Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers Letter “B”

oldenglishB“He That Lays Down Precepts For Governing Our Lives, And Moderating Our Passions, Obliges Humanity Not Only In The Present, But In All Future Generations.” ~ Seneca

“If You Would Be Pungent, Be Brief; For It Is With Words As With Sunbeams —The More They Are Condensed, The Deeper They Burn.” ~Southey.

“The superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past, in order to strengthen his character thereby.” ~ John Milton

BURNING WORDS OF BRILLIANT WRITERS; A Cyclopedia Of Quotations From The Literature Of All Ages designed for the use of the Senate, the Bar, the Pulpit, and the Orator. For the complete book of quotes go here.

“B”

BACKSLIDING.

I never yet have heard of a good man having fallen when he was trying to do Christ’s will and trusting on Christ’s help. Every fall without one exception came from venturing upon sinful ground or from venturing upon self-support.

— T. L. Cuyler.

When we read or hear how some professed Christian has turned defaulter, or lapsed into drunkenness, or slipped from the communion table into open disgrace, it simply means that a human arm has broken. The man has forsaken the everlasting arms.

— T. L. Cuyler.

The master will not keep His hand under our arms when we go on forbidden ground. Presumptuous Peter needed a sharp lesson, and he got it. That bitter cry at the foot of the stairs bespoke an awful fall. How many such are rising daily into God’s listening ears.

— T. L. Cuyler.

BAPTISM.

Only what coronation is in an earthly way, baptism is in a heavenly way; God’s authoritative declaration in material form of a spiritual reality.

— F. W. Robertson.

Oh! for this baptism of fire! when every spoken word for Jesus shall be a thunderbolt, and every prayer shall bring forth a mighty flood.

— A. E. KlTTREDGE.

BEAUTY.

Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the infinite.

 — George Bancroft.

The gospel allies itself with all that is beautiful in the universe, as truly as with all that is noble and pure.

— Samuel Wolcott.

Eyes raised toward heaven are always beautiful, whatever they be.

— Joseph Joubert.

He hath a daily beauty in his life.

— Shakspeare.

I pray the prayer of Plato old,—
“God make thee beautiful within.”

— J. G. Whittier.

BELIEF.

What is meant by believing in Christ but just going with trusting and loving hearts, and committing to His love and power ourselves, our souls, and all that concerns us for time and eternity?

— A. H. Boyd.

Begin by regarding everything from a moral point of view, and you will end by believing in God.

— Dr. Arnold.

To believe is to be happy; to doubt is to be wretched. To believe is to be strong. Doubt cramps energy. Belief is power. Only so far as a man believes strongly, mightily, can he act cheerfully, or do any thing that is worth the doing.

— F. W. Robertson,

If you wish to be assured of the truth of Christianity, try it. Believe, and if thy belief be right, that insight which gradually transmutes faith into knowledge will be the reward of thy belief.

— S. T. Coleridge.

He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend, must have a very long head, or a very short creed.

C. C. COlTON.

The man who goes through life with an uncertain doctrine not knowing what he believes, what a poor, powerless creature he is! He goes around through the world as a man goes down through the street with a poor, wounded arm, forever dodging people he meets on the street for fear they may touch him.

— Phillips Brooks.

If that impression does not remain on this intrepid and powerful people, into whose veins all nations pour their mingling blood, it will be our immense calamity. Public action, without it, will lose the dignity of consecration. Eloquence, without it, will miss what is loftiest, will give place to a careless and pulseless disquisition, or fall to the flatness of political slang. Life, without it, will lose its sacred and mystic charm. Society, without it, will fail of inspirations, and be drowned in an animalism whose rising tides will keep pace with its wealth.

— R. S. Storrs.

Now God be praised, that to believing souls,
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!

— Shakspeare.

BENEFICENCE. There cannot be a more glorious object in creation than a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creator by doing most good to His creatures.

— Fielding.

Great minds, like heaven, are pleased in doing good.

— Rowe.

Never try to save out of God’s cause; such money will canker the rest. Giving to God is no loss; it is putting your substance in the best bank. Giving is true having, as the old gravestone said of the dead man: “What I spent I had, what I saved I lost, what I gave I have.”

— C. H. Spurgeon.

Learn the luxury of doing good.

— Goldsmith.

By doing good with his money, a man, as it were, stamps the image of God upon it, and makes it pass current for the merchandise of heaven.

— Rutledge.

Wealth tends to materialize the soul. Every contribution to spiritual objects counteracts the tendency. It is another step up the ladder, whose foot is deep down in materialism, but whose top reaches to the holy heavens of spirit and love.

Liberality consists not so much in giving a great deal as in giving seasonably.

— Bruyere.

Proportion thy charity to the strength of thy estate, lest God proportion thy estate to the weakness of thy charity. Let the lips of the poor be the trumpet of thy gift, lest in seeking applause thou lose thy reward. Nothing is more pleasing to God than an open hand and a close mouth.

— Francis Quarles.

Give with a heart glowing with generous sentiments; give as the fountain gives out its waters from its own swelling depths; give as the air gives its vital breezes, unrestrained and free; give as the sun gives out its light, from the infinite abysses of its own nature.

Poverty is the load of some, and wealth is the load of others, perhaps the greater load of the two. It may weigh them to perdition. Bear the load of thy neighbor’s poverty, and let him bear with thee the load of thy wealth. Thou lightenest thy load by lightening his.

— St. Augustine.

He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do any thing.

— Samuel Johnson.

Open your hands, ye whose hands are full! The world is waiting for you! The whole machinery of the Divine beneficence is clogged by your hard hearts and rigid fingers. Give and spend, and be sure that God will send; for only in giving and spending do you fulfill the object of His sending.

— J. G. Holland.

Be charitable before wealth makes thee covetous.

— Sir Thomas Browne.

Honor the Lord with thy substance.

“Not for ourselves, but for others,” is the grand law inscribed on every part of creation.

— Edward Payson.

Every day should be distinguished by at least one particular act of love.

— Lavater.

