Sunday, April 12, 2009

Since it's Easter Sunday, I thought I'd post something kinda politicaly, socially, religiousy.
Lets go back 75 years.....

The problem of statesmanship is to mold a policy leading toward a higher state for humanity, and to stick by that policy and make it seem desirable to the people in spite of short-time political pressure to the contrary. True statesmanship and true religion therefore have much in common. Both are beset by those, who, professing to be able politicians and hard-headed men of affairs, are actually so exclusively interested in the events of the immediate future or the welfare of a small class that from the broader, long-time point of view they are thoroughly impractical and theoretical.
Isaiah, Jeremiah and Micah were truly great statesmen. They caught the vision of a superior social state and with all the fire at their command held up that vision before the people in spite of the protests of those concerned with politics, priestly intrigue, and commercial gain.
The prophets failed in that their states manship was not adopted, but their efforts were so striking that the record remains to this day as an incentive to those who desire to look beneath the surface.
Religion to my mind is the most practical thing in the world. In so saying I am not talking about church-going, or charity, or any of the other outward manifestations of what is popularly called religion. By religion I mean the force which governs the attitude of men in their inmost hearts toward God and toward their fellowmen.
Jesus dealing with that force said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. with all thy heart and all thy strength and all thy soul and all thy mind. Thou shalt love thy neigh- bor as thyself." The Catholic Church dealing with this force said in effect that the minds and hearts of men are best attuned to God and humanity through the continual celebration in due form of the mass by specially ordained priests whose duty it is also to receive and distribute alms. Martin Luther and John Calvin dealing with this force said each man can meet his God face to face without priestly intercessor each man can worship God most effectively by working hard in his chosen calling every minute of every day except the Sabbath. The Reformation in action contracted rather than expanded the doctrine of Jesus, nevertheless the extraordinary emphasis on the individual unleashed forces which enabled man through energetic self-discipline to conquer a new continent in record- breaking time, to develop an unprecedented control over nature, and to develop capitalism as a temporary mechanism for social control. The classical economists of a hundred years ago in their highly individualistic, laissez-faire doctrine expressed in non-emotional terms the economic essence of Protestantism. Spencer, Darwin, Huxley, and their followers in promulgating the doctrine of natural selection and the survival of the fittest gave the whole idea an apparent foun dation in nature. As a result Protestantism, which in its origin was highly spiritual, be came in fact more and more material. Many of the ministers fought against the trend, but the children of the best families in their con gregations for two generations or more have gone to college and accepted as gospel truth laissez-faire economics and survival of the fittest biology. Trimmings have been put on this foundation but most of the children of our leading families have accepted as a matter of course an attitude townrd the uni verse and toward their fellow man which is based on pseudo-economics, pseudo-science, and pseudo-religion. Today I am glad to say that economics, science and religion are all re-examining the facts under pressure from the common man who is appalled by the tragic nonsense of misery and want in the midst of tremendous world stocks of essential raw materials. Science has given us control over nature far beyond the wildest imaginings of our grand fathers. But unfortunately the religious attitude which produced such keen scientists and aggressive business men makes it im possible for us to live with the balanced abundance which is now ours as soon as we are willing to accept it with clean, under standing hearts. To enter the kingdom of heaven brought to earth and expressed in terms of rich material life it will be necessary to have a reformation even greater than that of Luther and Calvin. I am deeply concerned in this because I know that the social machines set up by the present administration will break down unless they are inspired by men who in their hearts catch a larger vision than the hard driving profit motives of the past. More than that, the men in the street must change their attitude concerning the nature of man and the nature of human society. They must develop the capacity to envision a co operative objective and be willing to pay the price to attain it. They must have the intelligence and the will power to turn down simple solutions appealing to the shoit-time motives of particular class.
Statesmanship and Religion - H.A. Wallace 1934

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