Politicians and Preachers

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Politicians and Preachers  (1916) 
by Eugene V. Debs
Published in The American Socialist, v. 2, no. 50 (June 24, 1916), pg. 3.

"Birds have their nests and foxes have their holes but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head."[1]

Capitalism has its politicians and militarism its preachers and both are fitly described in the scriptures:

"His watchmen are blind; they are all ignorant; they are dumb dogs; they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber."[2]

"Yea, they are greedy dogs, which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." [3]

The politicians and preachers of capitalism are set up as the shepherds of the flock, the politicians holding aloft the banner of patriotism and the preachers arrayed in the livery of religion.

These are the real betrayers of the people, the hypocrites that Christ denounced and for which He was crucified; the slimy, oily-tongued deceivers of their ignorant, trusting followers, who traffic in the slavery and misery of their fellow-beings that they may tread the paths of ease and bask in the favors of their masters.

"YEA, THEY ARE GREEDY DOGS, WHICH CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH, AND THEY ARE SHEPHERDS THAT CANNOT UNDERSTAND; THEY ALL LOOK TO THEIR OWN WAY, EVERY ONE FOR HIS GAIN, FROM HIS QUARTER."

A few days ago one of the most prominent capitalist preachers in New York City issued a frenzied appeal from his pulpit for military preparedness. This particular dog awakened just long enough to bark furiously at the command of his plutocratic master. He may not have received his thirty pieces of silver[4] at the time; the reward of his apostasy comes in gold and flows into his capacious receptacle that connects with his master's bank vault all the year around.

Beware of capitalism's politicians and preachers! They are the lineal descendants of the hypocrites of old who all down the ages have guarded the flock in the name of patriotism and religion and secured the choicest provender and the snuggest booths for themselves by turning the sheep over to the ravages of the wolves.

Beware of the liveried hypocrites of the landlords, the usurers, the money-changers, the stock-gamblers, the exploiters, the enslavers and despoilers of the people; beware of the ruling class politicians and preachers and mercenary menials in every form who are so profoundly concerned about your "patriotism" and your "religion" and who receive thirty pieces for warning you against Socialism because it will endanger your morality and interfere with your salvation.

Notes[edit]

  1. Cf. Luke 9:58
  2. Cf. Isaiah 56:10
  3. Cf. Isaiah 56:11
  4. The amount of money Judas was said to have been awarded for his betrayal of Jesus.