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Taylor Jones: On misguided thinking

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Posted: January 2, 2009 7:28 p.m.
Updated: January 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Bruce McFarland's commentary that appeared in the Dec. 23 issue of The Signal is particularly interesting because it's in a real sense a tour de force of flawed, liberal thought.

To affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ was a socialist is precisely the kind of approach to thought and logic that will always place me firmly and resolutely on the opposite side of the political aisle from McFarland and his like-minded colleagues.

In an attempt to summarize such erroneous patterns of thought, I offer a description of liberalism in the form of four postulates. I derived them from the ideas that McFarland proposes.

These may even be axioms of liberal thought, since I have yet to encounter a liberal who didnt exhibit this kind thought to some degree or other. Nevertheless, I freely concede that does not preclude the possibility of exceptions.

Postulate 1: It is not systems of government that are evil. It is people that are evil. McFarland is right. Socialism is not evil. Capitalism is not without evil.

The fact that all men and women fell in the Garden of Eden, having participated in that sin (Romans 5) and thereby having inherited a nature bent toward sin (violation of God's standard of righteousness) means the best system of government is one that will restrain evil at all levels.

One of the best ways to do that is to dilute power. Capitalism does just that; checks and balances personify this. Socialism concentrates power and opens the door to rampant abuse. That is why socialism is an inferior form of government to capitalism.

A casual perusal of history reveals that every socialist government has been a disaster. Socialism or becoming more socialist is not the answer to the problems McFarland wants to see addressed.

Postulate 2: Liberals engage in unwarranted and unjustified extrapolation. McFarland cites public school, unemployment insurance, minimum wage and police and fire protection as examples of socialism. To have in place services and supports that benefit society at a local level is vastly removed from socialism, a system of governmental policy at the national level.

Socialism makes everyone's economic situation the norm. These cited societal benefits are available to all, but for a variety of reasons not all necessarily have equal access to them.

So this in no way could be considered as a pocket of socialism. Local services and support are not part of socialism. To affirm something that everyone has access to at the local level as the same as having the shared economic resources and government-owned businesses on a national level is an unwarranted and unjustified extrapolation.

Postulate 3: Liberals are well meaning but misguided. The goals that liberals espouse - helping every needy person, eliminating poverty, universal health care and so on - are not inherently evil things. By and large these are good goals.

Liberals are misguided in thinking that being preserved and insulated from all one would like is a civil right. It's possible to be poor and to have never had one's civil rights abridged.

One's civil rights include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Liberals think that one is entitled to happiness, in this case, freedom from any need and a proportionate share of the nation's wealth, even if they didnt earn it. And they think the solution to every social challenge is government intervention.

Seeking relief for individuals who cannot help themselves is well meaning; seeking to see every discomfort for every person relieved by governmental action that consists of taking from the rich to give to the poor is misguided.

Postulate 4: Liberals equate inequalities. It is an error in logic to take two things that are not the same and treat them as if they were the same thing. When Jesus told his disciples that the one who has two tunics should give one to someone who has none (Luke 3:11), he was not commanding socialism.

He was commanding those who follow him to exhibit personal philanthropy as part of a repentant life for those who have an abundance toward those who do not.

He never commanded a nation to redistribute its wealth. He never even condemned nor condoned a government, although he had much to say about how one was to interact with one's government (Mark 12:17).

Jesus had ample opportunity to speak about what type of government he thought best. He never addressed the issue.

When one reads liberal opinions, the errors in logic expressed in these four postulates are almost always present. The amazing thing to me is that such intelligent people do not understand the twists and turns in their own logic that lead them down the wrong paths.

Taylor Jones is a Newhall resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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