation of their continental neighbours.
The revolutions and counter-[unclear: revoha] tions in China and Mexico, and the wide-spread unrest in pur great Indian [unclear: En] pire, though marked by anarchy, may [unclear: be] taken as national struggles tending [unclear: to] wards the larger freedom.
When we survey the internal [unclear: affair] of our own Motherland we find the [unclear: o] Conservative party, which used to [unclear: prea] veneration and respect for law and [unclear: order] and which claimed to be the bulwark [unclear: o] constitutional government, setting [unclear: th] constitution at naught in a frantic [unclear: eff] to preserve the unjust privileges [unclear: of] class, and turning the mother of [unclear: paria] ments into a Donnybrook Fair. At [unclear: th] present time the leaders of the [unclear: Tor] party are openly preaching sedition [unclear: an] rebellion to the people of Ulster, [unclear: an] encouraging armed opposition to a [unclear: la] being passed by a substantial [unclear: major] of the members of the Imperial [unclear: Parl] ment. Apparently the Conservative [unclear: ide] is that submission to law and order [unclear: a] only a virtue when the laws have [unclear: been] passed by themselves. The [unclear: constit] is only worthy of support so long [unclear: as] can be used as a bulwark for the [unclear: pro] tion of the unjust privileges of their [unclear: o] order.
Then we have the Militant [unclear: Suffrage] Movement—one of the most [unclear: remarn] developments of modern times. [unclear: High] bred, cultured ladies intent on [unclear: breakin] every law, destroying property and [unclear: mak] ing orderly meetings impossible, in [unclear: ord] to secure the passing of another [unclear: la] which they desire. The absurdity of [unclear: e] cluding women on the grounds of [unclear: s] from the right to participate in the [unclear: ele] tion of those who make the laws, [unclear: whi] women as well as men have to obey. [unclear: T] such that any civilised country ought [unclear: t] be ashamed to maintain it in this [unclear: 2] century; but the Suffragettes' method securing redress is equally absurd anarchical to the last degree.
Labour Movement: Active but [unclear: Chaotic]
When we survey the industrial [unclear: fi] we find confusion worse [unclear: confoun] Everywhere throughout the [unclear: civili] world we find the Labour [unclear: moveme] active but chaotic. Unrest, anarchy, [unclear: a] chaos are apparent in every land. [unclear: R] here, in God's Own Country, we [unclear: h] the most revolutionary and [unclear: anarchi] doctrines being promulgated at [unclear: str] corners by I.W.W. orators, and [unclear: being] page 3 disseminated through the country by means of pamphlets and newspapers. In their anxiety to redress undoubted grievances, these propagandists seem to have lost all sense of "right" and "wrong." Indeed, they glory in that fact. One of the leading writers of the I.W.W. movement, Mr. St. John, in a pamphlet entitled, "The I.W.W.: Its History, Structure, and Methods," under the heading "I.W.W. Tactics and Methods," declares that: "As a revolutionary organisation, the Industrial Workers of the World aims to use any and all tactics that will get the results sought with the least expenditure of time and energy. The tactics used are determined solely by the power of the organisation to make good in their use. The question of 'right' and 'wrong' does not concern us."
What the "results sought" are, is not made very plain—unless by the vague phrase, "the overthrow of the capitalist system!" To secure this result any means appear to be considered justifiable. And the experience of New Zealand seems to be that any means are held to be preferable to the constitutional method of altering, by the representatives of the people elected at the ballot box, the laws that affect the distribution of the products of labour. The practice of sabotage, striking, or loafing on the job, the burning of crops and barns, as well as the sympathetic or general strike, are openly suggested in the propaganda of the I.W.W. as means of getting the "results sought" with the least expenditure of time and energy. One can understand the advocacy of such means in a country under the control of an autocratic government where the people are rigorously excluded from any real share in the government, but surely in a democratic country like New Zealand, where every man and every woman has one vote, and one vote only, the advocates of such a gospel must be in need of mental treatment.
Recent events in New Zealand have revealed the fact that even in this country, with all its experimental labour legislation, there is a considerable and energetic section of workers whose minds are very chaotic regarding the cause and the cure of labour's wrongs.
