When I was in school, I was in a one-act play called The Lottery. It was adapted from a story written by Shirley Jackson.
The play opens in a little town somewhere, and as I remember it, the townspeople are abuzz with some exciting event to occur later in the morning.
It turns out the event is an annual lottery. And as the play unfolds, and we see children and their parents picking up rocks and getting ready for the lottery, we get this creepy feeling something is odd about this lottery.
Lottery slips are drawn and a Mr. Hutchinson gets the slip with a black spot on it. That means the "winner" will be picked from his family. So his family draws again, and Tess, who is Hutchinson's wife, draws the Black Spot, making her the final "winner".
Only as the townspeople descend on Tess to stone her do we realize the "prize" of the lottery, death by stoning.
I'll come back to reveal to you the end of the play in a moment. But first, I want to talk about socialism, fairness and what is right.
Is Socialism Fair?
My country, the United States, is clearly becoming more and more Socialistic. This necessitates a larger and larger Government, and that is exactly what is happening. With that growth of Government comes a growth in power and control, and a lessening of freedom for our citizens.
Some of you in countries that are already Socialist or Communist may laugh at me and say, "You ought to see OUR nation!" I know. I know.
But I want to deal with a specific reason why Socialism is rapidly growing in America. I'll define "socialism" in this sense as basically "taking from those who HAVE -- usually called the 'rich' -- and giving to those who do not have -- usually called the 'poor'."
This specific reason why Socialism is advancing is loosely called "fairness". "It's only FAIR that we take from those who have and give to those who have not." "It's only fair that we 'spread the wealth around'" to quote President Obama.
Is Socialism Right?
What's wrong with this picture?
It's simply this: Socialism is STEALING, and stealing is WRONG.
What Is The Purpose of Government?
IMPORTANT SIDENOTE: The purpose for Government, both biblically, and according to the United States Constitution, is essentially the protection of the people from enemies and criminals. I won't quote all the relevant parts of the Constitution, but here is a relevant biblical passage:
"...for it [government] is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing." (Romans 13:4-6)
Socialism is not only going beyond that essential role of Government, but STEALING in order to do it.
And that is not right. If stealing is wrong for the individual, there is no warrant to make it right for the State.
By the way, that doesn't contradict the fact that it is right to pay taxes, for two reasons: 1) taxes are necessary for LEGITIMATE government work in protecting the people, and 2) paying those taxes is a sign of the submission to the God-ordained authority which the government excercises. Such submission, of course, is not above the authority of God Himself and His directives for us.
What About The "Socialism" In The Bible?
"But," you cry, "Didn't the Christians practice Socialism in the Book of Acts when they shared things in common?"
Of course not.
There were a lot of Jews from all over the then-known world who were visiting Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. Upon the preaching of Peter in Acts 2, and further evangelism following, there were thousands of newly-saved Jews who stayed in Jerusalem to hear the teaching of the Apostles and to grow in Christ before going back home.
These new believers quickly ran out of food, and would either have to go home or starve. And so several in the Church VOLUNTARILY donated money and property to share with the believers who were now without provision. The Church grew by leaps and bounds and the Holy Spirit moved mightily.
But the biblical principle of "private property" (You shall not steal) was never revoked, and in fact was repeated by the Apostle Paul in case anyone had any doubt.
Socialism Always Has Two Facets:
1) Stealing (compulsion) - the "haves" are FORCED to contribute to the fund for the "have nots". We ought to voluntarily give to those who are poor and needy, especially if they cannot work. But never is there warrant for stealing from one to give to another.
2) Demotivation - This is not intended as an Economics lesson, but Socialism has proven over and over to demotivate many people to work to provide their own wages. The Bible says the laborer is worthy of his hire, but it also says that those who will not work should not eat. Socialism stands these biblical principles on their heads.
And for both of these reasons, no matter how "fair" Socialism may seem, it can never be right.
In fact, I would urge you to pick up your ears and listen carefully whenever you hear someone in your Government talking about "fairness". There is a good chance they are trying to convince you of something which is WRONG.
Back To The Lottery -- Fairness vs. Right
Back in the little town of The Lottery, poor Tess, the "winner", is being pelted by rocks thrown by her friends and neighbors.
She screams out two things. One is incorrect and one is correct.
First she cries out, "It's not FAIR!"
She was, of course, not correct. The lottery was perfectly fair. Each townsperson had an equal chance to be the "winner".
But then, as if the reality of truth hit her as hard as the thrown rocks, she cries out, "It's not RIGHT!"
And, of course, she was correct.
If you forget everything else you've just read here, please remember this:
If something is WRONG, it doesn't matter one bit whether or not it is FAIR.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
But I still kinda love it, at least in short pithy bursts, like E Pluribus Unum ("out of many, one").
Anyway, with all the talk in modern times of self-worth, self-esteem, and other psycho-babblic stuff, I was refreshed by a simple statement I recently read by Augustine:
Quia Amasti Me, Fecisti Me Amabilem
Now you Latin scholars are ahead of me, but it's actually a logical argument called a syllogism, though some premises are missing and merely "understood".
Here is the simple translation, as speaking to the Lord (Domine):
"Because you loved me, you made me lovable."
I love that.