As the nation prepares for a national debate on socialism verses capitalism, this portion of my my new book Grace Canceled: How Outrage is Destroying Lives, Ending Debate, and Endangering Democracy may serve you. In Chapter Two I write on the socialist wave. This is an excerpt:
When socialists staged an anti–climate change, anti-capitalism, twerking, and confetti party in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in September 2019 they received saturated media coverage. By setting dumpsters on fire (for the environment!) and twerking in denim booty shorts in front of giant climate change banners (twerking for the environment!), the protesters made it clear that exhibitionism, not advocacy, was their real goal. If they cared so much, why didn’t they volunteer to clean up Baltimore or the homeless camps in L.A.? Perhaps because they needed to form a governing body first and outsource all their stewardship through that entity.
That’s the problem with socialism—it likes to outsource neighborly stewardship, which is the responsibility of free men and women. The government is so bloated because it has filled the hole left by people who abandoned their duty to one another—their voluntary duty to one another, because being forced to administer care doesn’t edify a person the way that voluntary care does. God gives free will, but socialist governments do not. When tyrannical governments rob people of their choices in commerce (or speech, or self-preservation), they are stealing the free will God gave them, usurping the place of God, who gives his children the gift of free will with the hope that they will choose His path. No true choice comes from coercion.
Scripture demands not the equal distribution of equity unearned by merit (“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat”), but rather the equal shared burden of life through stewardship of one’s fellow man. The topic of who owns the fruits of labor was not unknown in Jesus’ time, either. Matthew 20:13-15 tells the story of the vineyard owner who paid men who worked the longest day the same wage as the men hired later who worked shorter hours. The men who had worked a full day complained, provoking the response from the vineyard owner in Matthew 20:15: “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” Today’s socialists preach a secular sermon completely contradictory to what Scripture says on this issue.
The state purports to act on behalf of “the common good.” But who defines the common good? It has long been the justification monstrous acts by totalitarian governments. What is the good in the common good? In an era where bad is good and good is bad, how can it be trusted? Who enforces this arbitrary definition of “common good?” As the great theologian of the free market Michael Novak wrote,
A central misuse of the term “common good” became clear to me for the first time when, at the Human Rights Commission in Bern, I was prodding the Soviet delegation to recognize the right of married couples, one of whose partners was from one nation, the other from another, to share residence in whichever nation they chose. The Soviets staunchly resisted—in the name of the common good. The Soviet Union, they insisted, had invested great sums of money and much effort in giving an education to each Soviet citizen. The common good, they said, demands that these citizens now make comparable contributions in return. Therefore, the Soviet partner could not leave. Individual desires must bow to the common good of all.
In this way, the common good becomes an excuse for total state control. That was the excuse on which totalitarianism was built. You can achieve the common good better if there is a total authority, and you must then limit the desires and wishfulness of individuals.
An appeal to “the common good” is an excuse for tyranny. Where God gives free will the state denies. I’d go so far as to argue that faith is freedom, the opposite of the restrictions that tyrannical regimes impose on their citizens. That is why the Founders, who would enshrine our individual rights in the Constitution, noted in the Declaration of Independence that they come from God. An atheist would be less free were his rights subject to the whims of man rather than predicated on the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” because man is corrupt and sinful. Does anybody trust to the judgment of man something as supremely important as his natural rights?
Each person is called to use his gifts—which are entrusted to him by God—to benefit those in need. God isn’t calling you to outsource your stewardship to the government. For people of faith, this was never more evident than in 2 Corinthians 9:7. Paul writes:
“Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver”
There are two truths that carry all of Biblical law: Those who run a socialist system are the gods and when you replace God you replace grace.