Conservatives speak out against socialism, and I am glad they do. Often, though, the critique is too much on the surface. I wish more conservatives would base their critique on solid Biblical principles.
While I agree that socialism simply is unworkable and has never shown any indication, in any nation, of being the engine that brings prosperity, my critique is more fundamental.
Defining socialism is important. The definition that I think is most appropriate is when the government controls all the means of production and distribution of goods. That can be by outright nationalization of all industries or by regulating them in such a manner that they, in practice, are no longer truly private—the ostensible owners can’t really make the decisions they wish because the government has intervened and interfered on every level.
Where does my critique begin? It starts with the belief that God has created each individual in His image, which includes the abilities to reason and to make decisions in life.
The second principle is that God seeks to lead us into maturity by teaching us how to govern our own lives—under His laws and guidance. He wants us to grow up and be able to know, without someone always standing over us, what those right decisions are.
Third, if that principle of self-government is correct, the natural extension is that we are to make our own economic decisions also. If government makes all those decisions for us, we never learn how to be accountable in that arena. We can never graduate from God’s School of Accountability if the government takes over our lives.
That’s why I believe that limited government and a free market are the ideals. That’s why I believe that capitalism is the source of genuine prosperity.
Can capitalism go wrong? Every human endeavor dependent on sinful men can go wrong. But it can go very right as well. Socialism, meanwhile, is inherently wrong because it violates all those principles I just described.
I said socialism hasn’t worked anywhere. I can give the former USSR and its satellite states as a prime example: 70-plus years of abject failure.
Nations like Sweden, which are often used as shining examples of socialism, have never outlawed private ownership of businesses; the government has simply tried to use the prosperity that stems from those businesses to finance a welfare state. if you haven’t noticed, there is now trouble in that nation trying to maintain its high level of social welfare. As Margaret Thatcher so famously stated (and I paraphrase)—socialism always runs out of other people’s money.
Venezuela is the latest tragic example, where people are searching garbage cans for food, and where hordes of its citizens are now voting with their feet, leaving their native land—a land that was once the richest in all of South America. The late Hugo Chavez, the dictator who began this disaster, was the instigator of this move away from reason, and let’s be honest: it was also a play for complete control over his people and maximum power for himself.
He didn’t live long enough to witness the full fruit of his warped ideology, but his people have lived with the consequences ever since.
Young Americans seem rather taken with socialism. I believe it’s because they don’t really have an understanding of it. They seem to think it’s some newfangled theory that no one has ever tried. Take Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the new darling of the socialist agenda in the Democrat party. She actually seems unaware of the many failures. She somehow thinks we can pay for everything she wants to make “free.” She is woefully educated.
Her rapt audience is a sad combination of the ideologically blind and the gullible, both of whom are devoid of solid principles:
Democrats are counting on those young voters in the upcoming midterm elections. For some reason, they seem to want to remake America in the image of Venezuela.
Maybe this is the argument they need to make to convince people to vote for the socialist agenda:
Meanwhile, we need to speak out on these principles: man is made in the image of God; God expects us to grow up and mature, making our decisions based on His truth; we are to learn accountability by making our own economic decisions.
And the system that these principles all lead to is capitalism.
May those principles be re-established.