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God vs Socialism

God versusSocialism: The planks we walk to our doom

Dec 16, 2015 by Dr.Joel McDurmon 

While it is helpful to remindourselves that thetechnical definition of “Socialism” is quite narrow, and that by thatdefinition we must understand “Socialism” is indeed a dead political andeconomic philosophy, let’s not be so black-and-white minded that we ignore theobvious. Whether the government technically owns the means of production, orwhether the government simply has its finger in every pie, is only a matter ofdegree. I argue that both are therefore Socialism since they partake of thesame principle: theft by government.

Let’s not ignore theobvious: Marx is dead and gone, and yet his manifesto haunts our culture indemonstrable ways.

From God versus Socialism:

People have no ideahow much freedom we’ve lost, how far we’ve gone.

It is no stretch tosay that America is not what it used to be. Many lovers of our country willreadily identify with the sentiment. What needs to be pushed, however, is areminder about how and in what ways we have changed. The program we havefollowed and where we have ended up needs commentary.

Not so long ago,Christians and conservatives in this country defined themselves politically byopposing the great threat of Communism. We hear hardly anything of this today.The idea that Communism was a real threat not so long ago, yet is almost forgottentoday, presents a classic example of the American public’s short memory.Mention Marxism in a conversation today and you will almost definitely behearing crickets in a short time. No one cares: it’s history. The wall fell, wewon, move on.

Yes, the Berlin Wallfell, but it fell in our direction. No one talks about this. The Soviet Union fell, but Marxism andSocialism have long flooded all of Western and Eastern Civilization. America isno exception. Marxism is history, yes, and yet the influences of Marxism andvarious ideas of socialism have never been more dangerous than now, when itstands ready to expand further into every office of government, and when we areyet asleep to it.

So let me brieflystate my problems with America as it has come to be. First, we pride ourselveson free-market economics and private ownership of property, but these ideashave been phantoms as long as there has been property tax, which is little morethan rent paid to government. If you disbelieve that, then try to go a year ortwo without paying your property tax, and you will learn who your landlord is.You will be fined, jailed, or “your” property will have a lien filed againstit, or it will be confiscated. We don’t own so much as rent from thegovernment. That we have a free-market is likewise ridiculous to defend in thelight of recent events. If the Federal Reserve can “print” money at will,and the U. S. Treasury can buy stakes in bank shares, then the market is notfree of either State manipulation or intervention.

Second, we have aheavy progressive (or “graduated”) income tax. For the few who may not know, “graduated” means that those whomake more money should not only pay more tax based on equal percentage of tax,but should also bear the added burden of an increased percentage. Greaterwealth is disproportionately taxed, which penalizes and discourages financialsuccess. The graduated system is unfair, arbitrary, and unbiblical. The UnitedStates instituted the graduated income tax by the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913.It has been increased—again disproportionately—many times since.

Third, we have stronganti-family laws, including inheritance tax. In other words, when you die and leave wealth to your childrenor other designees, the government grabs anywhere from 18–55% of the amount foritself. This is a denial of the sacredness of the family as a unit, and therights of families to determine the use of their own wealth. It is also adouble tax on property, and a blatant attempt to again penalize wealth. It diminishessuccessful families’ strength in that it detracts from parents’ ability toadvance their children’s future. Thus, it is an attack on the traditionalfamily structure and leadership in society in general.

Fourth, followingalmost immediately on America’s 1913 imposition of income tax, was America’sless obvious 1913 Inflation Tax, which came in the form of the Federal Reserve. America’s first central bank was proposed byAlexander Hamilton and created in 1791. It was closed twenty years later andcontinued off and on due to mass opposition until the covert form emerged intolaw in 1913. . . . With recent events, the fall of many banks has leftprimarily only a few big banks standing. This “crisis” and the mindless andimmoral actions of Congress to go along with the various “bailouts” have pushedour central bank closer to an exclusive monopoly.

