THE "American Railway Union" under the lead of Eugene V. Debbs at its June convention merged itself into a new organization, known as "The Social Democracy of America." The scheme proposed is that members and friends of the Society shall contribute funds to start a system of colonies, one after another, as rapidly as possible, in some state of the Union at present sparsely settled and otherwise considered favorable to the scheme. When the colonists are of sufficient number they hope to control the State legislature and government—to enact socialistic laws, and to enforce them; and thus to give to the world a practical example of their claim, that Socialism is to be the world's savior.
Practical tests of the various social remedies proposed are just what is needed to prove them all at best palliatives, never remedies, and often breeders of woes worse than those they seek to cure. It would be an excellent plan to set apart one half say, of Oregon, and divide it into about twenty little states for experimental purposes, in which the advocates of various "social-redemption" theories could rule themselves and "try" their theories, and prove them failures. Give one to "The Social Democracy," another to the "Nationalists," another to the "Single Taxers," another to "The New Woman," another to "Anarchists," etc. In fact there is no need for legislation on the subject, for there is plenty of good vacant land to be had by settlers, free, in several states.
But what these "reformers" want is not free land, free water, free air, and plenty of hard work in "subduing the forests," etc. The Pilgrim fathers got those things with "sweat of face;" and it developed in them strong characters for integrity, and a reverence for the Creator and his Word.
Judging from their declaration of intentions, "The Social Democracy of America" purposes to steal a State. Under cover of liberal laws they design to enter some favored State and to so change its laws that the invested wealth, improvements and conveniences accumulated by others through years of toil shall, nolens volens, be largely appropriated to the use and convenience of the less prudent or less fortunate invaders.
And all this is proposed on the plea that the "reformers" wish to demonstrate the blessings that would flow from the operation of the Law of Love, as opposed to the miseries of the present Law of Selfishness. Alas! how easily men can deceive themselves. Surely, anyone can see that at very most this is the self-love of one class fighting the self-love of another class.
We rejoice to note any evidence of the growth of the spirit of generosity in mankind; and would be glad if all men were willing to surrender private interests to the public welfare; but we are not so blind to facts and reason as to suppose that Mr. Debbs and his associates are acting the part of philanthropists in scheming to acquire the property of others: tho, of course it may be claimed that such a readjustment should come sometime.
But all such schemes are now in order, and many of them will undoubtedly be tried that the world may have demonstrations of that which God's people already know from his Word;—that all human schemes must fail to bring forth perfect results because conceived and carried forward by men and women whose thoughts and deeds are warped by the sin and selfishness of six thousand years' development.
Mr. Debbs and his principal associates express great confidence in the success of their scheme, and point to the success of the Mormons in Utah. They forget that the secret of the Mormon success is a religious [R2184 : page 208] unity that practically enslaves the people to the control of their Elders whom they accept as divinely appointed and inspired. No other slavery can hold its victims so firmly as religious slavery—good or bad. And Mr. Debbs could expect no such influence over those who would follow him as standard-bearer. There would be nothing but selfishness common to all who would join his colonies: and selfishness is the very basis of anger, envy, hatred and strife, and constantly tends to disintegration. His scheme might prosper so long as donations in its aid would continue, or so long as special hopes of improvement at the expense of others held out; but it would go to pieces at once when these selfish inducements would cease.
Mr. Debbs and some of his associates no doubt have some benevolent sentiments blended with their selfish ones, and with us would probably rejoice to see all the "groaning creation" (Rom. 8:22,23) relieved from the present pressure of evil. What they lack is the knowledge which comes from the Lord's Word—a quarter from which they expect no light.
It teaches—(1) That no man can either appreciate or exercise pure love unmixed with selfishness, except he be "born again," for which he must first be [R2185 : page 208] "begotten again" by the holy spirit of the Lord's Word of truth.
(3) That God has been testing and selecting just such a class of rulers during this gospel age; and that soon he will bless the world by establishing his "elect" under Christ, their "Head," as his autocratic Kingdom, to take away human liberty and rule with a rod of iron, until all who will obey shall be blessed and lifted to perfection of being and of character; and all who will not obey shall be destroyed. (Acts 3:19-23; 1 Cor. 15:12-25.) Then, at the close of the Millennial age, full liberty can be granted to all; for none but the worthy will remain.