Ever since sin entered the world it has been man’s desire to be able to possess without working, to get without giving, to eat without sweating. Evil men of every age have catered to this desire by way of promise, and that to gain power. The dictator has used it to control the masses. The longing has always been so great that in no age have men, bent on evil. lacked opportunity to appeal to this base and evil hankering. This insatiable drive has brought nothing but grief, heartache, and deprivation.
This pernicious drive on the part of man is found in all strata of society. The worker, the farmer, the business man, the professional man—all are afflicted with this disease. As is the case with every other malady, no cure is possible unless the diseased is willing to acknowledge that there is an infection. We in America are experiencing its devastating results right now because men have assumed on a grand scale that what they did not possess themselves could justly be taken from others, whether they worked for it or not. Perhaps the most noticeable effect of this cancer is its destructive effect on the morals of our society which at times seem to be beyond the point of recovery.
The promise of “something for nothing” began to be fed in large doses to our people approximately 30 years ago. Few recognized at that time precisely what was happening, and many were certain that we had fallen heir to a gold mine. At that time the farmer, as well as nearly every other segment of our society, was in dire straits. He was told that the government would draw from another part of the economy and thus help agriculture. A few eyebrows were raised and the question was asked, “How is it possible to remain economically solvent if we engage in such dangerous practices, and further, how shall men remain free?” The government adopted the slogan, “We want to help and not control.” Today, in the area which I now serve, no thinking person is peaceful about the strangling controls which arc proposed in the field of agriculture, but still too few have learned the lesson that you cannot really get something for nothing.
Here in tile midwest and many other places, large facilities are being erected to store the bulging surpluses of farm commodities. Recently, in our community, a large building was put up by the government for the storage of corn with the stipulation that after using it for four years the community must convert the building into an auditorium. When I asked a leading citizen of the community about this program, his answer was, “The government is paying for it, so we might as well get all we can for nothing.” We hasten to add that the same trend is evident in the fields of labor, business, and the professions. But few are ready, in any field, to believe that for nothing you get worse than nothing.
The malignancy of this desire to get something for nothing is becoming more and more apparent. The complaint is heard on every hand by employers, “It is almost impossible to hire a man who can assume responsibility.” If you are able to hire a good man he is worth double of what any other is worth. One needs only a passing acquaintance with laboring men today to know that by and large there is discontent and a desire for more. They feel that they are being robbed, that they are giving so much and getting so little in return for their efforts, compared to what their employers have. Rarely have I heard an employee acknowledge that he was doing too little for what he received. Many people actually believe that the philosophy of “soak the rich to care for the poor” is a justifiable and defensible position. The recent controversy about who should receive aid in Newburgh, New York, is an excellent example of the popularity of this position.
It appears that this is a disease that has penetrated to all levels of society. Doctors seek fees for work undone, teachers want more money for a smaller pupil load, preachers would like banker’s hours, and laborers want more money for shorter work hours, with the union always promising them still greater benefits. Of course, this is not true of all. But the spirit is present and it is spreading.
Men everywhere fall for false promises for various reasons, but undoubtedly the chief reason is their covetous desire to gain for themselves something for nothing. This was the lure of Fascism. Mussolini was able to strut across the stage with glittering but deceitful promises. Said he, “We will restore the glory of the Roman Empire and when the glory is restored, beds of ivory will again be the Jot of Rome’s citizens.” The population gave all—their homes, their savings and their sons—only to reap bitter disillusionment.
Under Nazism, Hitler promised to build a super-race in Germany that was destined to rule the world. Having accomplished their end, they would be able to drink wine from bowls. The slaves to his promises gave their all, only to be bitterly disappointed in the end.
Today, the tremendous appeal of Communism, even to some in our own land, is due to its promise of something for nothing. For the whole Communist Front Program is built on the principle of the “scientific exploitation of the short·sighted self-interest of each separate group until finally the party gains control of every segment of society.” The Communist formula for effective action could also be summed up in these words; “Discover what the people want, promise it to them, and go to work to get it for them so that you may come to power over them” (You Can Trust the Communists, p. 53).
The welfare-state program proposed by the present administration in our land appeals to the same devastating, yet enticing promise of something for nothing. Stalin, Khrushchev and others have openly proclaimed. that this will be the pathway to conquest of America.