My brethren, surely the time has come for us to return to the Lord’s plan. Among us there are children to be clothed, widows to be aided, and afflicted ones to be cared for. As you draw near to the poor, the Saviour will come nearer to you.

— George C. Lorimer.

I have heard of a monk who in his cell, had a glorious vision of Jesus revealed to him. Just then, a bell rang, which called him away to distribute loaves of bread among the poor beggars at the gate. He was sorely tried as to whether he should lose a scene so inspiring. He went to his act of mercy; and when he came back, the vision remained more glorious than ever.

— T. L. Cuylek.

Every man who becomes heartily and understanding^ a channel of the Divine beneficence, is enriched through every league of his life. Perennial satisfaction springs around and within him with perennial verdure. Flowers of gratitude and gladness bloom all along his pathway, and the melodious gurgle of the blessings he bears is echoed back by the melodious waves of the recipient stream.

— J. G. Holland.

So quickly sometimes has the wheel turned round, that many a man has lived to enjoy the benefit of that charity which his own piety projected.

— Laurence Sterne.

What do you think God gave you more wealth than is requisite to satisfy your rational wants for, when you look around and see how many are in absolute need of that which you do not need? Can you not take the hint?

— J. G. Holland.

BEREAVEMENT.

A genuine faith lifts us above the bitterness of grief; a sense of Christ’s living presence takes away all unbearable loneliness even when we are most alone. In our darkest hours, to know that our lost friend is still living, still loving us, still ours, in the highest and best sense, must be unspeakably consoling.

— A. H. K.

Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.

— Bible.

Believe me, it is no time for words when the wounds are; fresh and bleeding; no time for homilies when the lightning’s shaft has smitten, and the man lies stunned and stricken. Then let the comforter be silent; let him sustain by his presence, not by his preaching; by his sympathetic silence, not by his speech.

— George C. Lorimer.

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has pressed
In their bloom;
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

— O. W. Holmes.

Over the river they beckon to me,
Loved ones who’ve crossed to the farther side,
The gleam of their snowy robes I see,
But their voices are lost in the dashing tide.

— N. A. W. Priest.

Yes, we all live to God!
Father, Thy chastening rod,
So help us, Thine afflicted ones, to bear,
That in the spirit land,
Meeting at Thy right hand,
‘Twill be our heaven to find that He is there!

— John Pierpont.

BIBLE.

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us, and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.

— Baptist Church Manual.

The Bible is God’s chart for you to steer by, to keep you from the bottom of the sea, and to show you where the harbor is, and how to reach it without running on rocks or bars.

— H. W. Beecher.

The Bible, as a revelation from God, was not designed to give us all the information we might desire, nor to solve all the questions about which the human soul is perplexed, but to impart enough to be a safe guide to the haven of eternal rest.

— Albert Barnes.

It is not simply a theological treatise, a code of laws, a religious homily, but the Bible — the book — while the only book for the soul, the best book for the mind.

— Herrick Johnson.

The Bible is a window in this prison-world, through which we may look into eternity.

—Timothy Dwight.

The Bible abounds in plain truth, expressed in plain language; in this it surpasses all other books.

— Whelpley.

The Bible alone of all the books in the world, instead of uttering the opinions of the successive ages that produced it, has been the antagonist of these opinions.

— Stuart Robinson.

The Bible has been my guide in perplexity, and my comfort in trouble. It has roused me when declining, and animated me in languor. Other writings may be good, but they want certainty and force. The Bible carries its own credentials along with it, and proves spirit and life to the soul. In other writings I hear the words of a stranger or a servant. In the Bible I hear the language of my Father and my friend. Other books contain only the picture of bread. The Bible presents me with real manna, and feeds me with the bread of life.

You will want a book which contains not man’s thoughts, but God’s — not a book that may amuse you, but a book that can save you — not even a book that can instruct you, but a book on which you can venture an eternity — not only a book which can give relief to your spirit, but redemption to your soul — a book which contains salvation, and conveys it to you, one which shall at once be the Saviour’s book and the sinner’s.

— John Selden.

The life-boat may have a tasteful bend and beautiful decoration, but these are not the qualities for which I prize it; it was my salvation from the howling sea! So the interest which a regenerate soul takes in the Bible, is founded on a personal application to the heart of the saving truth which it contains.

— J. W. Alexander.

The Bible is the treasure of the poor, the solace of the sick, and the support of the dying; and while other books may amuse and instruct in a leisure hour, it is the peculiar triumph of that book to create light in the midst of darkness, to alleviate the sorrow which admits of no other alleviation, to direct a beam of hope to the heart which no other topic of consolation can reach; while guilt, despair, and death vanish at the touch of its holy inspiration.

— Robert Hall.

The Bible is a treasure. It contains enough to make us rich for time and eternity. It contains the secret of happy living. It contains the key of heaven. It contains the title deeds of an inheritance incorruptible, and that fadeth not away. It contains the pearl of great price. Nay, in so far as it reveals them as the portion of us sinful worms, it contains the Saviour and the living God Himself.

— James Hamilton.

The Bible is a warm letter of affection from a parent to a child; and yet there are many who see chiefly the severer passages. As there may be fifty or sixty nights of gentle dews in one summer, that will not cause as much remark as one hailstorm of half an hour, so there are those who are more struck by those passages of the Bible that announce the indignation of God than by those that announce His affection.

— T. Dewitt Talmage.

The Bible is not only the revealer of the unknown God to man, but His grand interpreter as the God of nature. In revealing God, it has given us the key that unlocks the profoundest mysteries of creation, the clew by which to thread .the labyrinth of the universe, the glass through which to look from Nature up to Nature’s God.

— L. J. Halsey.

I cannot look around me without being struck with the analogy observable in the works of God. I find the Bible written in the style of His other books of Creation and Providence. The pen seems in the same hand. I see it, indeed, write at times mysteriously in each of these books; thus I know that mystery in the works of God is only another name for my ignorance. The moment, therefore, that I become humble, all becomes right.

— Richard Cecil.

