Saturday, August 16, 2008

Legally Sanctioned Robbery


Governmental redistribution of income (socialism) is legally sanctioned robbery.

It is interesting to note that a large portion of the early socialist movement in England (mid to late 19th century) was made up of evangelical Christians. Their arguments were that as a society we were obligated to care for the poor and the downtrodden. This was both a logical extension of Christian theology and an integral and practical part of the Christian faith mandated by Christ himself.

Matthew 25:
31
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

As a Christian society we are to care for the poor.

There are several problems with that and I hope to deal with each of them. They are, in no particular order:

(1) This is a mandate for the Church, not the state. "Christian society" does not equal society as a whole.

(2) What Christ mandates for the Church is rightly responded to by heartfelt agreement and submission by his disciples. In this case, the result is what we call charity--voluntary giving out of love for Christ and others (the two greatest commandments). By definition, charity cannot be forced. When it is, as in the case of governmental redistribution of wealth from the "haves" to the "have nots", it is not charity at all and thus not obedience at all.

(3) It violates the fundamental economic principles of justice taught in the rest of Scripture, principles such as "the laborer is worthy of his hire" and "if a man does not work, neither should he eat."

Let's look at the third briefly:

If I were to go to each of my neighbors and ask them to give to a worthy charitable cause this would be a laudable use of my time and energy. Some of my neighbors would likely give and they would be following the mandates of Christ in doing so. Others would not give for various reasons and this does not necessarily mean they are disobeying Christ, again for various reasons (maybe they gave at the office)(smile).

Understand, however, that there is a principle involved here that is fundamental to justice and the maintenance of a just society and it is this: money earned by an individual rightfully belongs to that individual, not to anyone else and not to society as a whole. It is that individual's right to do with that money as he wishes. When someone else takes that money by either force or deception we call that a crime. It is an injustice.

So let's go back now to my example but change it just a little. What if I go door to door to all my neighbors and instead of asking them to give voluntarily to a good cause I threaten force against them unless they hand over a certain portion of what is theirs to me so that I can give it to other people. What would happen? The police would be called and I would be thrown in jail. Why? That's called robbery and is punishable by law in every human society since the beginning of time.

Except when government does it in a socialist society.

Why is it that government can do what would be a crime if an individual did it? What right does one individual have to force another individual to do what that other individual wishes with the first individual's money? None. I have no right at all to force you to do anything with your money. It is yours. However, for some reason we have been conditioned to believe that it is okay for government to decide what individuals should do with their own money, for government to take that money by force away from its rightful owner and give it to someone else. Socialism is legally sanctioned robbery. It is a fundamental injustice and a violation of individual liberty. It is our God-given right to keep what we earn and do with it as we wish. Our obedience to God's commands and submission to Christ's mandates must be voluntary or they are not obedience or submission at all.

This is not an argument against all taxation. There are certain things that government must do to protect our liberties and those things require the equal support of all citizens, but re-distribution of wealth is not one of them. Socialism is an unjust and blatant misuse of governmental authority. It is robbery and it is tyranny.

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