the opportunity our elected officials will strip away our dignity and identity, and we will be reduced to mere slaves. Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:14–30 clearly teaches our responsibility to serve God with our (private) resources…
The most prominent philosopher to argue in favor of socialism was Karl Marx, who taught that the driving factor behind all of human history is economics. Marx was born to German Jewish parents in 1818 and received his doctorate at age 23. He then embarked on a mission to prove that human identity is bound up in a person’s work and that economic systems totally control a person. Arguing that mankind survives by labor, Marx believed that human communities are created by the division of labor.
Marx saw the Industrial Revolution as changing the basic lifestyle of humanity, because, in Marx’s mind, those who had freely worked for themselves were now forced by economics to work in factories instead. This, Marx felt, stripped away their dignity and identity, and now they were reduced to mere slaves controlled by a powerful taskmaster. This perspective made the economics of capitalism the natural enemy of Marx’s brand of socialism.
A Wall Street Journal editorial of July 10th lays out what the House Democrats’ most recent socialist scheme (H.R.3195 – Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act) is all about. In June, the Democrats who sit on the House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R.3195, which is currently winding its way through the House. This bill mandates permanent funding of $900 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) each year. This would be a whopping two and a half times greater than the Fund’s average annual expenditures over the past 15 years. Just what does the LWCF do? The Fund was created in 1964. It is primarily funded by federal oil and gas drilling royalties. Its main activity has been to gobble up private land (read: nationalize) and put it under government ownership, management, and political control. Among other things, this means that the newly nationalized lands will be poorly managed.
The government’s poor land management practices should come as no surprise. After all, Adam Smith diagnosed the problems associated with government ownership of land in his classic treatise, the Wealth of Nations(1776). Smith concluded that “no two characters seem more inconsistent than those of the trader and the sovereign” since people are more prodigal with the wealth of others than with their own. In that vein, he estimated that lands owned by the state were only about 25% as productive as comparable private holdings. Smith believed Europe’s great tracts of crown lands to be “a mere waste and loss of country in respect both of produce and population.”
As the Wall Street Journal indicated, the Democrats in the House are not the only ones who favor more nationalization, political control, and bureaucratic management of land. For example, two Republicans are on board: Colorado Senator Cory Gardner and Montana Senator Steve Daines.
What a difference a few decades make. Indeed, it brings back memories of my work with President Reagan and Nevada’s late, legendary Senator Paul Laxalt in the early 1980s, when I served on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. It was then that President Reagan tasked me with the job of developing a program for the privatization of federal lands. Reagan was in an anti-socialist sell mode, not a socialist buy mode.
The program I developed proposed privatizing commercial grazing lands and timberlands. The president endorsed my program, which was subsequently outlined in the president’s Budget Message for fiscal-year 1983: “Some of this property is not in use and would be of greater value to society if transferred to the private sector. In the next three years, we would save $9 billion by shedding these unnecessary properties, while fully protecting and preserving our national parks, forests, wilderness, and scenic areas.”
In taking this position, Reagan was following the footsteps of our nation’s founders. Although the Founders differed on the modalities of land privatization, they agreed that land held by the government should be privatized as rapidly as possible. Indeed, the Founders believed that lands should be privately owned and that this would promote economic development and strengthen the nation. In the 1800s, many laws were passed to implement their ideas and to accelerate the settlement of the West.
The Founders understood that the way land was owned would affect all else. As a result of the foundation laid by the Founders and subsequent legislation in the 19th century, about 816 million acres of public domain land was privatized between 1781 and 2015, with 97% of the privatization taking place before 1940.
But, the privatization process was left incomplete. As a result, the U.S retains a huge inventory of lands owned by the federal government. These public lands amount to roughly 640 million acres, an area over seven times larger than Germany.
Rather than permanently funding the LWCF so that it can augment the already massive inventory of government lands, Congress should embrace the Founders’ principles and vision for land ownership in the United States. The federal government’s commercial grazing lands and timberlands should be privatized. Also, of the 11.4 million acres of land managed by the Department of Defense, a significant portion is clearly “surplus” and should be included in any privatization initiative. I am not talking about national parks, wildlife refuges, national conservation areas, national monuments, wilderness areas, national historic sites, national memorials, national battlefields, national recreational areas, wild and scenic rivers, national seashores and lakeshores, and national trails. These lands would be excluded from privatization.
Not only would such a privatization program be desirable in principle, but it would also generate significant benefits:
1) The productivity of privatized lands would increase. With private ownership, it would be possible to obtain more commercial, recreational, and environmental outputs than with federal ownership. For example, in a study of timberlands in Western Oregon, I found that the value of those public lands would increase 13-fold if they were privately owned.
2) With increased productivity, not only would the value of the lands surge, but employment and economic activity would also be enhanced.
3) Consumers would be served more effectively, and lands would be allocated to their most highly valued uses. After all, the only way that private-land owners can profit from their property is to employ it for the satisfaction of other people’s wants. Serving consumers, of course, is the social function of private property. Private consumers and producers, not politicians and bureaucrats, would call the tune. The politicization of land use would be swept aside, and the political controversies that accompany public land ownership would be swept aside, too.
4) Land sales would generate revenues for the federal government. These could be earmarked to pay down the federal debt. To give some idea of the magnitude of a potential debt write down, consider that federal lands, excluding mineral rights and oil and gas, have been estimated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to be as high as $1.04 trillion.
