I wrote the following in response to more bitching by “Christians” about the evils of socialism and how poor people just want hand-outs….
Fact: Humans are social animals, and human society is, by its very nature, social.
Fact: Socialism is an economic system that attempts to satisfy the needs of an entire population through cooperative control of goods, services, and production.
So to all the contemporary “Christians” out there who have perverted the intrinsic meaning of their faith, who now preach the evils of socialism and lament hand-outs to the poor, I must set the record straight. There is nothing inherently evil about socialism, any more than there is fundamental evil in capitalism. Socialism and capitalism are simply two distinct economic systems. EITHER system can (and often does) become corrupt because of greed, which can manifest in any number of ways. A socialistic system can be threatened if enough able-bodied people do not pull their own weight. A capitalistic system can be threatened, and even toppled, when a population minority acquires the majority of the wealth. A significant prosperity gap is not healthy for any society, but that is precisely the situation we are facing in the U.S. today.
We have been on this widening-wealth-gap trajectory since the late 1970s when the powers-that-be (i.e., what I refer to as the FIVE branches of government—Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Military, and Corporate) began their insidious campaign of power mongering through war profiteering, corporate deregulation, and disinformation. Tax loopholes via subsidiary companies and offshore banking became the standard. A machete was taken to anti-trust legislation, allowing buy-out after buy-out, which resulted in the existence of fewer companies overall. In addition, unnecessary (often intentionally fomented) wars began and continue to be waged by Congress, the President(s), and the Military — in cahoots with the corporate war profiteers — all in the name of “patriotism” and protection from the “enemy” so they could be easily sold to the American people. The sociopaths-in-charge know full well that the average American is apathetic, preferring to rest hypnotically in front of the TV rather than seek out a variety of sources in order to cull out the truth. Not to mention that the truth is becoming increasingly more difficult to find, as the news media (themselves having fallen victim to corporate conglomeration) have adopted a standard of propaganda dissemination rather than unbiased news reporting. Over the past couple of decades, the men behind the curtain have even taken to exploiting (mostly the Christian) religion as a way of furthering their wool-pulling over the eyes and ears of the masses.
By the early 1990s, following the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, the new paradigm of corporate deregulation had taken a firm hold, with the population at large accepting it, either by indifference or by having been essentially brainwashed. Even the Democratic party, which had for close to 100 years been the party of “the people,” began to adopt this new conceptual framework. The Clintons ushered in a whole new Democratic party era by essentially embracing the pro-big-business policies that had, up until that time, largely been the manifesto of the Republican party. Since then, it’s been a cakewalk for the banks and corporations (i.e., Wall Street) to gain increasingly more power and VAST more amounts of money. Never in the history of the U.S. has there been such a gaping chasm between the haves and have-nots. The median American household income is now approximately $63,000 a year—close to a poverty wage in the San Francisco Bay Area—and of course, many households bring in far less. At the same time, the average CEO of a large corporation earns about $11 million in “salary” (not counting bonuses, stock options, and of course hidden assets). The CEO of WalMart makes per hour what his average employee makes in an entire year. And that’s a snapshot of RIGHT NOW; a year from now, that disparity will likely be even greater.
A capitalistic system is only healthy in the light of fair competition. When fewer large companies exist, most businesses unfairly lose their competitive edge, regardless of the quality of their goods or services. Corporate policies became less and less about producing excellence in products and services, and more and more about greed and profit at ANY cost. This leads to a loss of domestic jobs as big businesses outsource their production to other countries where they can exploit cheaper labor. It also leads to an ever diminishing quality of product and a loss of essential services. Most importantly, it steers the corporations themselves into acquiring ever more political power as they finance campaigns, lobbies, PACs, and (as explained above) the media. Not only is this a vicious cycle, and not only has this led to an unprecedented wealth gap, it is a downward spiral toward monopolism and ultimately to totalitarianism.
The average conservative American thinks that, with capitalism, he has a shot at becoming wealthy. And yeah, he does. But his odds are about the same as that of winning the lottery, which means he has a better chance of being struck by lightning. A few folks are rich. But most are poor, or at least relatively so. And the richer those few at the top become, the poorer the rest of us become. So, yes, the right-wing’s beloved capitalism actually does work very well—for those at the top. And that wealthy minority ensures the continuation of its elevated position by employing mass exploitation, unscrupulous business practices, campaigns of disinformation, and of course unyielding political power. Capitalism has proven to be very effective in facilitating that process.
So despite what contemporary conservative Christians would have you believe, I think if Jesus were alive today, not only would he not buy in to the right-wing paradigm, he would BE one of those people they vilify and attempt to repress. But regardless of the social rung upon which he rested, I believe Jesus would be out there in society, attempting to satisfy the needs of the people through cooperation and equity… and dare I say it, socialism.