Photo By Filip Bunkens
When I was younger, I didn’t pay attention to politics. However, when I reached the age of 30, that changed. In the relatively short time I have lived upon this Earth as a natural-born citizen of the United States of America, I have witnessed extreme swings in our political landscape. Some of the largest swings seemed to have happened within the last five years.
I am persuaded that America does, in fact, need at least two parties. I am personally a conservative, yet I recognize the importance and need for people on the left. It would be naïve, arrogant and ignorant of me to assume that a country full of conservatives would solve all of our problems. Vice versa for those who hold a “left-leaning” position. We do in fact need one another, but what we need most is a constant flow of communication between both parties. Said communication needs to be constructive and cordial, not visceral and damning. I would hope that any thinking person would agree that demonizing those who hold opposing views is a non sequitur.
There are many things going on in our current cultural climate that are of grave concern. One pathology is particularly of grave concern… the rise of socialism in our ethos. Before I go any further let’s define what socialism is:
1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2. a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
3. a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
4. a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done
Under a socialist system of government, people are no longer viewed as individuals. Rather, they are viewed as members of a group. Private property no longer exists since the state or government virtually controls everything. Now, this might not be so bad if you trusted in the integrity and moral superiority of your government. I, however, am deeply skeptical of any large government. As a Christian, I hold to the view that the human heart is desperately wicked and deceptive (Jeremiah 17: 9). So putting my sole trust, dare I say “soul trust,” in the government by relinquishing my rights as an individual is ludicrous.
I am also gravely concerned with the fact that human beings have not properly reconciled with the 20th century. I too must admit that I have not fully wrapped my head around the misanthropic destruction that took place during those fateful years. The 20th century stands as a milestone in our “evolution” and progression towards enlightenment in separating ourselves from religion and God. By in large, however, I find more and more people oblivious and ignorant to the calamities that took place not so long ago.
It as if we as a species looked into the mirror, saw ourselves for what we really are, and decided that the reflection looking back was a lie. We deal with such atrocities by denying them. We convince ourselves that truth does not exist. Case in point, Holocaust deniers. If truth does not exist then what ultimate meaning is there? I can tell you… none.
According to Information is Beautiful, communist ideology claimed the lives of some 94 million people in the 20th century alone! You can find more specific statistics in a book called, “The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” (Harvard University Press 2015)
Many people today, wishing to bring this pathology to America, are willfully ignorant of these facts. Ignoring what has happened prior, these people believe that this time around communism would solve all of our problems since they would enact it correctly. How arrogant and foolish. That communism claimed the lives of over 94 million, means nothing to these people. It is glossed over and ignored. As a side note, regardless of what country you want to bring communism to, how reprobate does your mind have to be to want to inflict this upon any society? How many people have to die before we recognize communism for the evil it really is?
I recognize that I have been more or less using the terms socialism and communism interchangeably. Socialism is a pre-cursor to communism. Therefore, using them interchangeably is acceptable because they both ultimately lead to the same end, given enough time.
The latest version of socialism masks itself under the guise of “democratic socialism.” How much weight would a single citizens vote carry underneath a government where an individual has no rights? What good is your vote in a system that believes in equality of outcome?
Many people quote the success of the Scandinavian countries on how effective and wonderful democratic socialism is. Things, however, may not be as wonderful as they may seem under the surface. Let us also not forget the wonderful living conditions the people in Venezuela have now grown accustomed to!
All forms of socialism, given enough time, ultimately lead to tyranny and totalitarianism. Many European countries that are regarded as successful examples, are not fully socialist. Their citizens still have private property rights and their economies are primarily driven by capitalism.
Socialism is immoral. What gives someone the right to steal from someone else? How is that “equality?” What I truly believe undergirds socialist thought and provocation is jealousy, envy, bitterness, hatred, indignation, and resentment. Life is not fair. It never will be. Socialism, will never make it so.
Why has this supposed “fairness” become the supreme ethic? Since the beginning of time, there have existed human beings with plenty and those with lack. I am not saying this is neither wrong nor right, it is what it is. Is it really wrong for people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk to possess so much wealth? The socialist would say yes. The capitalist would say no. So who is wrong and who is right then?
These men whom I have listed, in so far as I know, have not amassed great wealth by stealing from the poor to make themselves rich, have they? These men have created tremendous value, and therefore, we freely give them our money. Should we criminalize Bezos for inventing Amazon Prime? How about Bill Gates for creating Microsoft? Did either one of these men coerce us into buying their products or services? No.