What About the Churches?
In the midst of all this turmoil, unrest and anarchy, what about the Churches? I don't propose to dwell at any length on questions of theological controversy, although there, as elsewhere, there has been a considerable amount of unrest and confusion. Amongst students of unrest and confusion. Amongst students of theology the stage of doubt and citicism had been reached some time previous to my last address. The results of that disquieting process have been gradually filtering through the minds of the mass of the people during recent years, being brought into the consciousness of the common people largely through the utterances of Mr. R. J. Campbell, of the City Temple, London. In this domain, however, I am of opinion that the constructive stage has been more definitely reached than it has in the domain of sociology or politics, national or international. In many respects the Churches seem to be drifting out of touch with the great mass of mankind, and are in danger of becoming a negligible factor in the life of the world.
One very disheartening feature of the world-wide labour movement at the present time is its anti-Christian spirit, and the antagonism which many of its leaders are developing towards organised Christianity. It is quite true that many of the best and wisest labour leaders, both in Great Britain and New Zealand, are men deeply imbued with the spirit of Christianity, many of them active workers in Churches and Sunday Schools. Indeed, it is true that many of them have received their equipment for platform work by their training and experience as lay preachers. At the same time, I think ft must be admitted that a very large proportion of the men who to-day are getting the ear of the workers are not only anti-Church, but anti-Christian. Whether rightly or wrongly, the impression seems to be gaining ground amongst the workers of the world that the organised Christian Church, if not actively hostile to the aims and ideals of labour, is, to say the least of it, apathetic. This ought not to be. The spirit of Christianity is the only solvent of industrial, social, or economic problems. Of course the Christian Church can have no association with, or tolerance for, a propaganda which unblushingly boasts that the question of "right" or "wrong" has no meaning, or which inculcates such pernicious doctrines as "sabotage" or "barn burning." But the perversity of false labour leaders is no excuse for indolence or indifference on the part of Christian ministers or laymen.
Pulpit, Politics, and People.
I may be told that the Church is a spiritual institution, and that the pulpit is no place for politics. I agree that partisan party politics are unfit for the pulpit. They are equally unfit for the workshop, the home, or for Parliament. But, unless we give a new connotation to the term politics, there are political questions constantly arising for the consideration of the people which the Church ought to give a pronouncement on, unless it is prepared to treat a large portion of page 4 the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as a dead letter. The Church should be prepared to take a definite stand on all questions of morality, and at bottom all political questions are moral questions. Not so many years ago the temperance question was tabooed by many Churches as a political question. To-day most of the Churches have fallen into line in fighting this monster of iniquity. And it is well for the Church that it should be in the fighting line against the drink curse, because if that curse is not speedily removed it will destroy the Church and society in one fell swoop.
What about the Mosaic land laws? Do they come within the definition of the term politics?" Does the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount cast a reflection on any of our party politicians or monopolists? And, if so, should all refer-once to the precepts of that glorious utterance be eliminated from our pulpits because they infringe the domain of politics? Christianity must take cognizance of everything which affects the life of man, or it will lose its hold on the people and degenerate into a pietistic social coterie.
Drifted Out of Touch.
