By Mark Swarbrick
A Godless Philosophy
Most Christians are aware that socialism is an evil, godless philosophy. They understand that it masquerades as a benevolent and charitable attribute of an advanced and compassionate society, but like a pedophile offering candy to children, socialism is sold as sweetness to the masses, promising a utopia with free everything, while hiding the eventual certainty of a future without hope, freedom, or basic necessities. What most Christians do not understand, indeed what most people don’t realize, is the difference between socialism and social safety nets. This writing shall endeavor to clarify the difference.
What Socialism Looks Like
A social safety net is a good and reasonable thing. Socialism is not. What is the difference? It is a matter of philosophy and degree. Socialism’s philosophy believes it is primarily the government’s job to solve all the ills of society. Wherever there is a human need, a socialist government believes it should take money from others, keep some for itself, and then give the rest to those it wants to.
When you have piles of money come into the government for socialist needs, the incoming cash can breed corruption. Socialist Governments may not necessarily want to permanently solve a particular problem, for the problem can be very beneficial to the politicians who run the government. For example, they can run their election platform on advertising how they will fix or continue to fix a problem. They can find ways to blame the problem on their political opponents, whether it is their fault or not. They can just say it is and the news media will echo what they say. They can say the problem is still ongoing, so more money must be taken and allocated for the issue.
They can funnel the money taken from tax payers to cronies in businesses that can help with the problem in exchange for campaign donations and other political favors from those businesses. It can all get so lucrative that politicians don’t want to fix or end the problem, they want to put Band-Aids on it so they can make it appear they are doing all they can.
In short, the philosophy of socialism believes that big government is the answer to everything. They promise the moon, but take the heart and soul out of the citizens by disincentivizing work and creating an entitlement attitude.
Social Safety Net
It is argued, don’t we need a social safety net? If people fall on hard times, should they not have help available? Don’t we need to care for the elderly, the sick, and those down on their luck? Don’t we need social security income for the retired? Is it wrong to have government programs for these things?
The answer is, no that is not wrong, but that is not necessarily socialism. Guarding against socialism does not mean that there are no safety nets for people that need help. Social programs are not necessarily socialism as taught my Karl Marx. However, social programs must be instituted with wisdom and watched carefully. Those deceived by Marxist ideas will always, by degree, try to turn a benign and beneficial program into a socialist entitlement.
In order to prevent beneficial social safety nets from morphing into socialism, it is important to understand the difference between socialism and wise safety nets, or what I call Bible Based Benevolence. This chart delineates some of the differences between the two.
Attitudes: Socialism versus a Reasonable Safety net
|Socialism||Bible Based Benevolence|
|Government is the answer for everything||Jesus is the answer for everything|
|Big Government||Small Government|
|Government is perfect and should have all power||Government must be kept in check|
|Marriage is irrelevant to society||Biblical Marriage is the foundation of the family|
|Families are irrelevant||Families are the bedrock of society|
|Families need to be controlled and monitored||The family is sacred|
|Children belong to the state||Children belong to the parents|
|Government is the first safety net||The individual is the first safety net|
|Government provides safety nets for everything||Family is the second safety net|
|The Church is dangerous and must be monitored||The Church is the third safety net|
|Be suspicious of rich neighbors||Friends and neighbors are the fourth safety net|
|Government is the safety net of first choosing||Government is the safety net of last resort|
|Permanent subsidies||Temporary help|
|Entitlement mentality and loss of freedom||Independence and self-reliance|
|High taxes||Low taxes|
|Government ownership or control||Private ownership or control|
Single Parenting Problem in a Socialist Government
This list could go on but this is sufficient to give one the general idea. Let’s apply this list to a few examples. Consider the societal problem of a pregnant, unmarried teenager. This problem didn’t start with conception, but long before. A socialist government is a godless government that ignores morality.
All through public school, beginning in kindergarten, the government has been teaching the young teenager that all kinds of sex before marriage is perfectly alright. The school has had her practice by putting condoms on cucumbers so she will know how to put one on her boyfriend, giving the subliminal message “we expect you to have premarital sex.”
The school has offered free birth control without parental consent, taught that marriage can be whatever you call it, that sex with anyone (same sex or opposite sex) is an acceptable lifestyle at any age. With such immoral input it is inevitable that many girls will get pregnant, and when that happens, socialism’s answer is to take money from every one else in society (that didn’t behave foolishly) and use that money to provide permanent housing, income, and food stamps for the teenager. If she has more children, the amount of free stuff is increased, at least for the next twenty years.
The government’s actions discourage her marrying the father or ever marrying someone else. She can shack up with a man and still get free stuff as long as they do not marry. The man who lives with her gets by with no responsibility to support her, while enjoying the benefits of free socialism – that everyone else has to pay for. The immorality of socialism creates the conditions for the problem to arise, and then socialism punishes all of society and rewards the one who behaved recklessly.
Single Parenting Problem in a Healthy Society
What would the answer look like without socialism? Since the family is the bedrock of society, protecting the family is essential to national security. And national security is the government’s business. Families consist of the union of a man and a woman, after which they have children. The government has a responsibility to see to it that public schools reinforce the concept of marriage being between a man and a woman and that sex is abstained from until after marriage. Teaching the opposite of that is destroying American society.
From the list above we see that “the individual is the first safety net.” If young people are not encouraged to sin, it is more likely that they will protect themselves with wise choices. Individual responsibility, and encouraging that, is the first safety net.
