The Godlessness of Socialism
By Dr. Joel McDurmon
Not so long ago, Christians and conservatives in this country defined themselves politically by opposing the great threat of Communism. We hardly hear anything of this today. The idea that Communism was a real threat not so long ago, yet is almost forgotten today, presents a classic example of the American public’s short memory. Mention Marxism in a conversation today and you will almost definitely be hearing crickets in a short time. No one cares: it is history. The wall fell, we won, move on.
Yes, the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union fell, but Marxism and Socialism have long flooded all of Western and Eastern Civilization. America is no exception. Marxism is history, yes, and yet the influences of Marxism and various ideas of socialism have never been more dangerous than now.
In America we have prided ourselves on free-market economics and private ownership of property. But, these ideas have become phantoms as long as there has been property tax, which is little more than rent paid to the government. If you disbelieve that, then try to go a year or two without paying your property tax; you will quickly learn who your real landlord is. You will be fined, jailed, or “your” property will have a lien filed against it, or, it will be confiscated. We don’t own as much as we like to think when the government can charge us taxes to keep “our” property or confiscate it if we fail to pay the “taxes.”
That we have a free-market is likewise ridiculous to defend in the light of recent government actions. If the Federal Reserve can “print money at will,” and the U. S. Treasury can buy stakes in bank shares, then the market is not “free” of either State manipulation or intervention.
Further, we have a heavy progressive (or “graduated”) income tax. For the few who may not know, “graduated” means that those who make more money should not only pay more tax based on equal percentage of tax, but should also bear the added burden of an increased percentage. Greater wealth is disproportionately taxed, which penalizes and discourages financial success. The graduated system is unfair, arbitrary, and completely unbiblical. The United States instituted the graduated income tax with the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913. It has been increased—again and again – disproportionately — many times since. This clearly goes against biblical teachings, many times over.
We have increasingly imposed strong anti-family laws, including the inheritance tax. In other words, when you die and leave wealth to your children or other designees, the government grabs anywhere from 18–55% of the amount for itself. This is a denial of the sacredness of the family as a unit, and the rights of families to determine the use of their own wealth. It is also a double tax on property, and a blatant attempt to again penalize success and wealth. It diminishes successful families’ strength in that it detracts from parents’ ability to advance their children’s future. Thus, it is an attack on the traditional family structure and leadership in society in general. Tax on inheritance is an unbiblical, anti-Christian, humanistic policy.
Following almost immediately on America’s 1913 imposition of income tax, was America’s less obvious 1913 Inflation Tax, which came in the form of the Federal Reserve. America’s first central bank was proposed by Alexander Hamilton and [first] created in 1791. It was closed twenty years later and continued off and on due to mass opposition until the covert form emerged into law in 1913. . . . With recent events, the fall of many banks has left primarily only a few big banks standing. This “crisis” and the mindless and immoral actions of Congress to go along with certain bank “bailouts” have pushed our central bank closer to an exclusive monopoly.
Since the 1930’s we have accumulated many, massive, subsidized government programs. These are all transfers of wealth based on factors other than the market. There are too many to name here, but farm subsidies and railroad subsidies come to mind; farmers are paid in various ways in order to manipulate crop prices across the board. Ethanol alone has been subsidized to the tune of $10 billion. This diverts corn from other markets into an otherwise market-doomed purpose (ethanol would never brew in a free market); not only does the public get hit with funding the $10 billion dollars, it also suffers a rise in the price of meat and other products that require otherwise market-rate corn. These billions are a miniscule part of the overall government subsidy equation, which from as recently as 1995–2010 equaled about $262 billion .[1 ]
Regarding education, we have compulsory public education regulated at federal, state, and local levels. “Compulsory,” because even if we home school or privately school our children, we are still compelled to pay taxes for public schooling. “Public,” because the taxes are used to fund government-run schools. This tax-funded schooling is presented as free, of course, but it is only free to those who don’t pay property taxes. Our government spends about $700 billion per year on public education, just for primary and secondary levels. The State determines whether, when, and what you will teach your kids. If people want to participate in this system, that is fine with me, but do not compel me to pay for it. This is a robbery of free people and their freedom. Also, when schools legally function “in place of the parents,” the State has again usurped the role of the family.
