The other day I had to endure a diatribe by an angry socialist. “The United States is a racist country. Barack Obama is the greatest president in history and here the country voted for a Republican congress. Sure things aren’t perfect, but he started with the worst economy in generations and worked miracles to improve things and this is the thanks he gets.” The ensuing conversation convinced me that I needed to discuss the evils of socialism.
In order to understand the evils of socialism, one must understand what it is from a spiritual perspective. God has given the human race two primary commandments and every human being knows them at some level. In order for a human being to live in peace with their conscience, he or she must be able to rationalize that they are obedient to these commands. Socialism is the attempt by those who do not want to be inconvenienced by the difficulties of true obedience to be at peace with their conscience by “loving their neighbour” through the government. Because these people are convinced that they are good people and socialism is their claim to that goodness, they tend to be fanatics incapable of critical thought.
Understanding that socialism is a crude attempt at loving one’s neighbour demonstrates the first evil of socialism from a Christian perspective. Let us imagine an analogous attempt to be obedient to God’s other great commandment. “Okay Chuck”, a rich man says to a friend, “I am going to be obedient to the command to love God with all my heart, soul and mind so here is what I am going to do. I am going to pay you 20 bucks an hour and I want you to pray and read the Bible every day while attending church once a week.” Is this obedience to God’s primary command? Does it really help us to be more like Christ? As we can see using this simple thought experiment, the primary problem with socialism is that it persuades people that they are loving people when all they are really doing is voting for socialists and paying taxes. Because socialists think that they are good people no matter what they do because they “care” enough to vote for a government program, they are incapable of seeing their evil and are blinded to their true spiritual state.
The second great evil of socialism is the manner in which the money for “good socialist” projects is obtained. Instead of persuading people to give generously of their own volition for charitable works, socialism uses government agencies (the IRS, the FBI, the police) to force generosity at the point of a gun. The government does not ask for contributions, but forces taxpayers to contribute regardless of the merits of the program in question. Forcing participation in government projects in this way must be admitted to be an evil similar in kind to slavery and any government that aspires to be minimally evil (government itself is a necessary evil) must minimize involuntary expenditures.
The third great reason that socialism is evil is the enormous inefficiency involved in socialist programs. Even the best run charitable organizations in the world tend to get only about 60 cents of every dollar to the people who are in genuine need. Government programs tend to be much less efficient than these well run private organizations and we can easily imagine that the efficiency of government programs could be as low as 30 cents on the dollar. If this number seems too low to you, bear in mind that the Red Cross recently spent $500 million dollars in donations to build just six houses. An efficiency of 30 cents on the dollar is equivalent to taking all that tax money, separating it into three piles and burning two of the piles. How can a socialist be comfortable advocating the involuntary servitude required by government programs that have this level of inefficiency with a smug sense of superiority?
The fourth reason that socialism is evil is the sense of dependence and entitlement that socialist programs breed in those that receive the benefits. Because the gift is given in an impersonal way by a government agency, it is divorced from the hard work, sweat and tears that made it possible. For this reason, those who receive the gift do not receive it as a gift from other human beings who are caring for them but instead as a portion of what they are due from the world. These horrific attitudes of ingratitude are nowhere more egregious than in the anecdotal stories of immigrant Muslim Imams in European countries who live off the welfare system of European governments and at the same time preach that those governments should be overthrown.
The fifth reason that socialism is evil has to do with the fact that government programs have historically expanded beyond any legitimate purpose to include those who are not genuinely needy through the use of deficit financing for reasons of political expedience. Examples of this kind of abuse can be seen in the Social Security program and in many public worker pension programs which are currently underfunded by trillions of dollars and must eventually fail catastrophically. If the end result of socialist programs is the catastrophic failure of governments around the world and a war which kills tens of millions of people, then is socialism really so wonderful that my liberal and socialist friend should call me a racist for thinking that Barack Obama is a bad president?
Socialism is evil, therefore, because it engenders feelings of superiority and self-righteousness in those who advocate it, because it increases the amount of government theft from individuals, because it wastes enormous amounts of resources, because it encourages bad attitudes in the beneficiaries of the programs and because it increases the global deficit spending that will eventually cause fiscal collapse, social chaos and war. Aside from that, socialism is the purest form of goodness and Barack Obama and other socialist leaders around the world are great men of tremendous vision.