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Here is the final post in this series. In Part 1 of this series, we considered Human Rights and The Purpose of Government. In Part 2, we looked at the Organizing Principles of a constitutional republic. Here we will consider why Socialism cannot work.
The Motivation And The Sin
Who is the most famous and significant figure in history? Jesus Christ. Isn’t that is what one would expect if God for a brief time became a man and walked among us? Of course, not everyone will agree with my assessment. Some would pick an inventor. Others would suggest a great philosopher or the founder of another religion besides Christianity. Many would ask a question, a question that they do not believe has an immediately obvious answer.
What did Jesus do that was so important?
Read the Apostle’s Creed (britannica.com). This brief statement of faith says what Christians believe; it addresses how we gain salvation. Its focus is what Jesus did for us in the next life, not this one. To those who do not believe in the next life, the Apostle’s Creed (britannica.com) seems absurd. Still, our attitude towards the next life has importance in this life.
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither. ― C.S. Lewis, C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity (from here)
What did Jesus do? Instead of worshiping idols, worthless little gods we want to serve us, Jesus taught us to humble ourselves and become as little children, the children of His Father, God. Instead of seeking to enslave our brothers and sisters to our own purposes, Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Jesus taught us to give up our pride, to cease making our lives all about “me”. He taught to us sacrifice our lives for the glory of our Creator, the God who loves us.
Why is Jesus’ teaching important in this life? Consider what the Bible says about the cause of our disputes.
James 4:1-4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
4 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
When we put the things of this world — idolize our stuff, sexual pleasure, state power, and our self — before God, we make prideful choices. Without selfish pride, we cannot justify any twinges of envy. When we are humble and strive to be full of grace and love, we enjoy the successes of others. Instead of stealing each others successes we work together to promote each other’s joy in life. Instead of waiting to die so that we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we seek to glorify our Father in Heaven in this life. We seek to be as His little children, to love and obey Him in the present as well as the future.
Why doesn’t Socialism work?
What is the genesis of Socialism? Envy. We all covet something someone else has. Rich or poor, someone can alway have something we want. And we can all make excuses for our desires. Typically, we think: “that’s not fair!” Then we think. Maybe the government can make things ” fair“.
Advocates of socialism argue that the shared ownership of resources and the impact of social planning allow for a more equal distribution of goods and services and a more fair society. (from here (investopedia.com))
What is fairness? There are many different points of view.
- It’s Not Fair! But What Is Fairness? (psychologytoday.com): This article considers three different measures: sameness, deservedness, and need.
- What We Mean When We Say “That’s Not Fair” (bigthink.com): This article looks at our notions of fairness with respect to punishment.
- Our Generation, And The Phrase ‘That’s Not Fair’ (thoughtcatalog.com): The author of this article ends with this observation.
Lemme tell you something, there are a lot of people in the world who are working super hard, and have done everything right and they’re still not getting anything handed to them on a silver platter. You have to earn your keep in this world, so how about we stop saying “That’s not fair” and start saying “How can I make this work to get where I want to be?”
Still, even though it is not clear what fairness means in practice, Socialists strive to replace our trust in our Creator and private charity based upon honest grace and love with the power of the state.
Why do some of our leaders want to decide for us what is “fair” and redistribute our property in accordance with their own personal notions of fairness? Some may have good intentions, but in practice, when we implement Socialism, we deify the state and the people who govern us. We give enormous power over to prideful people. Inevitably, these people abuse this power. Hence, when we use the power of government to force our neighbors to be “fair“, we end up worst off — in a more unfair state — than we started.
Because it is nothing more than an exercise in futility, Jesus did not teach us to force our neighbors to be “fair“. Instead, He taught us to love others as we love ourselves.
Matthew 7:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
This is a simple teaching, but without God’s help we cannot obey it. Still, when we strive to follow this golden rule we each can behave better than we might otherwise, and with our example we can lead others to Jesus Christ. That is what Jesus has commissioned each of us to do.
On November 5th we will go to the polls to vote. When you vote, please consider the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). Please vote for leaders who will treat your neighbors the same way you want your leaders to treat you. This may not be fair as some perceive fairness, but it does lead to a just society.
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