“The State and the Individual” American Sentinel 13, 4, pp. 49, 50.

THE doctrine that the State is everything and the individual nothing is exactly the opposite of that upon which all good and just government is established.

It is synonymous with the doctrine that government is instituted not to maintain the absolute inviolability of certain individual privileges known as “rights,” but only to secure “the greatest good to the greatest number.”

When the supposed interests of society or of the state come in conflict with individual rights, the latter are by this theory swept aside. “It is expedient that one man should die and not that the whole nation should perish.”

So reasoned the Jews when they committed the most awful mistake that it was possible for any people to commit.

It is said that the preservation of the state demands the enforcement of Sunday laws, and that when the individual conscience conflicts with the “state conscience” in such a matter, the individual conscience must give way.

We are asked to believe that it is sometimes necessary [50] to sacrifice the individual for the good of the state or of society.

There is an illustration of this just now in France, where there is great excitement over the question of the innocence or guilt of an alleged traitor. The government seems to think that the good of France demands that the condemned individual should suffer his prescribed punishment, even though he may have been unjustly convicted.

In Russia, as notice elsewhere in this issue, little children and infants are ruthless torn from their parents’ arms in the night, by the government police, and taken away to be brought up as orthodox members of the state church. And this is done for the preservation of the state.

But the government of God holds to no such principle. That government, the maintenance of which is essential to the welfare of every being in the universe; that government, as compared with which in importance all earthly governments are as nothing,—would dissolve and go out of existence sooner than it would perpetrate a wrong upon one individual, however small, obscure, or humble. Sooner than do this, God himself would abdicate the throne of the universe. Yet an earthly government, a mere human and temporal affair, tries to justify itself in doing what would never at any hazard be dared by the government of Heaven. That which would dissolve the government of the universe, these earthly governments do for their “preservation”!

But there is nothing in it but dissolution for any government that does it, under any circumstances. The interests of the individual and of the state cannot be separated. When the state cuts loose from the individual and holds only to “the masses,” it cuts loose from safe principle, and starts upon the sure road to decline and ruin.

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