The Bible is the most thought-suggesting book in the world. No other deals with such grand themes.

— Herrick Johnson.

Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law,

— Psalms.

One gem from that ocean is worth all the pebbles from earthly streams.

— Robert Mccheyne.

I have carefully and regularly perused the Holy Scriptures, and am of opinion that the volume contains more sublimity, purer morality, more important history, and finer strains of eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever language they may have been written.

— Sir William Jones.

It is impossible to look into the Bible with the most ordinary attention without feeling that we have got into a moral atmosphere quite different from that which we breathe in the world, and in the world’s literature.

— Thomas Erskine.

This Bible, then, has a mission, grander than any mere creation of God; for in this volume are infinite wisdom, and infinite love. Between its covers are the mind and heart of God; and they are for man’s good, for his salvation, his guidance, his spiritual nourishment. If now I neglect my Bible, I do my soul a wrong; for the fact of this Divine message is evidence that I need it.

A. E. KITTREDGE.

The Old and New Testaments contain but one scheme of religion. Neither part of this scheme can be understood without the other.

— Richard Cecil.

The Saviour who flitted before the patriarchs through the fog of the old dispensation, and who spake in time past to the fathers by the prophets, articulate but unseen, is the same Saviour who, on the open heights of the gospel, and in the abundant daylight of this New Testament, speaks to us. Still all along it is the same Jesus, and that Bible is from beginning to end, all of it, the word of Christ.

— James Hamilton.

Throw away the Old Testament! What part of it will you throw away? That which I do not understand? Take down then yonder blood-stained cross; for there is a love there “which passeth knowledge,” and a Divine hatred of sin which shook the solid earth.

— A. E. KITTREDGE.

he Psalms are an everlasting manual to the soul; the book of its immortal wishes, its troubles, its aspirations, and its hopes; sung in every tongue, and in every age; destined to endure while the universe of God has light, harmony, or grandeur, while man has religion or sensibility, while language has sublimity or sweetness.

— Henry Giles.

Let your daughter have first of all the book of Psalms for holiness of heart, and be instructed in the Proverbs of Solomon for her godly life.

— St. Jerome.

High above all earthly lower happiness, the blessedness of the eight Beatitudes towers into the heaven itself. They are white with the snows of eternity; they give a space, a meaning, a dignity to all the rest of the earth over which they brood.

— Dean Stanley.

I am heartily glad to witness your veneration for a Book which to say nothing of its holiness or authority, contains more specimens of genius and taste than any other volume in existence.

— W. S. Landor.

Intense study of the Bible will keep any man from being vulgar in point of style.

— S. T. Coleridge.

If there be any thing in my style or thought to be commended, the credit is due to my kind parents in instilling into my mind an early love of the Scriptures.

— Daniel Webster.

The word of the Lord is tried.

The English Bible — a book which, if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power.

— T. B. Macaulay.

Wherever God’s word is circulated, it stirs the hearts of the people, it prepares for public morals. Circulate that word, and you find the tone of morals immediately changed. It is God speaking to man.

— Bishop Simpson.

Wherever public worship has been established and regularly maintained, idolatry has vanished from the face of the earth. There is not now a temple to a heathen god where the word of God is read.

— Bishop Simpson.

The increasing influence of the Bible is marvelously great, penetrating everywhere. It carries with it a tremendous power of freedom and justice guided by a combined force of wisdom and goodness.

— Mori.

We may persuade men that are infidels to receive the Scriptures as the word of God by rational arguments drawn from their antiquity; the heavenliness of the matter; the majesty of the style; the harmony of all the parts though written in different ages; the exact accomplishment of prophecies; the sublimity of the mysteries and matters contained in the word; the efficacy and power of it, in the conviction and conversion of multitudes; the scope of the whole,— to guide men to attain their chief end,— the glory of God in their own salvation; and the many miracles wrought for the confirmation of the truth of the doctrines contained in them.

— Fisher’s Catechism.

What other book besides the Bible could be heard in public assemblies from year to year, with an attention that never tires, and an interest that never cloys?

— Robert Hall.

The grand old Book of God still stands; and this old earth, the more its leaves are turned over and pondered, the more it will sustain and illustrate the Sacred word.

— James D. Dana.

The books of men have their day and grow obsolete. God’s word is like Himself, “the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.”

— R. Payne Smith.

Christianity claims that the supernatural is as reasonable as the natural, that man himself is supernatural as truly as he is natural, and that the Bible is so clearly the word of God by proofs that are unanswerable, that it is unreasonable to disbelieve its divine truths.

— A. E. KITTREDGE.

Eighteen centuries have passed since the Bible was finished. They have been centuries of great changes. In their course the world has been wrought over into newness at almost every point. But, to-day, the text of the Scriptures, after copyings almost innumerable and after having been tossed about through ages of ignorance and tumult, is found by exhaustive criticism to be unaltered in every important particular — there being not a single doctrine, nor duty, nor fact of any grade, that is brought into question by variations of readings — a fact that stands alone in the history of such ancient literature.

— E. F. Burr.

The best evidence of the Bible’s being the word of God is to be found between its covers. It proves itself.

— Charles Hodge.

We glory most in the fact, that Scripture so commends itself to the conscience, and experience so bears out the Bible, that the gospel can go the round of the world, and carry with it, in all its travel, its own mighty credentials.

— Henry Melvill.

All that has been done to weaken the foundation of an implicit faith in the Bible, as a whole, has been at the expense of the sense of religious obligation, and at the cost of human happiness.

— J. G. Holland.

Do not mathematics and all sciences seem full of contradictions and impossibilities to the ignorant, which are all resolved and cleared to those that understand them?

— Richard Baxter.

The piecemeal criticism which, like the fly, scans only the edge of a plinth in the great edifice upon which it crawls, disappears under a criticism that is all-comprehending and all surveying.

— Prof. Shedd.

The word of God is solid; it will stand a thousand readings; and the man who has gone over it the most frequently and the most carefully is the surest of finding new wonders there.

— James Hamilton.

