“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” Failure, ignorance, envy & misery are all words Sir Winston Churchill used to describe a society which buys into Socialism as a means of creating an equal playing field for everyone.
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples’ money.” A quarter century later, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher expressed the end result Socialism brings to a society. She pointed out socialism is about what “other people” have and, very wisely noted what they have is a finite resource. These great figures of history knew something was inherently wrong with a society which desires to “have” at the expense of others.
Thomas Jefferson made this observation more than two hundred years ago,
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
Benjamin Franklin articulated the same idea in this way,
“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”
What others have isn’t ours. It’s not “The Common Wealth.” Working hard to obtain more than others is not stealing from them, it’s simply expending effort they are not willing to expend to achieve a goal. Our Declaration of Independence declares, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” While all men (humanity) are created equal, not all use their unalienable rights in equal pursuit of happiness in their Life using the Liberty they’ve been granted. Our unalienable right of Liberty gives us the freedom to pursue or not to pursue happiness. However, true happiness requires pursuit toward a goal that gives us fulfillment and ultimately happiness.
To gain a clear understanding of how a society has descended from this endowment of unalienable rights into socialist tendencies, let’s go through each of the points Winston Churchill made in his insightful observation.
Philosophy of Failure
Failure is something no one wants to experience but everyone is destined to encounter and, more importantly, is something every person must overcome to be successful. Rarely is success achieved without unsuccessful efforts along the way. The term “failure is not an option” is very real, personal and motivating for those who have learned to overcome failure.
In fact, most successful people don’t see unsuccessful efforts as failure. Thomas Edison, when working on the light bulb, was asked in an interview by a young reporter if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should give up. Edison’s reply is telling, “Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” After finding about 10,000 ways a light bulb would not work, Edison successfully created the carbon filament light bulb. Edison clearly didn’t associate unsuccessful attempts with failure but as means by which he could not achieve his goal.
For many the greatest failure of all is the “fear of failure”. What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t do it? What will people think of me if I fail? Fear of failure paralyzes and thus immobilizes many which engenders a defeatist attitude whose ultimate result is the blame of others for what they do not have the drive to achieve. Many times, this blame is focused on amorphous entities like the wealthy, social injustice, “the system” and now “white privilege.”
Today a popular political deception is that of “privilege.” Wealth privilege, white privilege, male privilege, sexual privilege and many other “privileges” foster the perception that lack of achievement is someone else’s fault. All of these political positions feed on the fear of failure as a means of gaining control over those who are afraid to step out and take risks. Success is hard work and maintaining success is even harder. For the lazy person, which the Bible calls a sluggard, everything is just too hard.
Here are three Proverbs that describe the condition:
“The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But will not even bring it back to his mouth.” Proverbs 19:24
“The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” Proverbs 20:4
“The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work;” Proverbs 21:25
Politicians who desire control feed on the fainéant by promoting failure as victimization. They create an illusion of victimization to divide society along social, ethnic, racial, political, religious and economic boundaries. These Demagogues promote all of the bogus “privileges” and “isms” to sow discord in order to create a victim driven society which must rely on the them to mead out economic justice. In doing so those who work hard to become successful become demoralized and less productive leading to a condition where no one has anything. The most concerning thing about this socialistic posturing is the ultimate reality that everyone ends up under control of the Demagogues.
Imagine if George Washington Carver, born a slave, had succumbed to discrimination in a time where extreme racism, absolute segregation and “White Privilege” were not only morally and culturally acceptable but in vogue. Had he given in to the real racial oppression of that age we wouldn’t have boiled or dry roasted peanuts, peanut oil, crop rotation or many other things we now take for granted. This extraordinary man had to apply at six different high schools, yes high schools, because of his race. For George Washington Carver “Failure” was not an option.
It’s easy to do nothing, be nothing and place the blame on others but George Washington Carver was determined NOT to be nothing! His vision, determination, drive to succeed along with hard work led to accomplishments that revolutionized agriculture and virtually eliminated hunger in this country. Proverbs 29:18 says, ” Where there is no vision, the people perish;” (NKJV). When the vision is victimization, it creates a completely dependent society that has no sense of self-sufficiency ultimately leading to socioeconomic demise.
Much of today’s society has been victimized by the belief success is because of “privilege” rather than a result of vision, determination, drive to succeed and hard work. This victimization mentality is a “Philosophy of Failure”.
