Some time ago we called your attention to the food problem and again we wish to call attention to a related problem, which is facing us all, and which we wish to call a basic problem. It is our agricultural problem. From the following quotations you will all agree that we must do something about this and severely criticize the government policies.
In the Reader’s Digest of April, in an article condensed from Fortune, entitled Farm Politics vs. The People, we find some important statements. For example, “The time has come for a sensible, honest, radically new agricultural act. The Government’s farm price-support program, after 17 years, is coming full circle to its logical, preposterous conclusion. It has erected a false work of bogus values under the whole farm economy, which would collapse into ruin if the support were suddenly removed. It is forcing farmers to produce wildly in excess of any reasonable American capacity to consume. It is responsible for most of the $1,800,000,000 deficit in the last fiscal year and at least one fourth of the larger current deficits. It is one of the most potent of inflationary influences.”
For the statistics of the surplus commodities I refer you to the Reader’s Digest. They are astounding. Then the article goes on to explain that the planners talk of selling surplus cheap, that is, dumping it abroad. Another solution is to limit output.
In a concluding statement we read, “For the best part of 15 years the injustices and absurdities of price supports were expounded and criticized by the experts and the press. The average taxpayer, far from being alarmed, was bored if not mystified by the intricacies of the arguments. He also suffered from the notion that all farmers were as poor as a few were once. Thus the only real pressure in Congress was the pressure of the farmers, who knew what they wanted.”
In Time of April 10th there is also an article about the Agricultural problem with an example of farmer Kennedy in Iowa. Kennedy made a mistake in onions. Yet he is quoted as saying that “a lot of these crops are not grown for the market at all, but just for the support price.”
From this we can all agree that there is something radically wrong with our farm policies and for that matter with other policies.
Whether the mistakes will be corrected is doubtful. The program has been approved by the majority in the ballot for so long that to change now would mean sacrifice which few are willing to take. The natural way is to drift down the stream until the final disaster.
It is plain however, that these things are not only not sensible but they are against God’s natural laws. It is sinful to disturb the balances in the way that has been done and so to encourage production for false purposes, only to destroy them.
Yet we can see how foolish wise men, planners, can become. We must also include ourselves and all men. We can easily see our foolishness after the plan is not working. The Christian, however, must have more wisdom than that. He must see the impossibility of ever planning for a “normal granary”. These mistakes cause the blind even to see. Thereupon, the blind, introduce another plan, reverse the policy and think that success is around the corner. But the Christian ought to see that God is showing man his foolishness, by giving an abundance. Sinful man then in his pride dreams of building his world with the abundance of natural resources. His greed, however, causes him to come to complete ruin. The laws of God work inevitably to man’s ruin, and so the judgments of hunger and pestilence come upon man for his immorality.
We can see how that this is a basic problem. If something goes wrong with our agricultural program, it is as serious as having something go wrong with our military program. It is an important part of our military strategy.
But is it Christian to warn of such a catastrophe and advise ways and means to remedy and avoid it? Certainly a Christian would warn, but is that particularly Christian? Is that Christian politics? Is that distinctively Christian to advise to go to the polls and vote? It may be Dutch or American, or any other nationalism, but Christianity demands that our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees.
There is much more to think about and to discuss to arrive at some Christian principles. But maybe the above will provoke us to be more thoughtful than we are.