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Jesus would approve of socialism

Local Commentary . Socialism

Posted: December 22, 2008 7:51 p.m.
Updated: December 23, 2008 4:30 a.m.

Americans are currently struggling with the stifling effects of a national recession, seemingly insurmountable national debt and a president who has destroyed our place of honor in the world.

Now we are asked to bail out banks, insurance companies and automobile manufacturers to save capitalism for the common good.

This makes me wonder how one of the greatest socialists of all time - Jesus of Nazareth - might think about our national plight - especially as many celebrate his birth.

Admittedly, most of us, including myself, have been brought up to believe that socialism is evil.

Indeed, the idea of accepting any form of socialism as being beneficial to our American way of life is so abhorrent to the American psyche that we are unwilling to even admit that we, as a country, already practice socialism in many ways, not to mention benefit from it.

Public education is a socialist idea. We can argue about problems with public education, but the simple idea that every child in America deserves a quality education and the American public (whether or not they have a child of their own) are asked to pay for it, is a socialist idea. Pure capitalism says that people who can afford education deserve to have it.

What about unemployment insurance or minimum wage? Socialism. Pure capitalism says that supply and demand are the only regulators of wages. Unemployment insurance - no way - just put away some money for a rainy day.

How about police and firefighting? Socialism. Pure capitalism says that people who want protection from wrong-doers or fire should just hire some private security officers or private firefighters.

How about equal treatment under the law? Socialism. Buyer beware, money speaks.

Having the federal government bail out financial institutions and failing businesses is not really socialism, even if that comparison has been made repeatedly. You may want to call it socialism for the rich people, but I don't even think it's that.

So what happened? Where did all the money go and why are the taxpayers forced to rescue the failures?
Like every Ponzi scheme, the mortgage-backed securities scam seemed legitimate for a while.

Eventually, ever-increasing property values could no longer be sustained and the entire pyramid collapsed.
Nearly everyone who profited from the scam had already taken their profits. They made their money and we are asked to rescue the ravaged companies so they can loan more money to more people.

Socialism is different. People are asked to participate in a system that benefits the masses before the individual.

Capitalism is a system that rewards and encourages greed. I don't think that kind of thinking would sit well with Jesus.

At Christmas time, many people are encouraged to think more about those who are suffering, and try to make their lives easier.

Many people look toward Jesus and are moved to stop being selfish for a few days. They don't just think about others, but even take action ­- they make sacrifices so others may have the benefit.

That's socialism, and that's the way Jesus thought and acted.

So people who think that Jesus is the son of God, must also think that socialism is a great way to help everyone in the country and the world - just like Jesus did. Unfortunately, most Americans think it's perfectly acceptable to be greedy bastards all year round and just throw some coins in a bucket at Christmas and/or ask God for forgiveness for their sins (avarice I assume).

Why don't Americans want to be more like Jesus and embrace socialism? I guess we just fell for the fear-mongering of the Rovian super-capitalists.

They convinced us all that sharing the wealth so all Americans could have a better standard of living was worse than having our leaders rape and pillage our Gross Personal Product (sort of a play on Gross National Profit) and give it to the corporate robber-barons.

Either way, the little people get the short end of the financial balance sheet. But at least with socialism, we can walk with Jesus and save our soul while we're doing it.

Now, do I really think that the American public is ready to turn the other cheek and start being selfless and think about someone other than themselves?

Of course not, but why can't we think a little more like Jesus and ask what is better for my fellow citizens?

How can we improve the status and standard of living of the most Americans? How can we make the world a safer and better place for everyone?

What would Jesus do is a great question for everyone to ponder.

What would you do?

Merry Christmas.

Bruce McFarland serves on numerous local charitable and political organizations and was elected to represent the 38th Assembly District at the Democratic Party of Los Angeles County. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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