Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
Socialism certainly has a moral-sounding — some would even say Christian — appeal.
“From each according to ability; To each according to need,” the old saying goes.
That sounds so virtuous. It’s from the Bible, right?
Actually, no. It’s from Karl Marx, an atheist who wanted to abolish religion, so the state’s authority would reign supreme.
The reason the former Soviet Union, communist China and other Marxist nations have persecuted the Christian church so viciously is that they want no check on their power.
The Bible’s teachings have acted as a bulwark against the rise of both socialism and communism in the United States.
“I know of no country where the churches have grown fuller as the government has moved leftward. The churches of Europe are empty. The most religious country in the West — belief in God, church membership, church attendance — is that bastion of capitalism least diluted by socialism, the United States,” the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in a 2013 speech.
Scalia was suspect about socialism’s claim to virtue.
“It is true in the United States, and I believe it is true in all of the Western democracies, that the vast bulk of social spending does not go to the poor, but rather to the middle class, which also happens to be the class most numerous at the polls,” he said.
“So one may plausibly argue that welfare-state democracy does not really have even the Christian virtue of altruism. The majority does not say to the rich, ‘Give your money to the poor,’ but rather, ‘Give your money to us.’”
This sounds a lot like theft and covetousness, which God’s Ten Commandments identify as sins.
Other teachings from the Bible would seem to run contrary to socialism.
Scripture identifies slothfulness as a vice and industriousness as a virtue.
“Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger,” King Solomon told us in Proverbs.
“A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich,” he added.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
“For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”
Jesus Christ himself, in the parable of the talents, commended those who put the resources given to them to work and doubled them.
He described the one who buried his talent as “a wicked and slothful servant.”
Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries, told The Western Journal that capitalism, not socialism, best comports with the biblical worldview, which recognizes private property and encourages people to create wealth.
“The socialist worldview assumes that the amount of resources we have is fixed. It cannot increase. What we have in the earth is all we have,” he said.
“The world we have today shows that we don’t, the Marxist view that you only have this one pie, and so you have to divide up the pieces so that nobody has a bigger piece than anybody else, is not the right analogy,” Myers added.
“The right analogy is make more pies, make as many pies as you want.”
Myers also rejected the notion just because someone becomes wealthy, that means he is greedy.
“When people use the term ‘greed’ to try to refer to people who have been successful in business, they’re making the assumption that the total amount of resources is fixed,” he explained.
“The point of the free market is wealth can be created,” Myers said. “They haven’t taken anything from anyone else that they did not freely give. Instead, they generated new wealth.”
Remember, in 2018, following the Trump tax cuts, the top 1 percent of taxpayers (about 1.4 million filers) accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90 percent combined, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
“In 2018, the top 1 percent of taxpayers accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90 percent combined,” according to @TaxFoundation. Note this was after the Trump tax cuts. Contrary to what Biden may say, seems like more than their fair share. https://t.co/2lnKgYGpQZ pic.twitter.com/HYv9sBIBdk
— Randy DeSoto (@RandyDeSoto) May 31, 2021
It seems like the wealthy are paying their fair share.
Myers also cautioned against using the example in the Bible of some of the early Christians in Jerusalem choosing to sell their goods and pool their resources in common as an endorsement of socialism as a form of government.
“Keep in mind what’s going on, the resources were theirs to choose to give. They had an option,” he said. “They could give them or not give them. But there was no government authority making them give, and that makes all of the difference.”
Charles Mizrahi, the founder of Alpha Investor, argued in a piece for RealClear Religion published last summer that “capitalism, as practiced in America, is based on Judeo-Christian values.”
In the Bible, “wealth is always seen as a blessing from God. And you know, for example, that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Solomon, King Solomon, all blessed with wealth,” Mizrahi, who is Jewish, told The Western Journal.
“And it’s not only wealth for hoarding, but wealth for giving, making society better and uplifting the underbelly of society. And in the Torah, in Deuteronomy, for example, and earlier on in Leviticus, it speaks continuously about — and that’s codified — on how one goes about giving,” he added.
Mizrahi pointed to the billions of dollars America’s wealthy have given charitable causes such as the building of hospitals and libraries and helping those in need.
“Why did they do that? Because they felt the moral responsibility to help out society,” he said. “They didn’t need the government to tell them to do that.”
Myers pointed out, “The total amount of giving just in the United States of America is so vast and extraordinary that when you just take the giving of communities of faith, you’re close to $400 billion a year of giving that goes into the economy.”
America should remain a place where people can develop their talents to the fullest, as the Bible exhorts them to do.
Shared blessings (and the opportunity to grow) are far better than shared miseries, however equitably doled out they may be.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.