The Fruit of Marxism

Marxism cannot exist without control over people, including people’s thought and beliefs. No deviations can be tolerated, which is why Marxist states often tend to quickly become police states. In Marxists states, everything belongs to the collective, including and especially people. Therefore, the state could come at any time and take you, your children, your spouse, and do with them what they pleased. Listen to what Rick Joyner says:

It is fitting that the color adopted by Marxism is red. There has been no ideology in history that has caused more bloodshed of its own people than Marxism. This is because of one core precept of Marxism as stated by Karl Marx in The Capitalist: “the individual has no value.” Without any religious or moral basis other than the interests of the collective, it became not only acceptable, but a duty to kill as many as necessary to bring about total subjugation to the collective. This was the basic validation for Lenin’s purges.

Stalin took it to the next obvious level through the wholesale murder and starvation of over thirty million of his own people. This was also the validation of Mao’s murder of tens of millions of Chinese citizens in the Cultural Revolution. In the span of just forty years, over 110 million people were confirmed killed by Marxist purges, and the true number is likely much higher. Because individuals have no value, this was not even considered a crime, or evil, under Marxism.

Unfortunately, Marx had his dark political and economic philosophy reinforced by the release of Origin of Species by his contemporary Charles Darwin. Darwin’s theory of evolution further reduced the value of the individual. Instead of the Biblical understanding that mankind is created in the image of God, Darwin declared man to be just another animal species that happened to be a little more advanced than the rest. Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest” served as an easy apologetic for the killing of the weak by the strong, or in the case of Marxism, those in power.

As Rick Joyner stated, in some cases it was even promoted as a duty so that the species would not be corrupted by weakness. This became a key component in Marxist doctrine and was also adopted by the “National Socialist Party”—the Nazis. The Nazis were also socialists who believed that the individual existed for the state, not the other way around. This made it easy to dehumanize the Jews with horrendous results.

Christianity emphasizes that salvation is personal—one had to have personal faith in Christ to be saved. This gave infinite value and importance to the individual, as well as responsibility. This is, of course, contrary to the Marxist doctrine of the collective and Karl Marx’s statement that the individual has “no value.”

I hope you are not bored with all these discussions on economics. Look for more practical application in the New Year.

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What About the “Redistribution of Wealth”?

Jim Morrison in his book God Gave Capitalism to You discusses what he feels is the false notion that capitalism is bad, and Marxism and socialism are good. Here are his thoughts:

“Some say a ‘redistribution of wealth’ is the answer or that ‘we must spread it around’ to help everyone and make things more ‘fair’…even Christians find this message appealing as it sounds like you are an ‘advocate for the downtrodden’. However this anti-capitalist message is connected with Marxism itself. Marxism is inherently atheistic, and thus not compatible with the scriptures.”

To explain lets look at a definition of Marxism. Marxism is the ideology developed by Karl Marx in the middle to late 1800’s. Within decades, it had subdued nearly half of mankind and resulted in over one hundred million deaths (details to follow). The two most basic precepts of Socialism and Marxism are:

1) The individual has no value.

2) There is no such thing as private property.

Under pure Marxism, everything is about the collective. Everything belongs to the state, the collective, including your house, your children, your spouse, even your life. They all could be taken from you at any time. Because of this, no one wants to stand out.

Therefore, no system has ever so completely destroyed creativity and initiative as Marxism. Soon anyone, or any group, that did stand out was quickly destroyed. This is where Marxism always ultimately leads. Personal initiative was discouraged and often violently crushed. In many basic ways, Marxism and true, biblical Christianity are exactly opposite to one another. Marx realized this, which is why one of his basic goals was the destruction of Christianity. In their pure forms, Christianity and Marxism cannot coexist.

The Biblical Worldview is one that allows people to own personal property and honestly benefit from their own labor, wisdom, education and experience. It allows individuals to be creative and industrious. As America experimented with Adam Smith’s ideas about capitalism and free markets it started to grow, and as it did immigrants from all over the world flocked there. Did they go there so someone could redistribute wealth to them? No…they went for the opportunity to work and be rewarded by it. Socialist redistribution of a forced nature is like theft. People can (and should) give willingly and freely to the poor or whatever cause they choose, but the moment it is forced freedom is lost.

 

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Does Capitalism Equal Greed?

It is common today to hear critiques of capitalism because it is subject to greed. Indeed there are numerous, significant examples of capitalism being corrupted by greedy individuals in the name of profit. However, what we find is when capitalism has failed it is because of greedy people functioning within this economic system and not because of the economic system itself, which we find to be Biblical in its roots.

