Socialism Doesn’t Work

Margaret Thatcher said it best: “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

Truth.

Have you seen Venezuela in the news lately? If not, please research it. A country with immense wealth and prosperity reduced to ruins by socialism. Sad.

A friend of mine, one who I thought was pretty bright, told me that social programs were socialism. She thought that the US would do better with more socialism. I had to explain to the poor dear that social programs aren’t socialism. She countered that the government pays her Medicare and Social Security, so it’s socialism. I explained that the government earns money by taxing people who work in capitalism. Government money = Taxes. This is not socialism.

Without taxes on working ventures and people our government runs out of funds. Thanks, Maggie! Sure, in socialism the government takes over industry, but truthfully, when was the last time you’ve dealt with a “well run” government office? There’s a reason for the DMV jokes!

It amazes me this new push for socialism. I understand the impetus: we all want to help our fellow man. We all want to be compassionate.

But, we conservatives want to teach humans to fish, not just give humans fish. There are times people need fish. But, there are many more times people need to be taught how to bait a hook.

Sidenote: Democratic socialism is a hybrid of capitalism and socialism, but it balances a dangerous tightrope of two opposing systems. Wanting something to be so, and having it be so, can be incongruous. I want my dog to lose weight, but I can’t stop feeding her table scraps is akin to the logic behind this philosophy.

Those of us who can, work. We pay taxes so those who can’t will live. It’s a great system that has worked for many decades. Is it wrinkle-free? No. Nothing is. But, is it compassionate? Yes.

We don’t need to become socialists to provide for others. There are many religious and non-profit organizations that fill in those gaps that the government misses. There are neighbors helping neighbors, and companies offering free and reduced services and products. There are many instances of compassion in our capitalistic society.

Capitalism isn’t an ill. Through government taxation, it pays for the social programs that help our fellow humans.

Fleeting and Fleeing

“The seed cast in the gravel—this is the person who hears and instantly responds with enthusiasm. But there is no soil of character, and so when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.” ~Matthew 13:20-21 (MSG)

The parable of the sower–which some say should be the parable of the soils–has taken on new meaning for me, as scripture is wont to do over time. We read the same passages at different points in our life or in our growth as Christians. From them we glean new understandings and deeper insights.

It’s a living Bible, after all.

So this second soil, the gravel, reminds me of my early days being a Christian. I was old in body but young in spirit, and I would get “swept up” in the passion of it all. A great worship song, a dazzling sermon, a soulful interaction with other believers: those became the essence of my experience.

And, like a junkie, looking for the next good high, I sought out those elated moments as testimony to the Gospel.

But they weren’t. They were joyous moments, no doubt, but they weren’t the essence of what God can bring to our lives.

And, so many Christians put their faith in the feeling rather than the One. That’s why people keep church shopping and worship hopping, from one thing to the next: pod casts are the way to go one week, and Wednesday night worship music the next.

I’m not talking about finding the right church, or leaving one church for the next, because that can happen. And, I’m not talking about varied worship experiences, because that’s terrific stuff.

I’m talking about people who seek the feeling and who never find satisfaction because they chase an emotion. They fail to seek a relationship with God because God doesn’t get them “high” every time they walk into a building, have a conversation, or access an app.

And, that’s how it is with the gravel soil. The seed sprouts right up, bright and brilliant green, dancing in the light, until the scorching heat of the day burns it dead.

Life is hard. People are sinners. The walk with Jesus isn’t a halcyon trek.

Matthew Henry writes: “That which distinguished this good ground from the rest, was, in one word, fruitfulness. He does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but there were none that prevailed to hinder its fruitfulness.” 

Oh, and I only got the Matthew Henry quote because I was following an online study on bible.com, not because I’m some scholar. I’m pretty much an average person, getting info from here or there. There are no great tomes of religious leaders in my library, just mostly some proletarian adventure books and funky memoirs about idiosyncratic lives.

As long as our goal is to keep going back to scripture, to keep furthering our walk with God, to keep our minds open and learning, we can create the soil that produces fruit.