“He who works his hand will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows useless things is devoid of understanding.” – Proverbs 12:11
Recent polling shows over 50% of people favor a socialist society over a republic. As November elections approach, the Democratic Party continues to move toward what they term “democratic socialism.” In NY City, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is running on a platform that includes free Medicare for all, free college for all, repeal of the First Amendment, abolishing ICE, and guaranteed employment. Sounds awesome, right?
One of the tenets of the Principle of Necessity is that it is necessary for people to go to work to provide a living for themselves. In America, working is viewed as the means for providing life’s necessities (food, shelter, medical) and for development of a person’s character. Work, in American society, is good.
In France, May of 2016 saw hundreds of thousands of college students, joined by French labor unions, riot in the streets. Violence erupted in a standoff between police and protestors over a new law pushed through Parliament. What law could cause such widespread anger across the country, among French citizens?
This law allows any company to fire a person under the age of 26, without cause, within the first two years of employment. People rioted for over 10 weeks because companies should not have the right to fire someone. French citizens believe employment is a right, not a privilege. Which, by the way, is also how they view their vacation time. Welcome to the absurd logic around the world of socialism.
But let’s take a closer look. This is the government’s attempt to deal with the out-of-control unemployment rate of young people out of college, which now is over 25%. You see, French companies hate to hire France’s young millennials because France’s socialist government makes it impossible to fire them except “for cause,” which under union rules means committing a serious crime in the workplace. And knowing this, the average French worker is not legally bound to adhere to the company’s directives, but only to their own.
In our verse this week out of Proverbs, King Solomon gives some very wise advice: if you want to make sure you have life’s necessities, go to work. The apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy, puts it even more bluntly: “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”. (1Timothy 5:8).
We should take a moment to define socialism. Socialism begins with state ownership and control of all major resources, as a society looks to the state to provide for the welfare of its citizens. Unfortunately, history reveals it usually ends with the collapse of people’s character, followed by the productive population. In his article ‘Socialism Kills’, columnist Dennis Prager gives us 5 good reasons why socialism destroys people’s character as it breeds selfishness, callousness and narcissism in its citizens.
Reason #1: “People who embrace socialism hate to work. In France, the legal length of the work week is 35 hours. The NY Times featured an article describing the death of the Protestant work ethic in secular, socialist Europe and the thriving of that ethic in America – and that this explains the far greater productivity and affluence of America. The Judeo-Christian tradition values work; secularism doesn’t. And as we all know from watching our children, people with a lot of time on their hands have character problems.”
Reason #2: “Socialism values equality more than liberty. The Norwegian government passed a law that the boards of its largest corporations must be half female. Because liberty is held in lower esteem, Europe has raised a generation that does not value liberty nearly as much Americans do (though we’re getting there).”
Reason #3: “Socialism teaches you to avoid taking care of other people. The state will – why should you? If people in France take less care of their aging parents, it is because they are taught from childhood to allow the state to take care of everybody. The bigger the government, the worse the people.”
Reason #4: “People in socialist countries give little charity, while Americans give vast amounts (just as Americans in conservative states give more charity per capita than people in liberal ones).”
Reason #5: “The larger the state, the more callous its heart. Twentieth century evil was made possible in large measure by the bureaucratic mentality – the person who is merely a cog in the government machine, collectively all-powerful but individually powerless to do anything except take and execute orders.”