The Scripture is to be its own interpreter, or rather the Spirit speaking in it; nothing can cut the diamond but the diamond; nothing can interpret Scripture but Scripture.

— Richard Watson.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.

— Bible.

The main condition is that the spiritual ear should be open to overhear and patiently take in, and the will ready to obey that testimony which, I believe, God bears in every human heart, however dull, to those great truths which the Bible reveals. This, and not logic, is the way to grow in religious knowledge, to know that the truths of religion are not shadows, but deep realities.

— J. C. Shairp.

Many books in my library are now behind and beneath me. They were good in their way once, and so were the clothes I wore when I was ten years old; but I have outgrown them. Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.

— C. H. Spurgeon.

If thou desire to profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faithfulness; nor even desire the repute of learning.

-thomas A Kempis.

If the Bible is God’s word, and we believe it, let us handle it with reverence.

— John B. Gough.

I believe that the want of our age is not more “free” handling of the Bible, but more “reverent” handling, wore humility, more patient study, and more prayer.

— J. C. Ryle.

If you are ever tempted to speak lightly or think lightly of it, just sit down and imagine what this world would be without it. No Bible! A wound and no cure, a storm and no covert, a condemnation and no shrift, a lost eternity and no ransom! Alas for us if this were all; alas for us if the ladder of science were the only stair to lead us up to God!

— R. R. Meredith.

If God is a reality, and the soul is a reality, and you are an immortal being, what are you doing with your Bible shut?

— Herrick Johnson.

Other books we may read and criticise. To the Scriptures we must bow the entire soul, with all its faculties.

— E. N. Kirk.

Let the oracles of inspiration be cited continually, both as authority and illustration, in a manner that shall make the mind instantly refer each expression that is introduced to the venerable book whence it is taken; but let our part of religious language be simply ours, and let those oracles retain their characteristic form of expression unimitated, unparodied to the end of time.

— John Foster.

There are many persons of combative tendencies, who read for ammunition, and dig out of the Bible iron for balls. They read, and they find nitre and charcoal and sulphur for powder. They read, and they find cannon. They read, and they make portholes and embrasures. And if a man does not believe as they do, they look upon him as an enemy, and let fly the Bible at him to demolish him. So men turn the word of God into a vast arsenal, filled with all manner of weapons, offensive and defensive.

— H. W. Beecher.

A loving trust in the Author of the Bible is the best preparation for a wise study of the Bible.

— H. Clay Trumbull.

The reason why we find so many dark places in the Bible is, for the most part, because there are so many dark places in our hearts.

— A. Tholuck.

When you are reading a book in a dark room, and come to a difficult part, you take it to a window to get more light. So take your Bibles to Christ.

— Robert Mccheyne.

My own experience is that the Bible is dull when I am dull. When I am really alive, and set in upon the text with a tidal pressure of living affinities, it opens, it multiplies discoveries, and reveals depths even faster than I can note them. The worldly spirit shuts the Bible; the Spirit of God makes it a fire, flaming out all meanings and glorious truths.

— Horace Bushnell.

Parents, I urge you to make the Bible the sweetest, the dearest book to your children; not by compelling them to read so many chapters each day, which will have the effect of making them hate the Bible, but by reading its pages with them, and by your tender parental love, so showing them the beauty of its wondrous incidents, from the story of Adam and Eve to the story of Bethlehem and Calvary, that no book in the home will be so dear to your children as the Bible; and thus you will be strengthening their minds with the sublimest truths, storing their hearts with the purest love, and sinking deep in their souls solid principles of righteousness, whose divine stones no waves of temptation can ever move.

— A. E. KlTTREDGE.

Give the Bible the place in your families to which it is justly entitled, and then, through the unsearchable riches of Christ, many a household among you may hereafter realize that most blessed consummation, and appear a whole family in heaven.

— H. A. Boardman.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.

Merely reading the Bible is no use at all without we study it thoroughly, and hunt it through, as it were, for some great truth.

— D. L. Moody.

I never saw a useful Christian who was not a student of the Bible. If a man neglects his Bible, he may pray and ask God to use him in His work; but God cannot make much use of him, for there is not much for the Holy Ghost to work upon.

— D. L. Moody.

Study the Bible topically. If you will study assurance for a week, you will soon find it is your privilege to know that you are a child of God.

— D. L. Moody.

Go through John’s Gospel, and study the “believes,” the verily,” the ” I ams; “and go through the Bible in that way, and it becomes a new book to you.

— 1). L. Moody.

Do you know a book that you are willing to put under your head for a pillow when you lie dying? Very well; that is the book you want to study while you are living. There is but one such book in the world.

— Joseph Cook.

When you read the sacred Scriptures, or any other book, never think how you read, but what you read.

— John Kemble.

The duty which God requireth of man is obedience to His revealed will.

— Westminster Catechism.

I delight to do Thy will, O my God; yea, Thy law is within my heart.

— Psalms.

BROTHERHOOD.

Enough of good there is in the lowest estate to sweeten life; enough of evil in the highest to check presumption; enough there is of both in all estates, to bind us in compassionate brotherhood, to teach us impressively that we are of one dying and one immortal family.

— Henry Giles.

My friends, let us try to follow the Saviour’s steps; let us remember all day long what it is to be men; that it is to have every one whom we meet for our brother in the sight of God; that it is this, never to meet any one, however bad he may be, for whom we cannot say, ” Christ died for that man, and Christ cares for him still. He is precious in God’s eyes, and he shall be precious in mine also.”

— Charles Kingsley.

God has taught in the Scriptures the lesson of a universal brotherhood, and man must not gainsay the teaching. Shivering in the ice-bound or scorching in the tropical regions; in the lap of luxury or in the wild hardihood of the primeval forest; belting the globe in a tired search for rest, or quieting through life in the heart of ancestral woods; gathering all the decencies around him like a garment, or battling in fierce raid of crime against a world which has disowned him, there is an inner humanness which binds me to that man by a primitive and indissoluble bond. He is my brother, and I cannot dissever the relationship. He is my brother, and I cannot release myself from the obligation to do him good.

