There is an incorrect assumption fervently adhered to by the Socialist Left idealists of the world. Simply stated, they believe that the principles of Socialism would work, regardless of the historical record, if only the right people of principle would implement it.
However disillusioning this may be to such idealists, that is false. Socialism has never succeeded and will never succeed as a form of governance because the system itself is evil and fatally flawed.
Socialism is Fatally Flawed by False Promises
There are two fundamental promises of Socialism that are demonstrably false. They form the premises of a pro-socialist argument.
A lesson from rational thought that when the premise of an argument is false, the argument itself is invalid and false.
To clarify any misunderstanding, I use the word “argument” meaning the reasonable appeal someone would make for accepting their claims as true. It doesn’t refer to an argument as in a hostile and angry exchange.
The first false promise is that through Socialism the government will make all things in life free and make all people economically equally well off. Fulfilling that promise is not within the realm of possibility.
There is an old wise epithet that rebukes this promise of Socialism, ‘there is no such thing as a free lunch.’ Socialism promises the government will provide whatever is needed or desired for the lives of everyone at no cost.
It has always failed to do that because the promise itself is not humanly possible to fulfill. The effort required to achieve the ‘ideal’ Socialist society is beyond our powers.
To understand why, we need to examine the meaning of Socialism apart from the emotional appeals made to a false “fairness and equality,” idealism. It must be examined as it is defined in as plain and rational a manner as possible.
The multiple definitions of Socialism in various dictionaries do not equally apply to Socialism on a governmental scale. According to Merriam-Webster online, Socialism means,
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private propertyb : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
This is an excellent and comprehensive definition of Socialism as separate systems, each of which are represented in modern society. The shortest definition listed is the one favored by advocates of Socialism within the ‘Christian’ community.
The Leftward Church and their Justification for Socialism
There are those within the ‘Christian’ churches who latch onto Socialism because they latch onto definition number “2a,” which bears a resemblance to the early Church described at the conclusion of Acts chapter 2.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 [ESV]
This journal has delved into the influence of the Left upon the modern mainstream churches in greater detail in previous articles. Leftism today, inside or outside of those churches, has lost any veneer they once had to disguise their blatant Socialism.
As with Socialism in any human incarnation, the Leftward Church picks and chooses the truth to suit their evil end goal. This is what happens when the Word of God is used to justify their phony claims, as is done with this passage in Acts.
However, that interpretive game doesn’t work in this case either, because the Leftist apologists conveniently ignore the context of the passage. The first and most obvious context is that this was a case of God’s intervention directly through the witness of the Holy Spirit.
Outside of an explicitly Spirit immersed Christian fellowship, this is impossible to accomplish in human society, even with a relatively small group of people. Which brings to mind the second contextual parameter, the method necessary to distribute the proceeds of all the donations was a central body of individuals, in this case, the Apostles.
This factor limits the growth of any Socialist group to a small number of people, and this was demonstrated later in Acts when the group grew past 5,000 men and their families. Following the martyrdom of Stephen in chapter 7, the persecution against the first Church increased beginning in chapter 8.
And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Acts 8:1-3 [ESV]
Saul later became the great evangelist Apostle Paul, who helped bring Christianity to the ends of the Roman Empire, and wrote more than half of the New Testament. The church in Jerusalem had grown to the point that a Socialist system, even with the administration of the Apostles, would inevitably invite greed and sloth and a sense of self-sufficiency that would work against the spread of the gospel to the world.
Incidentally, this factor also mitigates against the mega-church sizes of today, but that is a different article. Suffice it to say that even a heavenly-influenced fellowship needs to realize that utopian visions of society are reserved by God for the fellowship in heaven and the New Earth to come, and were never meant to exist upon this earth.
However, the Socialist Left today is not interested in religion except as it might serve their malevolent interests in the system. They are far more concerned with the aspect of implementing central government control of individual lives.
Unfortunately for their argument, this method exacts a larger cost than any other at the scale of a national government. It cannot take care of anyone without exerting fascistic control over their individual lives, and the provision even in those conditions is pitiful.
Socialism Is Not Free in Any Way
The second false promise of Socialism is that the government can provide for all and do so with no real “cost.” That is not true economically, experientially or spiritually.
The economic costs of a Socialist society obliterate whatever perceived benefits provided in such a society. The lone economic benefit of Socialism is thought to be that the costs of providing equally for the needs of a society are also shared by everyone in society.
However, that so-called benefit is subject to the control of the central government in Socialism for every individual’s income is determined by the state for distribution by the state. In a truly Socialist society, everyone works for the central government, and each person must adapt to a certain level of income and position as doled out by the government.
Economically, this system is unsatisfying to the workers, and never provides enough revenue to cover the normal expenses incurred within the nation’s society. It is also detrimental to life experientially for everyone except the ruling authorities.
Total control of economic production also makes the control of individual lives necessary. Rationing of goods and services will eventually be practiced anytime a fully Socialist model is in place.
For example, universal ‘free’ health care suffers from this inevitable circumstance because the government pays the care providers a basic stipend to cover salary and supplies. This means care is rationed out according to government priorities including the physician’s time and the treatments available.
The results of rationing mean waiting times for serious treatments become longer and longer, as has been seen with the American health care system under the Veterans Administration. The new changes from President Trump have helped alleviate this by allowing physicians outside of the VA to be chosen by veterans if needed.