That the Churches have in recent years drifted out of touch with the people cannot be gainsaid. In a book recently published by the Rev. Henry Carter, entitled, "The Church and the New Age," the drift is shown to be quite alarming. He makes an elaborate examination of Church statistics, which show a remark-able break taking place about the year 1906. He admits the difficulty of measuring Church life by statistics: "Hearts cannot be read as heads are counted." But when this has been said the position revealed by the statistics of the several Churches deserves very serious consideration. The Roman Catholic Church in England publishes no statistics, and owing to a change of method in computing Church membership made by the Anglican Church during the decade 1901-1910, with which he deals, the figures from that denomination are not easily comparable or conclusive. Taking the eight largest denominations of those usually designated the Free Churches, viz., Wesleyan, Congregational, Baptist, Primitive Methodist, United Methodist, Calvinistic Methodist, Presbyterian, and the Society of Friends, he finds a significant break in the year 1905-1906. In the first five years of the decade 1901-1910 all the Churches named had a substantial increase every year in the number of Sunday School scholars, with the single exception of the Calvinistic Methodist Church, which reported a decrease in the year 1902-1903; the total is crease of all the Churches for the five year period being 231,975. In the following five years nearly all the afore-[unclear: me] tioned Churches reported every year [unclear: a] substantial decrease in the number [unclear: of] scholars. The total decrease for [unclear: the] second five-year period was 127,373,[unclear: wis] out the figures for the Congregation and Baptist Churches for the last of [unclear: th] five years; these figures not being [unclear: avai] able at the time the table was [unclear: compiled] The figures regarding membership for [unclear: the] same Churches give a very similar [unclear: res] In the first five years of the [unclear: decs] every one of the Churches, without [unclear: exc] tion, had an increase in membership, [unclear: f] total increase for the five years [unclear: be] 229,772. In the second five all but [unclear: th] of the eight Churches had a decrease [unclear: i] membership, the total increase of [unclear: the] two being only 2,542. Three out of the [unclear: ei] Churches had a substantial [unclear: decre] every year, the total decrease of the [unclear: me] bership in the eight Churches during [unclear: fi] five years being 40,615, without [unclear: includ] the figures from the Congregational [unclear: a] Baptist Churches for the last of the [unclear: fin] years. An examination of some [unclear: chu] attendance censuses which have [unclear: been] taken reveals a similar drift of the [unclear: people] away from the Churches. For [unclear: exmple] censuses taken in the Everton [unclear: district] Liverpool give the following [unclear: result] 1881, 40¼ per cent. of church sittings [unclear: oc] pied; 1891, 31¼ per cent. of church [unclear: s] tings occupied; 1902, 25 per [unclear: cent] church sittings occupied; 1908, 12½ [unclear: per] cent. of church sittings occupied.
"A Distinct Break" and Its Causes
I have never before seen a [unclear: table] statistics which gave such a [unclear: dist] break as do the two tables submittted [unclear: h] Mr. Carter regarding Sunday [unclear: Sch] scholars and membership of these [unclear: ei] Churches for the decade 1901-10, [unclear: and] behaves all concerned to institute [unclear: t] thorough and exhaustive [unclear: investiga] into the cause or causes which have [unclear: pa] duced such a lamentable result. [unclear: H] Carter himself attempts such an [unclear: int] gation, and after enquiring into the [unclear: s] fects before and after 1905-6 of such [unclear: m] merits as the Welsh revival, with [unclear: the] action which followed it, and the [unclear: th] gical controversy which raged round [unclear: th] utterances of the Rev. Mr. Campbell [unclear: t] rejects them as causes which [unclear: provide] adequate explanation, and he [unclear: arrives] the conclusion that it is in [unclear: some] associated with the great social and [unclear: p] tical uprising of the people as [unclear: manit] in the general election of 1906, [unclear: when] addition to the triumphant return to [unclear: P] liament of a Liberal Government, [unclear: th] appeared within the historic [unclear: walls] Westminster a compact Labour [unclear: Pr] page 5 [unclear: about] 50 strong. Confirmation of the foregoing theory is to be found in the fact that during the ten-year period under review there has been a marked development of such movements as the adult school, the P.S.A., and the Brotherhood and Sisterhood organisations, all of these societies having a distinctively social as well as religious side to their activities. All these facts tend to confirm my con[unclear: ition] that, rightly or wrongly, an im[unclear: pression] is growing in the minds of the [unclear: workers] that the Churches are in alliance [unclear: with] the holders of wealth and privilege. This impression ought to be combated by the Churches and removed if possible, The teaching of Jesus stands for justice and human brotherhood. The Father-food of God revealed by Jesus Christ im[unclear: plies] an impartial equality of opportunity [unclear: for] all the Father's children. That [unclear: equality] of opportunity is not available [unclear: to-day], and the Church must stand con[unclear: demned] if it takes no action to make it [unclear: a] reality.
The Church and Labour.