—Wm. M. Punshon.

Kings and their subjects, masters and slaves, find a common level in two places — at the foot of the cross, and in the grave

— C. C. Colton.

I stand by my kind; and I thank God for the temptations that have brought me into sympathy with them, as I do for the love that urges me to efforts for their good. I hail the great brotherhood of trial and temptation in the name of humanity, and give them assurance that from the Divine Man, and some, at least, of His disciples, there goes out to them a flood of sympathy that would fain sweep them up to the firm footing of the rock of safety.

— J. G. Holland.

Jesus throws down the dividing prejudices of nationality, and teaches universal love without distinction of race, merit, or rank. A man’s neighbor, henceforth, was every one who needed help, even an enemy. All men, from the slave to the highest, were sons of one Father in heaven, and should feel and act toward each other, as brethren. No human standard of virtue would suffice; no imitations of the loftiest examples among men. Moral perfection had been recognized alike by heathen and Jews, as found only in likeness to the Divine, and that Jesus proclaims as, henceforth, the one ideal for all humanity. With a sublime enthusiasm and brotherly love for the race, He rises above His age, and announces a common Father of all mankind, and one grand spiritual ideal in resemblance to Him.

— J. C. Geikie

The Failure of Marxism and Socialism

The Failure of Marxism: by John Dos Passos

Just a few notes from Classical Liberalism blog

When we hear about fascism, naturally many first start to think about nationalism, militarism and antisemitism of Hitler’s National Socialist Germany or perhaps similar things about Italy’s Fascist Mussolini. Once you peel the top layers back, one will see that fascism is socialism in disguise.

Keynes’ most important book, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, was first published in 1936 and was immediately hailed by Socialists everywhere. It is important to stress that Mrs. Joan Robinson, an internationally recognized Marxist, was one of the main economic experts who collaborated with Keynes on his project. Another leading Socialist economic expert, R. F. Kahn, contributed so much that “his share in the historic achievement cannot have fallen very far short of co-authorship.”

Mrs. Joan Robinson was highly regarded by Keynes, who in The General Theory generously praises her for her contribution to his work. It is therefore important to note carefully Mrs. Robinson’s statement that the differences between Marx and Keynes are only verbal. Writing in the Communist journal, Science and Society, winter, 1947, p. 61, Mrs. Robinson said:  “‘The time, therefore, seems ripe to bridge the verbal gulf.” The only real difference between the Marxians and the Fabians is one of degree and tactics.

As an economic system, fascism is SOCIALISM with a capitalist veneer. In its day fascism was seen as the happy medium between liberal (Free market) capitalism and revolutionary MARXISM. Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism—“blood and soil”—for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism.

Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. ENTREPRENEURSHIP was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions. 

Source: Concise Encyclopedia of Economics-Fascism
 Here we can see that fascism gives the illusion that “private property” exists so long as it is used for the “greater good”, “national good”, “public good”, and so on.

Communism and socialism are more honest about what they claim to be: they admit that no one has a private life any longer, and that all goods, services, and human beings are the property of the state. One may argue, as I do, that this is evil, but it is also honest.

Fascism, however, is both dishonest and evil. The fascists claim that there is such a thing as private property, with all the responsibilities of ownership, and the facade of ownership — yet, the state controls the “owner’s” every decision on penalty of fine or imprisonment (or both).

In the ultimate analysis, there is no real difference between any of these systems. The divergences in specifics of ideology are debatable in academia but not to the regular individual being oppressed by the State. All hold human beings as right-less. Individuals cannot act freely provided that they respect the rights of others; they can only act with permission from the state.

John Dos Passos

John Dos Passos1896-1970

Both socialism and communism, as they actually work out, betray the hopes for the better life that they once inspired.

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” – Thomas Sowell

Socialist Utopia2

Picture: Beguiled by Utopian visions, many wishful thinkers refuse to recognize the facts of socialism as it has worked out in practice. This drawing by Abner Dean, shows bewildered men and women, including two who are gagged and so can ask questions only with their eyes, watching a self-deluded, “wooly-headed” artist happily at work.

Not long ago I found myself talking to a pleasant and well-informed woman reporter in a newspaper office in a prosperous city in the Middle western corn belt. Although the region is usually chalked up as “black Republican” in politics, the paper she worked for wore a “liberal” complexion. I was trying to explain to her that socialism as I had seen it working last summer in Great Britain was not necessarily a force for progress. “But I thought you were a liberal,” she kept saying almost tearfully, “and now you have turned reactionary.” “The socialists are the conservatives now,” I told her, “and the communists are the real reactionaries.” But she remained unconvinced. The reason our conversation was so fruitless was that she decided that certain words like “liberal,” “labor” and “rationing” had a virtuous connotation and there was no way of getting her to look directly at the events that lay behind the words.

It was just this sort of wall of incomprehension you used to meet years ago when you argued the right of working people to form unions and to strike for improved working condition, or tried to explain that we ought to show a sympathetic interest in the social experiments that were going on in the Soviet Union. Then it was the capitalist slogans that were holding the fort; but during the past 20 years a new set of words has gradually become charged with a virtuous aura in the public mind. Now public ownership, planned economy, controls and socialized, have become words heavy with virtue, while profits, free enterprise, investment and even dividends have taken on an evil context that needs to be explained away.

Socialist Utopia

Picture: Work reproducing on canvas the scene which is spread before him. Where there is starvation he smugly paints a land flowing with milk and honey, where there is ugliness he is charmed by beauty, where there is slavery he finds a life of gracious ease, where there is graceless, violent death he sees only a graceful swan placidly swimming in its pond.

