Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Friday, April 28, 2017

An objection to the hatred of socialists

Dear Hannah,

An old college friend of mine (and it must be confessed a Russian) has objected to a statement in my last essay that every good man ought to hate a socialist.


It's helpful in times like these I'm not a Christian or a Buddhist.  The "virtue" of hating hatred is not in my list of obligations; and even if it was, I would counter with the fact that Jesus wept for the burning of Jerusalem and still burned it to the ground anyway.  Anyone who can love the world and lay waste an entire city is my kind of man; a man who has his cake and eats it too.  He knows that if you really love anyone somebody has probably got to die.  In this case He loved Himself.  He got crucified and somebody had to pay.  There were children in Jerusalem when the Romans sacked it.  There were children in the world when God decided to flood it.  The one person you do not want to mess with is Jesus, and everyone thinks that the hallmark of being Christlike is being messed with.  I thank God I'm not a Christian.  It means I have the liberty of being Christlike.  I may throw away my life to prove I love someone.  I may also throw away someone else's life to prove I love someone other than them.  If the sacking of Jerusalem means anything at all, the most Christian thing you can believe in is a just war*.

The absurdity (and let us be frank, the extreme obnoxiousness) of this common objection aside, my Russian friend's was entirely different.  He objected to my generalization of socialism; and listing a series of approaches to statism said that socialists could range anywhere from Scandinavians to Soviets.  I agree with him here just like I know there are Franciscans and Puritans and both of them are Christians.  I agree with him here just like I know there are Lebanon and Afghanistan and both them are Islamic.  There are of course many strains of socialism (Marx himself in The Communist Manifesto listed six), and there is a strain of socialism which exists in all the strains.  The thing they agree about is that the private ownership of industry has been disastrous.  The thing they disagree about is how much industry you should be allowed to own.

If there is any objection to this, here is the definition of socialism according to Merriam Webster:
1) a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
synonyms: leftism · welfarism · radicalism · progressivism · 
 
2) policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism. synonyms: leftism · welfarism · radicalism · progressivism ·
3) (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism. 

What many "socialists" (and especially the so-called democratic socialists) these days do not realize is that they are not actually socialists.  The majority of them in America aren't interested in the nationalization of industry, but in the furthering of the grasp of crony capitalism and a welfare state.  They want you to own your business like Nazis wanted many people to own small businesses.  Unlike the Nazis they haven't advocated that the government step in and commandeer many particular industries.  They haven't advocated that the government step in and control many prices.  What they advocate is that the government tell you how much of your money you can keep and how much should be taken away based on what you do.  They advocate the regulation of industry so that we won't ruin the environment and mangle employees.  They are in essence welfare statists with a tendency to medical socialism.  They believe in big government (which is still terrible) but not necessarily in all government.  

The proof I have of this is that one of the men most ardently opposed to socialism was the father of the British welfare state.  What people do not know about Winston Churchill is that he proposed and enacted many reforms in English industry and simultaneously had many nasty things to say about socialism.  A socialist isn't interested in reform like Winston Churchill.  He isn't interested in common-sense regulations and a safety net like Thomas Paine was in The Rights of Man or even F.A. Hayek was in the famous (and extremely boring) anti-socialist treatise The Road to Serfdom.  He believes the government does a better job running a company than a company, and so he advocates the outright or implicit seizure of companies.  Lenin advocated forms of socialism before he advocated communism, and advocated communism before he advocated socialism.  He allowed the bourgeois to get higher wages and amass some property when he needed them to train communists to run factories.  He tried to abolish private bartering when he found it inconvenient.  He was always Lenin, and whether he was a socialist or a communist he was always a pain in the ass, which is why I hate him*.

This being said what about Scandinavia?  Well, what about it?  The place where industry has been stagnant due to taxes and over-regulation; where half of a nation's spending can be done by the government instead of the people; where their recent political reforms have been directed toward the reduction of the government; where the citizenry is considered so lowly that Sweden has become the rape capital of Europe, and blonde women are the favorite victims of worthless Middle-Easterners?  They gave away their freedom of property to a burgeoning egalitarian state.  They couldn't handle megalomaniacs in business so they made megalomaniacs in government.  Now they do not have freedom of speech and they are losing safety of person.  The states own them and favor somebody else. 

This coming from the countries that couldn't have stopped Hitler, which never gave the world a Thomas Jefferson or a Winston Churchill or an Edmund Burke or a Thomas Macaulay; a series of nations which have never and apparently will never direct the affairs of Europe unless through the hands of Islamists; which are considered the happiest nations in the world but where complaining about the most serious issues is verboten. And here we are only talking about the so-called democratic socialists -- the lite socialists -- the welfare statists.

The right to exist begins with property and arms and results in free speech.  It doesn't begin in speech without arms and then end up in property.  The socialist has it backwards and ought to be fought like a lunatic on the loose.  If he isn't he will turn your country into a madhouse.

Your father,
-J

*Perhaps in the history of mankind there has never been a phrase less useful than What Would Jesus Do?  The truth is that it is much easier to know what Jesus has done.  His constant snapping at His apostles when they thought they were doing the right thing; the lone incursions into the desert in the middle of His rallies; His ruining of dinner parties that were supposed to be fun; His spending time with people who weren't supposed to be good; and His purposely teaching of things in language that nobody could understand leaves us with a picture of a Man who was not only misunderstood, but Whom it is still easy to misunderstand.  What people are asking is not What Jesus Would Do.  They are asking us to do what they would do, and to pretend that what they do is exactly the same thing as Jesus.

**My hatred has limits.  First of all I love George Orwell and George Orwell was a democratic socialist.  Second I do not believe in torture in any circumstances whatsoever which means I do not advocate for damnation; and I believe that if Lenin and I were standing before God I would ask the same thing for Lenin that I would ask for myself.  I would want a new heart and a clean record.  I would want the same for Lenin and Hitler and Bernie Sanders and anyone else.

On earth we have no obligation to be impartial.  We are all sinners and we must act like some of us aren't and that is the end of it.  Some of us have to be demonized and punished or that is the end of society.  Some of us have to be almost whitewashed and worshiped or that is the end of heroism.  On the other hand in heaven none of us should judge.  The Lord knows all our secret thoughts and understands our sicknesses.  Before Him we are all ruined beyond measure; and He knows what we've thought and what we've done and what we would do if we could.  The only sensible thing to do on earth is to hold bad men accountable.  The only sensible thing to be done before God is to ask Him to forgive us.

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