Understanding Socialism

Bernie Sanders

One of the biggest mistakes of my generation was somehow allowing much of American society to degenerate from rational opposition to blind acceptance of socialism. We have sat idle while our replacement generation has lost sight of the grave dangers of this political and economic system. The best we can do now is to make a bold attempt to expose this evil for what it really is. This post is a move in that direction.

Socialism in a nutshell is giving up individual freedom and allowing the government to provide for our needs in exchange for making our decisions for us. It is an economic and political system that depends on a powerful, autocratic government. Socialism came of age with Karl Marx’s theories written as the Communist Manifesto in 1848. The socialist government can be totalitarian (a dictator), oligarchic (a powerful committee), or even democratic. Regardless of the structure, such a government determines what the people need and controls all business production and services to meet those needs. This results in an equitable distribution of wealth and material resources among all people with no competitive buying and selling in the market. Citizens are totally dependent on and subject to the government.

Prominent historical examples include the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, while current examples are China, Cuba, and Venezuela. Although some socialist governments have maintained a robust economy by controlling production, those countries’ citizens are ultimately oppressed and have little incentive to pursue a better quality of life.

In this election year, we are being told that the socialism of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is not the failed socialism of the past but rather “Democratic” socialism. They point to the Scandinavian countries as examples instead of China, Cuba, and Venezuela. Sanders says he is not anti-business and declares he supports free elections. However, his proposed system of government is pure socialism. He advocates free health care, free college education, controls on income, and major government subsistence for low income earners. The astronomic costs of these government programs would be funded by huge tax increases on everyone. Oh yes, he says he will tax the rich to provide these comforts. The problem is these costs could not begin to be funded by taxing the top American earners at 100 percent. Taxes would be raised tremendously on almost everyone, which is exactly what socialism does. If the socialist government decides the people need more, it takes more from the people in the form of taxes. A democratically elected socialist government is still a socialist government that preys on its citizens.

The truth is that socialism has never worked effectively as a political and economic system…never!  Even in the Scandinavian countries, it reduces efficiency and initiative in production. It can easily take root in a poor country with a chaotic government looking for something different. When it does, it is usually the result of a revolution that leaves a trail of violence and death. But the “utopia” is short lived as the citizens figure out they are under oppression without freedom to determine their own destiny. Then it is too late. To bring socialism into a thriving economy under-girded with individual freedoms would be absolutely disastrous and absurd.

Free market capitalism has made America the richest, healthiest, most powerful, and most productive country in the history of the world. A recent study shows the poorest 20 percent of Americans consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent countries including western Europe. In other words, if America’s “poor” were a nation, it would be one of the world’s richest. This is why we have such an immigration problem. Millions of people dream of coming to America. The greatness of America is the result of God’s blessing through two essential concepts: capitalism as the driver of our economy and individual liberty as the standard of our society. Both must exist simultaneously for the ultimate benefit of the people.

Granted, there are some downsides to capitalism. It does not ensure economic equality. Those who work hardest and are most productive will gain more wealth than others. Incentive is rewarded with better quality of life, while lethargy lessens quality of life. American capitalism, however, makes provision for the less fortunate with social programs supported by reasonable taxes of the more affluent. A cursory study of the American free market and individual freedoms proves that, despite some problems still needing to be resolved, our society is superior to any other in the world. Then why is seemingly half our population ready to trade that life for a much lesser life?

I believe the answer lies in two realities. First, the education of our youth, both parental and institutional, has largely avoided the socioeconomic truths that formed this great nation. Instead of factual studies of constitutional democracy, economic history, and comparative government, millennials and younger have been fed a scholastic diet of liberal psychology and social radicalism. They have learned the weaknesses of America but not its overriding strengths. Secondly, technology, liberal media, family breakdown, and the devaluation of discipline have produced a sense of entitlement, false security, and irresponsibility in our younger generation. Why wouldn’t they want more free stuff without regard to its source and ultimate cost to society? That is their experience, and they have not been taught the consequences. The reality that nothing is really free has been lost on most of them.

