Thursday, January 5, 2017

Brand on Coveting and Classwarfare

In his book, Flourishing Faith: A Baptist Primer on Work, Economics, and Civic Stewardship, Dr. Chad Brand shows how the tenth commandment, do not covet, relates to our nation's current obsession, led by the President, his administration, and those in his party, with class warfare.
A third implication of the two commandments cited above is that not only must we not take from others forcefully, but we must also avoid the temptation of wishing we might have what they own. Efforts at enforced redistribution, whether by personal or legalized theft, often arise from either the desire of one group to have more, or from the desire of another group to see to it that the poor have more. This latter approach has become quite common in modern times, as Socialists and Social Democrats have lobbied for more and more legislation to take higher tax revenues from the wealthier persons in society and to redistribute that wealth to the "less fortunate."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt constitutes a classic example of this redistributive philosophy. Campaigning for president in 1932, he gave a speech on "The Forgotten Man," a phrase that owed its origin to William Graham Sumner of Yale, who had asserted that in politics and taxation where redistribution of wealth was part of the goal, the "forgotten man," was the taxpayer whose income is taken and then given to others who are in some need. FDR, however, inverted the original story . . . claiming that the "forgotten man" was the man in the soup line in the Great Depression, which was raging then at the time of the presidential campaign. The phrase "grew legs," as they say, and the "forgotten man" of FDR's speech became a campaign slogan that helped him defeat Herbert Hoover in the election. Sumner, we are convinced, had it right and FDR got it wrong. The real forgotten man is the man who has to foot the bill when some person or group of persons, A, sees another person or group, B, in need and calls for redistribution of wealth. It is actually then another person, C, whose income is redistributed to make that happen. We can covet others' goods for our own gain, or we can covet to have a sense of satisfaction that someone else is getting "justice" by giving what he has to others, but it is coveting nonetheless.

Further, it needs to be noted that in politics, this "coveting on behalf of someone else" is rarely done on humanitarian grounds. There are of course philanthropic agencies that do have a passion to help the poor, but by the time it gets to the political realm, even though it is presented in humanitarian terms, it is often (usually) a vehicle for one group to exercise political power. (74-75)
Think of this as you watch the news for the next four years. When the President, "takes his message to the American people" he will do so by turning to class, moral, and racial warfare. That is, in fact, how he won reelection. Instead of presenting his vision for a second term, the President made promises to various groups - the poor, homosexuals, women, etc. - and demonized the rich, the conservative, and those with traditional values.


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