Creed of Ignorance
The ultimate form of ignorance is a sense of entitlement. Young people who’ve grown up in the “helicopter parent” society have been conditioned to believe their success is the responsibility of someone else and that success is deserved rather than earned. In addition, the reality of personal responsibility and personal accountability is completely foreign to many young people today.
This became real for us many years ago when our children were in college. We realized we were going broke paying for traffic tickets for some of our children so we sat down and told them we weren’t paying for any more tickets. Several months later we received a call from the local jail. The conversation went something like this,
“Dad, they arrested me for traffic tickets. It’s six hundred dollars?” they opined, hoping I would pay the fine to get them out.
I responded, “What did I tell you?”
“That you weren’t going to pay for any more traffic tickets.”
“Did you believe me when I told you that?”
“Uh, I dunno. But Dad, I’m in jail!” came the deflated response.
My reply was likely more deflating, “Well, I hope you’re a model prisoner.”
They were a model prisoner for three days instead of six because they were so helpful. But more importantly they haven’t received another traffic ticket in more than 15 years. This is a great example of how personal accountability must be a real experience for someone to embrace personal responsibility.
Lack of personal responsibility and the reality of personal accountability leads to an attitude of self-gratification without boundaries. What others have become something one should have, all other considerations and consequences aside.
A sense of entitlement without accountability is a “Creed of Ignorance”.
Gospel of Envy
Perhaps the most subtle and dangerous of the points is the “Gospel of Envy”. Envy is the underlying condition that causes one to want what others have. The word gospel is defined as “something regarded as true and implicitly believed2” and envy is defined as “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.2”
Today’s culture is focused on the unfounded notion we just don’t have enough and deserve more. Is it any wonder that every advertisement on radio, television, cable and now social media evangelizes the gospel of envy by encouraging us to desire something we don’t currently possess! “You deserve” a new car, a new house, a bigger television and practically anything else you can imagine. They have no shame and even promote these “you deserve” views with our children. Toys, games, dolls, monster trucks. Our culture is bombarded with discontenting advertisements that promote the gospel of envy.
A decade or so ago, we had the pleasure of taking care of two of our grandchildren for a period of time and decided to go to Toys R Us to pick up a few children’s things. On the way in my grandson noticed someone buying a remote-control monster truck. I could tell right away he wanted one of those trucks so the next conversation was inevitable.
He asked, “PawPaw, can I have one of those?”
He was very disappointed when I answered, “No, I don’t think so.”
“Ok,” he responded in a sad little voice.
Down deep I really wanted him to have the truck so I said, “I tell you what, I’ll give you jobs around the house this summer so you can earn enough money to buy that monster truck.”
He lit up, “Ok, PawPaw.”
Well, we worked hard to give them plenty of little odd jobs, pick up a little pail of pine cones, sweep the porch, whatever we could think of that wasn’t too difficult and didn’t take a lot of time. By the end of the summer, he had earned fifty dollars.
I asked, “Well, you wanna go buy that monster truck now that you’ve earned enough?”
All smiles he answered, “Yes!”
We got to Toys R Us and went into where the monster truck was and he looked at it just beaming. He ran his little hand across the box and got his money out of his pocket. He looked at the wad of money in his little hand, then at the truck. The next thing he said took me completely by surprise.
“Pawpaw, do I have to buy the truck?” he asked. His little voice quivering.
Tears welled up in my eyes, “No sir, you do not!”
He put the money back in his pocket and with a broad grin asked, “Can I sweep the porch today?”
The personal satisfaction of earning the money became more important to him than having the monster truck. The antithesis of envy is the understanding of goals and means to achieve them.
The really sad fact is that politicians do exactly the opposite. Politicians evangelize this gospel of envy by promoting things such as a living wage, free college, universal healthcare, reparations and social equality as being human rights which are deserved as opposed to rewards that are earned. This political prevarication leads to anger, discontent, divisiveness and hatred which sooner or later results in anarchy.
When examined more closely this political dishonesty is nothing more than an appeal to selfishness and greed in order to gain support. The desire to acquire from someone else has roots deep in the human heart. The last of the Ten Commandments says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17 (ESV). In other words, the tendency to desire what others have is innate but God commanded not to give in to such desire. To be clear, politicians and the media encourage envy and covetousness which is contrary to God’s Word.