Any antagonism between the Church and the labour movement must arise either (1) on account of the Church's [unclear: departure] from the Christianity of Christ, [unclear: or] (2) on account of labour's departure [unclear: from] the principles of justice and brother-[unclear: hood]. I am of opinion that both causes [unclear: are] at work. Some labour men can be [unclear: found] who prate about justice and brotherhood, and who in the same breath advocate proposals at once unjust, unbrotherly, and anti-social. At the same [unclear: time] there, are [unclear: many] working men with [unclear: a] passion for justice and brotherhood [unclear: who] believe that the Churches are acquitting in the present social order which [unclear: they] know is unjust to them and to their [unclear: fellow]-workers. It is this latter class [unclear: that] I should like to see convinced that [unclear: the] Church is in full sympathy with the [unclear: just] claims of labour, and that Church [unclear: members] are willing to assist in securing [unclear: such] reforms as will bring about the establishment of social justice. On the [unclear: other] hand, I am convinced that the [unclear: Church] has largely departed from the Christianity of Christ. The craven fear [unclear: of] trenching on the political field has [unclear: paralysed] its power. Take the protection [unclear: fallacy] to which 1 have already referred, [unclear: Is] there a Christian minister, who has [unclear: given] any study to the subject, who be[unclear: lieves] that the policy of discouraging the trading of the people of one country with [unclear: the] people of any other country by moans [unclear: of] restrictive tariffs is in accordance with [unclear: the] will of God or the teaching of Scrip-[unclear: ture] or that it can in any way minister [unclear: to] the welfare of a people? I do not be[unclear: lieve] that any considerable number of such ministers could be found, and yet I never hear of any minister, either in public or private, contending for the freedom of man in the matter of trade.
The witness which the followers of Jesus Christ were to bear was of a three-fold nature, viz., "The Prophetic Witness," "The Healing Witness," and the "Witness of Salvation." The first witness represented by the prophet or preacher; the second witness represented by the priest, or minister, or healer; the third witness represented by King, Lord, or Saviour. The "Prophetic Witness" involved (1) a religious interpretation of history, (2) an unsparing condemnation of contemporary evil, (3) the building up of the Church as a Christian Brotherhood emblematic of the universal brotherhood of man involved in the Fatherhood of of God. The "Healing Witness" involved ministration to the sick and sorrowful of mind and body. That duty is now left mainly to the doctors and faith-healers. The "Witness to Salvation" involved the bringing of the penitent to the Cross, where forgiveness of sin was to be obtained. What a contrast between the present and the time when Jesus walked the earth! In the time of Christ and His immediate disciples the one great blasphemy was the claim that Jesus had power to forgive all sin and to cleanse from its power. To-day the forgiveness of sin is accepted by all the Churches as the supreme, if not the only, mission of the Christ. In the time of Christ the "Prophetic Witness" and the "Healing Witness" were universally admitted. To-day the prophet has almost dis-appeared from our Churches, and the healer is almost afraid to reveal himself.
The Crying Need of the Church To-day
is the prophet who can supply the religious interpretation of history, and point the way to a new social order which will make possible a fuller and nobler development of human life—the prophet who will unsparingly condemn the contemporary evils which degrade our civilisation, and which, if not removed, will ultimately destroy it. Nations and civilisations, in order to endure, must adapt themselves to the developing needs of human life in the same manner that individuals must secure harmonious adaptation to their environment in order that they may live. The failure to secure this harmonious adjustment is responsible for the universal anarchy and chaos which we see in the religious, social, and political life of man to-day; and the Church must accept its fair share of the blame. How is it that there is no anarchy or chaos in the lower animal kingdom? Each race persists so long as circumstances permit. Content to live under natural laws, it satisfies its natural page 6 wants, and stops at that. I The human sub-kingdom, ever since the dawn of civilisation and the evolution of the idea of morality, shows one civilisation after another disappearing in anarchy and chaos. Why? Man, the unsatisfied animal, makes artificial by-laws which in-fringe natural law—result, chaos! This has happened over and over again. "Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, where are they?" All history tells: "Where nations towered that were not just, Lo! the skulking wild fox scratches in a little heap of dust."
