Socialism: A Principle-Based Critique

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.

Hugo Chavez: Not Resting in Peace

I’m still playing catch-up after my week away. When I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a week ago Tuesday, I heard the news that Hugo Chavez, self-anointed dictator of Venezuela, had finally succumbed to the cancer he had been fighting for some time. He had availed himself of the Cuban healthcare system for treatment, putting his future in the hands of ideological soulmates, believing to the end, I suppose, that the socialist paradise would be his temporal salvation. He was wrong.

Chavez sought to do for Venezuela what Castro did for Cuba, what the family of looney leaders have concocted for North Korea, and what other assorted socialist-communist visionaries have attempted in various parts of the world. He hated the United States, particularly when George Bush was president, calling Bush at one point “the devil.” I think he was a little confused about the identity of the devil; that confusion probably has lifted now:

This motif occurred to more than one cartoonist:

Chavez was also one of the darlings of the radical Occupy Movement. This has certainly been a downer for them:

The cult of personality Chavez promoted in Venezuela was no different than that of Mao’s in China or Castro’s in Cuba. And like both of them, he did his best to bully his opposition by shutting down all media outlets that wouldn’t bow down to his socialist policies. Freedom was becoming a rare commodity in that nation.

While I can feel sorrow for a lost soul, I cannot be unhappy that his reign of terror and error has come to an abrupt end. Perhaps for the people of Venezuela who still understand the principles of liberty, there is hope now for their future.

Meanwhile, Overseas . . .

I haven’t said much about foreign affairs lately, so let’s catch up a bit. The really big news, of course, is the death of Qaddafi in Libya. Some are touting it as a major step forward for “democracy.” While I’m glad the delusional tyrant is gone, don’t count me among those who believe the future is rosy in that part of the world:

Change is not always synonymous with progress.

Speaking of change, that would be nice for Venezuela. Yet it appears Hugo Chavez is hanging on, to the detriment of the country he rules:

And then there’s Iraq. President Obama has declared our mission complete by the end of this year, and most troops will be removed. While I am always glad to keep our soldiers out of harm’s way, this is a bittersweet withdrawal:

I realize we can’t stay forever, and that Iraq must stand on its own, but will this now be a vacuum that Iran will fill? How can that be a better scenario? No easy answers in the Middle East, but it would be tragic if Iran now becomes the neighborhood bully. What’s Obama’s plan about that? Or is this primarily a campaign strategy? Forgive me if my cynicism is showing.

Ample Proof

I’ve had kind of a long week. How about some political cartoons to carry us through the weekend? Less commentary from me, more from those who illustrate some of the absurdities of everyday political life.

Libya, of course, tops the list:

We don’t want to forget developments in other countries that have gone largely unnoticed lately, such as in Venezuela:

Chavez is also the guy who recently speculated that the reason there may not be life on Mars is because capitalism killed all life forms there. Kidding or just crazy? You make the call.

When President Obama went to Brazil, he encouraged them to drill for oil. Why is that okay for Brazil and not for the U.S.? I don’t want to believe conspiracy theories, but sometimes he really seems to want to undercut his own country for ideological reasons:

Meanwhile, back home, one thing still hasn’t changed:

I continue to view the problem this way:

It’s funny and sad at the same time. This is ample proof for me that our security, purpose, and joy are found in God, not government.