Chapter 21 – Making Your Self the Master – Facing the Issue

FACING THE ISSUE

Harvey Hardman
Making Your Self the Master
© Harvey Hardman
Denver, Colorado, 1935.

“Righteousness exalteth a nation, but
injustice is a reproach to the people.”
— Bible.
 

[193] Many people resent it when a Teacher has anything to say about social, political, or industrial problems. But the notion that there is no connection between religion and social and economic principles is not only false, but it is unsupported by the experiences and utterances of the man whose teachings constitute the foundation of our religion.

The attitude of the person who would separate spiritual instruction from those principles that underlie government is the survival of the old notion that religion is too sacred to be brought out into the experiences of everyday life; too holy to be subjected to the text of reason. In Divine Science we accept the hypothesis that the universe is one, and that whatever concerns the welfare and progress of mankind is essentially religious in character.

The effort to divide life into two compartments, one of which is labeled sacred and the other secular–or holy and common–is responsible for the anachronism of strange oriental beliefs and creeds and superstitions surviving in the modern world. All life is sacred; all experience has either a negative or positive relation to the principles of religion; and all [194] conceptions are immaculate, the action of the Creative Power. Our common life is divine, the manifestation of Eternal Mind. If we fail to see this, our religion, whatever its name, is artificial, a thing apart. If we do see it, our religion, regardless of its label, becomes a natural part of all our experience.

This nation is face to face with very grave problems. Sinister and secret forces are seeking to undermine the very foundations of the Republic. The average elector in America has only a lukewarm interest in political affairs, and little if any knowledge of political science and economics.

As a people, we are very well informed about baseball and moviedom; very ignorant of those principles upon which our liberty and economic welfare depend. We howl when we are squeezed, robbed, and despoiled of our money and rights, and yet think very little. As soon as the pressure is released and we are given a breathing spell, we turn at once to our pleasures and affairs, trusting to the good Lord to look after our political and economic rights. We forget the admonition of a great patriot: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Our forefathers shed rivers of blood to secure for us a measure of liberty and human rights. The most sacred and important of [195] these rights is the electoral franchise, now extended to women as well as to men. Yet so little do we think of this supreme privilege, that less than fifty per cent of the eligible electorate take the trouble to vote. And it is just the ones who will not take the time to vote who wail the loudest when unjust and insufferable taxation is imposed upon them, or when their fundamental rights to freedom of speech, or group organization and action are interfered with by biased courts or corrupt administrative practices. One thing is certain: If political apathy continues to increase during the next twenty years in the same proportion as it has in the last two decades, a powerful political machine will completely dominate national affairs, to the glory and profit of the engineers who direct the machine.

We must either become politically minded as citizens, or politically impotent as slaves. The individual citizen must decide. If we educate ourselves in the principles of government, if we study the basic laws of industry and economics so that we can exercise the franchise intelligently, the result will be a higher type of public servant. We will demand that the man who holds public office be as well qualified morally, mentally, and ethically, as the man a board of directors selects to manage a business.

[196] After all, it is the individual who faces the issue. It comes back to you and to me. Divine Science is supremely individualistic. I am responsible, not only for the conditions and affairs of my personal life, but for my share in the general conditions of the country. If I am indifferent to my duties as a citizen of this Republic, I am unworthy of the rights and benefits which I enjoy under its form of government. And my own example influences others to be equally indifferent.

While we have individual independence, there is the great law of inter-dependence. “No man liveth unto himself alone.” He is a cell in a living political organism. He either contributes to its health, regeneration and progress, or to its disease, inertia and decay. Nations, like individuals, decay and die when the majority of the human units, or cells, become infected with moral dry-rot, injustice and the inertia of political indifference.

The diseases enter the body of the state by way of the individual. It is not the will of God that nations decay and die. It is the result of the blindness and selfishness of the individuals that compose it.

One of the dread symptoms of such a state is the slow paralysis induced by increasing public charities. The degree of the need [197] for charity measures the abnormal temperature of the patient. Every normal human being despises charity–for himself. It insults his manhood. If dire necessity compels him to accept it on behalf of his dependents, the shame and humiliation burn like a white hot iron into his soul.

The extent of public charity is a very accurate measure of the prevalence of industrial and political injustice. It is a reproach to any people. It publishes to all the fact that maudlin sympathy and unthinking pity dominate their thought, rather than dynamic thinking and constructive action in terms of social justice. Charity is based on feeling; justice is based on right thinking–righteousness. Charity is twin to the curse of poverty. Both are born in ignorance.

Behold a country with unlimited wealth in natural resources, in machinery, in engineering intelligence; a nation capable of producing at least five times as much as its inhabitants are able to consume. And behold that same country stricken with poverty, with nearly half its population living in want, denied the simple necessities of a decent life, and other millions living under the shadow of fear that they too will be in want, not knowing what day a selfish corporation, grown fat on past profits, will say “Get out! I need you no longer.” [198] Shame to a country so bancrupt in social intelligence, so devoid of the ambition to design and direct an enlightened program of social-industrial engineering projects, that it turns to “charity” as the only solution. And shame on you and me, that we sit supinely by, and contribute by our apathy to the continuance of such a state of affairs. A nation so steeped and sodden in selfishness deserves, and will suffer some form of vast retribution, unless it awakens to its divine opportunity to solve this age-old problem. The fate of a nation in which wealth accumulates and men decay is sealed, unless it is converted to principles of social justice and political righteousness.

We have our duty as Divine Scientists. That duty embraces the recognition of our individual responsibility to inform ourselves about social, economic and political problems, and then vote for principles instead of parties. It involves the still greater duty and more powerful action of spiritual meditation, directed to the realization of a more glorious destiny for our nation than any people have achieved at any time in history. It means the finest minds devoted to solving the problems of the nation; the noblest men working for truth, social justice, national righteousness. “Then,” O America, “shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health spring forth speedily.”

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