HUMAN EMOTIONS are older than
human reason. Religion and ethics are very old; their age is measured in
terms not of centuries but of geological periods, so old are they. Thought,
science and intelligence are very young, only a few thousand years old.
Human hope for material progress is based upon
the evolution and further clarification of thought, science and technique.
Through them man can learn to master the forces of nature, but they cannot
give him mastery of himself. To know thyself, to con-trol thyself and ennoble
thyself, is an art to be cultivated as such.
Human hope for social progress and citizenship,
for growth in happiness and dignity is based upon man's feelings for right
and wrong. The great and fundamental questions of existence are all very
simple and everyone is able to understand them. Small details are often
complicated and difficult of understand-ing. Some people cannot see that.
They are so absorbed in details of small things that they do not see the
great things at all. The shrewd Italian statesman Machiavelli understood
that. He said: "People are always provoked by small injustices but never
by great injustices."
Therefore, if we have to speak to common people
about great and external things, it is important to make quite clear what
we mean by the words right and wrong, justice and injustice, righteousness,
love and charity. Reason can explain the difference between these ideas.
It depends upon the heart which way you will follow.
me try to illustrate this in a simple way; if I have access to a working
place, some land to work upon, and if I plough the field, harrow the soil,
sow the seed, harvest the crop, grind the flour and bake the bread - my daily
bread - then there is a voice within me saying: "My Bread is Mine!"
If you also have a working place where you
earn your daily bread, you also say: "My Bread is Mine". We all feel that
this is right. The sentence: "My Bread is Mine!" - that is the beginning
I am interested only in my own bread and in my own right, it is a narrow
and limited sense of justice. It is the righteousness of the Pharisees, and
except our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees, we shall
in no case enter that form of human living for which we are created.
the right to use a working place and the right to the bread I have produced.
You want the same right for yourself. Most people hear the voice: "My Bread
is Mine!" But if we listen, there is another voice within us which bids
us "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!" This voice speaks
not only about my right, but also about your right. It speaks of righteousness
and not only self righteousness. It says not only: "My Bread is Mine!"
but also "Your Bread is Yours!"
you feel that justice is filled with a warm and human feeling for your neighbour.
"Your Bread is Yours! This is love. There is no greater love in man than
this: to give to other people, your fellow men, the same right, freedom
and opportunities as you want for yourself, and to let them earn their own
bread in their own way, so that they can be masters of their own bread.
you have done your work and earned your bread, and I stretch out my hand
and take it, saying: "Your Bread is Mine!" we all feel that this is wrong
- It is theft and robbery. Theft and robbery are punishable at law. Therefore
I can try to get your bread in other ways - In olden days I could enslave
you or make you my serf. Under modern, normal social conditions I can do
it in a more genteel way, although with the same result.
I can own my own land, my own working place,
but I can also own the land that is necessary for you and for others. If
you and others have no access to land and employment, the result is unemployment.
Then I can say: "You are allowed to work here, but I shall have a greater
or smaller part of your daily bread. Your bread is Mine!"
It is theft, it is robbery, even though the
law allows it. Law and righteousness are not the same thing, but they ought
to be, and they certainly shall be.
if you have access to a working place, you can have a bad crop; your harvest
can fail; you can become ill or crippled, so that you are not able to earn
your own bread. Then in your extremity, perhaps, my warm heart tells me
to help you. I may take my own bread and give it to you, saying: "My Bread
This is charity. Some people believe charity
is the same as love and righteousness. It is not so. Charity is lovely,
and charity, alms and subsidies can be necessary where people are not able
to help themselves. But how much better it is when charity is not necessary,
when poverty, hunger and unemploy-ment do not exist. We cannot do without
charity in catastrophes and under exceptional conditions, but we cannot
do with charity alone. Charity can be dangerous for me, because I run the
risk of beginning to pride myself that I am good. It can give me a false feeling
of good conscience, false because I try to relieve poverty and unemployment
without trying to discover or to remove the causes that lead to such conditions.
Charity can be dangerous for you, too, if you
become accustomed to assistance and look upon it as a right. Your independence
and self respect will be lost and the mainspr-ing in your character broken.
crop can fail and disease can break you down so that want and scarcity come
to your house My warm heart tells me to help you, but my cold brain tells
me to do so, if I can, without myself incurring any great sacrifices. Then
I go to my neighbour's house, around the back door, take his bread and
give it to you saying: "His bread is Yours!"
