Tag Archives: social justice

Letting poor people vote is un-American!

I came across a Facebook friend’s post which declared “Right-wing commentator: Poor people voting is ‘un-American'”

Since the liberals who were commenting on the story appeared to completely miss the point that the commentator was getting at, I decided to help them out:

Oppression should be opposed regardless of who the oppressors are or who they happen to want to oppress. This goes for rich oppressing the poor through the purchasing of government favors with their dollars just as much as it does the poor oppressing the rich through the purchasing of government favors with their votes.

Its not so much that the poor shouldn’t be allowed to vote, its that the poor shouldn’t be allowed to vote for the legalized plundering of others.

Liberals love to invoke class warfare and since they assume that terms like “rich” and “poor” are prescriptive of a static group of people and not descriptive of a temporal economic state, the notion that “the poor” could ever oppress “the rich” is simply unheard of. Simply put, they are operating from Karl Marx’s playbook where “the poor” are likely to rise up and overthrow their capitalistic masters any day now.

It may be apocryphal, but it still fits:

A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on they will vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury. -Alexander Tyler, University of Edinburgh history professor in 1887

So in a sense the liberal characterization of the conservative commentator is right. Letting poor people vote is, indeed, un-American if what they are voting for is to legally plunder the rich, or anyone else (like common taxpayers like myself) for that matter.

Share

Does Capitalism Have a Soul? (Arthur C. Brooks vs Jim Wallis)

Share

Book Review: Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem

In a presentation sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, Jay Richards presents the major themes from his excellent book, Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem.

In his book, Jay explores the question of why Christians should care about economics and why he believes capitalism is the best economic system we’ve come up with so far.

In his opening Jay makes the point that while many people talk about fighting poverty, few people employ their minds in coming up with permanent solutions. Instead, Jay argues, we are all too often content to dole out handouts to those in need. While that may be necessary in emergency situations, it is not a sustainable long term solution.

In his book Jay argues that capitalism is the best means of lifting entire nations out of grinding poverty. If we are serious about helping the poor, we should encourage the spread of free market principles so that others can enjoy the rich blessings capitalism is known to provide.

Jay’s book is centered around addressing eight myths about capitalism. These myths include:

  • Can’t we build a just society?
  • What would Jesus do?
  • Doesn’t capitalism foster unfair competition?
  • If I become rich, won’t someone else become poor?
  • Isn’t capitalism based on greed?
  • Hasn’t Christianity always opposed capitalism?
  • Doesn’t capitalism lead to an ugly consumerist culture?
  • Are we going to use up all the resources?

In the last question Jay makes the case that capitalism is the best economic system for protecting the environment.

Overall I’ve found Jay’s book to be one of the most helpful resources in explaining to both Christians and non-Christians why capitalism is the solution and not the problem.

Share

Do we really still need social assistance programs?

A while ago I Tweeted:

Are tax cuts for “millionaires” a good idea? Sure they are. I’ve never gotten a job from someone on welfare.

To which a friend of mine responded:

Ebenezer Scrooge: Why are these people out here? Wearing rags, eating scraps! Why aren’t they in poorhouses…?

Ghost of Christmas Present: Have you VISITED any of these poorhouses you speak of?

Ebenezer Scrooge: No, but I’m taxed for them; isn’t that enough?

Ghost of Christmas Present: YOU tell ME.

It is not the government’s job to provide for the poor. That is our job, as individuals. I’ll take a private-run charity over a government-run one any day.

Further, I would argue that government hand outs hurt far more than they help.

how?

Because it pays people to fail.

Most poor are only trying to survive. Not too many poor live the good life off the public dole. There are many wealthy who DO live off the public dole though. The poor get a few $$ and some food stamps.

I will NEVER be against helping poor people, especially in these tough times. I have NO problem with my tax dollars helping them either.

Most poor…. in America?

I am against hurting the poor, and programs that do not encourage people to work and earn a living hurt both the poor as well as those that think they are doing them good by enabling their present state rather than incentively them to change their stars.

We should be about hand-ups, not hand-outs.

And since the government can not create jobs, because it can not produce goods and services in a free market, I do not see how government can be a meaningful part of the solution outside of fostering an environment wherein the poor have a shot at bettering their station in life. But then again, that is exactly why so many people have fled their own countries to come over here to begin with.

People immigrate here from poor countries, not for our government handouts but for a chance to participate in our free markets.

Yes, it hurts the poor to help subsidize their below poverty line lifestyle …….. better to let then starve and be homeless.