The reason these points are un-American and anti-biblical is that their source was anti-American and anti-Christian in principle. Whether these programs are barrowed from Marx, the Fabians, Bismark or other similar philosophies, they are inherently anti-biblical and un-Christian.
What I have described above covers roughly seven of the ten “planks” of the Communist Manifesto. (also, see the Humanist Manifesto – which describes the Democratic Party in America to a tee, and many Republicans as well). I could probably work to show others, but have neither the time nor necessity. The relevant points are these (1, 2, 3, 5, 7/9, 10):
(1) Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
(2) A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
(3) Abolition of all “right of inheritance.”
(5) Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
(7) Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state . . .
(9) Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries . . .
(10) Free education for all children in public schools.
The historical connections are clear, too. For example, the graduated income tax in America flows directly from Marxism. The connection is direct and unmistakable. The first group in American history to advocate the graduated income tax was the Socialist Labor Party, a dedicated collection of Marxists founded originally as the “Workingman’s Party of America” in [the People’s Republic of] New Jersey in 1876. Their 1887 platform unashamedly declared “we strive for the acquisition of political power.”[2 ] Among their many “Social Demands” is “Progressive income tax and tax on inheritances; with smaller incomes to be exempt.”
In 1896, William Jennings Bryan gave that most famous political speech in American history: the “Cross of Gold” speech. Bryan adapted ideas of the former Marxist groups to please American ears and persuade American hearts. Already two years prior he had argued in favor of the income tax, and was then calling it “a just law;” and, further pushing for the inflation of the money supply. The success of his speech derives from his successful weaving of Marxism and Christian language. He called his humanistic crusade a “righteous cause” and “holy.” It was brilliant political propaganda, unequally yoking Marx and Christ (2 Cor. 6:14–18). Bryan argued that the gold standard would be a crucifixion of the “producing masses” and the “toiling masses.” The famous concluding lines leveraged the suffering of Christ for the Marxist agenda: “you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.” Unfortunately, ignorant Christians by the millions bought into Bryan’s clever rhetoric. Tens of millions still do.
And lest we forget the fundamentally anti-religious nature of this plank of Socialism in the country, the Socialist Party platform of 1887 demanded “Separation of all public affairs from religion; [and]church property to be subject to taxation” (note the irony here: the church cannot get involved in public affairs, but the public treasury should benefit from the church’s property). What the Socialist Party could not accomplish with its explicitly anti-church platform, Bryan and his Democrats accomplished by appropriating biblical language to say the same thing.
Likewise, the socialization of education stems directly from the work of early socialists in America. The “Father of the Common Schools” was Massachusetts lawyer and politician Horace Mann (1796–1858). He predates Marx, and thus is not dependent on him; nor was Mann an atheist like Marx, but an enthusiastic churchgoer. His theology, however, was suspect, as he wholeheartedly embraced Unitarianism in its early days when it was mission-minded—presenting itself as the culmination of Protestantism, ready to lead the direction of the natural order. Mann rejected orthodox Calvinism and believed strongly in the “perfectibility of man.”[4 ] This naturalistic belief was, however, couched in religious language: public education would eliminate ignorance, poverty, and crime. In his system, the State replaced both the church and the family: “Society, in its collective capacity, is a real, not a nominal sponsor and god-father for all its children” (classic political-salvation).[5 ] Rushdoony summarizes, “Mann’s work was two-fold, first to secularize education, and, second, to make it the province of the state rather than the community and the parents.”[6 ] The story of the socialization of education, then, is the product of unbiblical theology. It results in an unbiblical view of education and society that abolishes the role of church and family.
