By Dr. Bill Miller
Over the last few years, Americans have increasingly entertained the idea that socialism would be a good thing for us to be actively involved. We have politicians worth millions who openly refer to themselves as “socialists” and college professors earning multiple six figures who teach their students that it’s the long-awaited panacea for overcoming the many things that make us such a bad country. The media seems to be mainly on board, and our Hollywood millionaires adore it as well. Even much of corporate America agrees publicly with its rhetoric as they go about the planet busily pursuing capitalist dollars. Indeed, a significant portion of the American culture is seriously considering this nouveau attraction to socialism.
The truth is, virtually all the people who are so attracted to it have never actually tried it. There are indeed millions of other Americans who HAVE experienced it firsthand, and they are almost unanimously against the idea. In fact, they left their home countries where they were under socialism to live in this country where individual freedoms and personal achievement are celebrated in conjunction with an opposing economic system called capitalism. Many of them departed under dangerous circumstances and many others died trying to escape socialism. Despite their negative experiences around the world, the aforementioned millions of pro-socialist Americans pursue it either without a true understanding of what it is and where it inevitably leads or because they are secretly in pursuit of political power.
Hopefully, the problem for most of its supporters is a lack of understanding, and we can start to correct that by seriously considering this definition commonly and easily found on the Internet:
“Socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization advocating that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”
There are several notable words here that ought to motivate particular consideration. One is that socialism is a theory, which means that it’s a supposition, which means that it’s an uncertain belief. Even though it has had a predictably negative track record down through history, it is for some reason still referred to as an uncertain belief system. Secondly, community ownership has to be translated as government ownership because there’s no other community option available, and it will have to replace the current system of private ownership. Third, extensive regulation WILL be required because somebody has to oversee the distribution of the community’s assets and the related exchanges.
On a secular level, the main reason socialism is so highly touted comes from the value judgment that the inevitable income disparity that results from capitalism is an unfair, unhealthy, and undesirable social condition. The fact that the founder and head of Amazon Corporation is worth 180 billion dollars is something we should be offended by when actually my reaction is the opposite because he has just shown me that in our free and relatively unregulated present system, I have an opportunity to be successful if I get a good idea and work hard. Socialism says that it is unfair that he should be worth so much and me so little and that, therefore, somebody should take some of it (amount to be determined) away from him and give it to me. Better yet, I want to be in the relatively small group of ruling regulators who decide on how much of his wealth should be redistributed to me. And never mind that his company presently provides 1.2 million jobs to people primarily in America and Canada who will probably become unemployed when he moves to some other country where the people are less “enlightened” than our socialists.
Why do so many people no longer see the obvious: that socialism will always, and only, produce a culture where there is no individual freedom, no private ownership of anything, and with less per capita wealth instead of more? It is as though they are blinded as they try to impose their naivete, lack of wisdom, and inexperience on the rest of us. The fact is, they ARE blinded because there is a spiritual root that progressively worsens. Said another way, there is a spiritual problem afoot operating on several levels, and it will have to be dealt with on a spiritual level before it gets even worse.
Tracing it back from the secular explanation, the current interest in socialism is part of a widespread dissatisfaction with America as a country. According to them, we are a historically racist, unloving, intolerant, and multi-phobic country that can only be corrected by a massive overhaul of everything, including our entire economic system. On the other side, we can plainly see that America is the most exceptional country that has ever existed and that our exceptionalism is based on our founding as a Christian nation built on bible-based principles and values. I know that many people don’t want to acknowledge this aspect of our history, but the truth is what it is.
Being a nation built on a biblical foundation doesn’t mean that everything that goes on here will be utopian. Being exceptional doesn’t mean any of our people will be perfect or that any of us will ever experience even a perfect moment. But that foundation, along with the freedom that only comes with the presence of God, makes it possible for unmatched individual growth and development, and success. Moreover, have you ever considered that for the past 400 years, God has used America as the launch place for the greatest worldwide harvest of souls in the history of the planet? Billions of lives have been saved for eternity because of American exceptionalism!
Here’s the crux of this point: people who are anti-God and anti-Bible attack the idea that America is exceptional because exceptionalism validates God’s influence in our history. Almost all of them believe they are arguing a political issue, but it’s really a spiritual issue, and they are at odds with God and His Bible. It’s His testimony to the world: America has been exceptional as a positive consequence of our historical reliance on God. By attacking exceptionalism, they purpose to damage the idea of divine involvement in America’s affairs and our continued Christian influence in the world. By espousing socialism, they purpose to replace God and His freedom with government control and its bondage. The Bible says that God is the Owner of everything. Socialism says that the community, through its “representative” the government, owns everything.
Another point is that socialism is rooted in covetousness, which, according to the Bible, is a sin. If I see that my neighbor has something I don’t have and begin to focus on how I can acquire the same thing or even acquire his or her thing for myself, I am demonstrating covetousness. And covetousness is accompanied in varying degrees by the attendant sins of jealousy, greed, and the desire to control and manipulate others. I submit to you that no system based in sin can ever succeed, which explains why socialism has historically failed. Whatever you take God out of will eventually fail because freedom goes with Him to be replaced by bondage to unrighteousness.
Some say that socialism is superior to capitalism because the latter is fueled by greed, but that is an inaccurate characterization. Indeed, the Bible shows that it’s God’s desire for believers to be prosperous and successful. Jesus shed His blood and died on a Roman Cross to redeem us from lack and insufficiency, and poverty. As long as God is in the mix, there is always a righteous way to financial success. Greed happens when God is taken out of capitalism, but at least there is an option for greed to be the exception. Under socialism, it is greed and selfishness that seek to redistribute what God has assigned to others.
Unfortunately, most of the people who can’t see these things are also currently unable to see God, and that’s the real tragedy. It’s tragic because they are rejecting Jesus, the one person who could make them into exceptional people with exceptional prospects. Nevertheless, instead of despising the people who decry our exceptionalism, who mock God and think they can do something better and smarter, instead of giving up on all those people, we’re called to love them, to lovingly but forcefully and purposefully resist their agenda and to pray for the truth to get through to them before time runs out. And here’s something special for the Church, i.e., the Body of Christ: resistance is a vital part of our future, for if we don’t resist, we will lose the exceptionalism that God has been using to make disciples of the nations, which by the way includes this nation!
Submitted by Dr. Bill Miller, Granbury, Texas. Dr. Bill is the founder of Make A Way Ministries, a nationally recognized credit and financial counseling ministry. He has written hundreds of articles and more than 40 books over the past thirty-plus years, eleven of which are presently available on Amazon. In late 2018, Dr. Miller published an important book on national border integrity called The Truth about Open Borders explaining from Scripture God’s views on borders. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-533-9499.