It is my desire to be reflective and clear on this blog rather than merely reflexive. However, since I have laid a solid foundation of Christian economics in a series of 13 posts titled “Good News to the Poor” that start here (and because I am seeing more and more Christians who think Bernie Sanders is a good presidential candidate) I will allow myself a little rant this time.
I don’t know why you always have to be judging me.
As typically happens when the pro-life movement seems to be making progress, there arises the criticism that if you aren’t for government social programs of various types then you aren’t really pro-life, you are just pro-birth and you could care less what happens to kids after they are born. Interestingly these criticisms often come from groups that love to criticize conservatives for being judgmental. Don’t judge, I am told, if I simply say a certain action is evil or wrong–and yet somehow these magnanimous folks who don’t want me to judge any activity of any other person can see clearly into the depths of the heart of everyone who doesn’t agree with their various government funded social programs. We obviously don’t really care about life.
Has the possibility that we think that there are better ways than government funded programs to go about dealing with poverty not crossed their collective mind?
The assumption that because you “don’t want any tax money” to go somewhere means you are not for life is shallow at best. First, while I know they exist, I have met very very few people who want no safety nets from tax money. Second, the current welfare system has virtually destroyed the families of African American communities and other poor, families which were generally strong prior to the invention of said welfare system which was developed largely by progressives of the Margaret Sanger type…progressive social architects with racist roots and and eugenic utopian hopes (and I can give you hard facts to back that up). Third, most adoption and single mom support has been created and supported by very pro-life usually non-socialist-leaning church people.
The narrative that if you aren’t socialist then you don’t care is really getting tired and worn. I happen to think limited government and largely free markets and a healthy respect for private property create the best possible outcomes to offer prosperity and stability to the most people (and I think there is pretty solid evidence for that). The reason no one seems to grasp that any longer is that we haven’t had that possibly for a generation or more…we have governments bought by large corporations that have no respect or desire for free markets and private property–termed “Crony Capitalism.” (Look into the Import/Export Bank or the regular abuse of public domain laws or that great “campaign finance reform” that has allowed corporations to pour millions into campaigns like never before.)
Now, I will concede that there are conservatives who think that by supporting every so-called “pro-business” policy they are furthering economic growth and wealth production and the betterment of society–and they are frequently wrong. But why don’t more progressive Christians accept that naivete on those points may simply be a matter of ignorance not greed. Such conservatives would do well to pay close attention to what businesses these policies help and to the fact that many of those businesses manipulate policy to their own ends…which is not a free market…and the fact that many of these businesses are behind the social engineering that give us things like the recent gay marriage ruling.
Chesterton nailed it, big business and big government are much the same thing.
Still, I am genuinely in favor of free markets and private property and healthy businesses, because such things are effective tools for lifting people out of poverty–much more effective than hand-outs from the government…and much more humane because they recognize the dignity of work for humans.
Furthermore, I am sick of the assumption that socialism and Christianity are somehow the same thing. They are not. My saying so doesn’t mean I think you are evil or corrupt for believing so–just incorrect. From looking at history we can see what human dignity, work, private property, and relatively free markets can do to reduce poverty and elevate standards of living. For that matter, it is free markets that can create things like cleaner energy. (In the ’80’s it was cronyism that hindered the development of solar energy, and in the Obama administration government handouts led to corruption and company failure or certain clean energy firms.)
So, would the Christian socialists out there please stop judging me all the time. Perhaps I am wrong. Prove it…prove that my methods are wrong, because I think we both want the same thing. But trust that we both want the same thing as Christians, and quit with the veiled judgments of my motives and heart. I appreciate your good intentions, I just fight your methods because I think otherwise your intentions will never be realized.