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December 2, 2008 / beidson

Solomon and Socialism: Why One Baby Is Better Than Two

It is an amazing thing to hear recent arguments in favor of big government bail outs and increasedbaby2 government regulation.  You would think some Americans haven’t been reading their history books, or recent headlines for that matter.  When government gets too big, it begins to flop, much like a beached whale.  This is why our founders insisted that federal government be minimal and leave most matters to local and state governments.  There is too great a disconnect between the machine that is the federal government and ordinary everyday people, and this is simply the nature of the matter.  Government is a servant, not a master.  It is a tool, not a teacher.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by all of the arguments for and against the bail outs and ever increasing regulations, and for the nationilization of health care, education, retirement, and beyond (way beyond).  It is enough to disillusion anyone, especially when it seems there are no real answers.

However, I believe we might be able to gain some wisdom on these matters by considering the story of Solomon and two very disturbed prostitutes, found in 1 Kings 3.  It happened that two prostitutes, living in the same house, gave birth to children, one delivering three days earlier than the other.  Then it happened that one mother accidentally killed her child by laying on it in the night.  Before the other woman awoke, she took her dead child and swapped it with the living child which belonged to the other woman.  When the woman woke up, she found a dead child at her breast, but she knew that it was not hers.  And so they came before King Solomon to argue their cases.  They argued back and forth until the King had heard enough.  He asked that a sword be brought to him so that he might divide the child and give half to each woman.  One lady agreed that this would be best, but when the other mother pleaded with the King not to divide the child but to give it to the other mother, Solomon knew he had discovered whose baby it truly was.  It was obvious to him that no mother would want half of her child.  Splitting her child in two was not an option, so she was willing to let the child go in one piece, though she would never hold him again.

Solomon’s wisdom serves us well in our predicament.  Many people are beginning to speak out in favor of socialism and against the supposed evils of capitalism.  I do not have the time nor the knowledge to go into detail on these particular models, but suffice it to say, socialism is not going to save us from evil.  Of course, people are not advocating we adopt socialism wholesale; that would be absurd considering the history of socialism which stands as evidence against the ideology.  However, it seems we are begining to think more and more like socialists as a nation.  We are beginning to be suspicious of success.  We are demanding that we reap what others have sown.  And we are asking government to do the dirty work.

Socialism is jealous of success, so it demands failure from everyone.  The greatest motive to succeed is the fear of failure.  But socialism removes the risk of failure, and in doing so, it also removes the motive to succeed.  This is Economics 101.  People succeed when they are allowed to reap the harvest of their labor (even animals were allowed to eat the grain as they plowed the fields).  People give up when there is no reward for their work.

In the case of the two prostitutes, it is clear who was jealous of prosperity and blessing.  Because of her negligence, one mother demanded the sacrifice of another.  Because she lost her own child, one mother demanded that the other give hers up.  This type of selfish thinking lies at the root of socialism.  If everyone can’t succeed, then no one should.  It is better to have half a baby than to give up a whole one.  It is better for everyone to suffer than for one to suffer and another succeed.  It is a suspicious system that would rather give the King control of wealth than to let another have what is rightfully hers.

And I fear that there is a split in America now which divides these two systems of political thought, and it is the economy.  Some are beginning to speak out against the prosperity of the wealthy, demanding that they give up what they have worked hard to gain, calling it a patriotic duty.  Even though this will not make them rich, it will at least make everyone average.  The analogy fails at this point, because those on the other side of the divide are not willing to give up their wealth because of the negligence of others.  However, they may be forced to do so, and this is a sad commentary on the devastating consequence of becoming a nation of “victims,” where no one is responsible, and there is always someone or something else to blame for our failures.

But who can complain?  At least we will all have our half of the baby.  And two halves must be better than one, right?

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