Why Socialism Is Not a Problem Anymore

Two news in the last week provided additional evidence to the validity of my conviction that socialism is not a problem anymore.

First, the French actor Gérard Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship by President Putin. Why did Depardieu ask for it? Because he wanted to flee from the oppressive taxes the ruling Socialist Party in France wanted to impose on the millionaires in their country. Depardieu – a former actor millionaire, businessman, vineyard owner, and employer himself – reacted against it publicly, and earned the Prime Minister Ayrault’s anger and his epithet, “minable,” that is, “pathetic.” Depardieu threw his French passport and was almost immediately granted a Russian passport by Putin. While in Russia, Depardieu declared that Russia was part of his own culture since his father was a communist and a regular listener to Radio Moscow.

The irony is refreshing. The son of a communist, one of the most popular French symbols, is now a successful businessman and employer, and leaves his own country in order to avoid a 75% tax rate to a country where the tax rate is flat 13%. Of course, being the temperamental Gaul he is – after all, isn’t he the movie screen symbol of everything France is – Depardieu acted on the spur of the moment, a little childishly. But so did the French political class in their personal vendetta against the actor. The whole story was rather a story of kindergarten drama played between grown-up men. And while Depardieu’s temperament can be understood – he made his money playing it on the screen – the childishness of the French socialists is a symptom of something deeper than usual. And that something is the fact that socialism in France is running out of manpower. I mean, man-power, that is, men who are intelligent, mature, and who can keep their heads in the midst of opposition and challenges. The French Socialist Party – and in fact, the European political class as a whole – is increasingly looking like a giant kindergarten of immature, imbecilic halfwits whose highest level of response to the outside world is their patellar reflex.

Second, within the same week, thousands of Obama voters in the US received their first paychecks under the new Obama tax laws. And they discovered that what was supposed to be a tax increase on the filthy rich was actually a tax increase on themselves. Judging from their reactions in Internet forums, they are not a happy socialist bunch anymore. Most of those middle-class paychecks seem to be smaller by anywhere between $20 and $200 per two weeks, a significant cut for a group of people who voted for Obama with the expectation that they were to get more, not less, out of it. That is in addition to the pay raises for Federal employees and especially – especially – for the members of Congress.

Apparently, Obama and the Democrats believed that their election victory was a mandate for more socialism. The problem is, socialism means confiscation of private wealth. And no voter – not even a socialist voter – is willing to let his private wealth get confiscated without a fight. The things are getting even messier given the optimistic promise of the Democrats that they are looking toward $1 trillion more in tax revenues. That means, the total wealth of 20 billionaires like Bill Gates. Except that we don’t have that many billionaires like Bill Gates, and they have ways not to be taxed that much. Besides, no one seriously believes that Bill Gates supported Obama and the Democrats to see his wealth confiscated, right? So that $1 trillion will have to be provided by the 300 million regular Americans, which means over $3,000 per person, or over $12,000 per average family of four a year. The socialists in America are not much brighter than the French socialists if the first thing they do is cut the limb they are sitting on.

The old style communism was able to survive politically for about two generations using two techniques of persuasion: fear and promises for gains in the long-term. Modern socialism can’t use fear anymore, and its voters don’t care for long-term anymore, they want short-term. And this modern socialism is not able to keep its promises. It won’t take two generations to fail; it is failing with every political victory it scores. In our world, all it takes for socialism to die ideologically is for it to win politically for a few years. France and the United States will be the best example of it.

So, some readers may ask, what you are saying is that we don’t need to do anything against socialism, since it is failing anyway. We just need to let it win politically in order to destroy it ideologically. That should be the conclusion from your analysis, n’est-ce pas? Our victory is inevitable, no matter what we do? Are we winning by default?

Not really. Our victory is not secure until we can offer an alternative.

Modern socialism feeds not on its inherent strengths – it doesn’t have any. It feeds on the lack of alternatives. And those alternatives should be offered by the church, as the pillar and support of truth.

But the church in general is not offering them. The above news will be missed and ignored by 99% of the pastors, seminary professors, theologians, and other Christian celebrities. In fact, many of them, if they react at all, will support socialism in the name of the Bible. And as long as the church offers no alternative, socialism will continue marching unopposed, no matter how weak it is, and no matter how moronic its political representatives are.

Which brings me to my usual warning:

We have no problem with socialism. It is a weak reed for those who lean on it. But we have a problem with our own Christian leaders. Before we get rid of them, we can’t fight the enemy, even if it’s as weak and vulnerable as modern socialism. As usual, the enemy is us, not them.

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