“Politics and Prosperity” American Sentinel 12, 28, pp. 435, 436.

THE non-appearance of that prosperity which was promised by the political party now in power is emphasized just now by the strike of some hundreds of thousands of miners in the middle States. Together they constitute a host which far outnumbers the combined United States army and States’ militia; and should they become turbulent, very serious consequences would certainly ensue. It is hoped that the controversy may be settled by arbitration, the miners themselves being so confident of the justice of their cause that they have already expressed their approval of this method of settlement.

At this rate of prosperity, the question bids fair to arise whether the United States does not need a large standing army like those of Europe; not to ward off an invasion from without or to conquer some neighboring country, but to keep the peace within her own borders. While it is no doubt true, as has been often asserted, that the vast majority of the American people are lovers of peace and order, it must be admitted that a point is reached under the pressure of destitution where even the most peacefully inclined men will resort to violent measures for the relief of their suffering families. That the destitution of the striking miners is appalling, is admitted by all observers; and it is certainly no less true that the miners represent but a small part of the number whom the prevailing industrial conditions are driving to the point of desperation. Let the forces of discontent and despair be once called into action under one leadership and with a common purpose in view, and nothing short of the repressive power of a great standing army would suffice to prevent the horrors of revolution.

The doctrine that national prosperity depends upon the kind of politics by which the country is dominated, is a fallacy. The causes of prosperity and of “hard times” lie deeper down than the agitated surface of politics. Not the organizations, but the people themselves, as such, are the arbiters of national prosperity. As it lies with [436] each individual to determine, by the exercise of individual virtues, the degree of his own prosperity in this life, so it lies with the people as a whole to determine their prosperity as a united body. But that which greatly darkens the outlook for prosperity is the fact that individualism as a guiding principle of life is fast losing its hold upon the minds of the people. They are being taught to depend not upon their own individual virtues, but upon the power of organizations, in which their own individuality must be submerged and lost. This can never bring permanent prosperity, for it is contrary to nature and to the institutions and purposes of the Creator.

In the present condition of things, such a regimé seems an absolute necessity, it is true. And it seems such from the popular point of view. What can one individual do against a thousand? But it is the purpose of God in the gospel to answer just this question, and to show to people that the individuality He has given to each need not be sacrificed to opposing numbers. He will join the individual to Himself, so that, in this alliance, it is impossible he should ever be outnumbered. “One shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.”

While the people are seeking to vote prosperity into existence by turning “the rascals” who “have not fulfilled their pledges” out of office, let it be remembered that the service of God—the exercise of those virtues which are conserved by the power of God in the individual life, through faith in Jesus Christ—assures to each person the enjoyment of a prosperity sufficient for every temporal need, and a certainty of success with respect to that which is the true purpose of existence amid the vicissitudes and inequalities of this life.

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