Fifth, we have many,massive, subsidized government programs. These are all transfers of wealth based on factors other thanthe market. There are too many to name here, but farm subsidies come to mind:farmers are paid in various ways in order to manipulate crop prices across theboard. Ethanol alone has been subsidized to the tune of $10 billion. Thisdiverts corn from other markets into an otherwise market-doomed purpose(ethanol would never brew in a free market); not only does the public get hitwith the $10B, it also suffers a rise in the price of meat and other productsthat require otherwise market-rate corn. These billions are a miniscule part ofthe overall government subsidy equation, which from 1995–2010 equals about $262 billion.1

Sixth, and finally fornow, we have compulsory public education regulated at federal, state, and locallevels. “Compulsory,”because even if we home school or privately school our children, we are stillcompelled to pay taxes for public schooling. “Public,” because the taxes areused to fund government-run schools. This tax-funded schooling is presented asfree, of course, but it is only free to those who don’t pay property taxes. Ourgovernment spends about $700 billion per year on public education, just forprimary and secondary levels. The State determines whether, when, and what youwill teach your kids. If people want to participate in this system, that isfine with me, but do not compel me to pay for it. This is a robbery of freedom.Also, when schools function legally as “in place of the parents,” the State hasagain usurped the role of the family.

Whythe Concern?

The concern over theseparticular aspects of modern America—and believe me there are many others—isthat they are all innovations imposed upon America in direct contrast to theoriginal American way of life. More to the point is the historical source ofthese points of discussion:

I have lifted them allfrom the Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

The reason thesepoints are un-American and anti-biblical is that their source was anti-Americanand anti-Christian in principle.

What I have describedabove cover roughly seven of the ten “planks” of the Communist Manifesto. Icould probably work to show others, but have neither the time nor necessity.The relevant points are these (1, 2, 3, 5, 7/9, 10):

(1) Abolition ofproperty in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

(2) A heavyprogressive or graduated income tax.

(3) Abolition of allright of inheritance.

(5) Centralization ofcredit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with statecapital and an exclusive monopoly.

(7) Extension of factoriesand instruments of production owned by the state . . .

(9) Combination ofagriculture with manufacturing industries . . .

(10) Free educationfor all children in public schools.

The historicalconnections are clear, too. For example, the springs of the graduated incometax in America flow directly from Marxism. The connection is direct andunmistakable. The first group in American history to advocate the graduatedincome tax was the Socialist Labor Party, a dedicated collection of Marxistsfounded originally as the “Workingman’s Party of America” in the People’sRepublic of New Jersey in 1876. Their 1887 platform unashamedly declared “westrive for the acquisition of political power.”2 Among their many “Social Demands” is“Progressive income tax and tax on inheritances; but smaller incomes to beexempt.”

The short-lived PopulistParty followed in 1892. Their platform decried “a vast conspiracy againstmankind” to demonetize silver and monopolize gold in the hands of a few, amongother things. The document contains classic Marxist verbiage, accusing“bondholders” of wanting to “decrease the value of . . . human labor,” and to“fatten usurers, bankrupt enterprise, and enslave industry.”3  The party died out quickly but had a lastingimpact, much of its platform being picked up by the Democratic Party thefollowing election year.

It was then in 1896that William Jennings Bryan gave that most famous political speech in Americanhistory: the “Cross of Gold” speech. Bryan adapted ideas of the formerMarxist groups to please American ears and persuade American hearts. Alreadytwo years prior he had argued in favor of the income tax, and was now callingit “a just law” and further pushing for the inflation of the money supply. Thesuccess of his speech derives from his successful weaving of Marxism andChristian language. Lines like “[tarrif] protection has slain its thousands thegold standard has slain its tens of thousands,” echoed to the religious mindunreligiously bent on envy of other people’s wealth. He called his crusade a “righteouscause” and “holy.” It was brilliant political propaganda. Unequally yoking Marxand Christ (2 Cor.6:14–18), Bryan argued that the gold standard would be a crucifixionof the “producing masses” and the “toiling masses.” The famous concluding linesleveraged the suffering of Christ for the Marxist agenda: “you shall not pressdown upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankindupon a cross of gold.” Christians by millions bought into the rhetoric. Tens ofmillions still do.