The future of America as we know it will depend on freedom-loving Americans showing up on election day to put down the revolution of socialism. We must also make every attempt to instill the truth in our children and grandchildren. We have to replace their indoctrination with factual counter positions. The future of our nation hangs in the balance.

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Why Church Is Important in Parenting

Juvenile delinquency, crimes by minors, and psychological issues among children are increasing exponentially. Church attendance is decreasing exponentially. Is there a connection? Studies show that children whose parents are serious about church attendance become more emotionally stable and of better character than other children. Too many parents ensure their children are safe, healthy, educated, and socially skilled, but neglect their spiritual development.

Numerous studies by institutions such as Duke University, Indiana University, University of Michigan, Center for Disease Control, Barna Research Group, Gallup, Pew, and the National Institute for Healthcare correlate child development and church involvement.  These studies show that, despite parental guidance, D.A.R.E. programs, after-school programs, athletic programs, etc., many children veer away from quality lifestyles. The research, however, confirms that children who actively engage in a faith community on a regular basis have a SIGNIFICANTLY reduced likelihood of life problems and risky behaviors. The studies also show that children who regularly attended church substantially improved their odds of a happier, healthier, and longer life.

America’s minor children are committing violent crimes and exhibiting anti-social behavior at record rates compared to a few decades ago. A study by The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that juvenile crime has increased more than 30% over the last 50 years. Research by the Barna Group and the American National Election Studies shows church attendance down by about the same percentage during the same period. Those statistics combined with the correlation between child development and church attendance prove a positive link between desired child behavior and consistent involvement in church. The sooner children are engaged in church, the better. Empirical evidence indicates that, if children are not regularly active in church by age 12, the odds of becoming active drops dramatically. Parents who truly want the best for their children need to get them involved in church now and regularly. Of course, church-going families can have troubled children, and non-church-going families can have children of model behavior. But, statistically, families not involved in church are at far greater risk of raising children with behavior problems.

The church avoidance trends are most prevalent among millennials. A recent Barna study revealed that 65% of America’s senior adults attend church regularly, while only 39% of millennials do so. Of course, it’s the millennials who are raising most of the current generation of children. Many who are not attending church say they are praying, reading the Bible, and providing religious training to their children at home. However, God’s Word, the Bible, gives strong reasoning for His work being accomplished through the church including corporate worship, ministry sharing, group prayer, in-depth Bible study, and accountability. Personal spiritual development at home is necessary, but it is meant to complement, no replace, the church.

Parents who do not attend church as a family are denying their children a major advantage in character growth and are placing their children’s future and even eternal destiny at risk. I have heard some parents say they want to allow their children to ultimately make up their own minds about their religious beliefs and don’t want the church to influence them. That tells me the parents have no confidence in their own beliefs. Otherwise, such a statement would be like watching their children walk off a cliff with no attempt to stop them.

Both parents should be in agreement about involving their children in church. However, if only one considers it essential, that parent should take the lead in the spiritual welfare of the children. The Bible clearly teaches that the husband and father should be the spiritual leader of the family. In religious and spiritual matters of the family, the children usually follow the father’s lead. A recent study showed that, if the mother attended church, but the father didn’t, only 2% of the children would attend consistently. However, if the father attended and the mother didn’t, 44 % of the children would attend consistently. Today’s America desperately needs husbands and fathers who will lead their families’ spiritual journey.

One final important point. Church attendance is not required to be in a covenant relationship with God just like living together is not required for marriage. But, as a married couple receives the benefits of marriage by living together, so those who have committed themselves to Christ receive benefits of that commitment through the church. Church attendance is a natural expression and evidence of a family’s devotion to God.

If you are concerned about the future of America, and you don’t have your family in church, I humbly encourage you to be a part of the solution by attending church this Sunday…and every Sunday possible thereafter.

 

 

 

 

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