It would be sheer folly to maintain that promising something for nothing is not appealing. That is our precise disease and we ought to recognize it as such. No group is immune to it. Our decline as a nation and our gradual loss of freedom is but a repetition of what happened in ancient Rome. Greedy politiCians gradually deluded Rome’s citizens into believing that Caesar could make them rich; or they said, “Let the rich fellows pay and support the rest of the country.” As they tasted some favors, they demanded and received more. Citizens became more and more disinclined to accept responsibility and work. They wanted security from the government against every misfortune and assurance that all their desires would be fulfilled. The day of reckoning came when the covetous citizens became slaves of the barbarians whom they had made strong by their demoralized. condition. How the masses within our fair land clamor for auditoriums, swimming pools, free services of every kind, better roads, schools, etc. They want the government to pay for it all, or, if they realize that the government has no wealth of its own, they say, Tax the rich.
Christians are not immune to this disease. Even they will join the crowds who are so eager to get something for nothing, even if it be only a handout of candy, a merchant’s drawing, a raffle of some kind. And Christians too will agree with the clamor for more government hand-outs.
The program has proceeded so far that even now there are organizations of the government, or cooperating with the government, Or favored by the government, which cater to the spirit of servile dependence on federal assistance for all kinds of projects. In the brief span of a few decades we have increasing government interference in business, in labor, in agriculture, in education, in religion, in medicine, in science, and even in art. No phase of our life is free from its encroachments. Its tentacles reach out in every direction.
Those who promote control through promises of material well-being are weU aware of their success and are becoming much bolder in their demands. Nowhere has this become more evident than in the Health, Education and Welfare Department of our Government. The Director, A. Ribicoff, declares that there will be medical care without control. But the very bill that he sponsors designates the conditions which must be met and the manner in which the service shall be rendered. It further regulates aU personnel in the program. Naturally, the promise of privilege without control does not merit serious consideration. I expect, and so does every thinking person expect, that government shall regulate and guide a program for which it collects revenue, If it does not, it is an irresponsible government. The British were enticed by such a program and today are paying five times the original cost, besides the fact that not all who need care can get it and the care is often far inferior to that which they received when they believed that a person should pay for what he receives. One example of the inevitable rise in medical costs should socialized medicine be accepted is that our government would have to add nearly two million more clerks to its payrolls.
Let us take a closer look at the manner in which this operates in the field of education. The candidates for office of president made it appear as if there was a great crisis in the field of education; therefore it was necessary for the Federal government to step in with aid. One plan was to allocate money not only for buildings but also for teachers’ salaries, and this would solve our problem. Most certainly this aid was to be given without any control, for the government said it wanted to aid, not control education! We hoped no one would buy such a superficial promise! After all, what kind of government is it that taxes, allocates monies, but does not direct and guide the use of its monies? Yet we find that hosts of people, even Christians, thought that this would solve our educational problems.
However, recent activity in the legislative halls proves beyond a shadow of doubt that even those who promised such a thing never intended to give something for nothing. The intent has always been the control of education. In April 1961 the Office of Health, Education and Welfare published a booklet entitled “A Federal Education Agency for the Future.” To quote Hon. John M. Ashbrook, “Fifty-six pages of findings contain recommendations which call for more Federal participation and control and repeatedly stress the need for Federal activity in formulating educational policies. It recommends a review of teacher preparation, curriculum and text books…” When one actually reads the publication it is to note that Mr. Ashbrook is guilty of understatement.
But that is not the end of the story. Behind this is the activity to have all education controlled by the United Nations through UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization), the most powerful branch of the United Nations. This organization is further known for its atheistic and communistic bias. Take, for example, “UNESCO’s proposed new treaty, participated in by ten communist countries, known as the Convention Against Discrimination in Education, which is now before the State Department. Its design is to deliver the entire American educational system into the international control which UNESCO is seeking to gain over all instruction in participating nations, It could close every private and parochial school in the United States. It would automatically remove education from under ‘domestic’ law and control. It encompasses every phase and facet of American education…” (Minority Report, House Education and Labor Committee report on H. R. 7904). To be able to place education under international control, it must first come under the control of the federal government. This is exactly what the bill recently brought before Congress by our present administration would have accomplished; and from there it would only have been a single step to place all education under international control.
What is so amazing is that we still have hosts of Christian parents, Christian teachers and ministers who imagine that even here in the field of education we could get something for nothing, May God grant that, if no one else, Christians at least may wake up and protest to their representatives with no small voice.