Desire isn’t envy when one builds a plan to accomplish goals and works hard to achieve that desire. Desire only becomes envy when accompanied by a sense of deprivation that leads to animosity toward others. Desire promoted as deprivation is a “Gospel of Envy”.
Equal Sharing of Misery
Socialists always opine previous failed attempts at socialism as being a result of improper implementation. In every new generation of socialists there is the belief their freshly hatched yet inane methods will succeed where others failed. But, in fact, every socialist implementation depends on hard working people working harder to subsidize benefits for many who have no desire to work for themselves at all. Further, the greed, ignorance and envy of the socialist leaders compel them to feel entitled to what others have. Soon those at the top consume more than those the socialist hegemony is supposed to benefit and their greed causes them to become corrupt.
Thomas Jefferson put it this way, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
Margaret Thatcher made the same keen observation but in a slightly more practical way, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”
The true meaning of misery isn’t only when hard working people have to support profligates but when the society runs out of hard working people to support the profligates. At some point those who work hard to get ahead will no longer feel it’s worth the effort because one’s hard work will ultimately reward someone else so they join the ranks of the profligates. As more people move from work to dependence the socialist society will exhaust its resources and implode resulting in misery for everyone.
Let’s look at Venezuela, for example. A little more than a decade ago Venezuela was the richest country in South America. However, prosperity began to swirl the porcelain with a Communist dictator and has degenerated to the degree Venezuelans are now in such poverty they must dig through dumpsters for food.
Why, because socialism is the legacy of poverty. What do I mean? In 2007 a Venezuelan 100 bolivar bill would buy 28 US dollars and 288 eggs. Today that same 100 bolivar bill will buy a dime and 20% of one egg. Why? Because it was more lucrative to take money from the government than to manage chickens so the country simply ran out of eggs. Socialism’s legacy is always the same, poverty, pain and misery.
Average citizens digging through dumpsters for food because a single egg costs 500 bolivar is a superb example of the “Equal Sharing of Misery”.
What does all of this mean? Let’s look again at a key statement from the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The declaration of Independence stated that all men (all humanity) are created equal but notice the “unalienable Rights”. “Life” is a right to our own existence. “Liberty” is a right by which we have the freedom to establish our own destiny. But I want to focus on the last of these rights, the “pursuit of Happiness”. We have the right to “pursue happiness” not the right to “have happiness”. The founders’ understood happiness is a resulting condition as opposed to a conditioning result. We have the right to live, the freedom to excel and the ability to work hard to be happy.
Those who’ve been taught to pursue happiness through hard work and accomplishment of an end goal will achieve a feeling of happiness and contentment. My grandson worked diligently to earn enough to be in a position to make the decision as to what would make him happy. That pursuit took all summer long, which is an eternity to a five-year-old, but in the end, he was not simply happy but delighted. He had the freedom to decide what would make him happy due to his sense of self-worth built through accomplishment. The opposite is true of those who’ve been conditioned to believe something is deserved. This entitlement mentality isn’t just unrealistic, it’s naïve, and the result of such naivety is unhappiness and discontentment.
The truth of personal accountability must result in taking personal responsibility. The youth who learned to assert personal responsibility through personal accountability now runs an Amazon Fulfillment Center. Not because they somehow mystically deserved the position but because they set goals and held themselves accountable to achieve those goals.
A clear understanding of truth and consequences is what tempers the soul’s response to what one doesn’t have. Vision, hard work, determination, personal responsibility and drive to succeed in order to accomplish a goal are the things which satisfy the soul resulting in happiness, contentment and security.
No amount of socialist equalization will ever provide happiness, contentment or security but only poverty, pain and misery.
I’ll finish with two verses:
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have…” Hebrews 13:5
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
1 – Feature photo
2 – Dictionary.com
Tax Collectors and Sinners
“Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” The Pharisees asked His disciples in Mark 2:16. The response is telling about our generation today and how we respond to sinners. The scribes, Pharisees and Jewish people in general had a disdain for tax collectors and particularly those who were Jews. Note the special distinction between tax collectors and sinners. The delineation is clear in companion passages in both Mark and Matthew. Tax collectors were considered even worse than sinners. Tax collectors were though even worse than sinners and considered cheats, liars, shakedown artists and extortionists who were allied with the Romans. They broke every rule in the book, so to speak.
The question is: “How is that any different today?”
