Socialism, Part 3: The Lure of Socialism
The Lure of Socialism
What is man’s fatal attraction with big government? Why does he seem to prefer the iron yoke of the state to the light and easy yoke of Christ? What compels men to choose debt, bondage, regulation and bureaucratic systems over liberty? Why do we continue seeking political wisdom in the failed examples of socialist nations rather than in Christ and the Bible? Here are five reasons…
Confusion of the institutions of family, church and state
Socialism transforms Biblical admonitions to care for the poor, needy and oppressed into government mandates. The socialist’s concept of social justice forces civil government to do what it was not ordained and is not competent to do. This misguided and destructive philanthropy usurps and neglects the God-ordained roles and responsibilities of the individual, the Church and the family, leading to a cycle of increasing social dysfunction coupled with increasing demand for state intervention.
The inability to distinguish between the God-ordained spheres of human government (family, church, and state) and their respective roles in human affairs is the result of the Church’s abandonment of substantive worldview teaching, and the reduction of the Gospel to a salvation-only message. The end result of the Church’s self-imposed irrelevance is that men, left without a coherent worldview of their own, more often than not adopt the humanistic, collectivist political philosophies of the unbelieving world around them. As man’s faith in God and His Providence grows weak and unexercised, his faith in the government increases and the hearts of the people are turned to the state.
It has been said, those who will not be governed by a power within them will be governed by a power without. Human depravity increases the size and scope of civil government by placing on it ever increasing demands. Greed, lawlessness, fraud, covetousness, the fear of man, false charity, political vote-buying, militarism, and selfish special interests all work together to expand laws, regulation, programs, subsidies, spending, and taxation. As the entitlement mentality manifests itself, dependency increases. Program by program, tax by tax, benefit by benefit, human depravity feeds the growth of the welfare state. The socialist state squanders the wealth of the working people on bureaucracy, prisons, homeland security, wars, subsidized immorality, and the social security Ponzi scheme, as well as the demands of thousands of special interests.
Ironically, depraved man clamors for freedom even as he forges around himself the chains of socialism. But the socialist state cannot offer true liberty. It offers a corrupted, fallen substitute-freedom. It promises freedom from risk, freedom from responsibility, freedom from suffering, freedom the consequences of sin and unproductivity, freedom from the dictates of Biblical morality, and freedom from God. Thus socialism convinces men they are free, even as it enslaves them.
Depravity forms the very pillars of socialist/Marxist philosophy. Pride, covetousness, envy, laziness and atheism have generated such fundamental tenets of the Marxist faith as class warfare and revolution; progressive secular government education; the destruction of the family and its replacement by the state village; as well as egalitarianism, progressive income taxation, income redistribution (legal plunder), centralized planning and control and globalism.
One of the more fundamental engines of socialism is religious humanism: autonomous man’s self-worshipping, Luciferian desire to be his own god. The religious humanist seeks self-determination and freedom from God’s rule. He anxiously works to help society advance beyond the hindering influence of religion and Christianity. Psalm 2 speaks of his rage against God and his urgent desire to throw off the chains of His legal and ethical rule: “Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us.”
The religious humanist seeks to define his own existence, including his own ethical, moral, economic, political and legal systems. He rejects God’s existence, either outright or in practice, because his own ideas are in conflict with God’s. He holds God to be irrelevant to human affairs, and believes that man is therefore obligated to provide for his own salvation. A key driver of the humanist’s well-known social passion is his atheism. For without a hereafter, and no eternal destiny, providing for human social and material fulfillment in the here and now becomes an overriding priority.
Jefferson asked, “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he then be trusted with the government of others?” Would-be social planners are essentially egotists who hold themselves above the masses, even above God, believing they can accomplish what God, history and the laws of nature have not: the elimination of poverty and disease, freedom from the consequences of sin, world peace, religious unity and ecumenism, etc. They treat human society as their personal laboratory for social experimentation, with each believing he holds the keys to human progress. They seek to make a name for themselves as did Lucifer, the builders of Babel, Hitler, Marx, the French revolutionaries, and the signers of the Humanist Manifestos.
Every political philosophy is rooted in some religious worldview. Just as liberty is the fruit of Christianity, socialism is the product of Darwinian political thought. The socialist worldview believes that as man and human understanding evolve, so must law, culture, and political systems. Change is equated with progress. Continuity is backwardness. Socialism rejects concepts such as “unalienable”, “unchanging”, “eternal”, and “absolute.” Everything is relative and evolving and is validated only within the context of current conditions and understanding. Hence we see the rise of the “living” theory of constitutional and Biblical law which rejects both literalism and precedent, and embraces evolving legal interpretations conducive to implementing the evolving goals of modern society.
Under Darwinism, the purpose of law and the state are drastically expanded beyond securing domestic tranquility and the common welfare. The Darwinist state assumes the responsibility of facilitating the progress, evolution and development of human society, and ultimately the perfection of man himself.
