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Your Views: Socialist tendencies can drive society toward coercive control
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The Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders have introduced us to the socialist temptation, along with its terminal condition, communism. "Ugly" would be a polite term for what we see.

Here's one way to think about the socialist temptation. It has at least three dimensions: give in to intellectual weakness, give up strength of character, or go along with plain old sin.

Weakness of intellect: Socialism depends upon the fable of something for nothing. This fable insists that the government has an infinite "stash of cash" somewhere that appears as if by magic. Yielding to this weakness would tend to produce uninformed individuals living under a manipulative, patronizing government.

Weakness of character: Socialism also depends upon convincing people that it is OK to take what others have just because they have it. This weakness would incline toward "a war of all against all." Some would think, "those other guys have stuff and I don't," and others would think, "those people want to steal from me."

 Yielding to this weakness of character would produce a society of envious and selfish people living under a coercive and patronizing government that steals from everyone.

Sin: Finally, the socialist temptation entices us to yield to sin on stilts. Socialism is theft by proxy. The Bible clearly identifies an example of theft by proxy, namely man stealing for slavery. Both the kidnappers and the buyers of such slaves are guilty of a capital crime (Exodus 21:16), the buyers being kidnappers by proxy.

Similarly, subsequent holders of any stolen property are thieves by proxy, although the biblical penalty for simple theft is restitution to the victim plus an added monetary recompense to the victim, not to the government. The socialist temptation insists that the thief owes a "debt to society." The Bible says no; the thief owes restitution to the victim.

Socialism, by taking at gunpoint the goods of some people to give to others, promotes theft disguised as charity. Yielding to this temptation tends to produce coercive governments that forbids whatever the government has not commanded. This kind of coercive government is necessary to keep "the masses" from taking the same approach: Steal whatever you want at gunpoint.

Thirty years ago, Igor Shafarevich published a devastating analysis of the socialist temptation, "The Socialist Phenomenon." His analysis suggests that throughout history, human sin has tended toward socialistic coercion, where "might makes right" even when it is not always called "socialism." He points out that socialistic societies always try to destroy families, taking infants away from their mothers and putting them into government-run schools, etc. This assures that children grow up familiar with and dependent upon government, not family members and traditions.

We can see this happening in the U.S. today, with the movement toward kindergarten for toddlers barely out of diapers. A similar proposal in Congress now to take over command and control of all medical care would leave families powerless. The government would decide who gets what. End of story.

All of these tendencies suggest strongly that the socialist temptation must be avoided, both in theory and in practice. Tell that to Congress, soon.

WT "Ted" Hinds
Gainesville

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