Bernie Sanders is arguably the most influential proponent of democratic socialism and yet he owns three homes. Let that sink in for just a moment. The “poster child” for the democratic socialist’s movement owns three homes! That fact alone takes him completely out of the conversation. How in the world does someone with three homes promote an ideology that prevents people from owning private property? Do you think Bernie will give away his homes if we adopt socialism? I highly doubt it! Bernie Sanders is enjoying a very cushy lifestyle because of capitalism. Under a democratic socialist government, it would be impossible for him to own three homes. The stupidity and hypocrisy is unprecedented.
So why then would anyone want to bring socialism to America? What exactly is so terrible about our country and why do we need to eradicate everything this country stands for? Where have we as a nation gone wrong? To answer these questions, we need to take a step back and reflect on what America is.
America is not just a country, it is an idea… and a radical one at that. Our forefathers wanted a country in which the people governed themselves. They saw firsthand how large government caused citizens to suffer. Why?
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.” – Lord Acton
I am persuaded that ultimately what will be the downfall of our country, and I must confess it makes me uncomfortable making such a statement, is our success. America is the greatest country in the world. Never has there been a country with such freedom and liberty for all of its citizens. Since our country has been so successful, we have forgotten just how far we have come. We seem to have forgotten just how good we have it here. We are ignorant, sometimes intentionally so, to history. I don’t understand how any thinking person can honestly condemn The United States of America. If you are of the type that is chasing after a utopia then every single country, government, and civilization will fall short of your ideals. The problem with utopias is that they do not exist, and they never will. Idealists have been “… weighed in the balance and found wanting” – Daniel 5:27
The Constitution in many regards acts like a fence. In the words of G. K. Chesterton, “In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.” – https://www.chesterton.org/taking-a-fence-down/
Before we abolish the foundational underpinnings of our great nation, it might be wise of us to reflect upon what America is and what it stands for. Upon doing so, I believe we can satisfy most people on both sides of the aisle. The problem, therefore, lies not in our Constitution but in our drifting further and further away from it.
Going even deeper, much deeper, we must also realize that our Constitution cannot and will never satisfy the iniquities of the human heart, mind, and soul. To understand what truly lies underneath everything under discussion in this article, we need to understand sin and the complete and utter depravity of man.
I am convinced that the issue plaguing our nation, and the world at large, is not political, but spiritual. Since the Enlightenment we have estranged ourselves from God who provides our moral framework. Without God, we are at once lost at sea. We have eliminated all sense of the “up and down” and only the “left and right” remain. As human beings, we are not solely horizontal creatures rather we are creatures that encompass a 360-degree sphere, the vertical of which, is of utmost importance. Without a sense of the up and down, we cannot make sense of the left and right.
Many people like to quote Nietzsche and his famous saying, “God is dead” as if he said this emphatically, triumphantly or victoriously. He, in fact, said this with grave concern as he prophesied the immediate decline of man and western civilization. The 20th century proved him to be correct. If we continue to buy into the idea that humans do not need God, but that we can pull ourselves up by our own moral bootstraps, then I am afraid we have no chance.
We, as human beings, are immoral. Born into original sin, we detest the things of God, and as unregenerate people, we are His enemies. Everything God stands for we stand against in our unregenerate state.
The only hope then is a savior. Someone who can save us from ourselves. History has shown over and over again we are incapable of saving ourselves… from ourselves. This is what the gospel message is all about. God in His infinite grace, has sent us a savior, Jesus Christ. God does not merely look the other way at our sinfulness, He detests it. God hates sin. We stand condemned before a God who is Holy, Holy, Holy (Isaiah 6).
God in his infinite love determined that the only way to save us mere mortals from our rightfully deserved damnation was to send His Son to die in our place. Christ bore the full weight of the Father’s wrath in our place and He alone satisfied it. He is our substitutionary atonement. The Father’s wrath now satisfied, in full. Salvation is offered as a free gift to those who accept it, by putting their faith in the person and works of Jesus Christ.
Could this really be? It sounds too good to be true. This is, in fact, the greatest news and it is in fact true. You mustn’t take my word for it, read it for yourself. Read the Gospel of John, and read it intensely. Meditate upon the words and teachings of Christ. Focus then your thoughts upon human history, and the wickedness that exists within your own heart. I have yet to meet any person or teaching that so perfectly describes the human condition. No philosopher comes even close! Many philosophers are aware of the issue, but they have no answer for it. Christ does.
“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV)
What if you and I actually did this? What could our land and society be like? I would argue it would be greater than any human idea or utopia. We would finally understand what it means to be human and what it means to be children of God. Considering these facts and truths, the issues between the left and the right become trivial, as we would have a greater perspective of our purpose and meaning. To do so requires humility and surrender. Are you and I willing to do it? Or are we going to ignore the truth and continue adrift at sea?