When we were with you, we gave you this rule: The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat~ 2nd Thessalonians 3:10 NIV
There are some theories and trends that seem to make a resurgence in popularity no matter how stupid the concept, movement, or trend originally was: tiny purses, flared pants, laissez-faire parenting and raw food diets are just a few of the stupid ideas we keep drifting back to.
Socialism is another.
There are reasons the idea of socialism refuses to die and not all of those reasons are wrong. Most are just tragically misguided.
Some believe socialism is the answer to our economic woes simply because they lack a historic understanding of the movement. Others truly believe socialism is the only fair way to right the social and economic injustices that continue to vex most capitalistic societies. The vast majority of people who embrace the idea do so because they lack a clear understanding of how humankind functions in the real-world (more on that later).
The distinctions between Socialism and Communism are trifling (more on that later). Both can and will be lumped under the term “collectivism” for the purposes of this blogpost.
Collectivism was a logical, but ridiculously flawed response to the excesses and evils of the European ruling class who all claimed to be Christian. Because collectivism began as a reaction to “Christian” rule it is anti-Christian and anti-God at its core.
In an ideal world (untouched by sin) Socialism would work because people would be good. All those good people would work hard and willingly share what they produced equally with everyone else. In this lovely (but fictional) world everyone would have their physical needs met. This would free individuals up to discover themselves, cultivate their gifts, and do good for mankind.
Sadly, we do not live in that world, because people are not good (Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 10:18, Romans 3:2). Humanity’s inherent lack of goodness prevents collectivism from working in the real-world. It does not shock anyone who understands the Bible that everywhere collectivism has been tried it has produced nothing but scarceness, oppression and untold human suffering.
In spite of all that the movement has made a dramatic comeback in recent years with the advent of “European socialism” or “democratic socialism”. Democratic socialism is ballyhooed as the latest and greatest in the collectivist model. Democratic socialism is peddled as socialism-lite with all of the benefits of socialism with none of the horrors of communism. In reality it’s just a rebranding of the communist model for a new generation. It will prove itself to suck just as much as the communism of the past for five reasons:
Communism is the killer of human creativity-
There are simply no socialist or communist countries that were (or are) known for their innovation, creativity or initiative. This is because human beings respond to reward and socialism denies people reward for creativity and hard work. Collectivism eliminates (or greatly minimizes) reward (because rewarding one person rather than everyone is unfair) and treats all people (regardless of contribution) the same. The lack of reward built into any collectivist system inevitably leads to a whole lot of people who do not use their abilities to the greatest potential. This is not only sad, stupid and immoral it is also a waste of the provision God gives mankind in the form of human talent.
Collectivism is theft-
Taking from one person and giving it to another is not justice. It a form of robbery that will never do what it promises to do (Proverbs 28:10, Isaiah 61:8, Isaiah 5:20). There are simply not enough rich people to make everyone wealthy. If all the money in the world was seized (as collectivists would like to do) and doled it out equally no one would be wealthy, in fact everyone would be poor. There simply aren’t that many rich people in the world. As a result socialist countries are forced to steal from everyone (rich, poor and in between) in order to make everyone the same level of poor.
Socialism breeds corruption at the highest levels-
Someone has to be responsible for dispensing the goods in a collectivist utopia. It is almost impossible for the people who get that job not to think that they got the job because they are better and smarter than the people that they are doling the goods out to. In the best situations this simply leads to arrogance and corruption among the ruling class. In the worst situations it leads to unspeakable forms evil and injustice (North Korea, Cuba, Russia).
Socialism is intended to be a gateway for communism-
Karl Marx understood that socialism is not a viable long-term economic strategy. In his writings, socialism was never more than a stopping off place to get the proletariat used to the reality of living in communist society. Anytime a hard-core socialist says they don’t want socialism to morph into communism they are either ignorant of the subject or lying through their teeth.
In collectivist countries government becomes God-
In nations that embrace socialism the government becomes the provider, giver-of-wisdom and final word on what’s right and wrong. This draws people away from God and it grants fallible human beings a level of power no human being should ever have.