The final way that Socialism fails is in the provision of the human soul and spirit. Socialism fails here, and in reality in every way, for one very large reason that most critics of the system fail to recognize; the fact that Socialism claims territory reserved for God in human affairs.
To illustrate this, take the example of present-day China and how that Communist nation handles the religious needs of its people. A “Christian” religion of sorts is permitted in China, but with very serious restrictions added so that the attendees are continually reminded that ultimate loyalty goes to the state and not to God.
This is true in any system which tries to shoehorn God into His place within the rule of the government. God is sovereign over all, and attempts to displace Him to a subordinate role under the false pretenses of biblical ‘interpretation,’ are evil and will always fail.
President Trump has noted this particular aspect of human nature that has been incorporated into America’s national heart from the very beginning. He has said on several occasions that,
…in America we don’t worship government, we worship God.
This is the primary cause of the rise of various “underground church” movements within places like China growing in tremendous numbers despite all efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to stamp them out. Socialism can never provide for anything other than a poor and bleak existence for the “masses” in society.
Socialism Cannot Escape the Verdict of History
The third very significant false promise of Socialism is the promise that this time, it will be immune from its history. It is hoped that if the right people are implementing it, Socialism will work regardless of its 100% rate of historic failures wherever it has been ‘tried.’
Incidentally, the use of the words Socialism and Communism as basically interchangeable terms is not accidental or inaccurate. I agree with the late Vladimir Lenin when he said,
The goal of socialism is communism.
Therefore, any system which names Socialism as a part of the system is doomed to eventually become Communist in operation if not in name. The most recent example of a nation falling apart under Socialism is the case of Venezuela.
Venezuela was once the envy of South America and the wealthiest nation on that continent. The wealth was amassed because of the gargantuan oil reserves within Venezuela and made the nation a powerful and prosperous country in the later years of the 20th century.
This level of prosperity was erased in just over two decades and Venezuela was plunged into a hell on earth for its citizens while making the late dictator Hugo Chavez and his family incredibly rich at the same time. In fact, as the following video notes, the daughter of the dictator left the country with a personal worth of 4 billion dollars, while the people succumbed to the fatal infection of Socialism!
Chavez has passed on but his hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, is every bit the tyrannical Socialist dictator Chavez had been. Moreover, that is the historical pattern of all nations that have gone all-in for Socialism as their method of governance.
The historical record of truly Socialist countries is one of death, deprivation, and tyranny.
Together with Germany’s National Socialism, the Communist Socialists such as the old USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and Communist China have racked up a body count of over 150 million people!
But …What About Sweden?
One of the modern objections to this is to cite the record of pseudo-socialist countries in Scandinavia, such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. This is one of the favorite talking points of the Left, and especially from the self-declared “Democratic Socialist” presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT].
Since these nations seem to be doing well while providing things such as a Socialist model for health care, something along the lines of Sanders’ proposed “Medicare for all” plan should do fine in America. However, a closer examination of the facts puts that lie to rest.
How do these nations pay for the government services they provide, and how good are those services? First, the tax rates and structure are far different than those in America.
The various Scandinavian countries tax individuals at very high rates which are also flat rates. Thus in Sweden, the marginal income tax and payroll tax rates are 56.9% for everyone earning 1.5 times the national average of income.
Contrast that with America where we have a ‘progressive’ income tax which increases as income levels rise. The top marginal income tax rate is now 37% but doesn’t kick in until someone is making 8.5 times the national income average.
Moreover, Scandinavian systems also charge a tax that is non-existent in America, a VAT, or Value Added Tax, on its businesses that is passed down to the consumer. A VAT is a system that taxes businesses at various stages of production which they must add in as a part of the product cost to the consumer.
This is a very efficient way to raise revenue quickly for the government, however, it has a serious drawback.
many …see VATs as a regressive tax because they fall more on those that spend a larger share of their income, mainly the poor.
These are various Socialist tactics that increase the economic burden of individuals. Conversely, at least until recently, the corporate tax rates and structure have been lower in Scandinavian countries than in the United States, thus favoring a Capitalist model.
In 2015, the highest corporate tax rate among Scandinavian nations was found in Norway, who taxed businesses at 27% of income. At that time the United States had a 39.1% corporate tax rate, which made Norway a far more attractive place to do business and made its policies more Capitalist than Socialist.
The only way for a Socialist model to survive is with very high individual taxes and a stream of income brought in from outside of the system. That is what is happening in Scandinavia, along with the fact that these nations use little or none of their budgets for defense spending.
Thanks to the tax cuts under President Trump, America has lowered its corporate tax rates below the levels of any Scandinavian country. In fact, we have gone from the third-highest corporate tax rate in the world to the 83rd-highest rate, and among the very lowest of large industrialized nations worldwide.
The results of those very Capitalist policies in America have proven wildly successful as the business arena has seen outstanding growth reflected by record levels of unemployment in every area. As has been seen in this brief review, Socialism can only boast of failure and will never be anything but evil and a failed government system with ruinous results for the citizens under its sway.
The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 [ESV]
Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
Featured and Top Image courtesy of James Mitchell’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Ivy Dawned’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of katerkate’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Joe Wolf’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of vaXzine’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Charles Fettinger’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
All other sources linked or cited in the text