Socialism: Compatible With Neither
Libertarianism is a political philosophy that believes government has as its legitimate function only the protection of its citizens and their property, both foreign and domestic. Attempts at anything else, lead to tyranny.
Libertarians subscribe to the principle of non-aggression. We refuse to initiate violence against anyone but we believe that if anyone initiates violence against us, we are entitled to respond for our own protection. We apply this to both domestic and foreign policy. We believe that since our own experiment in democracy has not been perfect, The United States of American do not have the right to tell others how to handle theirs.
Freedom has struggled with government since the beginning of history. When the first tribal council sat around some long ago fire and decided on leadership, the erosion of freedom began. It has been re-enacted in each successive society, since.
Our American experiment in freedom began nearly twenty-four decades ago. It is based in legal and spiritual egalitarianism. These principles were laid out in our Declaration of Independence. They were a thumb in the eye of the established order of the day. It was a revolutionary idea that government was subordinate to the people.
Libertarians believe in complete freedom within the broad boundaries of committing no harm to anyone else or his property. That philosophy is at its most extreme with the anarcho-capitalists, who believe in no government, only free associations. Despite the impressive logic of its greatest acolyte, Murray Rothbard, most libertarians, myself included, fall into the minarchist category who believe that the very smallest government possible is acceptable.
That broad road of freedom, comes with many dangers. It can lead to great excesses but the responsibility for the results rests with the individual. If you want to destroy yourself with alcohol, drugs, sex or gambling, you should be free to do it; just don’t try to turn around and force anyone else to subsidize the subsequent disasters.
Which gets to the next point. I believe I have responsibility to help my fellow man but it comes from my relationship with my Creator or Jesus, if you will, not the government. As Milton Friedman once said, “Everyone should be free to do good with his own money.”
This is where religion comes in because throughout history, religion has been the moving force for most of our health, education and charitable work. In health care, the names tell the story, a tale of Saints, Miriams, Baptists, Episcopals, etc.
Churches and temples were the repositories of knowledge and scientific endeavors. The Catholic Church regarded science as the discovery of God’s plan for His Creation. Grigor Mendel, an Austrian monk, studied inheritance patterns of plants, the foundation of genetics. His work stands today.
Jesus, as a young man from the hinterland of Nazareth, astonished the elders at The Great Temple with His knowledge of scripture. Jesus’ exhortations to care for the poor were reflected in religious orders such as the Franciscan, Dominican etc.
The Declaration of Independence and Constitution were enshrined when the Industrial Revolution wasn’t even a glimmer on the horizon. As it burst onto the scene, socialism also became a force. Karl Marx published the ultimate socialist guide, The Communist Manifesto, in 1848.
History had recorded socialist ideas from before the time of Christ and much more recently with experiments in America and Europe in various communities. In America, there were the Shakers and others. They all collapsed, leaving but remnants, after some early success.
The dawn of socialism saw the transfer of religious functions to government. Gradually, government has gotten into each of those fields and, wherever possible, moved religion out. Government cannot tolerate competition.
Government is socialism’s god and it is the goal of socialism to replace the worship of God with the worship of government, in its various religions – fascism, national socialism, communism, progressivism, liberalism or simple socialism. We are the worse for it.
There is nothing that government does that cannot be accomplished more efficiently and cheaply by individual initiative in a free market. This includes health care, education, charity, roads, banking, construction, farming and anything else.
The morning after Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, a man from Far Rockaway observed that all the private and religious charities were out in full force but he asked, “Where’s the government?” And natural disasters are where government is supposed to be better that any other agency.
Although this nation was not founded as specifically Christian, there can be no doubt that Christian principles were in the minds of many, if not most, of the signers of The Articles of Confederation, The Declaration and The Constitution and also the forgotten ratifiers.
As a Catholic, I believe that a libertarian society offers Catholics the opportunity to conduct their lives most in accordance with the principles of Jesus. In a free society, the individual has the maximum of choices and it is only when there are choices that the person can experience the joy and satisfaction of making the decent one. If you have no choice, what joy and satisfaction can you have?
Christianity is a way of life, also within broad boundaries. Jesus laid out a blueprint for people in their treatment of their fellow man. That blueprint informs Christian moral code.
Every law, regulation or statute that is passed, is a restriction on freedom. In a land of freedom, the first concern should be whether an action increases or decreases it but that is rarely even mentioned. If the law restricts freedom, the question should be whether it law is necessary. Usually, it isn’t.
Socialism believes that the people must be the servants of and subservient to government. That turns our entire philosophy on its head.
You know the tree by its fruits and the fruits of progressivism/socialism have been economies that eventually self-destruct and barbarity unmatched in history as many socialist societies waged war on their own people. One hundred fifty million people were slaughtered by their own governments during the twentieth century. The vast majority were victimized by socialist governments of various types.
Under socialism, crimes against the state are often treated more harshly than crimes against other citizens. Under Josip Stalin, farmers were executed for taking a potato from the harvest because it belonged to ‘the people.’ Failure to meet production goals in factories and farms was considered evidence of insufficient communist commitment and a capital offense. This resulted in a lot of fraudulent reports. The German concentration camps are notorious.
When government is small, as it should be, it affords ample opportunity for the people to rely on God or Christ’s guidance. As government grows, that opportunity shrinks accordingly. This is as the religion of man wants.
Under socialism, government will infringe on all sectors of society, including religion. It replaces God in our lives in all of its sects – fascism, national socialism, communism, progressivism, liberalism or simple socialism.
Through a centuries’ long process, our government has become an American variant of socialist under both Democrats and Republicans. Socialism cannot permanently live with Christianity; it must destroy or reduce Christianity in any common endeavor. It has almost completely succeeded in education and charity. Health care is in government’s crosshairs.
Karl Marx, the ultimate progressive, despised religion as witnessed by his statement, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” The most antireligious and anti-Christian regimes in history have been the most socialistic, the Soviet Union, Red China, North Korea. National Socialist Germany was very antireligion and many in the hierarchy practiced Satanism. All of the systems persecuted Christianity because they recognized the incompatibility.
Libertarianism allows for Christianity and even welcomes it. Neither can exist with socialism, no matter its form.
January 9, 2014
~ About the Author ~
Dr. Roderick T. Beaman is a board certified family osteopathic physician who practices in Jacksonville, Florida. He is a published poet, has composed a blues song and is trying to have his first novel published. It deals with the dangers of big government. He offers anyone who wishes to dignify the trash he writes with a comment, to do so.