One of the more remarkable phenomena of the last 100+ years has been the enduring appeal of socialism. Despite repeated colossal failures, resulting in one-party government, mass murder, terror, repression, censorship, famine, prison camps and so on, its appeal remains.
The most current example of its failure is Venezuela. There, the people voted in the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in 1999. At first, his policies appeared to work, and Chavez rhapsodized, “Every day I am more convinced that socialism is the kingdom of God on earth.” Then the usual problems followed: nationalization of industries, decreasing economic output, intimidation of political opponents, one party rule, impoverishing inflation, crime, corruption, food shortages and hunger.
In 1891, Pope Leo XIII warned of this if the Socialist model were adopted: “…the sources of wealth would run dry… and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality a leveling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation.” (Rerum Novarum, paragraph 15)
Here, in the United States, socialists advocate “free education,” and “free healthcare.” This sounds so compassionate, until one realizes there is a trade-off: freedom for security. For example, “free education” means taxpayer-subsidized education in a Godless government school whose curriculum is controlled, not by parents, but by the educators. These schools reflect the beliefs of the “father” of public education in the United States, John Dewey, an atheist and self-described “democratic socialist.” There, Columbus and the Founding Fathers are reviled in revisionist books such as A People’s History of the United States, written by the late Howard Zinn, a socialist.
In 1931 Pope Pius XI wrote of Socialism: “Its main aim is the formation of minds… under the appearance of friendship, it attracts little children and attaches them to itself… to make of them convinced Socialists…”
Meanwhile, those who want a religious education must pay for this “privileged” education out of pocket, with no help from other taxpayers. “Free healthcare” is similarly restrictive. If a woman wants an abortion, taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab. But, if she wants therapy to overcome her same-sex attraction, she can pay for that herself --- assuming the state hasn’t decided it’s illegal for a certified counselor to even offer this type of therapy.
One other little problem: there is no money. Our government is $23 trillion in debt, $187,000 per taxpayer, due to current “entitlement” programs. Socialist programs inevitably exceed the capacity of the economy to fund them. The usual result is hyperinflation, crushing taxes, or repudiation of debt: economic catastrophe.
The relentless expansion of socialism in the United States is especially concerning for Catholics because socialist governments recognize no morality higher than the state and are antagonistic to those who believe they are subject to a Higher Law. This was true in the USSR, where churches were confiscated and priests and nuns shot as “enemies of the people”; the same thing occurred in Nazi Germany; in Spain, during the Spanish Civil War; in Mexico, China and North Korea. We are now seeing the beginnings in the United States. Here the Little Sisters of the Poor are fighting for exemption from the contraceptive mandate of the (so-called) Affordable Care Act, pharmacists are fired for refusing to fill prescriptions for abortion pills and business owners are fined for refusing to accommodate same-sex “weddings”.
In 1931, Pope Pius XI wrote: “If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth… it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.” (Quadragesimo Anno par. 120)
In 1891, Pope Leo XIII wrote “Christian morality, when adequately and completely practiced, leads of itself to temporal prosperity, for it merits the blessing of that God who is the source of all blessings…” (Rerum par. 28)
Our duty, as Christians, is to revivify our nation by joyfully striving to live, write, speak and vote in a way that reflects Christian morality. Your station will continue to feature programs which inform and encourage us live this morality, and also show other programs that expose the dangers of following the Socialist path.
Please continue to support the station through your prayers, by telling others, and a financial contribution if possible.
A blessed Lent to all.