Is capitalism the only economic system in which greed is found? No. History shows us that many communist dictators lived in luxury while their people practically starved. Yasser Arafat was a great example of a greedy and selfish dictator. He died with more than 50 million dollars hidden in personal bank accounts, while people in Palestine were living in destitute conditions.

Jim Morrison states, “Socialist governments continually exhibit their greed as they rob more and more from producers to fund bloated government programs that ‘help’ the populace. In Greece, police were killed in the streets in the Spring of 2010 as government workers rioted over the threat of their paycheck/benefits being cut in any way. Greece has a socialist form of government…The International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailed out Greece but did not change the basic socialistic structure of the government so the crisis will resurface again. So now German citizens have to pay an additional tax to help pay for Germany’s contribution to Greece through the IMF.”

Consider Denmark. The Danish politicians believe that capitalists are an unpleasant necessity to generate the revenues to fund the social welfare state.  Denmark has the highest taxes in the world, far above the European average.  It also has the smallest private sector in Europe, one that supports one of the biggest public sectors. A generous entitlement system allows unemployed and unemployable citizens an income well above that achieved by full time employees in the private sector in many European countries, and there is a need for tax revenues nearly unmatched anywhere else in the world.

Half of the adult population in Denmark is either working in the public sector or living on some form of social transfer payment. Out of 5.6 million people, a little more than 2 million are pensioners, unemployed, sick or on social transfer payments for other reasons. Around 800,000 are employed in the public sector. There are only around 1.8 million that are not dependent on state payments in some form and actually get a real paycheck for working. Simply stated there are not enough producers to maintain this socialist system.

Consequently there is not a flood of people pouring in to Denmark because of the economic opportunity there. No… generally speaking those few who want to get in to Denmark are those who want to take advantage of their public welfare system.

My point here is that any economic system can be hijacked by greed because greed is found in the heart of unredeemed man. Although some people routinely associate greed with capitalism, the truth is that greed is found just as much, or more in Socialism and Marxism.

Coming up…a closer look at Karl Marx.

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Unprecedented Freedom and Prosperity to Enjoy

I love reading Rabbi Daniel Lapin to broaden my Judeo-Christian worldview in a practical way. In his book Thou Shalt Prosper – Ten Commandments for Making Money, he teaches that the Jews always accepted that faith is the fuel that drives commerce, finances and religion. Jewish tradition shows that a close relationship exists between God and the marketplace. Lapin states…

“Economics used to be a field of study that was included with religion and theology. Adam Smith and many other 18th Century economists were religious philosophers before they were economists. When universities moved the study of economics from their religious departments to their science departments, they were actually driving a wedge between the profoundly uplifting activity of business and the moral arguments and spiritual dimensions that support economics.”

So no wonder some think capitalism is not moral. Jim Morrison says, “people say capitalism is greedy because it is about getting money. Such a claim is inherently ignorant and devoid of facts, especially the history of capitalism. The three pillars of capitalism are Incentive, Property Rights and Freedom as defined by Adam Smith in the The Wealth of Nations. Which one of these three…incentive, property rights or freedom is evil, greedy or out of line with biblical principles?”

Lapin defines “ethical” capitalism as a system where humans interact voluntarily with one another for economic gain. But enough of economic theory, how about a practical example?

Adam Smith put forth the idea of specialization…do what you are good at…Let each person or cooperation of person do what they do best. This was a radical idea at the time but quite common now. We don’t all individually grind flour and bake bread each day. No…we are happy to pay someone else to do this for us and feel fine with them making a profit. If their profit margin is too high then there is someone else up the street doing if for less. The free market keeps the price where it should be. If we want a special kind of bread we are willing to go to a specialty bread shop probably pay more for it. Likewise the baker has incentive to sell the bread for a profit that helps him feed his family, pay for housing and save some money for investing or maybe the purchase of the building he is now renting for his bakery.

Yes, as we will discuss in the next blog, capitalism can be tainted by greed but it is still the most superior economic system and has brought Americans, and all other nations who embrace it, unprecedented freedom and prosperity to enjoy. Capitalism creates a society that is suited for wealth creation. You may have never thought about the affect accumulating capital could have on your personal finances, but now is the time to start.

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The Wealth of Nations

When God was preparing Israel for the Promised Land, He told them, “You may say to yourself ‘ My power and the strength of my hands have produce this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today” Deuteronomy 8:17-18. He was preparing them to prosper and one way this happened was by teaching them about capital. When we read in the Bible the lessons that formed the early Jewish economic system and helped the Hebrews to identify a sense of “capital” which was separate from the individual, we do not automatically associate this with the economic system called capitalism.

