I ended the last post with the statement that even if we could eradicate need we would not get rid of greed. Greed lies in the heart of man, not the stomach.
Again, I am dealing not with some “failed attempt” at socialism but the very ideals as expressed by socialists. The socialist declaration I referenced previously speaks of the idea of universally met needs and universal social acceptance as the means to end class struggle and all the accompanying evils such as racism, sexism, etc. Presumably they think it would end theft and murder.
Yet the Bible tells a very different story. From the outset we see hatred and murder flowing out of jealousy. I am referencing Cain and Able. Here were two brothers with the whole world before them. No class struggle, no haves and have-nots, not even a such thing as money. Yet one becomes jealous of the other. Cain feels unaccepted, and the issue of acceptance is based in nothing but personal action.
That said, I have no desire to simply rehash my last post. Instead I want to close my critique of socialism with the truth that the total end of poverty will not happen until Christ returns. Jesus says, “you will always have the poor.” This is a reality in a broken world. That reality does not remove our responsibility to help the poor, but it does work to shed some light on the socialist idolatry.
By socialist idolatry I mean simply this-the truth is that most charitable work is funded by people who favor free market economic principles. (We will discuss in future entries why I do not term these generous people “capitalists”). This fact in and of itself is not what shows that socialists are idolaters. Rather, it is their response to the fact.
Usually when I bring up the amount of charitable work accomplished or compassionate donations given freely by people in a free market system I get the same response–“you know there are studies that show that such charitable help doesn’t usually help people in the long run” or “charity is a means of exploitation” or (in reference to missions work) “charity is just an effort to buy converts.” Yet never do they turn these very critiques on the socialist system. Can it not be said that socialist inspired welfare is a failure at actually helping people, it creates situations in which the poor are open to exploitation, and welfare is a means of buying votes (a political reality witnessed since the ancient Roman republic).
Yet for the socialist, the private citizen is incapable of really doing any good for anyone (hence wicked laws against giving money to panhandlers), but the socialist government of the working class will rid us of poverty. This is idolatry.
The idol is the socialist system. It is a lifeless entity a shell and an image. It cannot do what it promises. “We will always have the poor.”