Increasingly often, I run across individuals who mistakenly believe that the underpinnings of socialism are the Christian values of love and charity, i.e. taking care of the poor and needy. Invariably, they are good, well-intentioned individuals and it almost pains me to burst their bubble. I don’t know what percentage of people who support liberal agendas do so misguidedly, but a concerted effort by conservatives to educate and convert them is in order. The underpinnings of socialism are the non-Christian values of greed and control.
“But, didn’t Jesus teach that we should give to the poor?” Yes, here is what he taught:
Matt. 5:42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Furthermore, he taught that giving to the poor should be a personal and private act.
Matt 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet …3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Alms by definition are voluntary contributions. At no time did Jesus suggest that anyone should be compelled to give to the poor, or that his followers should forcibly take from one person in order to provide for someone less fortunate. Rather, voluntary acts of charity are to spring from love — love towards God, and love towards neighbors. Note again in the following passage that Jesus gives no hint of coercion or force:
Matt. 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom… 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me…
37 Then shall [they] answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?…
40 And the King shall answer … Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Jesus’ ideal of giving to the poor is very different from the socialist doctrine of taking from the haves and giving to the have-nots. One doesn’t have to be a Christian to appreciate the differences. Furthermore, socialism is not only antithetical to Christian values, it is also incompatible with the principles of our Constitution. The following is one of the best descriptions of socialism that I’ve ever read and highlights the underpinning values of greed and control:
Socialism… is the theory and practice of coercive collectivism. It is the evil fruit of greed for other men’s possessions and greed for control over other men’s labor.
“This greed for goods and power is as old as man and as widespread as the human race. It goes by many names, disguised in many forms, as men think up many excuses for robbing and ruling their fellows.
“Socialist theory is a modern excuse, an elaborate rationalization for this greed and for the organized looting and despotism it seeks to achieve. But its materialism, its collectivist point of view, its reliance on violence and coercion, even most of its economics, are as old and as common as sin.
“It holds out to men the hope that they may reap where they have not sown. It teaches that man is the creature of his environment, and that he may be happy and good if he gets enough wealth, regardless of how or where. All that is needed, says the Socialist Tempter, is to bow down and worship the Socialist State, turning over to it authority and power to take wealth where it finds it and to direct labor as it wills. Just a little class hatred, a little lying propaganda, a little violence on the picket lines, a little suppression of adverse critics, and a few generations of compulsory education in Socialistic thought, then surely we shall see the bright new day of equality, peace, brotherhood, and freedom! So says the Socialist.” – Dr. V. Orval Watts, Political Economist, quoted by Ezra T. Benson, December 10, 1963, BYU Speeches of the Year
Socialism is about greed and control, not love and charity. We need to get the word out and set the misguided straight. We must aggressively counter what I perceive to be a growing trend to accept the principle of re-distribution of wealth.
(cross-posted at blogspot.com)