It was up to a Scottish economist in the 1770’s by the name of Adam Smith to pick up on these Biblical principles and form the ideas for the economic system of capitalism. He wrote a monumental book called The Wealth of the Nations and today he is called the father of capitalism. Adam Smith was a Christian and he was brilliant. The Wealth of Nations is not an easy read; it reads like an old-fashioned college textbook and many today would struggle to finish reading it.

The book Smith published was originally called, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (usually shortened to The Wealth of Nations). Economics of the time were dominated by the idea that a country’s wealth was best measured by its store of gold and silver. Smith proposed that a nation’s wealth should be judged not by this metric but by the total of its production and commerce (the activity of people)—today known as gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is still the standard measure of economies today. Smith thought rational self-interest (a motive for a reasonable profit) and competition would lead to economic prosperity.

Alan Greenspan writes that The Wealth of Nations was “one of the great achievements in human intellectual history.” Adam Smith wrote about ideas of economic freedom that no nation of any consequence was using at the time. After England, America became the first nation to begin to systematically apply these principles and eventually became the most prosperous economy on earth. In future blogs we will be looking at the three pillars of capitalism that Adam Smith identified…incentive, property rights and freedom.

But isn’t capitalism too easily corrupted by greed you might ask? This is an important question we will examine in upcoming blogs as well.

 

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Like Taking Care of the Family Pet

Like many reading this blog, for many years I thought my only opportunity for income was a paycheck that I was receiving for my labor. When I discovered capital as a source of income it caused me to make some changes in our finances. I had to save and look for opportunity to invest to produce income. Actually God mentored me a little like he did the children of Israel, but more about that later.

To teach the Hebrews about capital, God put each and every Jewish family in charge of some land and they had to cultivate it and take care of it. In Harold Eberle’s book Compassionate Capitalism: A Judeo-Christian Value; he describes how it changes your thinking when you have something like capital that you have to take care of:

Compare this to two children being raised in two different modern families. One child is put in charge of the family pet. This child is taught to feed and water the animal, along with all the other responsibilities of taking care of a family pet. As the child develops they will become ever conscious of the needs of the family pet. On the other hand the child that is never put in charge of anything outside of himself will only be conscious of his own needs.

Taking care of the family pet taught the child to constantly think a certain way. In a similar way, becoming aware of how capital can produce income creates a desire to accumulate and manage capital…just like it did for the children of Israel. Harold Eberle says it like this:

“…the person who owns a farm can plant crops or hire laborers to plant crops that can be sold. Or the land could be rented to someone who will do likewise producing income for the farm owner. Someone who has accumulated money can loan out that money at interest. The idea that capital is productive changes the orientation of one’s life toward the goal of accumulating capital and making it productive.

The poor generally do not appreciate the value of capital and are not bothered to accumulate it. They might even see it as selfish or evil. On the other hand, more prosperous people feel like something is wrong if they do not have capital. I believe the Christian today should look for capital to produce income that is separate from any paycheck income they might receive. This is in keeping with how the Lord mentored the ancient Hebrews.

 

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Fish, Fishing or Own the Fish Pond

As we have been examining the Biblical Worldview for these months we have looked at the initial things that God was teaching the Hebrews in their early days as his adopted children. Many of these lessons formed the early Jewish economic system and helped the Hebrews to identify a sense of “capital” which was separate from the individual. In contrast, the pagans of the day tended to center their activities on meeting the needs of themselves and their families…working for themselves.

In contrast God planted the Jews in a Promised Land and each family was given a portion of land. It was something of value they owned and stewarded. They were to take care of it and improve it. They were directed by God to take care of their accumulated wealth or we could call it “capital”. It was their responsibility. This became a value embraced by the entire Jewish nation. They expected each other to take care of their land and to develop it as capital.

Harold Eberle says it like this, “Consider the often quoted advice, ‘Instead of giving a person a fish, teach them how to fish’. The second – teaching him how to fish – will provide for the persons present and future needs. However, neither being given a fish nor teaching them how to fish, were Gods way of dealing with the Jews. He had a third option. God wanted to teach the Jews how to own and manage the fish pond. Then they could charge the fishermen for everything they caught. This was a huge transition in thought. Even today people with lower economic conditions tend to orient their lives toward obtaining food, paying bills and purchasing some desired objects for themselves. In contrast wealthy people tend to orient their lives toward maintaining and increasing their capital. They see capital as something separate from themselves.”

So for the Christian today…to have a sense of being a caretaker of capital, be it land or money, will in a practical way change their thinking and cause them to experience more of God’s promised prosperity. The accumulated capital will care for their present needs and the needs of others; but also exist beyond them and be passed on to others to manage.

This Biblical attitude towards capital allows the individual to be less emotionally attached to it and make less emotional financial decisions. And it allows the individual to see capital as something that produces income to be managed as a steward. More to come….

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