- How do we as Christians view sinners?
- Are we like the scribes and Pharisees?
- Do we view sin according to our rules?
- Do we disdain those who are deceived by the evil one?
- Do we apply our cultural prejudices to those who don’t measure up to our standard?
- Do we exact judgment based on the tradition of man?
These are question those of us who consider ourselves “Evangelical” must ask ourselves. Are we like the scribes and Pharisees believing we are better than sinners? Before we explore the questions let’s see how Jesus responded. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:17
Now that we have Jesus’ perspective let’s ask some questions:
- How do we feel about homosexuality?
- How do we feel about adultery?
- How do we feel about those who sell and take drugs or consume alcohol?
- How do we feel about those who do not have the same Godly moral compass?
These are real questions to consider. Is our heart hardened to those we consider sinners as was the heart of the Pharisees? Or, do we feel compassion for those who are caught up in sin as does Jesus? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the old saying, “you don’t smoke, drink and chew and you don’t run around with the boys that do.” That statement actually does have biblical roots. In 1 Corinthians 15:33 Paul extorts the listeners, “Do not be deceived, ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” So there it is, you don’t hang around with sinners. Right?
It all depends on motive and focus. Jesus did not call the sinners to come to Him he went and ate with the sinners (which was a huge religious no-no in that age). He ate with them but His desire was not to be included in their sinful behavior but call them out of it. Jesus was bathed in prayer and often retreated to be with the Father. In John 5:19 Jesus said “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son does in like manner.” Jesus’ desire was to call people out of sin. His motive was to see mankind reconciled to God. He knew very well the people He dined with sinners where they were but His goal was to demonstrate God’s grace and forgiveness rather than ostracizing, isolating, excluding and avoiding those who didn’t measure up to the religious standard.
The question for we evangelicals is; “How do we measure up apart from Jesus?” Do we see people as sinners as lowlifes who are worthy to be ostracized, isolated, excluded and avoided because they don’t measure up to our religious standard? Or do our hearts break that they are dying in sin apart from the wonderful love of God through Jesus Christ?
Can we have Muslim Friends?
There has been a lot of debate lately regarding Muslim refugees and the possibility of radical Islamists infiltrating the ranks of those refugees with the intent of doing harm here in the United States. When you listen to the pundits talk the notion that “Moderate” Muslims need to get involved inevitably surfaces. Anyone who has read the Koran (Qu’ran) understands that there really is no such thing as a “Moderate” Muslim. There are those who believe that violence is warranted to bring unbelievers totally under Islamic rule and there are those who choose to use deception to gain an advantage in order to impose the dictates of the Islam on everyone. But make no mistake, either way they believe that everyone must be under Islamic rule. Continue reading
One of my hero’s in life is General Francis Marion of the Revolutionary War who became known as the “Swamp Fox”. The popular movie “The Patriot” was modeled after the life of the Swamp Fox. As I study the man’s life I am taken by not only his deep devotion to God but his intense dedication to freedom and liberty. As we watch the liberty, fought an paid for with the blood of men like Francis Marion, fade into totalitarianism I cannot help but be in awe of how this man perceived his duty to this great nation. He and his soldiers fought without pay living on rations of roots and potatoes for an idea. The idea was “Liberty”.
Everyone is aware that there are people out there who go to church every Sunday, provide for their family, are generous, tithe regularly, and are seemingly sinless. What they don’t realize is they are sitting idly by, waiting to go to Heaven instead of using the skills that God gave them to spread the gospel. And when something bad occurs in their life, God is pulling them out of their idle chair and calling them OUT to GO OUT and spread the gospel through their testimony. Continue reading
God’s Word is Important But…
In “Section 6” we looked at distractions that slowly creep in to replace love and compassion with head-knowledge and Godly motivation with that of man-centered traditions. In the final section, The Fatal Distraction-Section 7, we will look at how we can be victorious over the things that distract believers from fulfilling the “Great Commission” that Jesus as He departed to be with the Father. The command that Jesus gave us as believers is the difference between “heaven and hell” for those who have not heard the gospel. The focus for believers must be that of Holy Spirit empowered declaration in a world that is perishing as opposed to introverted pontification in religious machination as a rebellion against the world around us!
