KEY QUESTIONS Do individuals exist to benefit The State? Or does a government exist to benefit individuals? Who are "we, the people"? Is there such a thing as "the will of the people"?
Natural Law versus Political Law
To understand a REPUBLIC, which is "rule by law," one must understand the difference between Natural Law and Political Law.
Natural Law refers to fixed standards of right and wrong that transcend all time periods and places. They are universal standards of right and wrong that are generally agreed upon by all sane people. These are laws of right and wrong found in the Ten Commandments. To a Christian, these would be seen as the laws of God that He has written on our hearts. They can be boiled down to the two following fundamental laws: (1) Do all you have agreed to do. (2) Do not encroach on other people or their property (Richard Maybury, Whatever Happened to Justice, 35-40).
Political Law is legislation passed by legislators or decreed by rulers. It may or may not be based on principles of right or wrong. Political Law often violates Natural Law.
Capitalism is an economic system based on service. In order to succeed in a capitalist free market, a producer must find a product or service that serves consumers well, so that potential buyers will be motivated to voluntarily purchase it!
The market place in a capitalist system remains more free. People are allowed to make voluntary exchanges in the marketplace, purchasing products and services from a wide variety of producers who are trying to succeed in the market place. The competition that results when producers compete for consumers results in a rich collection of choices in the marketplace, so both consumers and producers benefit.
In a sinful world, capitalism is the best economic system for downplaying greed because it requires each person in the marketplace to think about other people and prioritize their needs in order to succeed!
Capitalism is often falsely portrayed as a system by which greedy capitalists prey upon victimized consumers.
In reality, capitalism is by far the most DEMOCRATIC economic system of all! Because consumers have a wide range of choices, they have the opportunity to 'vote' for the products they prefer by purchasing them. Similarly, they can 'vote against' products that do not serve them well by not buying them. With capitalism, consumers use their democratic decision-making power of where they voluntarily choose to spend their money to select the products that succeed in the marketplace.
Socialism is an economic system based on governmental ownership of the means of production along with State control of the economy. It is designed to be a step between capitalism and communism.
Under socialism, the government seeks to organize the economy in a way that benefits the political elites and their friends. Individuals lose their agency to make private and voluntary economic decisions as The State seizes control of industries, limiting the producers who are allowed to contribute to the economy. Economic freedom is undermined.
Socialism is an economic system by which the greedy political class preys upon victimized taxpayers.
The political class plunders everyone outside their class in order to enrich themselves and their elite friends in media and government.
Socialism is a nice-sounding word for SERFDOM. The regular, everyday people are conscripted into government service and labor to support the lifestyles of the political class and their friends in business and media.
Socialism is often falsely portrayed as a system by which the economy and the means of production are "publicly owned." This is a misnomer since socialism depends upon ownership and control by the government. The term "publicly owned" is used as a subterfuge to disguise government control and make socialism seem as though it empowers "We the People." It does not, but rather undermines the authority of "We the People" to make individual decisions about economic choices.
Socialism does not recognize an individual's natural rights of life, liberty, and property. Therefore, it stands in stark opposition to the founding principles embodied in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
An important concept related to Socialism - and its fulfillment in utopian Communism - is "collectivism."
Communism is an economic system based on government control of the entire economy.
The government - aka The State - controls all means of production, and the political class are the sole decision makers who run every industry. They use their authority to enrich themselves and their friends in the elite class.
People outside of the political and elite class are "the workers" who serve as serfs to work in factories and industries, and their role is primarily to maintain the lifestyle of the elites. There is no difference between the SERFDOM of a communist state-directed economy and the serfdom of feudalism.
In a communist system, there is only one political party and one acceptable ideology. The political class chooses who is allowed to participate in each industry, and one must be a party member if one wants to significantly participate in the economy. Adherence to the "proper" accepted ideology of The State and The Party is a condition of staying out of prisons or re-education camps.
Voluntary exchanges become impossible except in a black market that emerges outside of the legally sanctioned economy.
Communism is often portrayed as the utopian fulfillment of an fully developed economic system that has surpassed capitalism and socialism. It is framed as a "collective" system whereby everyone owns everything, and uses the term "publicly-owned" to perpetuate this myth. This is impossible. "Everyone" cannot own something. Under communism, the government has claimed ownership over everything just as the king and the noble class once claimed ownership over everything during the days of feudal serfdom.
An individual does not have individual property rights and must consider everything he or she once owned as belonging to The State or the collective. All property is considered to be the property of The State and used to serve the agenda of The State. The political class makes decisions about property.
Collectivism is a key feature of Communism. Individual liberty is discarded as inferior to the pursuit of "the greater good," which is a mythological concept that assumes there is a way of running things that is "good" for all "the people" and reflects "the will of the people." "The greater good" and "the will of the people" are simply imaginary concepts used by tyrants to take control.
The political elites & their buddies are individuals who define the "greater good" for society or The State. But they are actually just asserting their preference based on what benefits THEM.