The public mind in America that 20 years ago dismissed unheard anything that smacked of a socialistic notion is now receptive to socialistic notions. Partly this comes from a reasoned change of attitude brought about by the success of some of the socialistic measures of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, but partly it comes from the unthinking acceptance of the vocabulary of “liberal” propaganda that spread out in ripples from New Deal Washington, becoming vaguer and more confused and more destructive of clear thinking as the ideas that engendered it lost their vitality at the source. It is in this confused region of the popular mind that the communists have been able to carry on their most successful propaganda operations. Thus it comes to pass that the “liberals” who think a man is defeated in argument when they call him a “reactionary” show very little curiosity about the actual functioning of socialistic-going concerns that have come into being in the last 20 years. The “liberal” vocabulary that had some meaning in the 1920’s has now become a definite hindrance to understanding events in the world of the ‘40s.

Exactly 100 years have passed since Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels issued the Communist Manifesto, which became the first document in the formulation of modern socialism. Nineteen years later the bible of Marxism, Dos Kapital, was published, giving immense documentation to Marx’s theories that the collapse of capitalism was imminent; that it would inevitably be followed by a socialist utopia.

In the 1920’s there were a number of us in the U.S. who were convinced that this doctrine was valid. Those of us who were willing to be called socialists had some definite things in mind we thought would be achieved if ownership of industry were taken out of the hands of the finance capitalists and vested in the community.

We thought public service could be substituted for money profit as the driving motive of human behavior. We thought that with the ascendancy of an anti-militarist working class throughout the world war, and the threat of war would be replaced by peaceful cooperation in the international affairs. Of course it must be admitted that we were caught by the illusory belief that revolution would instill utopia. We were carried away by the blind enthusiasm for a new dispensation at hand that was sweeping the masses of the Western World. The revolutions have happened and regimes and empires have crashed in the mud, but the old problem of how to control man’s domination by man remains unsolved.

Enough socialized systems and institutions have been going concerns over a long enough period of time for us at least to begin to get some idea of how they are working out. It’s a most curious comment on the blindness induced by dogmatically held beliefs that in all the avalanches of print for and against socialism and free enterprise there’s so little comparative examination of capitalist and socialist organizations; there’s so little effort to try to discover how they work out for the men and women directly involved.

First let me give an example of a socialized institution that seems to me to have been a success. Rural electrification was one of the New Deal’s pet projects. It encouraged the establishment of local committees that gave a much needed impetus to local self-government in a very important field. Not only did it furnish increased electric service all over the country but by its brisk competition it shook the private companies out of their lethargy, so they greatly increased their service too.

At the other end of the scale in the experience of the average American come the Army and the Navy. We are not accustomed to thinking of the Army and the Navy as socialized institutions but that is exactly what they are. We all admit that in the time of ruin and rapine in which we live we can’t do without these vast engines for waste and destruction, but I’ve yet to meet a veteran of wither of these services who thinks that the Army way or the Navy way or even the Air Force way is the best way of running human affairs. About the best face we can put on our military establishment is to say that in spite of its cumbrous bungling it so far has managed to defeat our enemies in battle, and that up to now our civilian setup for production has been so monstrously efficient that we’ve been able to afford the waste of materials and the frustration of individual effort that the military system implies.

As citizens of a self-governing community it is our first duty continually to be asking ourselves what it is we want from our institutions.

At home in America we have seen enough of the working of socialized enterprises, successful and unsuccessful, to begin to understand the basic problem. We must realize that from the point of view of the well-being of men and women the contradiction is not between “capitalism” and “socialism” but between the sort of organization that stimulates growth and the sort that fastens on society the dead hand of bureaucratic routine or the suckers of sterile vested interests. We should by now have learned that the road must be kept open for experiment. We should have begun to learn that no society is stronger than its weakest members. By our habit of government we are committed to trying to keep a rough balance between the demands of different sections of the population. We haven’t solved the problem of defending every man’s freedom against domination by other men, but we have made a little bit of a beginning.

The museum of socialist failures

The rest of the world is becoming a museum of socialist failures. Our first problem now is to understand clearly the needs of our society and its relationship to the shaky socialized regimes of Europe and to the regime of the law of the club that centers in the Soviet Union. To do this we must free our minds of the stale and rotting verbiage left over from the noble aspirations of oldtime socialist theory.

Parents of British Socialism

It was failure to see the world clearly on the part of Franklin Roosevelt and his advisers that deprived us of the fruits of our wartime victory to the point that the things Americans hold most dear are in greater peril today than on the dreadful afternoon of Pearl Harbor. The responsibility for this loss of the peace lies not only in  the small group of political leaders in Washington but the whole body of thinking Americans whose thinking had just not caught up with the times.

The basic reason for this national failure was that as a nation we had forgotten that our sort of self-governing community can survive only in a world where new avenues for men’s ingenuity and enterprise are constantly opening up and where the areas of individual liberty are expanding. We had forgotten that liberty, like peace, is indivisible. We had forgotten that the only sensible foreign policy for the U.S. was to encourage liberty and oppose oppression.

While not forgetting our own shortcomings, if we are to catch up with the times and to see clearly the hideous world of growing servitude—a world of slavery like chattel slavery in the old South and the slavery of ancient times—which we have helped produce, we must understand the workings of the enemies of liberty and peace. The chief of these, in power and efficacy, is the government of the Soviet Union.

Wilson and Lenin

When the communist revolution exploded in Russia in the fall of 1917 the first World War had settled down to a stalemate along the trenches in northern France. The stubborn resistance the French were putting up to the equally stubborn German invasion was bleeding Europe to death. Among the rank and file of all the armies the feeling of mutiny against the senselessness of the butchery was rising to desperation. At that time two separate flares of hope appeared on the eastern and western horizons. In Washington Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points and in Petrograd Lenin and Trotsky fired the hungry and disorganized Russian mobs with the belief that communism would bring them peace, land and food. No one who was in Europe in 1917 and 18 can ever forget the surge of crazy confidence in the future that swept the Continent when Armistice Day came and the fighting stopped.

The people’s trust in the American way faded as Wilson let himself be trapped into the stale committee rooms of the old men or councils. To many of us at the time these soviets  seemed to be a new organ for self-government. For a moment it looked as if the working class under the Marxist leadership would succeed in renovating Europe.