And lest we forget thefundamentally anti-religious nature of this plank of Socialism in the country, theSocialist Party platform of 1887 demanded “Separation of all public affairsfrom religion; church property to be subject to taxation” (note theirony here: the church cannot get involved in public affairs, but the publictreasury should benefit from the church’s property). What the Socialist Partycould not accomplish with its explicitly anti-church platform, Bryan and hisDemocrats accomplished by appropriating biblical language to say the samething.

Likewise, thesocialization of education stems directly from the work of early socialists inAmerica. The “Father of theCommon Schools” was Massachusetts lawyer and politician Horace Mann(1796–1858). He predates Marx, and thus is not dependent on him, nor was Mannan atheist like Marx, but an enthusiastic churchgoer. His theology, however,was suspect, as he embraced Unitarianism in its early days when it wasmission-minded—presenting itself as the culmination of Protestantism and readyto lead the direction of the natural order. Mann rejected orthodox Calvinismand believed strongly in the “perfectibility of man.”4 This naturalistic belief was, however, couchedin religious language: public education would eliminate ignorance, poverty, andcrime. In his system, the State replaced both the church and the family:“Society, in its collective capacity, is a real, not a nominal sponsor andgod-father for all its children” (classic political salvation).5  Rushdoony summarizes, “Mann’s work wastwo-fold, first to secularize education, and, second, to make it the provinceof the state rather than the community and the parents.”6 The story of thesocialization of education, then, is the product of unbiblical theology. Itresults in an unbiblical view of education and society that abolishes the roleof church and family.

Falland Recovery

Why do I rehearsethese aspects of American history specifically, and why should they bother youso much? Simple. These changes in the American system directly reflect thefamous Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto. We have witnessed a gradual progression intoa Marxist America, all the while boasting ourselves champions of freedom. Well,the “land of the free, and the home of the brave” has become, in fact, the“land of the Fed, and the home of the slave.” We no longer live in theAmerica that fought for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but in theAmerica which will fight tooth and nail for government funding andspecial-interest politics. America today is more Marxist than anything, and alarge portion of the voting public wishes to make it even more so.

I say these thingsrealizing that many will pelt me with tomatoes and bricks, call me un-American,an America-hater, and most definitely unpatriotic. But here’s the catch: it isonly because I absolutely love and adore the America of the Pilgrims, theDeclaration, the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers, etc., that I point outhow much we have lost. This is not the same country. It has been flooded withsocialism. Envy, greed, and subsequent lust for political power have raped ladyliberty, ravaged our land, and stolen the inheritance of the American Dream. Itis not patriotism to keep saying “America, America,” when the America of ourfathers is all but gone. It is ridiculous to sing “America the Beautiful” whensocialists and statists have marred the cheeks of her once-free and optimisticsmile. The America that remains is but a shell filled with Prussian andEuropean-style Socialism, wrapped in red, white, and blue. This is not truepatriotism.

No, the true patriotloves freedom, family, and property. The word “patriot” literally means “of thefathers.” A true patriot, therefore, conserves the good his fathers built andpassed down. He loves vast horizons untaxed by cold marble institutions indistant Capitols, unfettered by radicals in black robes. A true patriot lovesthe land, and his Father is God not “the State,” and not “the People”; his landis protected by law, respect for law, and as a last resort, the right todefend, not progressively taxed away by politicians wanting to “spread thewealth around,” neither rented from the State as a privilege to live under itsalmighty watch.

