This is a continuation from my last post about the real issue of Socialism and what that means.
Here is another story from my years in Europe. I was working in Vienna with a man who had been visiting churches in Eastern Europe (then communist) countries since the days of Stalin. He had a story he often told:
A man came up to me in Berlin who had just gotten out of East Germany, having escaped like many East Germans did. I was preaching in a church there and he wanted to make a comment. “Do you know what the difference is between Communism and Christianity?’ he asked? “No,” I answered. “Communism says – What’s yours is mine – Christianity says – What’s mine is yours.'”
I have often thought of that simple, profound statement, when sorting out any sort of Socialist agenda in government. It is a root issue, when you think about it. It is all about control. It is also all about boundaries, who owns what, and who has rights to what.
The Socialists (and the Communists as well) often launch their campaigns with high ideals. “It is all about sharing!” They will say. “The goal is that those who have share with those who do not have!”
I am all for sharing. Christ Himself told us to give what we have to those who do not have and to take care of the poor. I have never seen more generous and effective people than those who believe and follow those words with their hearts.
But with Socialism, it is about more than that. It is about who makes the decision that I will share. Is it I that make the decision that I will share and how much I will share; or is it the state that decides I will share and how much?
That is the root issue.
Yesterday in North Carolina Barak Obama made a speech in which he said:
“He’s called me a socialist for wanting to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans so we can finally give tax relief to the middle class. I don’t know what’s next,” Obama said at a rally at the Halifax mall here.
“By the end of the week, he’ll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
Obama misses the point. When he was a kid HE decided to share his peanut butter sandwiches and his toys. That is noble. That is generous. But what if the school had MANDATED that he share his food and his toys? That would be different. That would be Socialism.
What if Obama had said, ‘When I was a kid, I shared Joe the Plumber’s peanut butter sandwiches and toys with the other kids in school?’ That is VASTLY DIFFERENT.
Think about it.
On a side note, I promised yesterday to sare a great joke the Russians used to tell about Socialism and Capitalism. I’ll move that on to tomorrow. The Obama quote came up first and I couldn’t pass it up.