That is Social Welfare, Social Legislation,
Social Security, and all that. It is distorted charity in that I am trying
to help you by doing injustice to my neighbour. Politically applied, it
is the politicians' excuse for refusing to promote the reforms that can
remove the causes of poverty, In this way political life is corrupted and
develops into strife between parties, those gaining power with your vote
who can make the best show of giving subsidies only to you and imposing taxes
only on your neighbours.
key to social Life is cooperation. It is an institution so natural and so
obvious that you can depend upon it in freedom. If we work together freely
under free contract and in mutual confidence, we are able to produce much
more bread and many more goods. We can pool our bread and wealth in fellowship,
community or communion "Our Bread is Our Bread!" If we thus freely pooled
our goods it would be all right.
we were forced to do so it would be a very different thing. Compulsion and
constraint could produce a pooling of goods so as to say: "Our Bread is
Ours" but only apparently for the real expression should be: "Your Bread
Communism preaches that each member shall work
according to his capacity and receive according to his needs. But as my
ability is not as great as yours, I produce less than you do. In return,
my need and my appetite is greater; in fact, it could be enormous. Therefore.
if we pool our products under direction of the state and divide the result
in some equal way, I eat my share of bread immediately and say to you: "Let
us share again!" Communism is organized and socialized injustice.
abilities differ. Let us suppose that we have the same share of land, of
equal size and quality, but that we differ in character, habits and efficiency.
You are clever and energetic, you rise early in the morning and work until
late in the evening. I am lazy and incompetent; I sleep until late in
the morning, and in the evening play cards at the inn.
You are able to produce three loaves a day.
I am able to produce only one loaf a day. But envy is in my heart and kind
politicians are hurt in their tender feelings. They declare that man has
not created himself; some are born clever and gifted, others are born simpletons.
That is right. But then they conclude that we have to equalize, make conditions
even, be "egalita-rians," and that is not right.
You produce three loaves and I produce one
loaf, which, if the total were divided, would be two for each of us. It
certainly would be equality - equality in condi-tions - but it would not
be justice, should the kind politicians take one of your loaves and give
it to me.
The result is not even practical. I can manage
to live on one loaf a day and when I can have one of yours in subsidies,
why should I rise at all tomorrow? Absenteeism and shirking is the result.
The next day I produce nothing at all. And you exclaim, annoyed, "Here I
am working hard the whole day. I toil and moil, I take the risk, but the
state takes the profit. Why trouble so much?" The next day you produce only
two. The community is thus made poorer We see it in every country, in every
branch of activity, in every working place
you are clever and I am not, we resolve to put you in office so that you
can rule and govern, organize and direct, sitting at your desk writing papers,
proclamations, schemes and budgets, collecting statistics, conducting enquiries
and preparing five-year plans. I have to work, obey and suffer, reading
the forms you are writing, writing the forms you are reading, seriously hampered
by restrictions rationing, allocations and control. The result is less bread,
worse bread. This is the Planned Economy, Red Tape, Bureaucracy, State Control,
Socialism. "My Paper is your Bread."
Our Daily Bread
and justice are ethical and they are an important part of religion. They
are not only right; they are common sense, practical and productive. As long
as we keep saying: "What shall we eat? or, what shall we drink or, wherewithal
shall we be clothed?" we are like the heathen and shall never be able to
get all these things
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by spirit
and inspiration, by love and righteousness. Man cannot live without his
daily bread. Therefore we pray this simple human petition: "Give us this
day our daily bread!" In a world so rich, so great, and so blessed as this,
it should be possible. Here is room enough, here is sunshine enough, here
is technique enough, but here is not love and righteousness enough.
We have still among us fellow beings living
in poverty in unemployment, in bad houses or without a roof over their heads.
We hear of wars and rumours of wars and that nation shall arise against
nation. Today we are able to produce more than we can eat, more than we
can drink, more than we can use; and still we have people who hunger and
thirst and feel cold. We live in a world of abundance and misery, of progress
Let us hunger and thirst! - but let us hunger
and thirst after righteousness! And right is this. The bread you have produced
is yours. The bread I have produced is mine! But the pre-requisite for
every form of daily bread is that that which none of us has produced must
belong to all of us - the riches of the earth and the powers of nature revealed
in the value of land.