PORTSMOUTH, OH – I’ve found that many people who adhere to socialism equate it with compassion for humanity and those against socialism are seen as greedy and uncaring. I know because in my younger years (as a social worker, mental health therapist, advocate for the underdog), I was a full-fledged bleeding-heart liberal who bought into the doctrine of give-give-give to the poor and needy and let big government be the “Daddy” of saving individuals from poverty. It didn’t work. This dogma only made individuals dependent upon the government as a ‘financial savior’ and usurped personal responsibility, self-identity, and pride in goals and accomplishments. And then entitlement would seep into their able-bodied bones and produce generations of able-bodied humans with learned helplessness, but who knew how to work the welfare system.
A Christian friend of mine once said to me: “I have a Democrat heart, but a Republican wallet.” He believed in helping others, but also being wise with financial resources.
Another Christian friend, a lifelong missionary in Africa said to me, “The poorest person in America is rich compared to some of the people in third world countries.”
Are we our brothers/sisters’ keepers? YES. Is the government the solution to the poverty problem? NO.
The Book of Ruth in the Old Testament centers around gleaning, which was one of the most important elements of the Law for the protection of poor and vulnerable people. “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:9–10, repeated in part in Leviticus 23:22 – NRSV).
“Was Jesus a Socialist?: Why This Question Is Being Asked Again, and Why the Answer Is Almost Always Wrong,” is a 2020 book by Lawrence Reed. “While I don’t think it is valid to claim Jesus was a socialist, I also don’t think it is valid to argue that he was a capitalist. Neither was he a Republican or Democrat. These are modern-day terms, and to apply any of them to Jesus is to limit him but to a fraction of who he was and what he taught.”
“One can scour the New Testament and find nary a word from Jesus that calls for empowering politicians or bureaucrats to allocate resources, pick winners and losers, tell entrepreneurs how to run their businesses, impose minimum wages or maximum prices, compel workers to join unions, or even to raise taxes.”
“Christianity is not about passing the buck to the government when it comes to relieving the plight of the poor. Caring for them, which means helping them overcome it, not paying them to stay poor or making them dependent upon the state, has been an essential fact in the life of a true Christian for 2,000 years. Christian charity, being voluntary and heartfelt, is distinct from the compulsory, impersonal mandates of the state.”
“Jesus would want each of us to be generous in helping the needy. But if you think he meant for politicians to do it with police power at twice the cost and half the effectiveness of private charity, you’re not reading the same New Testament I am.”
The Bernie Sander’s bunch appears to be compassionate and well-meaning individuals that have been bamboozled with socialist rhetoric. The new Democratic Socialism is the old socialism doctrine with a modern twist. Read your history books – socialism has failed the world over.
“The Democratic Socialists of America is the largest socialist organization in the United States, with over 92,000 members and chapters in all 50 states. We believe that working people should run both the economy and society democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few.” [https://www.dsausa.org/]
A 2016 article by NEWSMAX reports, “Millennials may be shocked to learn that socialism is not a new concept and is rooted in the French Revolution of 1789. Revolutionary extremists argued that liberty without security for the poor was a farce and demanded community ownership of property.”
I recommend that younger Americans read and older Americans revisit “The Problem with Socialism,” a 2016 book by Thomas DiLorenzo. “As has been proven hundreds of times in world history, whenever socialism is applied, economic disaster, even to the point of starvation, follows.”
“The point here is to note the irony of the renewed popularity of “socialism” today, especially among a segment of the college student population, when even longtime twentieth-century defenders of socialism such as Robert Heilbroner finally admitted that it was a massively failed and misconceived idea. To be a modern-day advocate of socialism is to completely ignore all sound economic logic, more than a century of history, and the words of honest socialist intellectuals like Heilbroner who were finally forced to confront reality after ignoring it for most of their adult lives.”
“The relentless socialist crusade for “equality” is not just a revolt against reality; it is nothing less than a recipe for the destruction of normal human society, as the Russian and Chinese socialists of the twentieth century, among others, proved. In the name of socialist equality, they destroyed their economies, condemned hundreds of millions to poverty, and executed millions of dissenters. And even after all that, they never created anything remotely like an egalitarian society.”
“In the early twentieth century some socialists argued that socialism would somehow rather magically transform human beings, effectively taking the place of God to create a new “socialist man” who would no longer be acquisitive and interested in pursuing his own self-interest. This was long ago proven to be a farce, as it never occurred anywhere on earth despite the use of terror and mass murder by the former Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other socialist regimes in vain attempts to “prove” their theory to be correct.”
There are many compassionate faith-based churches, foundations, charities, organizations, and so forth, that give of their time and resources to help those in need. The goal is to help people and not turn America into a country of socialism, communism, fascism, or Marxism.
So, the next time someone says that Jesus was a socialist, be ready with an informative answer.