If that fails, the second safety net is the family. If a teenage daughter gets pregnant, the family (both his and hers) should be the first to step up and help. The parents should not be the first to step up and ask the government to bail them out. When families realize that a teenage pregnancy is going be their problem and not the government’s, they will be much more likely to give serious counsel to their children about moral choices.
The third safety net should be the Church. Fortunately, churches in every city have outreach ministries that provide emergency assistance to pregnant mothers, married or single. This is one area that the Church has excelled in. They provide clothing, food, counseling, adoption help, and advice on where else to get help. Those who are members of a church will find even more assistance and support from people they know in their church.
The fourth safety net is friends and neighbors. Each situation and every problem will be different but suffice it to say that with various problems, friends can be a tremendous help. My neighbors know (because I have told them) that I am here to help them with anything they need. If my car broke down tomorrow, I can ask my neighbor for a ride and he will simply toss me his car keys and say, “There ya go!” Proverbs 27:10 says, “Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother who is far away.”
The last resort is the government and the help provided should not be a permanent entitlement that encourages more sin. It should be temporary, with the goal of a young lady getting on her feet, eventually getting married and building a strong family that stands on its own two feet.
Social Security Income
Few would argue that we need income for the elderly. But the situation in America is a perfect example of a beneficial social program run amuck. It began with the idea that old people should not work until they drop dead. At a certain age they should be able to retire and take it easy. Who could argue with that?
But the sad reality is this. A person retires and gets a small income of perhaps a thousand a month. If the spouse is retired also, they may get two thousand a month. Not much, but they can survive meagerly. When one spouse dies the other is left destitute, as the social security income for the spouse stops. So, the widow or widower lives in poverty on a thousand dollars a month.
The children are conditioned to think that taking care of elderly parents is the government’s job. They don’t know that a hundred years ago it was expected that the children would take care of their parents in their old age, as the Bible says: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8) But because of the attitude of socialism, many children leave their parents destitute in the hands of a socialist government that doesn’t care. Instead of taking them in, they abandon them to waste away in loneliness inside a poorly run, under-staffed nursing home.
Why is the amount of social security so low? Why doesn’t the widow get the husband’s portion when he dies? Because socialists in government have launched every entitlement program they can imagine. Free college. Free everything for everybody. Kids turning eighteen hear about free stuff from the socialist Democrat Party and they think it sounds great so they vote Democrat. Democrats who crave these votes cook up even more socialist programs to give away even more and all the while the economy inches closer to collapse.
Thirteen years from now our Social Security program will be broke. They will not have enough to cover their expenses. What happens then? The socialists will scream what they always scream: “The rich are not paying their fair share!” And even though the rich pay most of the taxes as it is, businesses and corporations will be taxed even heavier. Of course, businesses don’t pay taxes themselves. They just pass the cost on to the consumer. They raise their prices and lay off help. So high prices and shortages is what you get and it ends up being the middle-class and poor who end up paying for the ever-increasing cost of socialism. It may take fifty years, but eventually the weight of this foolishness breaks the back of the nation and the economy collapses, just as happened to the Soviet Union and to Venezuela.
A Better Social Security
What the government should have done is implement private retirement accounts. Whatever is deducted from a person’s pay check for social security would go into a private account in their name. This would be their money. They can’t touch it till they retire, but it is theirs. They can direct where that money goes. It can be invested in stocks at their direction so that it will grow. This would be a boon to the stock market and enliven the economy. When they retire, they can begin to draw on this and it will provide a much more robust income than merely a thousand dollars a month.
When a person dies, the fund would then go to the spouse so that she is not left destitute. When both pass away, their will can bequeath this nest-egg to their children. The wealth of American families would grow exponentially with this plan.
This excellent plan, or variations thereof has been often been put forward. Why has it not been implemented? Because it is not socialism. It does not put power in the hands of politicians. It puts money and power into the hands of the people. But it does not provide a means for politicians to buy votes by holding out the carrot of free stuff.
Biblically Based Social Safety Nets
Socialistic thinking people see a problem and say, “Why doesn’t the government do something about this?” One with a biblically based mentality sees a problem and says, “How can I help with this? What can my church do to help with this? Is there a breakdown of family support that needs to be addressed?”
A biblically based safety net encourages morality, family values, self-reliance, hard work, generosity and charity. Socialism encourages immorality, premarital sex, destruction of the family, dependence, laziness, and a sense of entitlement.
Winston Churchill wisely said, “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” Democrat President John F Kennedy said it well in 1961 when he famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Unfortunately, here in America, socialists have taken over the Democratic Party and co-opted government power. And now they have turned Kennedy’s statement on its head, getting people to demand, “My country must do for me! I’m entitled!”
Wherever there is a government program that helps people, it should be looked at critically to see if its implementation has been based in socialism, and look to see how it can be improved by applying the common-sense principles of bible-based benevolence. Understanding that the roots of socialism come from a godless philosophy espoused by such immoral people as Karl Marx is a necessary beginning. When people choose to implement government policy with common sense principles from God’s word, then our nation will flourish.
One may say, that is all well and good, but many people are not Christians and can’t implement this type of benevolent common-sense government, so they need socialism. No, they don’t. They need Jesus. And that’s why we need to spread the word. Jesus really is the answer for everything.
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