Biblical Socialism and Good Reason Not to Vote for Ron Paul

Borrowing from my husband here. The man’s a satirist at heart, but he’s got some interesting ideas plus a few clever quips.

On the eve of the Florida primary, enjoy!

Biblical Socialism and Good Reason not to Vote for Ron Paul ~ by Jeremiah Breer with editing help from his pretty, little wife

Obama is a “Socialist,” our country has become too “Socialist,” thanks to your local elected big-government, tax-loving, constitution-trampling liberal congressperson. Right? Socialism has become a four letter word in right-wing politics. However, the term is loosely defined, and I’ve seldom, if ever, met someone who could explain to me what “Socialism” is. Socialism has become a derogatory slur, nothing more than a code word for “people I don’t like.” It’s an uninventive – and sadly effective, in some circles – way to discredit someone. Anyone you didn’t vote for, or that disagrees with you, is a “Socialist.” And although no one can tell you why, being a “Socialist” is the nastiest of all positions. I’m going to tell you straight up there is nothing at all wrong with Socialism. Here it is so you can read it again: Socialism is not wrong. In fact it may be Biblical.

Let me introduce you to the Bible’s crowning Socialist hero: Joseph, son of Jacob. Joseph was a man that God used, via government intervention and Socialist enterprise, to save the known world. If you remember the story, God revealed to Joseph that following seven abundant years there would be seven years of famine in the land of Egypt. Joseph advised Pharaoh to collect 20% of all food grown in Egypt in those seven good years (Gen. 41:28-35, NIV). Joseph had the government collect a fifth of the income of the whole country. Today we would call this “taxation.” When the famine did come, Joseph loaned the government’s stored grain to the population. This was a bail-out of Biblical proportions. But he didn’t stop there. When Joseph became Vizier of Egypt, it was essentially a laisez-faire paradise even Rush Limbaugh couldn’t dream up. Joseph quickly turned Egypt into something not unlike the Socialist Obama-lypse that you and I live in. If you think your taxes are too high consider that “Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain.” After Joseph had collected all the people’s money, and they still needed government assistance he “bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh” (Gen. 47:13-23). Talk about expanding the size of government! The whole country belonged to Pharaoh.

The cherry on our commi-cake is that Joseph was not himself a ruler or legislator. He was a Vizier, an appointed official. He was through and through a bureaucrat. For those of you still clinging to the idea that there was a perfectly free-market solution to the famine crisis, consider that the Bible makes it pretty clear that had it not been for the government takeover of the grain industry, everyone would have died. Consider secondly that Joseph’s government jobs, jail warden and Vizier, are looked upon as a step-up from his private sector occupations: shepherd and being a slave (being the human property of a capitalist is one of the most enduring institutions of the “free” market.) Consider thirdly that government was the avenue that an omnipotent God chose to use to save the world as it was known and ultimately work his plan of salvation to the whole world by saving the Jewish people into whom his Son would come.

Zoom back to 2012. You may hold to the idea or have heard it proclaimed that “America is not a Socialist country.” The problem with this is, again, with definitions. What is a “Socialist country”? If you use the classical definition of Socialism, a system where the means of production are publicly owned, then America only fits the definition of a Non-Socialist country if you ignore all of its successful Socialist enterprises. Have you heard of the fire department? Owned and operated by the government since the invention of fire. What about the police department? There’s also the court system and the military. Yes, sadly the military is not privately owned. Hundreds of billions of the federal budget are used to maintain America’s socialized defense force. Tragic, isn’t it?

As we can see from the Bible, and from common sense, Socialism has its place. Every economy on earth is somewhere on a spectrum from completely planned (Socialist) to completely free market. This is for good reason. Can you imagine if combating fire was a private enterprise: “Honey, get the kids out and don’t worry about the house; we can’t afford to call the fire department.” We all benefit from the wise use of government, even adamant libertarians know that. Do you think Ron Paul doesn’t drive on public roads? A real free market guy would hire a private contractor to build a road that he could drive on, but Ron Paul makes use of America’s socialized transportation infrastructure every day. I bet you didn’t know that the paved lanes from here to grandma’s house were so dangerous, but they are part of a giant federal plot to take away your freedom. There’s also the over the river and through the woods route for the die-hard libertarian, though. The horse drawn carriage isn’t government regulated – not yet anyway.

But I digress. Am I advocating the government takeover of the entire economy, Castro brothers style? No. Do I think that Socialism is inherently evil and that the government exists to do nothing more than lower our taxes and protect our private property? Absolutely not. What I’m saying is lets be civil to one another, and not focus on who is a “Socialist” and who isn’t. Let’s focus on what is wise and good and what makes sense. It is hard for a reasonable person to conclude that it is never good for the government to be involved in the economy. If the people of Egypt know anything, sometimes government involvement is wonderful. After Joseph’s grain program, they proclaimed ‘“You have saved our lives,’ they said. ‘May we find favor in the eyes of our lord’” (Gen. 47:25)

All goods and services can be provided two ways: by the government or by a private interest. There is nothing magical or holy about either avenue. It just makes sense for some services, like defense and firefighting, to be provided by the government. For others the private sector makes perfect sense. I don’t want to buy a used car from Uncle Sam anytime in the near future.

