You are hereA Kind Reminder: Socialism Kills
A Kind Reminder: Socialism Kills
by Virgil Vaduva
Willingness to fight poverty and minimize suffering across the globe is a noble goal and a serious matter, but most if not all groups fighting poverty are going about it the wrong way and are advocating a dangerous forms of socialism, government-sanctioned theft and redistribution of wealth by force. So why do Christians support these organizations and their calls to action?Willingness to fight poverty and minimize suffering across the globe is a noble goal and a serious matter, but most if not all groups fighting poverty are going about it the wrong way and are advocating a dangerous forms of socialism, government-sanctioned theft and redistribution of wealth by force. So why do Christians support these organizations and their calls to action?Earlier today, while looking at Brian McLaren’s website, a new item caught my eye: he is participating in the Prayer and Action for a Moral Budget, a vigil-based social action program aimed at encouraging the federal government to implement social programs to help the poor. From the demaction.com website, we read:
"This holiday season, Congress will face a decision about whether to cut vital services, such as food stamps and child care, from low-income working families. We must make sure they do what is right. Here's our vision: We want vigils at every senator's and representative's district office on Wednesday, December 14th. Imagine people from diverse faith traditions gathering together to call our leaders to demand a budget that prioritizes the needs of the poorest among us. It will be a collective voice no lawmaker can ignore."
The statement "we must make sure they do what is right" implies that it would be wrong for the government to cut food stamps and child care from low-income working families. But there are serious problems with this kind of logic.
It saddens me to say this, but these are the times when I am glad Christians do not run our great country. A Christian theocracy using these pseudo-socialist theories to eliminate poverty would destroy the United States within several decades. The bottom line – and it does not take an economic genius to figure this out – is that a government does not have any money; only its citizens do. Therefore all funds in our government’s budget come from taxes imposed by force upon its citizens. I say by force because the barrel of a gun is the ultimate motivator and enforcer for paying taxes in the United States.
With that said, when our government institutes a given social program to help one group of people, that social program uses funds taken from a group of individuals with a higher income than the first, thus in essence all social programs are simply a redistribution of wealth by force; and it is by force because one cannot elect to be exempt from the process.
A secondary issue to be considered, is the fact that many of the Christian groups advocating social programs to fight poverty are justifying their actions by the fact that Christ Himself appeared to have fought poverty when He was incarnate. That certainly seems to be the case, but Jesus never advocated taking wealth from one individual by force in order to give to the poor. In fact, Jesus used miracles to create food out of nothing (or out of a limited amount) in order to feet great multitudes. Creating something our of nothing is impossible in the marketplace, so if anything, Christ’s own actions teach us that free markets, creativity and ultimately capitalism and manufacturing is what truly helps the poor. Simply put, socialism would split a loaf of breat among a group of people while capitalism would sell the bread to the highest bidder in order to create more bread in order to satisfy the demand, which will eventually lead to the entire group having enough bread at all times.
Furthermore, these same Christian socialists seem to teach that Christ’s primary mission was to solve poverty. This could not be further from the truth. When asked by Pilate if He was a king, Jesus answered: "You say correctly that I am a king For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." (John 18)
Jesus was born to be a king – not a king in flesh, dealing with matters of food and drink and poverty, but the king of a Spiritual Kingdom, where our realities are turned upside down and where love, not other people’s money is used to fight poverty and injustice.
Frédéric Bastiat in his magnificent book The Law, identified – rightly so – wealth redistribution as "legal plunder." Bastiat defined legal plunder: "See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime." (Frédéric Bastiat , The Law)
Bastiat also recognized that once the law is on the side of the plunderer, there is little those plundered can do about it. And that is why Socialism kills. When the law is used to enforce plunder, people will die. I have seen it take place firsthand myself in Europe, and it will happen here too eventually. Like Bastiat, I also recognize that plunder violates ownership, and since ownership is a fundamental principle upon which the United States is founded, plunder, and therefore redistribution of wealth strikes directly at the heart of free market and the ownership-based society. Bastiat wrote: "I do not, as is often done, use the word in any vague, uncertain, approximate, or metaphorical sense. I use it in its scientific acceptance — as expressing the idea opposite to that of property [wages, land, money, or whatever]. When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it — without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud — to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed." (Frédéric Bastiat , The Law)
It constantly amazes me how quickly people forget even the more recent history and how arrogant some are to think that their version of socialism if implemented will work and will create some utopian society where poverty will be no more. If they only tweak it a little here, and a little there, they may perhaps justify theft in the name of Christ.
So yes, Socialism kills. People have lost their lives because abusive governments and people who call themselves Christians saw it necessary to use the power of the law to enforce some new commandment "plunder thy neighbor."
There are three choices before us:
1. The few plunder the many.
2. Everybody plunders everybody.
3. Nobody plunders anybody.
Which one would Christ have you choose dear reader? Like Frederic Bastiat, I choose the last: "This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate)" (Frédéric Bastiat, The Law).
So dear Christian, when you consider dealing with poverty, consider using your own money to help the poor; after all, it is a lot easier and safer to reach into your own wallet than that of your neighbor and perhaps then, all citizens of this great country will have more wealth available to give to the poor, on their own terms, in an effective, legal and moral manner. Try opening your own wallet this holiday season, rather than putting your effort and time into a vigil aimed at convinving politicians to do what you think is right.