Socialism has become the leftist fad of the day, with Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) leading the charge. According to Gallup, more Democrats have a more favorable view of socialism than capitalism (57%-47%). This is despite the historical fact that every socialist country in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries has turned into a cultural and economic sinkhole.
What socialism is about, at its base, is the involuntary redistribution of wealth by the government. And since government has the power to punish, in reality, it is the involuntary redistribution of wealth at the point of a gun. (Try not paying your taxes at all, and it won’t be long until somebody with a gun is at your door.)
As economist Walter Williams says, “No matter how worthy the cause, it is robbery, theft, and injustice to confiscate the property of one person and give it to another to whom it does not belong.”
God says exactly the same thing in the Eighth Commandment: “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15). He enshrines here the sacred right of private property, one of the inalienable rights the founders recognized as a gift from the Creator. It’s simply wrong to forcibly take a man’s property to give it to someone else.
This is how Williams, economic professor at George Mason University, explains it: “A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food, or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different; it does impose an obligation on another. … That’s because, since there’s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give away one American dollar, it must – through intimidation, threats, and/or coercion — confiscate that dollar from some other American.”
Thus, the simplest way to determine if something is a “right” is to ask the question: Does this “right” make a claim on another man’s wallet? If it does, it cannot possibly be a right.
This is not at all to say that Christians do not believe in the redistribution of wealth. We do. We believe in the voluntary redistribution of wealth, where, out of compassion and generosity, we dig into our own wallets to help someone with a genuine need.
But if government is demanding and distributing the charity, there is nothing voluntary, biblical, or even constitutional about any part of it. if government is demanding and distributing the charity, there is nothing voluntary, biblical, or even constitutional about any part of it.
There is a further moral and biblical problem with socialism, and that is it violates not only the Eighth Commandment but the Tenth as well: “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s house … or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17).
The wellspring of government charity, the involuntary transfer of wealth, is an odious and grasping greed for other people’s money. You can almost feel the fingers of lawmakers twitching and trembling in anticipation of coming up with another way of confiscating more of the wealth of productive Americans. But there is nothing moral about that. Winston Churchill quite rightly said that socialism is “the gospel of envy.”
Benjamin Franklin was one founder who shared a biblical view of charity. He said: “I am for doing good to the poor, but … I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed … that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course, became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
The early followers of Christ had it figured out. “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold, and it was laid at the apostles’ feet and it was distributed to each as any had need” (Acts 4:34-35). (All emphases above by the author.)
As in all cases, the Bible is not the problem but the solution. And as in most cases, the founders knew how to implement the solution. Maybe it’s time we started imitating them again.
Bryan Fischer is the author of The Boy to Man Book and the DVD When Ordinary People Stand in the Gap. AFAJournal.net American Family Association.
The Language of Liberty series is an outreach project of the Center for Self Governance, a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization, dedicated to training citizens in principles of liberty. The views expressed by the authors are their own and may not reflect the views of CSG. CenterForSelfGovernance.comDon't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.
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