Socialism plays upon natural feelings of compassion (thank you, Jeff Carlson, for this observation), while ignoring its coercion. The moral and Christian alternative, which is not coercive, is compassion on a personal basis. Which is compassionate, being forced to pay taxes by political powers or acting freely and compassionately in one’s personal life? And which, practically speaking, does more good and moves us closer to the good?
Living in harmony and living in community do not require socialism. In fact, socialism doesn’t produce either harmony or community. It’s the reverse. Socialism produces disharmony and strife as different groups of people attempt to secure the fruits of raw political power for themselves and attempt to suppress the lives and thoughts of people opposed to them. Socialism is another form of warfare. The Christian alternative is not one of elevating or grabbing political power, even if the history of Christianity displays such failings of the Church. Christ spurned Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of power.
At the same time, a great deal of socialist propaganda plays upon evil feelings like envy and hatred. Christian thought is opposed to such feelings.
Another social feeling that socialist rhetoric attempts to claim for itself is selflessness as opposed to selfishness. A recent example of political rhetoric on this account is Michael Moore’s attack on Trump at a Sanders rally.
Moore views Sanders as willing to sacrifice on climate change. (Moore doesn’t seem to realize that the sacrifice will be ours and fruitless at that.) “He [Sanders] knows he’s not gonna be here in 40 years, so why is he doing it? What’s he get out of it? What’s in it for him?” Sanders is selfless, you see.
But Trump, also aged, is cast as a selfish narcissist by Moore: “We have a president who we’ve seen, even the kids and the grandkids will be thrown under his bus. So I mean that — that is the true narcissist when he doesn’t even give a shit about his own kids or grandkids. Wow, that takes some heavy-duty psychological maddening wackadoodle.”
Moore has no argument. He’s working backwards from a disagreement on man-made global warming to the conclusion that Trump must be a bad guy and Sanders a good guy. Nonetheless, selflessness vs. selfishness is his emotional appeal. Criticizing libertarian and other small-government policies as selfish, individualistic and lacking in compassion is more of the same.
Socialism is opposed to Christianity in fundamental respects, and Christian thinking should be opposed to socialism. The conflicts between these two should by now be well understood because they’ve been explained time and again. Pope Francis has said “The Marxist ideology is wrong.” He has said “I must say that communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian.”
But Marxist ideology is socialist ideology, because the socialist rationale for forcing wealth out of producers is the Marxian labor theory of value. And communists and socialists do not differ in the most important respect, which is that they both aim at eliminating private property, capitalism and the free economic decisions of individuals. They differ perhaps in the degree or method of revolutionary violence they advocate using to overthrow capitalism. But if socialists achieve socialism in America through the ballot box, it will hardly be something to accept as good or moral. It is hardly something to rejoice over. The death of liberty, however achieved and in whatever doses or degrees, is a terrible and evil thing. Socialism steals the Christian flag as much as does communism, and both rest upon Marxist ideology.9:37 am on January 27, 2020 Email Michael S. Rozeff