A “hand up” only works when there are steps to climb. You can’t tell people to climb the ladder of sucess while there is a big gulf in between. Whether we like it or not, we ALL have made it by someone helping us. call it tax breaks, bank loans, wealthy parents, none of us truly make it on our own. You also have those who rail against government handouts who had no problem being on unemployment, medicare, food stamps, disability or welfare when they were struggling. Now they have made it, they forget where they came from.

I don’t think we live in a society where everyone doesn’t have a reasonable shot at success. Now those factors of success may still be outside of a person’s control due to a host of other uncontrollable factors, but again, we don’t live in a utopia or a world in danger of becoming one any time soon so I don’t think the inability of everyone to one day become the president of the US is necessarily an indication that we live in a society plagued with unequal opportunities.

As for the unfairness of individuals. What makes you think the same exact unfairness, or depravity of mankind, doesn’t also plague a state-run system? If anything, I think a free market mitigates unfairness. You are more likely to find a fair shot when you have a choice between 10 organizations providing the opportunities in response to a free market as opposed to 1 monolithic organization that does not have to bow to market demands.

As for the disparity of income. How is that an indication of unfairness? It is a price set by the free market. In your Kuwait example, the worker there is likely making more because of the risks and involved and opportunities forfeited than the person doing the same job over here. Is that disparity robbing either person? I see how. I also don’t see how taxpayers are subsidizing what is, in the end, a determination made by market forces.

As for income disparity; That would only be an indication of unfairness if we imported the hidden premise that the market is a zero-sum game. I would argue that wealth can be created and destroyed and is therefore not static. So the person making $100 an hour is in no way shape or form robbing the guy making $100 a week. In fact, in a free market system we should want to give the guy making less every opportunity to make more since, by making more, he is able to contribute to the betterment of us all by expanding the market and accumulated wealth of mankind even further.

Compare that to the government subsidizing laziness, which produces no wealth and hurts rather than benefits everyone.

If you look at God’s word, everything doesn’t hinge on “producing wealth”. The poor were to be cared for by community taxes (the tithe). Even Paul said pay taxes to who they are due. The OT Israel was a religious state, and one of the three tithes was for the poor. It wasn’t asked how they got in that state, because we would always have the poor with us.

God will judge societies on how they treat the poor.

The Bible does tell us that we should pay our taxes. However the Bible does not tell us that we are obligated to vote for our government to institute taxes designed to give men handouts.

Men were designed to work. Men who don’t work rightly feel as though they are not fulfilling their God-given purpose. So to prevent a man from working, either through unfair and oppressive policies, or through policies that encourage laziness and discourage an honest day’s work are inherently immoral and damaging to a man’s soul.

Is it more noble to feed a man’s stomach, or his soul?

The Bible also tells us that if we don’t work, we shouldn’t expect to be fed. In fact, Proverbs tells us that it is precisely the hunger that gnaws at a man’s bones that drives him to work to acquire the resources to not live in want.

Sure we should seek to provide for those in need. However you of all people know the provision for giving in the NT is that it be done “with a glad heart” and “not under compulsion”. Neither of those are possible if the money given to the poor is extracted from us by force through taxes.

And finally; God will indeed judge societies on how they treat the poor. And in that respect I think America will be commended as a nation that provided a way for millions to prosper. Instead of famine, we face the problem of our children consuming too much food. Instead of boredom, we face the problem of an abundance of entertainment choices. Instead of a dirth of education, we face a deluge of information thrust on us from all sides by a myriad of sources.

In short, America is a land of plenty. A land of promise. A land of hope. And a land of opportunity. Sure, it wasn’t so for all peoples in the past, but I sincerely doubt that any man or woman who comes to America (or is borne here) will not find an opportunity to improve their station in life provided they work hard to produce something of value “with their own hands”.

Share

Fyodor Dostoyevsky on socialism

I’ve been reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov on the way to work in the mornings and this passage from the first book really struck me as an excellent depiction of socialism and why it is embraced by a secular society. Emphesis mine.

The path Alyosha chose was a path going in the opposite direction, but he chose it with the same thirst for swift achievement. As soon as he reflected seriously he was convinced of the existence of God and immortality, and at once he instinctively said to himself: “I want to live for immortality, and I will accept no compromise.” In the same way, if he had decided that God and immortality did not exist, he would at once have become an atheist and a socialist. For socialism is not merely the labour question, it is before all things the atheistic question, the question of the form taken by atheism to-day, the question of the tower of Babel built without God, not to mount to heaven from earth but to set up heaven on earth. Alyosha would have found it strange and impossible to go on living as before. It is written: “Give all that thou hast to the poor and follow Me, if thou wouldst be perfect.”

Read the whole chapter here.

Share