You may still think government is the root of all evil. Remember, though, the Joseph story didn’t come out of my own imagination. So if you still have a problem with Socialism, take it up with the Big Guy (and I’m not talking Reagan.)

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6 thoughts on “Biblical Socialism and Good Reason Not to Vote for Ron Paul

  1. Interesting, but Joseph was following the Lord’s direction and doing his will when he was acting as a socialist bureaucrat. Can we same the same about our government today? I totally disagree that Egypt under Joseph was anything at all like the “Socialist Obama-lypse that you and I live in”. I have no problem with the fact that we have to pay taxes to run our government. What I have a problem with is when my tax dollars are paying for abortions, funding for “art” that is obscene, entitlements and bailouts (and I could go on and on), while our government systematically tries to eliminate all reference to God or Christ under the guise of “separation of church and state”.

    I agree, sometimes government intervension is “wonderful”; but I feel, as our nation’s government moves further and further from its Judeau-Christian roots, those “sometimes’ will become more and more rare.

    Regardless. I WILL vote for Ron Paul because I can’t with good conscience vote for anyone else, but that is just me.

    Crazy Aunt Lisa

  2. Lisa, I appreciate your thoughts, and although I’d love to call you Aunt Lisa, I don’t think you’re crazy in the least! I think you have some valid points. When Jer and I were talking about this, our primary concern was the irrationalism and, in some cases, the idolatry surrounding Christians and their politics.

    • Dear Mrs. Breer: Christians and their politics are irrational always? That appears to be what you’re saying. If so, I respectfully disagree. In any event, I offer two thoughts: (1) Egypt under Pharaoh was a monarchy. The U.S. under Obama (ostensibly) is not. (2) Distributism is the moral alternative to both socialism and capitalism. See, e.g., The Outline of Sanity by G.K. Chesterton.

  3. You basically just admitted that socialism can be anything, including a 20 percent tax on grain. I agree that that is socialism, but you just got done griping about how people use it as a smear word and about how they don’t really know what it means. I suspect that if you asked the majority of people who complain about it they would state ‘redistribution of wealth through some form of coercion’. Whether that is correct or not, you pretty much just agreed with those supposed rubes.

    Nobody ever asked how the Egyptian agricultural community felt about it. Why should they care if the other idiots, regardless of who their God is, didn’t prepare well for a famine?

    Don’t get me wrong. i am sure the world is a better place thanks to what Joseph did. But i am sure that given the choice he would have preferred that his family had their own grain instead of relying on welfare. The Lord works in mysterious ways, none of which are necessarily lessons in economics to be applied today.

    Slavery is not a product of a free market, by definition. You could argue that it CAN BE a product of capitalism as practiced by some people. Free Market and capitalism are not necessarily synonymous. A Free Market, whether it is the best system or not, necessitates economic freedom for all participants. A slave, by definition, though obviously a participant, is not free. Therefore, any system in which there is slavery can not correctly be called a free market, though it might incorrectly be labeled as such by even the proponents of slavery.

    On the other hand, capitalism is the system based on capital, i.e., tools/useful equipment/ the funds or labor used to acquire that capital. So long as certain members of the human species are considered less than human they may be considered also tools/capital equipment. But there are many variants of capitalism that have a greater definition of humanity and thus while there may still be forms of oppression, people are no longer considered capital.

    Now, you can still have human capital (a common enough phrase) without having slavery, in the sense that it is the persons’ labor that is seen as the tool, and not the person himself. We could also get into all sorts of discussions about human capital=wage slavery, and I would agree that this may be true in certain portions of certain industries under certain conditions, but my main objection here is the notion that no one is forced to take any job in modern society. there may be consequences to not taking a job, but they are not used directly as leverage by the prospective employers. This leaves only one opening to blame employers for the hardships of employees: the notion that private property itself, no matter how it was acquired, is oppressive and unjust, and it alone is what allows employers to exploit labor. This notion would necessarily imply that their was some unfair advantage bestowed upon the employer, either by nature, government, or a cartel system (which itself, if not created by government would need to be upheld by government in order to remain a cartel).

    If it is nature, who are we to complain? Is this not survival of the fittest? Does not might make right in this universe of chaos? Surely, yes, if all can be blamed on nature.

    If it is government, I use it as proof that the free market is not to blame, even if those in power like to pretend their system is the same thing as a free market.

    If it is a cartel of some sort, I contend that this is still not a free market, but at the same time acknowledge that capitalism (some form of it, rather) may be partially to blame. But to my knowledge, there has never been a cartel, be it a central bank, a drug cartel, a ratings agency, etc., that was not either started by government or upheld by it. In the long run, cartels are unstable because the lack of competition decreases supply, increases demand, raises prices, and decreases quality. That is why if a cartel is not started by government, it must in some way still be upheld by it. Even the drug cartels would be out of business were it not for legislation and regulation pushed through by some agent of the state.

    Not so for an enterprise. Such have been shown to need no public aid to survive.

      • Yeah. I kinda got a little testy and wordy there. I am passionate about just about everything you brought up, so the windbaggery was only natural on my part. And you are right, it is only a perspective. Generally, I do try to back it up. Sometimes the facts are irrevocably on my side (IMO), and sometimes I must make recourse to semantics, as you no doubt noticed.

        Cheers!

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