One great lesson we mortals have to learn is that the social and political life of man is under the governance of Divine and universal law quite as much as is the physical world in which we live. The reign of law is now pretty generally recognised in the physical world, and also in the other portions of the great animal kingdom to which man belongs. It is also recognised to some extent in the spiritual world. But in man's relation to his mother earth, and in his relations to his brother man, most people speak and act as if the Great Creator and Law-giver had overlooked that portion of His great domain; that He had forgotten or neglected to make provision for the needs of mankind living in a civilised society! They seem to think that unless man were able to evolve out of his fertile imagination all sorts of artificial laws and regulations for the guidance of society, the result would be universal chaos. Quite the contrary is the case. Most of the ills which afflict human society spring out of man-made laws which conflict with natural laws and justice. What we have to do is not to make laws, but to discover the natural laws which God hath made, and then to bring our human institutions into harmony with those natural laws. Human society, to endure, must be based on justice, and it is well that it should be so. However powerful and apparently successful, society is on its way to anarchy and chaos if it supports injustice. I know of no stronger argument than this for belief in the Divine.
But, more than this, justice is the only possible basis for the development of the Divine side of man's nature. Love is
The Ultimate Law of Life.
"We cannot find out God and call [unclear: bis] Love,
But we can seek out Love and [unclear: cr] him God;
So may we still live on with [unclear: heav] above,
So tread the path that all the [unclear: sain] have trod."
That expresses to me a very [unclear: illum] ating thought—but we have profaned [unclear: fi] name of Love, by almost always [unclear: assoc] ing with it the idea of sex-love. [unclear: There] no sex in soul. Tennyson, in "In [unclear: M] oriam," expresses love for his dead [unclear: fri] as tender and as deep as any human of traction or affection can be. When [unclear: Per] fessor Bickerton, of Christchurch, [unclear: t] gested the possibility of the re-birth [unclear: at] fresh universes from the impact of [unclear: d] suns, it seemed to me the most [unclear: gh] atheistic idea I had ever heard of. [unclear: H] what is it but the lowest form of [unclear: aff] tion, which in itself is love, the [unclear: domi] vital principle of all life, which [unclear: from] fire-mist of the nebula evolves the [unclear: Chri] Ideal?
The "love" we need is the [unclear: unvei] "peace and goodwill toward men." [unclear: pe] claimed long ago, but still unrealised [unclear: t] cause its true source and meaning [unclear: un] still unrecognised. Our loves and [unclear: the] attractions necessarily govern [unclear: on] thoughts and actions, if we let them [unclear: th] is the fact that we have control of [unclear: th] that makes us men. All men love [unclear: p] tice, all men have some conception [unclear: of] moral law and admit its force, [unclear: yet] support institutions which flagrantly [unclear: o] late both, and therefore we are [unclear: con] way to anarchy and chaos, [unclear: uless] speedily mend our ways. All [unclear: bure] stitutions are more or less imperfect [unclear: to] the natural result is that strong [unclear: and] scrupulous men take advantage of [unclear: th] imperfections in order to [unclear: aggr] themselves at the expense of [unclear: th] fellows.
In the process of developing [unclear: soc] institutions, which in their [unclear: beg] were either harmless or helpful, [unclear: con] antagonise the well-being of man, [unclear: t] must be destroyed, or they would [unclear: dec] society. Age, and the very fact that [unclear: t] lend themselves to the exploitation [unclear: of] many by the few, give to many [unclear: in] tions an atmosphere of [unclear: respectal] long after they have become a [unclear: men] human well-being. To tolerate [unclear: ad] stitution, however old, and [unclear: bowever] spectable, for long after it has [unclear: ceas] minister to human well-being, breeding anarchy—to tolerate it finitely, will mean the [unclear: destruction] civilisation. Such an institution in [unclear: o] history was chattel slavery. [unclear: Such] institution in the present is the [unclear: lit] liquor traffic.
The Root Cause of Labour Problems.