Recipe for Success
As we walk out our life in Christ Jesus we must never forget that God desires “Compassion not sacrifice”. God’s Word tells us in Hosea 6:6 “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” and in 1 Samuel 15:22 “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” The fact that God demonstrated His steadfast and merciful love for us, as we were dead in our sin but made alive through Christ Jesus, He also wants us to demonstrate that steadfast love and mercy to those who are perishing.
In order to insure that we do not become Pharisaical toward those who do not know Jesus we must always remember that we were sinners separated from God for eternity by our sin nature. It must never leave our conscience that apart from God’s gracious gift of His Son Jesus we would be hopeless, helpless, hedonists that are displeasing to God in every way. The apostle Paul said it best in Romans 7:24:25 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
God’s Word is important But…
In The Warning Signs – Part 1 we looked at two of the warning signs. We gained perspective on how beginning to allow knowledge to influence how we view others will result in comparisons that lead to a Pharisaical state of mind toward others. We also looked at how knowledge can cause us to become arrogant and lose our compassion for those who are lost in their sin.
Today we’ll look at two more warning signs that are indicators of our perspective toward the “Great Commission”. We will explore how pious humility is really false humility while true humility is brokenness before God almighty. In addition, we will look at how a focus on churchy activities can draw our attention away from the plight of the lost.
The Warning Signs – Part 2
In Part 1 we focused on the parable of the two men in Luke 18:9-14 who went to the temple to pray. We will continue with that parable in Part 2. Luke 18:9-14 “And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself” ‘God I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get. But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me, the sinner! ’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted. ” Continue reading
We are about to enter memorial day weekend. As I ponder the freedom that this great nation has provided I can’t help but remember the price that was paid by others in order for us to experience that freedom. I can’t help but silently pray, giving thanks to God Almighty because freedom is never free.
From our founding fathers who provided freedom from the tyranny of foreign rule to our revolutionary brothers who insured that all men would be free.
Freedom is never free.
From our grandfathers, fathers and those who fought to keep us free from the threat of fascism and communism to our brothers, sons and daughters who have fought and are still fighting to keep us safe and free from the fear of terrorism.
Freedom is never free.
For all who have sacrifice their freedom through loss of limb and injury I give honor and thanks.
Freedom is never free.
For all who have paid the ultimate sacrifice of death for the freedom of others I give honor and thanks.
Freedom is never free.
But the thing for which I am most grateful is spiritual freedom provided when the Son of God died in my place.
Freedom is never free.
As we go about a weekend and enjoy our family, our friends and our neighbors let us always remember!
Freedom is never free!
God Bless America!
God’s Word is Important, But…
In Section 3 we covered “The Distraction” and looked at how easily we are entangled in things that seem important but do not further the gospel. Today, in “The Fatal Distaction-Section 4”, we’ll look at “The Fatality” and try to understand who suffers the consequences when we become distracted with things that take our attention away from the “Great Commission”.
In Matthew 9:36-38 Jesus said; ”36Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
Jesus saw the people for what they were, spiritually broken. He told His disciples to ask the Lord of the harvest to “send out workers”. Notice, Jesus did not say build church buildings and programs. He did not say, study until you know everything in and about the Bible. He did not say share the gospel with your friends and relatives. He said; “..beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Why, because the world is full of people who are spiritually broken and don’t know what is wrong. Today we’ll discover how our religious pursuits, can become “Fatal Distractions”? Continue reading
God’s Word is Important, But…
Recently, I read a article about the church today. The article went into great detail about churches that are caught up in today’s feel-good mentality to the exclusion of God’s Word. The article went on to criticize up-beat music, topical preaching and a number of other things in a way that typifies a legalistic religious perspective. What do I mean by that statement?
The article focused on expository preaching and teaching as the only way that God’s Word should be taught with little emphasis on the “Great Commission”. I have observed the results of this mentality in a number of situations and from past experience I can say for sure that expository teaching can, and often does, lead to a legalistic view of others, deafness to God’s Word and an arrogant, elitist, isolationist lifestyle. Today’s ultra-conservative “evangelical” churches are, for the most part, not evangelical at all but monoliths of pharisaical activity that does not display the love of God to those who are perishing. Jesus was a master at calling those in darkness out of that darkness without condemning them but also without embracing the sin in which they were entangled. To do this Jesus relied on God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit exclusively. How many times in the gospels do we hear Jesus speak the phrases “Your sins are forgiven” or “Go and sin no more.”? Continue reading