So, why rehearse these aspects of American history specifically, and why should they bother us as Americans? Simply that these changes in the American system directly reflect the famous Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto. We have witnessed a gradual progression into a more Marxist America, all the while boasting ourselves champions of freedom. Well, the “land of the free, and the home of the brave” has become, in fact, the “land of the Fed, and the home of the slave.”
We no longer live in the America that fought for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; but, in the America which will fight tooth and nail for government funding and special-interest politics. America today is more Marxist than anything, and a large portion of the voting public wishes to make it even more so. They are as such, fascist and totalitarian in their mindset. [Think ye with the mind of Christ – or, of Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, and de Sade?]
This is not the same country. It has been flooded with ideas from socialism. Envy, greed, and subsequent lust for political power have raped Lady Liberty, ravaged our land, and stolen the inheritance of the American Dream. It is ridiculous to sing “America the Beautiful” when socialists and statists have made extensive inroads into sabotaging our free-market system and turning it into a Fabian/Neo-Marxist hybrid. The America that remains is but a shell — filled with Prussian and European-style Socialism, wrapped in red, white, and blue. This is not the Christian Patriotism that our founders envisioned. The sabotaging of the American system has been going on most directly since the early part of the twentieth-century and continues in the twenty-first century; note the following comment made by Norman Thomas in 1927:
[“The American people would never vote for socialism, but under the name of ‘liberalism,’ the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program. One of the traditional methods of IMPOSING statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.”] (Norman Thomas; American Socialist, 1927)
Marx in developing his socialism, consciously erased any Christian foundation, claiming it was but an abstraction of the real problems of mankind. Marx was self-consciously opposed to Christianity and realized its Christian freedoms, God-given rights, law-protected family and property, all posed the ultimate threat to his man-centered statist system. His program of abolishing property, abolishing the traditional family, socializing education, and socializing sex were all contrived precisely as anti-biblical ideas. It was the institution of his system that Marx saw, not as the product of, but as the means to abolishing religion itself.[8 ] He saw his program as the economic and social counterpart to Darwin’s work in nature: an explanation of social order that does not require acknowledging God.
Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of Marx’s success was the fact the he only succeeded because Christians refused to get involved to begin with. Marx always kept this in mind and exploited it. This “neglecting and despising” of politics by Christians has continued in modern American history. Thus, America has since, and continues to follow the anti-Christian programs of Marx and other related systems and thereby abandoning the true economic teachings of the Bible. [These high and mighty Christians (especially evangelical Protestants) consider it beneath them to get involved with such material matters; they are too “spiritual” and too busy in their churches to do the gritty, dirty-work that other “worldly” people do…]
- This number has been updated from the figures available for the book in 2009. [↩ ]
- “The Socialist Labor Party of North America Platform,” 1887; http://www.slp.org/pdf/platforms/plat1887.pdf, accessed October 16, 2008. [↩ ]
- “National People’s Party Platform”; http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5361, accessed October 16, 2008. [↩ ]
- Quoted in R. J. Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education: Studies in the History of the Philosophy of Education (Philipsburg, NJ: Prebyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1963), 19. [↩ ]
- Quoted in R. J. Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education, 24. [↩ ]
- R. J. Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education, 27. [↩ ]
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” Basic Writings on Politics and Philosophy, ed. Lewis S. Feuer (Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1959), 26. [↩ ]
- Karl Marx, “Capital, Book I,” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels On Religion (New York: Schocken Books, 1964), 136. [↩ ]
- Karl Marx, “On the Hague Congress,” Karl Marx, Frederick Engels: Collected Works, 50 vol. (New York: International Publishers, 1988), 23:255. [↩ ]
Article printed from American Vision: http://americanvision.org
This is a short edited version of Joel McDurmon’s previous article, God versus Socialism. [Embellishments and Snarky comments provided free-of-charge by GospelBBQ; with apologies to Dr. Joel McDurmon].