Beware! The Delusion
The Economic Political Illusion Of Socialism
Charles Colson And The D. C. Bureaucracy
In his book “Who Speaks For God?” Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, recounts an incident that happened while he served as Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon.
The 37th President had made a campaign pledge to create a commission concerning education. However, the pledge had been ignored by The Justice Department for eighteen months. In his frustration, Nixon asked Mr. Colson to prepare an executive order to form the commission. In collaborating with other members of the administration, conflict soon arose. John Erlichman accused Colson of “invading his area” and “the bureaucracy suddenly came alive…”
This is the context for what Charles Colson writes next in the chapter titled “The Political Illusion.” [See if anything from this description of the 1970 D.C. bureaucracy sounds familiar to the D.C. bureaucracy today, almost 50 years later. The purpose of this article is not to compare how things have not changed, but it is instructive for historical reference to note the similarities.]
Excerpt from Who Speaks For God?
The battle that began that weekend went on for months. Eventually the order was issued, only to be soon forgotten.
This was no isolated instance. Career bureaucrats outlast presidents, and are experts at stymieing orders they don’t like. Many programs are deadlocked between Congress and the president; some agencies, after being launched with great fanfare, simply watch the problems they were created to solve steadily worsen.
Yet politicians of both parties continue to promise—and the electorate continues to expect—political solutions to all our ills. We go through the same cycle every election year. Why?
Two decades ago, Jacques Ellul, the eminent French historian, answered the question in a remarkably prophetic book, The Political Illusion. Ellul theorized that modern man increasingly turns to the state [that is, government] for answers to his problems—even though the [government] cannot solve them. Politicians perpetuate the myth that it can since the illusion perpetuates their power; the media willingly collaborates since their coverage of government fuels their own power—and profits—as well.
The result, Ellul wrote, is a “boundless growth” of [government], with an insatiable appetite for power. (Of special interest to us in Prison Fellowship’s ministry, Ellul argues that independent groups that involve people in meeting society’s needs are the only way to lessen dependence upon government and its eventual totalitarian control.)
We Christians, of all people, should see through the political illusion. We should understand that the real problems of our society are, at their root, moral and spiritual. Institutions and politicians are limited in what they can do.
Certainly that is so in the criminal justice field. Crime is the result of wrong moral choices. Laws are needed to restrain evil, but penal institutions can’t deal with the ultimate problem: the human heart. That’s why the gospel of Christ is the only real answer.
Even in foreign policy, governments are not all-powerful, as we are accustomed to think. The Marine presence in Lebanon was no deterrent to the centuries-old civil strife there. The British have learned the same lesson in Ulster.
Or take the example of Poland. Against the “powerful” array of Soviet division, thousands of schoolchildren marched with their crucifixes held high, successfully resisting the Communist government’s edict to remove crosses from their classrooms. Where is the real power in Poland? Certainly not in the Politburo.
The political illusion poses two grave dangers. First, as political solutions fail and problems worsen, people become cynical, and in time, alienated from their own political process. The second is that the political illusion fosters a false security: The government is promising to deal with our problems, so we don’t have to bother. It lets us off the hook.
Many of the government’s much bally-hooed programs of the sixties (few of which ever got any money to the needy) offer a case in point. As social programs mushroomed, private agencies helping the poor declined. Because of the illusion that the government was taking care of things, individual people stopped actively caring for others.
So beware of the political illusion. Of course, government is ordained by God to maintain order, promote justice, and restrain sin. But listen with healthy skepticism to inflated political rhetoric. Political institutions provide no panaceas to the ills of our age, no matter how attractive they sound: and they are surely no substitute for individual responsibility.
I’d like to recommend that you read Ellul’s book, The Political Illusion. But I can’t for in the most revealing commentary on our surrender to the illusion the book warns of, it is out of print. No market, the publisher says. -Chuck Colson, June 1984
The Grave Dangers Of Big Government
Mr. Colson mentions the programs in the 60’s. The “Big Government” programs. In only a few words, the full story of these programs are summarized: “few of which ever got any money to the needy.” Government was made bigger—government staff, supplies, buildings, water/electricity to the buildings, salaries to workers, etc.—but as far as getting money to the needy, the actual human beings that needed it, the 60’s social programs were an epic fail.
On top of that, private agencies and individuals that actual helped the poor and disenfranchised declined, because the illusion existed that the “government was taking care of it.”
The “social programs” of the 1960’s represents the same political illusion as “socialized medicine,” otherwise known as Obamacare. Whereas the 60’s social programs were relatively small steps, the socialization of the massive healthcare system is a huge step toward a system of economics known as Socialism. Speaking of epic fails, both Obamacare and the system of Socialism as a whole have prominent places in the Top 10 epic fails of modern history.
Socialism Is More Than Big Government; It’s All Government
At its most basic level, socialism is government control of all institutions that provide goods and services to the people. Government fully controls education, manufacturing, production, food distribution, infrastructure, healthcare, etc. etc. You can see, and are probably experiencing, why socialized healthcare in the U.S. was a huge first step toward a vast socialist existence—premium increases, less healthcare, taxed for other people’s healthcare, more bureaucracy. Anything controlled by the government, by default, increases the cost, if for no other reason than to pay for the program administration. But of course, cost is affected in other ways as well.
