What's So Wrong with Socialism?

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mattrose
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What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by mattrose » Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:46 pm

Oddly enough, this is what I felt led to share for our Thanksgiving Eve service tonight...

What's Wrong with Socialism? (Transcript)
November 26th, 2015 (6:30pm)

I was embarrassed the other day

There was a little picture generator going around on facebook. Supposedly, it scanned through your facebook posts from the past year and then created a graphic of your most-used words. The more you used a certain word, the BIGGER it would appear on the graphic. Here’s an example (Show Jonathan Broecker's graphic)

So many of my friends had great share-worthy word art… with words like LOVE at the center.

As I scrolled through my facebook I was so impressed with everyone!

Now, normally, I don’t do stuff like that on Facebook. I don’t play games or use Apps or take quiz’s… but I was curious what this program would say are my “Most Used Words”

What would be my BIGGEST word?

I was hoping for something that would really show-off my faith like JESUS or LOVE. Or maybe that would show that I’m a family man like KATIE or KENZIE or TIERZA

But what did I get? DEBATE

Apparently, I use the word DEBATE a lot on facebook. Now, this is most likely because I’ve been posting my thoughts on the presidential debates recently.

But it is true that I like to debate. I like to make arguments. I like to pit opposing positions against each other to see which one stands up to scrutiny.

And while I was a little embarrassed that Facebook says DEBATE is my MOST USED WORD, I’m not embarrassed to argue for what I believe.

So tonight I’m going to take our Thanksgiving Eve devotional in a different direction than normal.

I want to make an argument, tonight, against an ideology that is becoming more and more acceptable and more and more popular in our culture today.

I think it’s an ideology that, slowly but surely, actually destroys THANKFULLNESS. And I want to explain why I think that.

So I’m titling this devotional:
WHAT’s WRONG WITH SOCIALISM?

And I ask that you bare with me as I argue my position… the discussion will come back around to Thanksgiving eventually 

WHAT’S WRONG WITH SOCIALISM?

There’s a candidate for President this year who admits to being a socialist. What’s interesting is that this admission tends to get two different kinds of feedback.

One response, usually the response of sane people over 40 years old, goes something like this: “Wow, I can’t believe he just admitted that!”

This group of responders tends to realize that there’s already plenty of socialism in our country today, but they also know that it’s not usually admitted so brazenly given the terrible track record of socialism in world history.

But another response, usually the response of social-justice minded people under 40 years old, goes like this. “Hmmm... maybe he’s on to something. What’s so bad about socialism?”

My goal tonight is to answer that question. I want to argue that socialism is a fundamentally flawed ideology that wrongfully demonizes wealth while simultaneously, even if subtly, destroying personal responsibility & individual liberty.

#1 SOCIALISM IS WRONG THAT MONEY IS EVIL

Historically, socialism is a reaction against crony capitalism.

Crony capitalism is a corrupt system in which the political and economic powers-that-be are in bed with one another for personal advantage. It’s wrong. It’s an evil principality. It hurts the masses. It should be fought against.

But as is so often the case, when we fight against one evil, we end up creating another.

Socialism responds to crony capitalism by removing the cronies from their positions of power and replacing free-market capitalism with a government-controlled economy.

And a fundamental belief of socialist leaders is that capitalism is evil because wealth is inherently evil. In their mind, disproportionate wealth is simply not fair. It’s not just. It’s wrong that some should have a lot when others have next-to-nothing. And the best way to fix the problem is to re-distribute the wealth evenly.

But I want to say that, Biblically speaking, wealth is not evil. 1st Timothy 6:10 does NOT say that “money is the root of all evil.” It says that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”

Generally speaking, the Bible does not call us to abandon wealth. It calls us to be stewards… to use worldly wealth to grow the Kingdom of God.

Not everyone who finds themselves wealthy falls in love with the money. And not everyone who comes to possess wealth places their trust in it.

There’s nothing holy about poverty and there is nothing evil about wealth. We are called to be givers and you cannot give what you cannot have.

Dallas Willard says it this way: “If giving is good, having is also good- providing one’s spiritual balance is retained. If give much is good, having much is also good. If giving more is good, having more is also good.”

The greatest way to benefit the poor is not to rob the rich of their riches, but to reach the rich with the grace of God that transforms us into givers.

#2 SOCIALISM UNDERMINES RESPONSIBILITY

Socialism, though becoming more popular in young Evangelical circles, is more often highly regarded by well-intentioned atheists.

Believing in no after-life, justice minded atheists attempt to create as even a playing field as possible on this earth. If this life is all there is, why should some get to be wealthy while others have to be hungry?

The problem is, this life is not all there is. This life is preparatory for eternal life. It is imperative, therefore, that we grow and mature as individuals… that we take personal responsibility for our actions.

One of the fundamental flaws of socialism is that it removes this motivation for self-improvement. If everyone will ultimately receive equal pay, then why work harder than the next guy? Why work hard at all? Why improve upon your education?

