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Socialism, Democratic Socialism and Christianity

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AOC opened her trap (AGAIN!) over the weekend and said something about capitalism being “irredeemable.”  I honestly don’t care what she says anymore.  She is a media phenomena at this juncture and nothing more.  Now, it is arguable that so was the president, but prior to his entry in politics he had actually accomplished something – this woman not so much.  So, I am not looking at her to turn her obviously massive media footprint into anything substantial anytime soon.  I leave dealing with her up to others.

But in her wake, Axios did some polling and pronounced, “Young Americans are embracing socialism.”  My flip response is “Didn’t we all?” but that is pretty flip.  I did know a few card-carrying capitalists in my idealistic and unrealistic youth.  Funny how starting your own business turns one into a capitalist in a big hurry.  But in my case there was more to it that mere youthful idealism.  As a Christian it was what I thought we were “supposed” to do….

My sense of Christian obligation to socialism came from the description of the first Christian community in the second chapter of Acts:

And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,…

Sounds really “Christian,” doesn’t it?  Sounds pretty much like socialism, doesn’t it?  Took me a long time and a lot of seminary education to figure out why socialism was not what they were urging us to there.  I’ll not bore you with deep hermenutics and a pile of theology and just cut to the chase.

Socialism is coercive, what happened in Acts 2 was anything but.

It is just that simple.  In socialism the government makes you; in Christianity you are so moved by the plight of the other and so generous because of the work that God has done in your heart that you live communally – spontaneously and naturally.  When you think about it, is generosity coerced generous at all?

I bet what I just said strikes most readers of this blog as so obvious it should go without saying.  But clearly young people are not figuring that out.  There is, I sense, a qualitative difference between the idealistic desire for socialism, or at least a community that looks like socialism, of my youthful generation and the embrace that today’s young people are putting on it. And this is where we do need to circle back to AOC just a bit.

In her blather, AOC kept talking about how we were all tied together somehow and if we fragmented it was “unsustainable.”  Now I am not going to pretend to understand mouth mush like that, but from it is where I sense the qualitative generational difference.  In my youth we discussed socialism of some sort because of the need we saw around us, and because we wanted to lever those who had more than us to help someone else.  With this generation it seems more like they are looking for a way to lever those who have more for themselves.  If I am right, that’s ominous.  No longer is it “Take form the rich and give to the poor.”  Now it’s “Take from the rich because I am the poor.”

Thus I think we have a problem that is about far more than political philosophy.  I think we have a problem of the human heart.  That is not a problem that government can address.

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Friends and Allies of Rome