Is there a way tostop, even reverse the godless trend of the past 150 years? As pessimistic as this all may sound, changeis possible. It begins with mentally and spiritually reclaiming our foundingprinciples of individual freedom and enterprise. We must make up our own mindsand hearts that these principles are worth defending. And unlike thosespineless Congresspersons who, after voting “no” on the bailout, sickeninglycaved and voted “yes” after some of the loot was thrown to their pet projectsand districts. We must never compromise our principles.

Once we secure theseconvictions, we must pass them to the next generation. This means maintaining astrong biblical view of the family and of education. Education should becompulsory (in the sense that Deuteronomy and Ephesians command us to educateour children), but this is compulsory before God and not the civil State;and education should be costly (in personal time, money, and effort), but noone should ever be forced to pay for someone else’s education. This seeminglysimple tax for public education violates nearly every sacred boundary known toman, especially when the content of that education begins and ends withblasphemy. Unless we recover education as a distinctly family- andchurch-oriented mandate, we will continue to watch society slide intosecularism.

Further steps includecontinual effort to secure public debates and discussion in churches and publicforums. Debates should center on America’s Christian history and the necessityof Christianity as the foundation of social order. Marx consciously erased thisfoundation, claiming it was but an abstraction of the real problems of mankind.He said that any objections to his system from a religious standpoint “are notdeserving of a serious examination.”7 But he was too self-consciously opposed toChristianity for his dismissal to carry any truth. Christian freedom, God-givenrights, and law-protected family and property all posed the ultimate threat tohis man-centered takeover of the world (and thus of other men). His program ofabolishing property, abolishing the traditional family, socializing education,and socializing sex were all contrived precisely as anti-biblical ideas. Itwas the institution of his system that Marx saw, not as the product of, but asthe means to abolishing religion itself.8 He saw his program as the economic and socialcounterpart to Darwin’s work in nature: an explanation of social order thatdoes not require God.

Perhaps the mostunfortunate aspect of Marx’s success was the fact the he only succeeded becauseChristians refused to get involved to begin with. Marx always kept this in mind and exploitedit. Reporting on the socialist Hague Congress of 1872, Marx made thisunfortunately true remark:

One day the workerwill have to seize political supremacy to establish the new organization oflabor; he will have to overthrow the old policy which supports the oldinstitutions if he wants to escape the fate of the early Christians who,neglecting and despising politics, never saw their kingdom on earth.9

This “neglecting anddespising” of politics by Christians has continued in modern American history, and America has since followed theanti-Christian program of Marx and abandoned that of the Bible. This blindfollowing has included many Christians. The reversal of this trend will requirebringing these issues into the open as worldview issues. The church must allowand encourage political and economic discussion, and the public must be made toknow that we have the answers. The transformation will not happen overnight,but it can happen.

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1.  This number has beenupdated from the figures available for the book in 2009. [↩]

2.  “The Socialist LaborParty of North America Platform,” 1887;http://www.slp.org/pdf/platforms/plat1887.pdf, accessed October 16, 2008. [↩]

3.  “National People’sParty Platform”; http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5361, accessed October 16, 2008.[↩]

4.  Quoted in R. J.Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education: Studiesin the History of the Philosophy of Education (Philipsburg, NJ: Prebyterian and ReformedPublishing, 1963), 19. [↩]

5.  Quoted in R. J.Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education, 24. [↩]

6.  R. J. Rushdoony, The MessianicCharacter of American Education, 27. [↩]

7.  Karl Marx andFriedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” BasicWritings on Politics and Philosophy, ed. Lewis S. Feuer (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1959), 26. [↩]

8.  Karl Marx, “Capital,Book I,” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels On Religion (New York: Schocken Books, 1964), 136. [↩]

9.  Karl Marx, “On theHague Congress,” Karl Marx, Frederick Engels: Collected Works, 50 vol. (NewYork: International Publishers, 1988), 23:255. [↩]

 Source: AmericanVision.org