Instead of climbing the economic ladder, people start sliding down it in a motivation-less malaise, knowing they’ll be propped-up just before hitting rock bottom.
Unconditional handouts tend to produce increasingly weak hands. And while there are some self-motivated people who are helped through a time of crisis in their life through these programs, the policy is generally bad for the poor

The truth is, God is far more loving and generous than any of us… and he teaches that idleness is evil and work-ethic is good.

He has Paul say in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Apparently God is wise-enough to know that the best thing for people is not unconditional handouts, but good old-fashioned hard-work and motivation.

Socialism results in the entitlement culture that we are seeing today. People feel they have rights to all sorts of things without having earned said things.

And the one thing that is impossible in an entitlement culture is genuine thankfulness. If I am OWED anything and everything then I can only get MAD when I’m not given it. I cannot be THANKFUL when it is given since the giver was more or less obligated to give.

#3 SOCIALISM UNDERMINES FREEDOM

And this leads to the 3rd fundamental flaw that I see in socialist ideology. Increasingly socialistic policies slowly but surely destroy personal freedom, giving & generosity.

Well-intentioned socialism tries to institutionalize sharing. But any parent knows that the real goal is not to force your children to share… but to instill in them a generous heart.

By controlling the economy, socialism takes resources out of the hands of warm-blooded individuals and puts them into the hands of a heartless institution.

Now I’m not arguing that warm-blooded individuals will always give given the choice. Many of them won’t. They may literally have warm-blood, but metaphorically they might have a cold heart of stone.

One of the reasons socialism has grown in popularity is that fewer and fewer individuals were soft-hearted toward the poor. Could socialism be the result of the church’s failure?
In many ways, I think so.

Capitalism may be a less fundamentally flawed system, but it is only as good as the people in that system. Without Christ, capitalism becomes heartless.

The difference is human hearts can be changed, but socialism eventually strips people of humanity itself. They just become cogs in the economic machine.

God, of course, doesn’t see people as things. People have been made in the image of God and they’ve been made with freedom to make choices, whether good or bad. Socialism undermines that freedom by taking choice away from individuals and giving it to government.

God wants people to give generously, from the heart. In socialism, resources are stolen by the powers and distributed. If a poor person came up and stole your money, they could be arrested, but if the government serves as the in-between, it’s seen as legitimate. It doesn’t make sense.

It destroys personal freedom, giving & generosity

CONCLUSION

So we’ve looked at 3 fundamental flaws of socialism.
It’s wrong that wealth is evil
It undermines personal responsibility, and
It undermines freedom/giving/generosity

Those aren’t the only flaws of socialism. As an economic policy, it just doesn’t work long-term. Margaret Thatcher famously said that “the problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

But I hope I’ve responded to the question “What’s so bad about socialism” persuasively because I think socialist ideology is an evil principality that makes the world a worse place.

But I also hope I haven’t left the impression that I reject socialism in favor of crony capitalism. Capitalism, I think, is less fundamentally flawed, but it is just as easily corrupted.

I think socialism is immoral. But I think capitalism is amoral. It is neither good nor bad. It is what people make of it.

So here’s my challenge for us on this Thanksgiving Eve:

We live, now, in a part capitalist/part socialist system. The capitalist part has been shrinking and the socialist part has been growing.

My challenge for us is that… before it is too late… we must not only speak out against the immorality of socialism…. But we must also live out our Christianity within the capitalist system.

In other words, speaking out against socialism will sound hollow to the world if we aren’t people of remarkable generosity.

Thanksgiving is a time where we remember that everything we have has been freely GIVEN to us. It is not enough to just be thankful for it. God blesses us so that we may become a blessing to others.

The church needs to do voluntarily and from the heart what well-intentioned socialists want to force mechanically. The church needs to give… and give generously… from a heart of thanksgiving

steve7150
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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by steve7150 » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:08 pm

So here’s my challenge for us on this Thanksgiving Eve:

We live, now, in a part capitalist/part socialist system. The capitalist part has been shrinking and the socialist part has been growing.

My challenge for us is that… before it is too late… we must not only speak out against the immorality of socialism…. But we must also live out our Christianity within the capitalist system.

In other words, speaking out against socialism will sound hollow to the world if we aren’t people of remarkable generosity.

Thanksgiving is a time where we remember that everything we have has been freely GIVEN to us. It is not enough to just be thankful for it. God blesses us so that we may become a blessing to others.

The church needs to do voluntarily and from the heart what well-intentioned socialists want to force mechanically. The church needs to give… and give generously… from a heart of thanksgiving








Great post. Socialism is horrendous and insidiously evil. Everything you said is right on the mark and look at the fruits of socialism. We have Greece bankrupt, Spain, Italy and France on the way. No growth in any socialist economy, and although it's incredibly difficult to fire anyone there is high unemployment. Youth unemployment often in the 20% range and higher. Nothing being created, no productivity, a slow death for all these socialist countries because in a competitive world it is an uncompetitive economic system. So to answer your post question, "everything."

