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Christian Biblical Studies
LOOKING AHEAD TO 1910
The following is an extract of an American editorial, ‘Views from the Watch Tower’,
which first appeared in
The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, January 1, 1910, pages 3-5.
We reproduce it in its approximate style and original wording and spelling.
This article is in the public domain.
THE YEAR 1910 opens auspiciously upon a world which may be said to be nervous and doubtful, if not fearful. Hope still holds the reins, however. money is the king in the present order of things, everywhere! His palace is entrenched, a veritable fortress, practically impregnable. His interest from bonds—national, state, county, municipal, railroad—and real estate mortgages represents more each year than all the gold money in the world could pay. Hence the debtors must make good the deficiency with other bonds, etc. Thus Money owns, and, in the last analysis, rules the world. Moreover, its debts are protected by most stringent laws and regulations, and with armies and navies, militia and police. Money could not be better off than it is today.
Indirectly money has noted the fat things of the world and has appropriated them and operates them through gigantic trusts and combines. The smaller business enterprises, Money disdains to touch. It leaves these to the weary and heavy-laden, that they may have some share in the property and be able to pay the interest on the bonds. The smaller manufacturers of the world, between satisfying the demands of trades’ unionism and paying the interest on their bonded debts, find it impossible to say that the New Year opens prosperously. Still they hope, and, as they read descriptions of their fellow-manufacturers in other lands, they rejoice that business is no worse than it is, and hope for better times.
A bountiful harvest has given foundation for a fair degree of prosperity amongst the people as a whole and, everything considered, America is a very favored land.
For a long time the wealth of Europe has been largely derived from its trade with foreign countries. King Money in Great Britain has levied tribute on the entire heathen world. To protect this he has the largest navy on earth and watches jealously any neighbor who might be a competitor. King Money in Germany is growing rapidly rich and has great ambition. He can produce more manufactures than he can use and he desires to share the trade of the British King Money. To get this he is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in building battleships. The English King Money fears that his supremacy of the seas would thus be endangered if the German King Money were on an equal sea-footing. His servants, the English Press, of course, are greatly interested and excited. The whole British nation is aroused to excitement.
A German war scare makes some fearful and some belligerent. The claim is, that a strong German navy would compete with the British, take away her trade and starve her people by blockading her ports. The argument advanced is that war should be declared against Germany speedily, while the British navy is so much the stronger of the two, and that with her navy destroyed, Germany should never be allowed to rebuild one which would in any degree be a menace to that of Great Britain. Meantime the British and the Germans are impoverishing their treasuries with war preparations, and latterly Austria has become bent on being a sea power, and is also building dreadnaughts. With the amount of zeal everywhere manifested to serve King Money it would not at all surprise us if there should be a cruel and dreadful war between the two great “Christian” nations, Great Britain and Germany, within two years.
How far-reaching would be the influence of such a war is difficult to guess. India, which has for so long been under British control and yielded rich returns to King Money, is already in a ferment of revolution. Russia at such a time would be glad to free India from the domination of Great Britain and then would seek to grasp India as her own possession.
Meantime China and Japan are making wonderful strides in civilization—especially in war preparations. Soldiers are being drilled; cannon are being manufactured—and in general these great heathen powers which have been dormant for so long are getting awake. Presumably they have their own King Money managing their affairs. In the event of a war between Britain and Germany, if Russia should interfere with India, Japan as a British ally, would attack Russia, with China as her assistant. It would be easy for imagination to picture other nations becoming embroiled in the strife. Thus a great European war may be comparatively near. Many prominent Englishmen have expressed themselves much more positively than this—that war cannot be long averted.
Late advices from China and Japan indicate great business prosperity there. Some who have been examining the fundamental causes for the industrial awakening tell us that the basis of it lies in the fact that although gold is the nominal money standard of those lands, silver is the real standard—the money in which the business is conducted. Doing business with the cheaper money practically gives China and Japan a tariff wall of one hundred per cent and increasingly closes the ports of those great nations to European and American goods manufactured on the gold basis. The demonetization of silver, which was intended by King Money to bring to him wealth from peoples afar, as well as at home, is gradually closing upon him the doors of heathendom, representing three-fourths of humanity. The Chinese and Japanese hope soon to be able to duplicate at lower prices the wares of Europe and America. And those who ignore the imminence of Messiah’s kingdom might well stand in dread of “a commercial invasion,” as well as a political one, from Oriental lands within a quarter of a century.
The peoples of Southern Europe are feeling the influences of civilization and education, and are arousing themselves from lethargy and beginning to feel the gnawings of discontent. Socialism is spreading through the armies of Europe, and the various States are instructing their discontented millions in the use of all the implements of warfare and death, even while their national lives are threatened. It looks as though five years more would see the poorer classes of Europe awake, and, mad with envy and discontent, ready to pull down upon their own heads the social structures of the world in the vain hope that thus they can get more of the coveted gold.
In our own land [the United States, ed.] it is really surprising to see how quickly and how thoroughly the millions of emigrants from Europe are absorbed and Americanized and civilized. Here everything is very quiet socially, but occasionally we have evidences that underneath the surface there is anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife—that the poor world as a whole is not Christianized. It is really galvanized with a semblance of Christianity in outward conduct, and liable at any moment to manifest those characteristics which St. Paul describes as sensual and devilish. Certainly comparatively few have the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit—meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love!
At any time in any quarter of the world conditions might suddenly arise which would convulse the financial world, and through it the social world, or vice versa. We cannot say that this might not come soon, although we see no apparent cause of such a convulsion in this year, 1910. The power of the Labor Unions all recognize. The unionists well know that they could paralyze business and bring starvation or surrender within one month.
Reproduced 2009, 2010, UK Bible Students