5) The reported annual cost of the federal government’s land holdings (which incorrectly omits capital carrying charges) exceed the annual revenues generated from federal lands by a wide margin. Privatization would eliminate these massive losses for the federal government. This would benefit all United States taxpayers, who must pay taxes to support the federal government’s retention of federal lands.
6) State and local tax bases would be created, and in-lieu transfer payments from Washington would be reduced.
7) Land-use decisions would become less politicized. Both commercial and non-commercial land users would spend less of their time and money attempting to obtain land-use rights through political and bureaucratic processes.
These are just seven good reasons to dump the Democrats’ latest socialist scheme to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a fund designed to nationalize even more American lands. Source
Socialism seeks to do away with private property. Karl Marx surmised that capitalism emphasizes private property and, therefore, reduced ownership to the privileged few. Two separate “communities” emerged in Marx’s mind: the business owners, or the bourgeoisie; and the working class, or the proletariat. According to Marx, the bourgeoisie use and exploit the proletariat with the result that one person’s gain is another person’s loss. Moreover, Marx believed that business owners influence lawmakers to ensure their interests are defended over the workers’ loss of dignity and rights. Last, Marx felt that religion is the “opiate of the masses,” which the rich use to manipulate the working class; the proletariat is promised rewards in heaven one day if they keep working diligently where God has placed them (subservient to the bourgeoisie).
In the socialism Marx envisioned, the people own everything collectively, and all work for the common good of mankind. Marx’s goal was to end the ownership of the private property through the state’s ownership of all means of economic production. Once the private property was abolished, Marx felt that a person’s identity would be elevated and the wall that capitalism supposedly constructed between the owners and working class would be shattered. Everyone would value one another and work together for a shared purpose. The government would no longer be necessary, as people would become less selfish.
There are at least four errors in Marx’s thinking, revealing some flaws in socialism. First, his assertion that another person’s gain must come at another person’s expense is a myth; the structure of capitalism leaves plenty of room for all to raise their standard of living through innovation and competition. It is perfectly feasible for multiple parties to compete and do well in a market of consumers who want their goods and services.
Second, Marx was wrong in his socialist belief that the value of a product is based on the amount of labor that is put into it. The quality of a good or service simply cannot be determined by the amount of effort a laborer expends. For example, a master carpenter can more quickly and beautifully make a piece of furniture than an unskilled craftsman can, and therefore his work will be valued far more (and correctly so) in an economic system such as capitalism.
Third, Marx’s theory of socialism necessitates a government that is free from corruption and negates the possibility of elitism within its ranks. If history has shown anything, it is that power corrupts fallen mankind, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. People do not naturally become less selfish. A nation or government may kill the idea of God, but someone will take God’s place in that government. That someone is most often an individual or group who begins to rule over the population and seeks to maintain their privileged position at all costs. This is why socialism has led to dictatorships so often in world history.
Fourth and most importantly, socialism is wrong in teaching that a person’s identity is bound up in the work that he does. Although secular society certainly promotes this belief, the Bible says that all have equal worth because all are created in the image of the eternal God. The true, intrinsic human value lies in God’s creation of us.
Was Marx right in saying that economics is the catalyst that drives human history? No, what directs human history is the Creator of the universe who controls everything, including the rise and fall of every nation. God also controls who is put in charge of each nation: “The Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men” (Daniel 4:17). Further, it is God who gives a person skill at labor and the wealth that comes from it, not the government: “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:18–19).
Socialism, for all its popularity in some circles, is not a biblical model for society. In opposition to socialism, the Bible promotes the idea of private property and issues command to respect it: commands such as “You shall not steal” (Deuteronomy 5:19) are meaningless without private property. Unlike what we see in failed experiments in socialism, the Bible honors work and teaches that individuals are responsible to support themselves: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The redistribution of wealth foundational to socialism destroys accountability and the biblical work ethic. Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:14–30 clearly teaches our responsibility to serve God with our (private) resources.
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28.)
John Wesley who said that what we tolerate in our generation, will be embraced by the next. Wesley is 100% correct! We are living in sick times.
Usually, the Lord doth no great thing for or against his people, without giving warning of it before it comes.
They perverted justice among themselves (v. 7): “You turn judgment to wormwood, that is, you make your administrations of justice bitter and nauseous, and highly displeasing both to God and man.’’ That fruit has become a weed, a weed in the garden; as nothing is more venerable, nothing more valuable, than justice duly administered, so nothing is more hurtful, nothing more abominable, than designedly doing wrong under color and pretense of doing right. Corruptio optimi est pessima —The best, when corrupted, becomes the worst.
It is impossible to find anyone in the Bible who was a power for God who did not have enemies and was not hated.
2 Corinthians 4:8-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
“Pedophile” has reverberated throughout America. But beneath our anger and revulsion, a fundamental question pulsates: Are those who abuse their positions of trust to prey upon children—a category certainly not limited to those in religious orders—sick … or are they evil? We need the answer to that fundamental question. Because, without the truth, we cannot act. And until we act, nothing will change.
My job is protecting children. It has taken me from big cities to rural outposts, from ghettos to penthouses, and from courtrooms, into demonic battlefields. But whatever the venue, the truth remains constant: Some humans intentionally hurt children. They commit unspeakable acts—for their pleasure, their profit, or both.
The number of Orphans aging out of Child Protective Custody has grown at an alarming rate. The 127 Faith Foundation receives many requests each week to house them at our ranch. Our prayer is that the good people of our country will step up to the challenge and offer financial support for "the least among us." We need your help! StevieRay Hansen, Founder, The 127 Faith Foundation
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