But an institution more prolific of in the world to-day is that which enables the private appropriation of rent under the guise of modern landlordism. In the beginnings of society, when primitive man was emerging from a state of tribal communism, I have no doubt that private land-ownership served a useful purpose. Even under the feudal system, with the paternal recognition of duties as well as rights on the part of the feudal lords, I think it may have had its advantages; but under modern conditions, gathering to itself as it does all the material advantages of an advancing civilisation, it is evil and only evil. It is the root cause of labour problems, private appropriation of rent, involving as it does the payment of interest and profits beyond the just reward of service for service, is the main cause of all the anarchy and chaos of which I have been speaking. Until the social values ereated by the community are taken by the community and used for community purposes, and all that rightly belongs to the individual is left sacredly to the individual, we cannot have order and harmony in society.
The problem we have to solve is how to secure social equality. The problem our fathers had to solve was how to secure political equality. They faced the question of their day and partially answered it. We must finish their work, and resotutely set to work and solve the problem of social equality. Political equality must lead to social equality. Social equality does not mean that we shall all be the same height and weight, the same intelligence and morality, or possess the same wealth, as some foolish people suppose. Social equality simply means equal social rights—the establishment of fair play between man and man in society. Liberty of thought and freedom of speech. Free men—that is the victory upon for us by our fathers. Free land—that is the victory we must win for our-selves. Land is the source of all wealth. We all live on and from the land. If a section of the community is allowed to control the land, it controls the life, the labour, and the liberty of the people.
Make Room at the Father's Table.
The land is the great storehouse provided by the Common Father for the support and comfort and well-being of common family. The earth is the table of the Heavenly Father, and we want to make room, and equal room, at the Father's table for all the Father's children. How is it to be done? By evolution or by revolution? By peaceful adjustment or by bloody conflict? The answer to these questions cannot be long delayed. The wonderful developments of science during the last sixty years in the application of steam and machinery to production has introduced a new factor into the life of the world. Land value, like gravitation, tends to attract to itself all the material advantages that arise from new inventions applied to production, distribution, and exchange; while the needs of an increasing normal population enable the owners of the earth to extract an ever-increasing proportion of the products of labour for the right to live and work on their property.
Look at the position in our own country. In twenty years the people of this country have increased the unimproved land value by no less than £140,000,000. This increased land value is in addition to the value created by the expenditure of labour and capital in making improvements. It is a social value created by society, and rightly belonging to society. Yet the whole of it has passed into the possession of a portion of the people, and most of it (£126,000,000 out of the £140,000,000) has passed into the possession of not more than 22,500 families out of the million people in New Zealand. If this socially-created wealth had been collected and used for social purposes, in which all the people could have participated, it would have been equivalent to an increase of wages of £35 a year to every family in the land. It is due mainly to ignorance that this enormous iniquity is allowed to continue. Self-interest on the part of some tends to blind them to the disastrous effects of a system which has grown up with them, and which has worked quite satisfactorily from their point of view. This is a moral universe, and what is morally wrong can never be politically right. Has the Church no word to speak regarding this great moral iniquity? All that we require is that
The Mosaic Land Laws Should be Brought Up-to-date.
That the spirit of the Mosaic code should be applied to the institution of, land ownership, bringing it into harmony with the needs of mankind to-day.
It is estimated that when Persia perished 1 per cent. of the people owned all the land; Egypt went down when 2 per cent. owned 97 per cent. of all the wealth; Babylon died when 2 per cent. owned all the wealth; and Rome expired when 1,800 men possessed all the then known world. We are drifting steadily toward a like condition throughout the civilised world to-day. In 1889 Thomas G. Shearman, in the "Forum," declared that "within thirty years the United page 8 States will be substantially owned by less than one in 500 of the male population." That prophecy has been practically fulfilled. Chas. B. Spahr, in his "Distribution of Wealth," says that "one-eighth of the families in America receive more than half of the aggregate income," and that "the richest 1 per cent. receives a larger income than the poorest 50 per cent." That condition is rapidly becoming true of nearly every country, and mainly through the private appropriation of rent. It is estimated that one family, of which John D. Rockefeller is the head, possesses wealth to the amount of one billion dollars. Think of it. If Mr. Rockefeller had begun at the birth of Christ, making a dollar a minute day and night, and had accumulated it all, it would have taken him till the year 1912 to amass a thousand million dollars. Social conditions that make such accumulations possible are a disgrace, alike to Christianity and civilisation. Such conditions stir up discontent, class hatred, and bitterness. They breed socialism and anarchy. They foster those elements and forces which bring on violent revolutions. They imply, not a dry rot, but a fermenting, festering rot in the body politic. What we need is
A New Emancipation Movement
to free the great mass of mankind from industrial slavery, to get the landowners, and the monopolists generally, off the people's backs. Merely to make their slavery more bearable will do no permanent good.