There is no way to define what is universally "good" for everyone.
The reality is that communism is complete State control and, thus, it is a system of tyranny. Often mass psychosis leads individuals to adhere strongly to the party ideology because hope for any individual thought is lost and completely unattainable. Therefore, the psychic pain of knowing one cannot live freely results in finding hope in being devoted to The State. Many people in communist countries have an overwhelming devotion to The State and report having a godlike devotion for their leader.
The Free Market
The free market is a feature of a capitalist economy whereby people are free to make voluntary exchanges in an open market.
In a free market, people voluntarily take risks, make choices, and seek profits.
People have the freedom to use their God-given gifts, talents, and interests to serve others and meet each other's needs in creative ways that reflect God's creative nature.
Producers can freely choose to take the economic risk of trying out a product to see if it will sell. They must consider what types of products or services will meet the needs and desires of their potential consumers and find ways to serve these potential buyers well. Those who meet the needs of consumers most efficiently succeed in the free market because buyers have the incentive to exchange their money for the products or services offered. Producers have the incentive to take the risks involved because they can make a profit from their investment of time, money, and creativity.
Workers who wish to exchange their labor for a wage can freely negotiate with employers to set a wage at an equilibrium price. Each worker must take into consideration how to make their labor marketable to potential buyers of their labor (employers). Workers often invest in training in order to make their labor more valuable in a free market to give employers the incentive to choose them for an open position!
The key concepts of the free market are VOLUNTARY and CHOICE!
"The deep reason that free markets matter is not economic, but moral. What matters most is not that free markets work (even though they do), but that they are the only moral way for humans to arrange their affairs. Everything else involves coercion; everything else minimizes human growth and development." [Paul Rosenberg, Freeman's Perspective]
State Controlled Market
State controlled markets are the antithesis of a free market. Producers do not take risks, make choices, or seek profits. Producers become employees of the government and operate at the bidding of The State.
Exchanges are not made voluntarily except for illegal exchanges made on the black market. The black market thrives in country with a state-controlled economy because that is where consumers can actually make choices to get their needs and desires met.
With a limited number of producers in a state-controlled economy, there are few choices. The State decides what is produced, how much is produced, and who is allowed to purchase what is produced.
Typically, adherence to the one-party ideology is a requirement of being allowed to participate in the state-controlled economy.
Lacking competition, the government-run companies have no incentive to produce better products more efficiently. Instead, they are incentivized to produce in whatever way most benefits themselves and their friends in the political class.
Consumers are the losers in a state-controlled market because the market provides no incentive to meet their needs and desires but only the needs and desires of the elites.
The key concept of a state-controlled economy is COERCION!
noun - A profit is something that benefits a person.
verb - To profit from something means to gain something from your efforts.
In an economic sense, a profit is what a person gains that is above a beyond what he invested. For example, when a person voluntarily exchanges his labor for a wage, the money he receives above and beyond what he pays to go to work (perhaps cost of work clothing and cost of commute) is his profit!
Without the opportunity to profit from one's efforts, there is little incentive. People need a motivator to provide them with the incentive to do hard things.
It is important that we engage in activities that profit us. To engage in profitable activities is simply to do things that benefit us.
Often the word profit is given a bad wrap. In an attempt to discredit capitalism, which is simply a service-oriented economic system based on the incentive to profit from one's efforts, some have suggested that profits are selfish. This argument is based on their assumption that doing something that profits (or benefits) oneself is to simultaneously harm someone else. Nothing could be further from the truth. Often when we do things that profit and benefit ourselves, we benefit others at the same time. It is absolutely possible to engage in activities that profit ourselves while simultaneously blessings others.
For example, a student who cleans his room profits by having a clean room and by developing a sense of responsibility that will benefit him throughout his life. His mom also benefits by having a clean home and a responsible son, who is an example to his siblings.
Additionally, when a business owner is able to make more money than the cost of running her business, she can hire more employees who are able to exchange their labor for a wage and thus, make a profit themselves!
Profit is not a "dirty word" as we are often told. According to the Bible, reading scripture is profitable and godliness is profitable. In other words, when we do things that are beneficial to developing our character and walk with God, we profit!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV - All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
1 Timothy 4:8 - For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
A person profits from working hard, from doing one's homework, from cleaning one's room, from honoring one's parents, and from doing anything that is beneficial. There is no shame in gaining something from your hard work and efforts.
Self interest is related to the concept of profit in that operating in one's own self interest is doing what is good for you and what benefits you.
Not to be confused with selfishness, self interest actually refers to actions a person takes to benefit him or herself, but this does not necessarily mean that a person is harming someone else in the process. Rather, it is quite common for a person to operate in their own self interest in a way that simultaneously benefits others.
For example, it is in a person's self interest to develop good character, develop a sense of responsibility, work hard in school, make friends, keep friends, and generally engage in activities that make the world a better place.
