Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Between Communism & Capitalism, Socialism Is No Happy Medium.

Two back-to-back radio stories last week here in the former East Germany were rather illuminating. The first was an interview of a politician concerning the new budget-cutting measures being proposed in Germany. The whole thrust of the interview (and there was no media impartiality here) was the unfairness of cuts being made to welfare pay-outs. In a country where taxes are taken from workers and given in huge amounts to non-workers (to the tune of thousands of dollars a month), even the politician said he thought cutting the money was unfair, but it had to be done.

The very next story was a memory piece about the “old days” when communism was still in power. Back then people really struggled and didn’t have access to a lot—even to things that they needed. The thrust of this story was about how helpful neighbors were with each other. Society really came together to make sure everybody had what they needed. One line in the story went: “nobody in those days just sat on their couch waiting for better days. They rolled their sleeves up and worked hard.”

Growing up in the eighties we learned very clearly that communism was an “evil” ideology. The past decade has done a lot to demonstrate that capitalism is just as prone to evil itself. The solution in this case is not the old standby: a happy medium. Socialism may even be the worst of all possibilities. At least straight capitalism pushes people towards a work-or-starve mentality, and apparently communism did too.

The true solution is system where people across the board are governed by the ethical conscience provided by Christianity. Consider a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville:

“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”

He is also the guy who said:

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

And, just to show you the insight this guy had, he also said this:

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”

Ouch.

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