Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Sin of Socialism

"I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man." Proverbs 24:30-34

What is laziness? The Bible speaks many, many times of the foolishness of being lazy or sluggish; "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise." Webster's 1828 dictionary defines "lazy" as "Disinclined to action or exertion; naturally or habitually slothful; sluggish; indolent; averse to labor; heavy in motion. Slow; moving slowly or apparently with labor; as a lazy stream." Which human being does not struggle with the sin of laziness? Laziness is a particularly easy sin to fall into as it doesn't require us to do anything. It's not hard to do nothing. 

Romans 1:32 also reminds us that those who approve of sin are likewise guilty. Therefore, any acceptance or encouragement of laziness is sin. I would like to offer that by this reasoning, all types of Socialism are sin by the Bible's standards. 

But what exactly is Socialism? While there are many varying definitions, at the heart of all of them is "equality". As Karl Marx said, "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." This is seen especially in the redistribution of wealth. President Barack Obama summed it up nicely; "It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure everybody who is behind you, that they have got a chance at success, too. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody." This press for equality has many other implications, but the one I would like to focus on is redistribution of wealth and the creation of a welfare state. 

Now as a basic example of redistribution of wealth, let us say that Taxpaying Citizen earns a good amount of money; having a high education level, steady job, and a good work ethic. Let us say that forty percent of his income is redistributed to Lazy Bum in a homeless shelter. This lazy bum hates having a steady job, and never got through college because he hated studying. Most of the money given to Lazy Bum goes to paying his cell phone bill and buying alcohol. 

Now first, Taxpaying Citizen still does have a good amount of money left over for himself, but that does not negate the fact that Taxpaying Citizen has forty percent LESS money to: buy products (good for the economy), invest (good for the economy), pay his own employees (good for the economy), charitable giving (good for the economy), and save (good for the economy). 

Second, would Taxpaying Citizen have given his money to Lazy Bum if he knew that Lazy Bum would only waste it? Probably not! But the  government doesn't know what Lazy Bum does with his life, and honestly doesn't care. 

Third, what's going through Lazy Bum's mind as he gets his monthly check from the government? Is he thinking about putting some of this money away so that he can eventually afford a house payment and get back on his feet? No! Is he thinking about paying for a therapist to kick his alcohol addiction? No! Is he thinking about how next month he'll have a job so he won't need that check from the government each month? No! What motivation does he have to improve his lot? Absolutely none. 

Lastly, Taxpaying Citizen sees Lazy Bum getting that check every month from the government and has to ask himself, why should I work so hard each month to only have my income mostly taken away, when I could be sitting back relaxing and getting my own check from the government each month? 

So what are the effects of redistribution of wealth in this example? First, money is wasted and the economy is hurt. Second, money is mismanaged. Third, the poor are not motivated to move up out of the lower class. And fourth, hard working people are discouraged to work and are instead motivated to be lazy. 

This is the problem with Socialism and particularly with redistribution of wealth. It encourages laziness. And herein is why it must be labeled as sin. It discourages hard work and furthers sin.

Off the topic, another problem with redistribution is that it assumes that being rich is bad. Riches are actually blessings from God; as Ecclesiastes 5:19 says, "As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God." If these physical blessings are a blessing from God, who is the government to say that those blessings should be taken away and given to someone else? It is the Lord who giveth and taketh away. The government seeks to supplant God's authority and take His place through the redistribution of wealth. Thus, Socialism is also sin in that it seeks to set the government up as man's idol.

In conclusion, we ought to reject all government and economic systems that seek to feed the man who will not work. A culture that encourages laziness will not stop with that, but will continue to decline into other sins. Our nation would do well to consider the ant; working diligently and saving up to provide for ourselves, lest God's judgement come upon us. As Isaiah 1:19-20 says, "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

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