It was not to be so easy. The old vested interests of Europe banded together for their own protection; by backing the reactionaries in the Russian civil war they ruined the hopes of free development for the new social system. The Communist party hardened fast into a military caste. The soviets and trade unions in the Soviet Union, instead of developing into organs of self-government, developed into machines run by tightly organized and fanatically dogmatic Marxist minority for the domination and exploitation of the masses. Lenin threw overboard the humanitarian baggage of Western socialism, and act symbolized in the transfer of the capital from European Petrograd to Asiatic Moscow. The civil war became a struggle for order, any kind of order. The only order the Russians knew was despotism. From the czarist autocracy the Communist government inherited the secret police. Individual liberty had hardly a breathing spell before it was stamped out again, first in the unorganized mass of people and then, as Stalin struggled for power against Trotsky, within the communist minority itself.

By the early ‘30s the social organization of the Soviet Union resembled much more the slave-run military autocracy of the Ottoman Turks than it did any of the European blueprints for a socialist utopia. This reaction to methods of government that had gradually been losing favor among civilized men for 500 years was accompanied by the building up of one of the most extraordinary propaganda facades in history. A constitution was promulgated on the Western model. The entire vocabulary of Western self-government was borrowed and applied to the machinery of despotism.

Utopia—with secret police

By killing off the old European trained Communists and exiling Trotsky, Stalin cleared out of the old Kremlin the last traces of Western humanitarianism. The organization of a free self-governing socialist community, which had been the first aim of the Russian revolutionists, was pushed forward in the future, when the millennium should come. Through the pull of this millennial dream Stalin’s regime managed to retain its grip over the aspirations of a large part of European working class. The Communist party, appealing through this basic utopian dogma to the emotions of confused and tortured people, backed and kept in line by the ruthless and skillfully exercised authority of the secret police, managed to create one of the most efficient machines for dominating and exploiting of mankind the world has ever seen.

It seems likely, from what we hear faintly through the screen of lies that hems in the Soviet Union, that there the illusions have lost their power in the face of the regime’s failure to produce even the rudiments of decent living for its subjects, and that the Kremlin now rules a depraved and exhausted people by brute force. Outside the Soviet Union, however, the utopian illusions of Communism still dominate many men’s hopes and dreams. Even some Americans opposed to the communists still talk as if it were an excess of progressiveness and idealism that caused Russian socialism to fail. We find Frenchmen and Americans and Canadians, in all other respects apparently capable of sane and normal thinking, who are willing to turn their backs on the traditions they were brought up in and to give their allegiance to the Kremlin, even to the point of committing treason. The success of the aggressions by the Soviet state in the last few years rests in great part on the Kremlin’s command over the adherents and sympathizers in the outside world. Largely because the rest of the world has not understood it the Russian socialized state has been allowed to develop into a military force for pillage and conquest. Still the faith of many of our “liberals” in the Kremlin’s idealistic aims has not faltered.

Those of us who believed in socialism in the ‘20s hoped it would promote self-government, expand individual liberty and make for a wider distribution of the good things of life. It is obvious even to Mr. Henry Wallace that the Soviet Union is not the place to look for these things. Not even the American communists really claim any of these achievements; what they say among themselves is that present miseries will be atoned for by the regime of justice and bliss that will be established once communism has completed its conquest of the world.

The Russians are barbarians, the Western socialists will tell you; in England it will be different.

Father of American Socialism

How different is it? If you go around Great Britain asking questions of as many different kinds of people as possible, as I did last summer, you sense that in its ultimate implications British socialism is turning out to be not so very different from the Russian brand. Of course there’s not the gory police terror of Stalin nor the Hitlerian pomp and parade through which the Kremlin daily expresses its power over the bodies and minds of men. There’s not the proselytizing enthusiasm of a quasi-religious dogma that accompanies the agents and armies of expanding Russia. There’s not the daily and visible and universal servitude; but neither has the socialism brought any broadening of personal liberty. On the contrary: personal liberty in Great Britain has been contracted.

The very humane and well-intentioned people who are running the Labor government are the first to deplore the losses of liberty you bring to their attention. They reassure you with pious hopes that the “direction of labor” measure, which limits the individual’s right to work where or when he likes, will be only a passing phase. Listening to the pious hopes, I couldn’t help remembering similar reassurances from equally humane and well-intentioned Russian communists who used to tell me, in the early days, that military communism was a passing phase which would disappear as soon as reactionary opposition was crushed. Thirty years have gone by, and military communism marches on to fresh massacres. A man has a right to ask the British Labor party whether 30 years from now direction of labor won’t be the cornerstone of a new system of exploitation of the productive workers by a new ruling class.

If there is one thing that mankind should have learned from the agonies of the last four decades it is that it’s never safe to do evil that good may come of it. The good gets lost and the evil goes on.

Distribution of poverty

Of course we must admit that the present situation of the people of Great Britain would be difficult enough if a choir of archangels, superhuman in brains and in self-abnegation, had assumed the government. The island’s economy was built up as the processing and financing center of an empire, which has irrevocably gone. The class that had ruled that economy through control of government, ownership of the land and domination of centralized finance and industry had become overweening rich and powerful. In their wealth and self-satisfaction the owners of Britain neglected to keep their industries tooled up to date or to protect the standard of living of their working people or to conserve their natural resources. When the Labor government came in after the war it inherited a concern that had long been bankrupt.

Government control of virtually the entire economy had already been instituted during the war. About all the Labor government has done is to amplify the wartime apparatus of bureaucratic management. The living standards of the working people who were Labor’s chief constituents had improved during the war, and the Labor government has continued that improvement, particularly for the lowest-paid third. Because there isn’t enough to go around anyway, this has been done at the expense of the middle class, traditionally the nursery of British brains and initiative. Virtually everybody has been reduced by high taxes and high prices to the same bare level of subsistence. Incentive for effort and innovation has tended to disappear. A man is better off if he soldiers along in the shop and spends his Saturdays betting on the races than if he works himself sick trying to rise in the world. The more his income rises the more taxation will take his earnings away from him and the more he’ll feel the dead weight of the bureaucratic tangle hampering his every move.