Evolutionary theory has been instrumental in advancing the humanist and socialist perspective because it declares man’s self-existence and reduces God and the Bible to figments of man’s religious imagination. Evolution frees man to define his own legal, political and moral values, and allows, even obliges him to fill God’s role as judge, lawgiver and king. The vacuum created by the rejection of God inevitably results in the exaltation of the state as the sovereign, supreme power and the new Lord and savior of mankind.
Masochism and self-atonement
There is an even more fundamental aspect of human depravity that predisposes men to embrace socialist philosophy. It is unregenerate man’s subconscious but fatal tendency to enslave himself to self-destructive behaviors.
In his Politics of Guilt and Pity, Rushdoony draws the astonishing conclusion that unregenerate man actually chooses slavery as a subconscious act of “self-atonement.” He chooses the oppression of socialism because his soul, burdened with unresolved guilt, will not allow him to live as a free man. Deep down he knows himself to be both unworthy and incapable of living and enjoying a life of liberty. So, still enslaved to his sin-nature, unregenerate man subconsciously chooses political enslavement, just as he chooses enslavement to alcohol, tobacco, fornication, illegal drugs, pornography, abusive relationships, gambling, hoarding, debt and overspending, overeating, and many other addictive behaviors.
As another expression of self-atonement, man submits himself to forms of religious oppression. Though he rejects Christ, he seeks relief from the burden of his sin in religious cults, in the oppression of Islam, or other forms of religious legalism. Again, he cannot choose liberty because he comprehends neither its meaning, nor its source in Christ. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you,…and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Mat 12:28-30.
The masochistic impulse toward self-atonement manifests itself in other forms of self-degradation. We marvel at how men conjure ever more novel ways to degrade themselves in clothing, music, body mutilation, sexual deviancy, and other extreme behaviors. In the same manner, men choose to submit themselves to the degradation of socialism.
The Bible teaches that believers are called to liberty and that liberty is the evidence of Christ’s reigning in men’s lives. Political liberty is the evidence that Christ reigns not only in their hearts, but also in their minds, their political philosophies, and their culture. Liberty is the fruit of Christianity.
For this reason, the struggle for liberty and against socialism is first and foremost a spiritual struggle against unbelief. It is the work of the Church, not of secular political organizations, not even conservative ones such as the Republican Party and Fox News. The Church must recognize that the struggle against socialism and unbelief is part of her calling to disciple the nations for Christ.
Tt is also a matter of survival.
Socialism is inherently hostile to Christianity. While its desire for control may lead socialism to tolerate, and in some cases even subsidize, irrelevant, benign, state-run church institutions, it cannot tolerate the existence of a competing authority system that acknowledges a power higher than the state. Caesar would have had no problem with Christ and the church except for that unpleasant little issue of Christ’s claiming all power in heaven and on earth. In the political realm, as in the human heart, there can be only one king. The Lordship of Christ stands in irreconcilable conflict with every form of human supremacy. For this reason, it seems that the political arena often represents the ultimate test of man’s faith, for it is there that worldviews come into conflict.
Furthermore, unregenerate man, tormented by continued unresolved guilt, lashes out at God’s Law because it stands in condemnation of his sin. Socialism’s inherent hostility to Bible believing Christianity is manifested in attacks on Biblical teachings on creation, marriage, education, government, sexual morality, and anything else that conflicts with its humanistic foundations. The resulting widespread and systematic censorship of Christ’s name, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, creation science, and even the national motto “In God we trust” is no mere anomaly or “swing of the pendulum.” Far from neutrality toward religion, government censorship of Christian teaching is evidence of a deliberate, systematic hostility toward Christ and the Bible. It is a fundamental commitment of unbelieving systems.
It is no accident that socialists find themselves in league with atheists, humanists, homosexual activists, globalists, evolutionists, Marxists and radical environmentalists. These ideologies all find common ground in contempt for God and His law as the motivating force behind their agendas.
Marx saw socialism as a point on the road to a fully atheistic communist state which would include the destruction of the church, the family, and the foundations of liberty as we know it. It is essential that the believing Church learn to understand socialism, not merely as the final abolition of private property, but as the unbelieving spirit and anti-Christian philosophy which undergird socialism and every other form of big government.
God calls his people to liberty through Christ—not security through collectivism, kings, bureaucracy or any other political system the world has to offer. It is written,”The just shall live by faith” and “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Socialism and big government are sin because they put faith in man and his idols, not ion God and His Providence. Just as liberty is the fruit of Christ, socialism and big government are the fruit of human depravity and rebellion.
The struggle against socialism is the struggle against unbelief. The Church must recognize this, throw off her self-imposed shackles, regain political and social relevance, and rediscover her calling to disciple the nations for Christ. The fight against socialism cannot and will not be won through secular political activism but by a reawakening of the people to the meaning of liberty in Christ.
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