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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by jriccitelli » Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:27 pm

Great post Matt. Socialism says the society is greater than the individual, thus it strives to take away every one of an individuals personal freedoms in the name of this 'greater' good. Socialism seems to have its core, the idea that man is by nature good, and man if given everything he needs, will behave and live peacefully and in harmony, many really believe this. This is the antithesis of scripture that teaches all men are sinners, and scripture warns us not to trust in an arm of flesh and man.

Socialism then demands we 'all' obey this agenda, and sacrifice our own individual rights in order to achieve this Utopian dream world. This of the is the antithesis of freedom. Freedom isn't easy, democracy isn't perfect, and in a world of sinners 'nothing' is going to be perfect, especially when so many deny men are sinners.
(I meant to just write, Great post Matt)

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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by thrombomodulin » Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:40 am

Matt. That is a very good post, thanks for placing it on the forum. I think the "socialist calculation argument" developed by Ludwig Von Mises is another very significant problem for socialism. To briefly describe it, it is the observation that market prices are the mechanism by which information about the relative value of different things is distributed among men. If the development of market prices is hindered or abolished then opportunity costs cannot be measured and production deviates from that which best satisfies human needs. Of course socialism typically involves the loss of a market price for capital goods, as when these are owned by the state there is no real price because such things can't be bought or sold.

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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by Candlepower » Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:14 am

Excellent post, Matt. Thanks so much!

I heard the difference between socialism & capitalism explained this way: Socialism is when you have too many ration clerks trying to divide the scarcity; Capitalism is when you have too may salesmen trying to peddle the abundance.

Which situation is better? Duh!

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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by Paidion » Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:41 pm

There are two kinds of socialism. I will address only one kind—economic socialism.

There is a gradual spectrum of economic socialism. At the extreme end of the spectrum is communism, where private ownership is denied.
But many countries practise economic socialism in varying degrees, in contrast to capitalism (a system that allows a few to become billionaires and multi-billionaires, while many are in economic straits). Capitalism ought not to be confused with free enterprise. Indeed capitalism prevents free enterprise. With capitalism, small businesses are forced out of existence, and monopolies rule.

My country, Canada, is considered to be socialistic in some ways. For example, we have socialized medicine, largely due to the influence of Tommy Douglas, social democrat and Baptist minister. Tommy was elected to the Canadian house of commons as a member of the CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) in 1935. The CCF later became the NDP (New Democratic Party). As premier of Saskatchewan, Tommy introduced a universal health care system in that province. At the present time, a universal health care system is in place in all provinces. In Canada, no one is bankrupted through illness.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Douglas

However, there is also capitalism in Canada. In 2012 there were somewhat fewer than 70 billionaires in Canada. U.S.A. is about ten times as populous as Canada, and so one would expect about 700 billionaires in U.S.A. or even more since it is definitely capitalistic. But in 2013 there were fewer than 500 billionaires in the U.S.A.

It is my belief that economic socialism can be good in a country through its assistance to the needy and in its provision for "free" health care, as long as it doesn't interfere with free enterprise.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by steve7150 » Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:06 pm

It is my belief that economic socialism can be good in a country through its assistance to the needy and in its provision for "free" health care, as long as it doesn't interfere with free enterprise.



Hi Paidion,
What is your opinion of Canada's health care system? thx

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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by Paidion » Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:45 pm

Hi Steve 7150. you wrote:Hi Paidion,
What is your opinion of Canada's health care system? thx
I'm sure I'd be bankrupt by now without socialized Ontario Health Insurance!

Some complain about the waiting times and that some have died while waiting, but my wife and I have never waited longer than about an hour or so. Both of us have had some major surgeries for which we could never have afforded to pay.

I know there is a lot of resistance in the U.S.A. to Obama care, and I am not fully informed as to the details of that system. But isn't it better than medicare, medicaid, and health insurance with private companies?
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 81.

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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by mattrose » Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:00 pm

Paidion wrote:
There is a gradual spectrum of economic socialism. At the extreme end of the spectrum is communism, where private ownership is denied. But many countries practise economic socialism in varying degrees
My transcript doesn't include some nuance that was in my actual oral presentation. In my presentation, I did say something like this "Sparse us of socialism minimizes the negative results. I'm concerned primarily with ever-increasing socialism."

steve7150
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Re: What's So Wrong with Socialism?

Post by steve7150 » Fri Nov 27, 2015 5:21 pm

I know there is a lot of resistance in the U.S.A. to Obama care, and I am not fully informed as to the details of that system. But isn't it better than medicare, medicaid, and health insurance with private companies?






Well Obamacare is a system where the low income folks have insurance which is subsidized by higher income folks. I'm not against that concept but of course the devil :evil: is in the details. Obamacare doesn't replace Medicare or Medicaid and it still is insurance with private insurance, just subsidized.
Yes there are varying degrees of socialism but the trend is once it starts is that folks want more and more government coverage, but the dark side is what they don't know or consider. The dark side is more dependence, less innovation, less motivation, less creativity, less growth. Human nature being what it is always seeks the path of least resistance (like water) but we live in a competitive world but socialism is a system from the 50s and 60s, it doesn't work today but there are so many folks that hate capitalism so much they won't adapt to reality.

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