While pursuing selfishness is a feel-good action that benefits a person in the short term while possibly harming them in the long run, pursuing self interest is a perspective that may delay short term gratification in exchange for true long term benefit.
Opponents of capitalism like to misuse the concept of self interest to discredit capitalism. There has been an extensive campaign to reframe the idea of self interest to make it synonymous with selfishness. This is simple political manipulation designed to encourage the average nice person to abandon capitalism in favor of more Statism.
Limited government is an essential feature of the American system of government as created by the Founding Fathers. They believed that mankind was sinful and, therefore, not to be trusted with power. Historical precedent affirmed this perspective. They established the new American nation with limits to political power, including extensive checks and balances that protected Americans from tyranny.
In many ways the protections they put in place have been eroded substantially over the years.
A "nanny state" is a statist perspective toward government whereby The State establishes a parental attitude toward its citizens and believes it has a duty to provide services to each person from cradle to grave. As a result, programs are established that provide each individual few choices to govern his or her destiny.
Equality means that everyone is equal to everyone else in terms of their worth and value as a human being. Therefore, everyone has the same natural rights to life, liberty, and property.
"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 - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (The Declaration of Independence)
"That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety." (George Mason - Virginia Declaration of Rights)
Some have suggested that it is the duty of The State to create equality by making people equal. Their assumption is based on a flawed view of the meaning of equality. Rather than understanding equality as a truth that simply IS - that all people are equal in worth and value - they believe that equality can be created by redistributing property from one person to another. They believe that equality is based on the amount of property one has or a person's level of wealth. Thus, to make things equal from this flawed perspective, the government must work to ensure people - who are outside the political class - have equal amounts of stuff.
The biblical view of equality is that all people ARE equal as part of their identity as creations of God. No government can create equality. Governments are instituted among men to secure the natural rights of life, liberty, and property of all people by upholding natural law.
The concept of intersectionality stands in direct opposition to the truth that all people are created equal.
Intersectionality assigns worth to a person based on how many victim groups one belongs to. The more victim groups one belongs to, the greater worth one has and the more that person's voice should be heard.
Under an intersectionality paradigm, people are expected to deconstruct their identities in terms of racial and sexual identity, and then rank themselves on a hierarchy of privilege.
501 (c)(3) Status
The 501 (c)(3) status is a non-profit status that allows churches to operate in a tax exempt manner.
In exchange for avoiding federal taxation, organized churches who take the status must refrain from teaching theology that would direct congregants toward political decision-making of a particular bent.
While masquerading as a policy that keeps politics out of the churches, this non-profit status has actually been used to bring a political spirit into the church by prohibiting discussions relevant to a Christian worldview such as:
How does the sinful nature of mankind impact the level of power that government officials should hold? According to a biblical view of mankind, can anyone be trusted with power? If not, then how do we limit power in our leaders?
What is the source of evil? How does the view that Satan is the source of evil differ from the view that society is the source of evil? How does one address evil if they believe Satan is the source of evil? How does one address evil if they believe that society is the source of evil?
How is the government demanding that we bow down and worship it its feet? How do we see reflections of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel's dilemma from The State today? In what ways does The State demand that we allow it to serve as our savior?
How do we vote to promote a biblical belief system in an age when a non-biblical belief system is being taught in government schools and promoted in the media?
How do we counteract a Marxist "spirit of offense" that is dominating the world globally, in light of the fact that some have suggested that a spirit of offense is the bait of Satan? How does Satan use a perspective of victimization and offense to shift people toward selfishness and narcissism and away from God and a loving spirit?
How does a person's identity in Christ intersect with their status as a citizen? Does a person possess inherent natural rights to life, liberty, and property simply because they are a creation of God? Or are people's rights simply whatever The State decides to allow them to have? Do rights come from God or do they come from The State?
These points of political discussion need answers from a courageous and inquisitive church. Sadly, churches who accept the 501(c)(3) status are not allowed to touch on these issues in exchange for a tax exemption.
Success in a Capitalist System Depends on Service
"There is a magic formula for success. No enterprise can succeed without it; any enterprise can succeed with it. Indeed, it can lead to success in life itself. The formula is stated in six powerful words - short words, only three of them containing as many as four letters. They are these - and mark them well: find a need and fill it. Every business enterprise that has achieved success and demonstrated outstanding performance has been predicated on that formula. The managers of such enterprises discovered a need for some service or commodity that was generally required by people. They went about filling that need, they filled it well, and so their efforts were rewarded by corresponding response. The great men of history were those who saw a need, who became aware of some timely requirement. They proceeded to fill the need, they met the requirement, and so were leaders and benefactors of mankind. They became outstanding and successful personalities, being possessed of the great quality of timely participation. These men were need-watchers, situation-handlers, condition-rectifiers, requirement-fillers."
Norman Vincent Peale Enthusiasm Makes the Difference Fawcett Crest Books, 1967 (Chapter Three, page 39)