Socialism is Government-Only Capitalism
Because socialism is incompatible with capitalism, there is no competition. Why would the government compete against itself? Why should doctors and healthcare providers be a cut above “the rest” if in reality “the rest” do not exist, since all work for the government and will receive the same stipend?
Why should laws and regulations aim at controlling drug prices if the government owns the drug companies, sets drug pricing, receives reimbursement for drugs; so the more drugs cost, the more the government receives back?
Why should patients be treated fairly, in a reasonable amount of time, as a human being, if the hospitals and doctors are overworked and underpaid due to the lack of government approved resources? Why do you think people from Canada come to the U.S. for healthcare and dental services?
Why do you think people from Canada come to the U.S. for healthcare and dental services?
Certainly, the purpose of this article is not to explain the distorted thinking of socialists. That would take a rather large library. But the purpose of this article is to serve as a warning—things are not always as they appear.
The Seduction Of Socialism
Socialism is attractive to the down-and-out, the poor, the unwise, whether from a lack of education or a lack of life experience. But government is not an economic answer. On the surface, the government taking care of all its “happy and well-adjusted citizens” sounds good. But as Mr. Colson said, money rarely makes it to the needy. Socialism has never been successful in any country where it has been imposed. The only thing it is successful at is destroying a country’s economy and the will of the citizenry, if they happen to still be among the living.
The Goal Of Socialism Is Communism
The goal of socialism is communism. Socialism—a society governed by the poor working class which will in time include the middle class—is la-la-land. It can’t happen. Can you imagine trying to get millions of people to agree on the ins-and-outs of a certain law? It would take years. Obviously, the leaders who impose socialism in the first place, then “step in to take control.” Look back in history from the mid-1800’s until today; these “leaders who step in” are always authoritarian, totalitarian, and/or a dictator.
In The Days Before Engels And Marx’ Really Bad Idea
Ever notice how many hospitals have, or have had, a Christian denomination in the name? St. So-In-So, Baptist, Methodist, etc.? With the rise of John Wesley and Methodism in the 1700’s, a centuries long social security system began whereby Christians built, maintained, and run hospitals. Not only hospitals, but orphanages, schools, universities, and many other social welfare and charitable organizations. But look in any country ravaged by socialism and you will also find religious oppression. (China and Communist Russia come to mind.) Socialism and Communism do not tolerate religion of any kind, and especially not Christianity.
In the United States, vestiges of Christian denomination named hospitals and charities still exist—St. Jude’s, Our Redeemer, YMCA, Salvation Army, to name only a few. Unfortunately, some hospitals have been sucked up into corporations. And some organizations having anything remotely Christian in the name, are sued by the FFRF and other American atheists groups on bogus church/state grounds. (Ignorance). FFRF, who has never helped a single solitary American citizen in need, works alongside other far-left, socialist, communist groups in an attempt to cleanse “religion” (though they only attack Christians) from America.
As you have probably surmised, socialists and communists are atheists. Government is their god. They seek fulfillment on earth since they have nothing else. It is without a doubt that they are empty on the inside. Yet, still having eternity in their hearts (Eccl 3:11), they too yearn for something greater, for acceptance, for love.To the masses sold and being sold on a system of socialism, who are being/have been indoctrinated to hate religion, and again, especially Christianity, socialism, in its beginning stages, masquerades as salvation for the world!
In Christianity, the world ends with apocalyptic events. But we are warned beforehand and are taught by Jesus to be ready. Our end is the Bible’s beginning, at home with God in paradise. Socialism also “ends” apocalyptically. But instead of a paradisaical utopia on earth, their end is communism. For a contemporary example, look at the tribulation in Venezuela.
Beware! The Delusion Of The Economic Political Illusion Of Socialism
Don’t fall for the delusion! Or what Chuck Colson has aptly called “The Political Illusion.” (This article is using “economic political” since socialism purports to be an economic system.)
Don’t fall for the false security of government promising to deal with your problems. Like all people, the “administrators, AKA brown-shirts, KGB, SS” or “bureaucrats” are fallen. They do not have the ability to be compassionate toward others, an attribute absolutely necessary in caring for and wanting the best for one’s fellow human beings. We must take responsibility for our own problems and situations, as well as those of our families and communities. Government bureaucrats are not equipped for this huge and complex task, i.e. they are not people persons.
Don’t become cynical either. Big Government promises present a greater facade than Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. They cannot service or take care of that many people in such a short amount of time. Programs that government initiates for social problems will not cause the problems to go away or to get any better. Look at our healthcare system today in 2018! It is not better but is far, far worse. Accept that government is extremely limited in what it can do even halfway effectively.
Don’t let cynicism (“my vote doesn’t matter” thinking) cause you to become alienated from our—the citizens of the United States—political process.
Stand up for our laws.
Stand up for your families and your communities.
Stand up for what our rights and for what is right.
Support Voter ID’s. Something the Democrats can’t buy.
Whether you are a Christian or not, the apostle Paul offers great advice on how to do this
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Ephesians 6:13, NLT
Remember — Socialism is a system authored by the enemy of the souls of all humanity.
Socialism is the goal of Communism
Socialism is like the woman in Proverbs who entices young men into her home–they go in, but never come out.
The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the door of her house;
she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, 15 calling to those who pass by, who are going
straight on their way, 16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” 18 But he does not know that the dead
are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. Proverbs 9:13-18