Is the Church unable or unwilling to lend a hand in denouncing this monster of iniquity which, like a canker, is eating the heart out of our civilisation? The prophets of old time would have done so. Cannot you imagine them calling out: "Woe unto you, ye monopolists of God's earth ! Woe unto you, ye exploiters of the poor!"
If the Church in its corporate capacity is unable to take any action, surely this is the work of Church members who have imbibed the Master's spirit, and who have learnt the Master's teaching. To all such I make an earnest appeal to come over and help us.
Knowledge is the first essential to reform. I appeal to every Christian man and woman to study the arguments of those who contend that the private appropriation of rent is the main cause of the anarchy and chaos which abounds to-day; nay, more, that it is the main obstacle to the coming of the kingdom. You must know that most of the men who make this claim are men of at least average ability, that they are men of probity, and that they have made a study of the subject whereon they speak. [unclear: W] you not also study the subject and [unclear: b] to solve the problem? Not to [unclear: solve] and solve it rightly and quickly, [unclear: me] death to society. I
Revolution is in the air. It is [unclear: be] proclaimed throughout this fair land, [unclear: s] throughout every other so-called [unclear: civi] land. In the memoirs of Sully we [unclear: f] this statement: "The revolutions [unclear: t] come to pass in great states are [unclear: not] result of chance or of popular [unclear: cap] . . . As for the populace, it is [unclear: re] from a passion for attack that it [unclear: reb] but from impatience of suffering." [unclear: T] words were true when Sully wrote [unclear: th] they are true to-day.
Think, then, how near to [unclear: revon] we were in this country only a [unclear: f] months ago, and how close to [unclear: revon] they have been in other parts [unclear: of] world within the past year or two. [unclear: T] remember that "Force is no [unclear: remedy] that "Nothing is ever settled until [unclear: it] settled right." Although force is [unclear: ne] sary to suppress a riotous mob, [unclear: and] though force may appear for a [unclear: time] suppress an industrial upheaval, [unclear: notice]
The Establishment of Social [unclear: Justic]
can secure the harmonious [unclear: developan] of human society. That justice [unclear: we] not yet attained in New Zealand [unclear: or] any other country.
In conclusion, let me say that [unclear: to] of you my words may seem unduly [unclear: p] mistic. It is not pessimism to [unclear: point] dangers, and at the same time to [unclear: po] out a way of escape from such [unclear: dan] I have tried to do both. I am not [unclear: read] pessimistic regarding the future. [unclear: I] lieve that "God's in His heaven," [unclear: and] that "all's right with the world." [unclear: E] God requires the co-operation of the [unclear: se] of men in order that His love and [unclear: just] may abound on the earth. I am [unclear: ce] dent that my appeal for your help [unclear: and] operation will not be in vain—
Love is and was my King and [unclear: Lord,] And will be, tho' as yet I [unclear: keep] Within his court on earth, and [unclear: sle]
Encompassed by his faithful [unclear: guard,]
And hear at times a sentinel
Who moves about from place to [unclear: pl] And whispers to the worlds of [unclear: spa]
In the deep night, that all is [unclear: well.]
And all is well, tho' faith and [unclear: form] Be sunder'd in the night of fear; I Well roars the storm to those than [unclear: h]
A deeper voice across the storm, [unclear: T]
Proclaiming social truth shall [unclear: spread] And justice, ev'n tho' thrice [unclear: again] The red fool-fury of the [unclear: Seine]
Should pile her barricades with [unclear: dead]
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