Recently on Stand in the Gap radio, the American Pastors Network highlighted an interview with one of America’s young people. When asked, his opinion was that socialism would be the best government for the U.S. When told socialism has never worked where it was tried, he simply said, “Well, maybe we haven’t given it enough time.”
As believers in free enterprise and religious and personal liberty that brought our early settlers from Europe, we believe nearly 200 years is more than enough time to judge socialism and its militant brother communism.
Today, many Americans have conflicted attitudes about socialism, best illustrated by the Tea Party activists who demanded that “government get its hands off my Medicare.” But when a 2015 Gallup poll asked Americans whether they would consider voting for 11 categories of presidential candidates, “socialist” ranked last, garnering 47 percent, behind “Muslim” and “atheist.” Among 18- to 29-year-olds, however, 69 percent had no problem voting for a socialist. Why the disparity? People in their 20s have no memory of the Soviet Union or Cold War but did come of age during and after the 2008 financial crisis. To young people feeling great economic insecurity, sharing the wealth sounds less like a threat than like a promise.
The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848 expressed what they termed “scientific socialism.” In the 19th- and 20th-century governments in different parts of the world based their policies and laws on the new ideas about race that were developed by the Europeans at that time.
Broadly, socialism is a political and economic system under which the means of production are owned by the community as a whole, with government ensuring the equitable distribution of wealth. But socialism has taken many forms. “‘Socialism’ is an exceedingly fuzzy term used to label an extraordinarily wide array of political and economic beliefs,” says scholar Paul Brians. Socialism has morphed into Soviet-style communism [militant socialism with guns] and spawned Latin American dictatorships, while in Europe, many countries combine socialistic principles with capitalism and democracy, according to a report on “The History of Socialism.” Still, socialism has largely dwelled on the margins of American politics, until it was revived by the campaign of Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders.
Marx believed the conversion of a society to communism must start with a revolution of the workers such as what happened in Russia in 1914. In other words, political change would come through guns and with lots of dead people who disagreed with communism.
“One death,” Joseph Stalin was said to have remarked, “is a tragedy, one million is a statistic.” Deaths from communism to date: U.S.S.R.: 20 million; China: 65 million; Vietnam: 1 million; North Korea: 2 million; Cambodia: 2 million; Eastern Europe: 1 million; Latin America: 150,000; Africa: 1.7 million; Afghanistan: 1.5 million; the international Communist movement and parties not in power: about 10,000. The total approaches 100 million people killed.
The starting place for comparison is what socialism/communism thinks about God. The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1). Socialism/communism view atheism as a starting point:
- In the preface to the Communist Manifesto, Engels said he believed in Darwin's view of evolution just as he believed in Marx’s theory of communism.
- Lenin said: “Darwin put an end to the belief that animal and vegetable species ... were created by God...”
- Fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism states: “Nature ... is in [a]constant process of development. The laws of that development have not been ordained by God ... They are intrinsic in nature itself...”
- Of Josef Stalin premier of Russia until 1953 it was said “At a very early age ... Comrade Stalin developed a critical mind and revolutionary sentiments. He began to read Darwin and became an atheist.”
If a man, country, political party or government throws out God at the start, every other principle of life is affected. Socialism is not just a political choice. It is a choice by man to make himself God and to try to rule over all others as a power-hungry demigod.
Young people may think socialism is the way to greater things, but in reality, it is the first step toward godless slavery. Jesus gives just the opposite—a life full of freedom, peace, joy, kindness and understanding, working to give to others rather than ruthlessly taken away. Most important, Jesus made possible a hope for an eternal future with a loving God and Father.