Saturday, June 22, 2013
How Great Mao Art
How Great Mao Art
This is the final chapter of Mike Adam’s excellent book “Letters to a Young Progressive.” In this book, Mike is writing letters to a fictional character, a progressive student named Zach.
Once again, I’m packing in preparation to return to Colorado for the summer. Congratulations on your impending graduation. I’ve enjoyed discussing these issues with you in greater depth in my office hours this year, as well as in our correspondence. Now you’re ready to take off into “the real world,” where you’ll find plenty of opportunities to use the debating skills – and the courage – that you’ve honed here on campus. I want to send you just one final letter, about the deep contrast between the progressive worldview you have left behind and the Christian worldview you have chosen to accept.
A student in California once wrote to tap into my thoughts about Marxism and how it relates to Christianity. Specifically, he asked whether Jesus, if he returned today, would be a capitalist or a socialist. I recommended that the student read Money, Greed, and God by Jay Richards. His is the best book I’ve read on this issue, which would not be a very difficult one for most Christians to resolve.
There is some confusion on this topic as a result of some misinterpreted passages in the Book of Acts. Those passages describe an early congregation of Christians that voluntarily shared all things and all possessions as common property. See Acts 4:32-37 for a full overview and proper context.
Unfortunately, some Christians equate the voluntary sharing of property initiated by individuals with involuntary sharing of property compelled by governments. In fact, the distinction is no less subtle than the distinction between charity and theft.
It is also worth noting, before we proceed, that the assumption of private ownership of property is implicit in the Tenth Commandment, which tells us not to covet other people’s property. Coveting is not possible if all property is shared and there is no private ownership.
Put simply, forcing people to turn over their property at the point of a gun destroys Christian charity. There can be no charity without free will. Furthermore, if one were to insist on calling forcibly redistributed wealth “charity,” there is still an additional problem – socialism reduces wealth and, hence, reduces the absolute volume of one’s giving.
Capitalism is the only known economic system that actually produces wealth. Therefore, it increases the size of one’s tithe – as well as making it possible to give freely in the first place.
But there is an even better reason for Christians not to abandon capitalism for Marxism. Look at the following list of twentieth-century regimes that committed at least a million murders in the name of utopian Marxism:
China = 65 million
U.S.S.R. = 20 million
North Korea = 2 million
Cambodia = 2 million
Afghanistan = 1.5 million
Vietnam = 1 million
Before we condemn capitalism as falling short of creating heaven on earth, we must admit that Marxism has come close to creating hell on earth. But heaven is not an option here on earth. We must simply choose the best available alternative – and as you can see from the statistics above, Marxism is not a good alternative.
Nonetheless, our country has moved in the direction of socialism over the last few decades, and the consequences of our socialist War on Poverty have been devastating. In 1965, the illegitimacy rate was 24 percent among blacks and 3 percent among whites. Within twenty-five years it had risen to 64 percent among blacks and 18 percent among whites.
Surely Jesus would not approve of the socialist policies that have so crippled the American family in recent decades. It seems that those policies have had the effect of weakening the basic family structure that is established in the Bible.
But why are the results of socialism always so bad? I think it is fair to say that socialism is largely a rebellion against the Judeo-Christian view of human nature that is established very clearly in the Bible – specifically in the third chapter of Genesis.
One cannot resolve the discrepancy between the view that man is fallen and in need of the redemptive power of Christ with the view that man is perfectible and in need of the redemptive power of government.
As I have said before, the fundamental mischaracterization of human nature has consequences. One of those consequences is policies that de-incentivize work. The assertion that work has significant intrinsic value to God is quite obvious and has a sound Biblical basis. God had Adam and Eve working in the Garden of Eden even before sin was introduced into the world.
After Christ returns, we are told that people will beat their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. In other words, people will be expected to work and to be productive. Godly economic policies are ones that encourage productivity, not sloth.
Our War on Poverty is not one that lives up to that standard. It has been more like a War on Productivity. It is no wonder that grown men who will not work to support themselves are also abandoning their children in record numbers.
In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith said that capitalism would work best among people possessed of moral resources. Such moral restraints would keep their self-interest from becoming unfettered greed. This is consistent with what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 2:4 when he called us to balance our self-interest with the interests of others.
We will never be able, as mere mortals, to bring about heaven on earth. But we cam prevent hell on earth by basing our economy on Christian capitalism, not Marxist atheism. Even Friedrich Nietzsche understood that if God is dead, then chaos ensues – and in the end, the only redistribution of wealth comes at the hands of thieves, burglars, and brigands.
The basic choice that we face in every area of life is the same – whether we’re talking about politics, family life, economics, gender roles, racism, crime, or poverty. Man is either an accident of nature whose choices are determined by his circumstances – so that we only need to tear society apart and remake it, in order to cure every problem and create a perfect world – or else a fallen creature who has used free will to rebel against a loving Creator and his moral law, which is written on human hearts so that we’ll never be happy (or even reliably in touch with reality) unless we acknowledge his law and return to his love.
Zach, this is the intellectual and spiritual battle we’re in. The good thing is, you’ve already picked the right side.
To read another article by Mike Adams, click here.
Posted by Brett at 1:58 PM