By Dr. Mark H. Creech
I can’t remember exactly where it was that I first heard this simple explanation of the different forms of government and their economic systems, but its right on the mark.
A dictatorship is when you have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.
Fascism is when you have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.
Communism is when you have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.
Socialism is when you have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as it thinks you need.
Capitalism is when you have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
In recent decades, we’ve seen all of the governments afore mentioned other than capitalism fail over and again. Nevertheless, in the land of the free, socialist idealism is alive and well. It is, without question, the reigning orthodoxies of American intellectuals and political elites. Our universities are the chief promoters of socialist dogma, and the federal government seems to be doing everything within its power to encourage the growth of the socialistic welfare state. There is no greater example of this than the National Health Care law, often referred to as Obamacare.
It’s disconcerting that many Americans have lost sight of the fact that socialism doesn’t work in any form. It didn’t work for the Soviet Union, Poland, or East Germany. It isn’t working for Cuba or China. What will it take for our nation’s political leaders to see this is a bankrupt philosophy of government?
Of course, the liberal establishment doesn’t use the name “socialism.” They use a host of other expressions such as “progressive,” “public assistance,” “managed competition,” “government investment,” etc.. But regardless of what it’s labeled, it’s still state-socialism.
When congress has put the federal government into the domestic car business, when health care will nationalize one sixth of the nation’s economy, when the national debt is on steroids and business is told what it can produce, how much of it, when, how, and the amount of money that must be paid along with the conditions of employment, that’s socialism and it’s not consistent with a free society.
Neither is it consistent with the teachings of the Bible.
What is inherently immoral about socialistic endeavors is the effort to equalize economic conditions by forcibly redistributing wealth. To get this done, the right to private property, which God gives in the eighth commandment of the Decalogue, is violated. And charity, which according to the Scriptures is supposed to spring willingly from the heart, is instead coerced. Therefore, the image of God in man – his creativity and productivity – is suppressed, while those who are indolent prosper.
What is more, socialistic principles fail to take into account man’s depravity – his fall away from God and into sin. The socialist contends if man’s environment is changed, he will change. He’ll be better to his neighbor. It discounts man’s need for redemption in Christ and contends that if all have an equal share, then there is less reason to war and steal, etc. But the fact is socialistic principles change nothing about human nature and only concentrates economic power in the hands of a few sinful individuals who are more able to exploit the public.
At the time of the American Revolution, Alexis de Toqueville argued, “The American republic will last until the populace discovers that it can vote for itself largesse out of the public treasury.” We are certainly experiencing the truth of those words – an astronomical debt – the general insolvency of our economy – due largely in part to the fact the citizens of this nation and their elected representatives have discovered only too well how to tap the national treasury.
Have we really lost faith in a capitalistic free enterprise way of life? That certainly appears to be the case as we turn more and more to a socialistic model. The trouble is we are just beginning to experience the negative consequences of our socialistic blind-spot, if we don’t return to the values that made us a great nation.
Years ago, in an article titled A Nation Adrift, North Carolina’s former senator, Jesse Helms said, “It is debatable at just what point the United States began to drift away…But I think we reached that point when many Americans turned away from the idea of salvation through Christ to that of salvation through technology or science or material affluence or the welfare state…Human nature left to its own devices has always been a wretched failure at explaining the meaning and destiny of life.”
Indeed. And the same scriptures that tell us that God is our provider and hope are the same that tell us that the two cows I have belong to me. I should be able to do with them what I want and the government’s role is to protect that God-given right, not exploit it for its own purposes – even if it says it’s doing it for my own good.