Bernard Baruch’s remark that socialism might not succeed in distributing wealth, but would certainly distribute poverty, has never been better exemplified. Up to now socialism in Great Britain has accomplished very little more than to freeze the bankrupt capitalist economy at its point of collapse. Its bureaucratic machinery, operating along the lines of the machinery of bankrupt capitalism, has not been able to stimulate the sort of revolutionary initiative thoroughgoing reorganization of the economy that might give the British people a chance to escape from their dilemma. Socialism has acted as a brake instead of as a stimulus to enterprise.

Man does not live by bread alone, the socialists will tell you. The answer is that as strong as the urge to eat, is the urge to exercise power over other men. In the past British institutions have done a moderately good job in curbing this deadliest of insticts. But in spite of political democracy British capitalism too often gave too much power to people whose only social gift was the knack of accumulating money. Now British socialism gives too much power to people whose only knack is getting themselves elected to offices in trade unions. At the same time the liberty movement and the freedom of action that allowed people to escape from under the heel of the capitalist have been seriously weakened.

The wrong leaders

England has a new ruling class. Added to such remnants of the old ruling class as have remained in office through holding administrative jobs in government, industry and the civil service, is an infusion of new blood from the trade-union leadership, leavened by an occasional intellectual who has talked or written his way into office. Now, the main training of trade-union officials is in hamstringing production for the purpose of wringing concessions from the owners for the workers. Neither idealistic intellectuals nor civil service employees have any training in industrial production. The result is that at the very moment when the British people need to throw all their energy into discovering new ways of production and training from doing anything effective to stimulate production. In recent months there has developed a tendency to give technicians an increasingly bigger share in policy-making, but on the whole Britain’s new ruling class tends to be so blinded by the utopian glamour of the word “socialism” that it has found it difficult to envisage the problem which confronts the nation.

Well if the government can’t help them, why can’t they help themselves? The British people, in my opinion, represent in themselves at this moment just about the highest development of Western civilized man. In the middle and upper classes you find a higher level of education than we have reached in America. The level of individual skill and craftsmanship in most trades is higher than ours. In the professionally trained part of the population, though there may be some flagging of creative spirit, there’s still a great reservoir of first-rate brains. The British people proved themselves to be still a great people by the dignity and discipline with which they fought off the German air attacks during the war. This great highly trained, highly disciplined and civilized nation is in danger of dying of inanition because in all the elaborate structure of the state there are so few cracks left where individual initiative can take hold.

The British will tell you that they are “quite free, quite.” But we don’t need to believe them. When a man can’t change his job without permission from someone sitting at an office desk, when he can’t perform any of the normal operations of buying and selling necessary to carrying on a business without a complicated correspondence to secure licenses from the Board of Trade, when he can’t appeal to the courts from administrative decisions, when he can be sentenced to jail for refusing to work in the mines, he’s no longer a free agent. The Briton still has his secret ballot in parliamentary and municipal elections. He’s free because he can vote, he’ll tell you. Unfortunately the record of history tends to prove that it’s very doubtful whether the vote alone, without economic and personal liberty of action, has ever protected any people against the exercise of arbitrary power.

A sinister footnote to the loss of concern for individual liberty that seems inevitably to follow the socialization of enterprise appears in the growing toleration of new forms of slavery. We are growing used to the stories of the vast slave camps in the Soviet Union and its satellite countries, but it comes somewhat as a shock to find the humane British tolerating the use of gangs of German prisoners to do agricultural labor. In all my conversation with farmers in England last summer I found only one man who disapproved of the practice. The farmers paid the prisoners nothing more than pocket money. The farmers found that they got more work out of prisoners if they fed them a hot meal in the middle of the day, but they didn’t seem to feel that the working of prisoners of war in this way constituted a backsliding in civilization; most of them regretted that the prisoners would soon be sent home. The wages of agricultural workers in England have been much improved in recent years and the socialists take justifiable pride in this achievement. The question they didn’t ask themselves when they tolerated the enslavement of the defeated Germans was how long a highly paid plowman or tractor operator would be able to compete with slave labor.

This brings us squarely up against the dilemma of our time. Under the cover of the dazzle of socialist illusions, and just at the moment when our technology is opening up the certainty of really widespread well-being in material things, the masses of mankind are being plunged back into a regime of misery and servitude such as has not existed in the West since the days of serfdom. We can’t  go on forever blaming on war damage a situation that results from the fact that socialized economics, instead of opening up new aspects of self-government and broader reaches of liberty for the individual, have backslid with dizzy speed into aboriginal oppressions. In the Soviet Union, failure to solve the problems of production at home has thrown Russian communism into a dangerous habit of aggression upon the rest of the world. As for Great Britain, we can hope they will find a way to combine socialism with liberty, or at least that the failure of socialized economy to provide its people with a decent life at home will produce a new explosion of British migration and colonization that will transmit to the future world of the West the valuable heritages from English culture. In America what we don’t want to forget is that we won’t have any Western world fit for a free man to live in unless we keep the avenues open for freedom and growth of individual man in the constantly proliferating hierarchical structure of modern industry.

Enemy of Socialism

Socialism is not the answer, we’ve got to do better than that.

This article was published in  magazine Jan 19, 1948. With Barack Obama and the modern democrat party we see history repeating itself, why do we want to establish in America which has been the greatest engine for the promotion of man and his ambitions with a failed concept that has been tried again and again with the same history of utter failure. You can see the results of socialism more pronounced now than at any other time in history, you need only to look at what is happening in Greece, France, Spain, etc.  It is apparent throughout the world socialism, marxism, communism, fascism, leninism, etc., are truly the “failed policies of the past.” All the democrats ever put forth are the “failed policies of the past” or while they do not offer solutions themselves, they simply demonize republican solutions, then blame the republicans for being obstructionists. Ridiculous!

See also:

The Marxist Roots of Black Liberation Theology, The Doctrine of Victimolgy

Victimology 101