Posts tagged " socialism "

Into the Valley of Equality

March 4th, 2020 Posted by Thought Tools 14 comments

It’s truly terrifying that more young males are being brought up without a father than ever before. Terrifying?  Yes, terrifying! You want to know why?  Because boys need dads to help them acquire self-discipline and become men of honor. Because those with real-life experience of the criminal justice system will tell you that the one factor most shared by incarcerated men is not economic status, race, or gang-affiliation, but the absence of a father in the home.  Thus, the more boys without dads, the more frightened we should be. It’s sad but simple.

It’s truly terrifying that there is more income inequality in America than ever before. Terrifying? Huh? Why?  I’m trying to find out, honest I am.  One thing is for sure and that is that there is more talk of income inequality than ever before.  Pundits and politicians pontificate about how dangerous it is, but I like to figure things out for myself and I cannot see the problem.

Most Americans are reasonably comfortable living among people who have less than we do and we are equally comfortable helping them with a hand up.  Likewise, most of us are fine living among those with much more than we have.  For most of us, how people behave is more important than how much money they have.  We feel sympathy for the poor and, if anything, we are inspired to greater effort by the rich in hopes of reaching their levels of affluence.  Those agitating about inequality insist that it’s terrible but they won’t tell us why.   The wealth gap is frightening?  I think not. Income inequality is one of America’s biggest problems? I think not.

But maybe inequality is just plain immoral?  The trouble is that the words ‘moral’ and ‘immoral’ are utterly meaningless without specifying the framework that defines morality.  For instance, if the framework comprises socialism, liberalism, and progressivism, then inequality is clearly immoral.  This means we must empower government to ‘tax-the-rich’ in order to redistribute their money to the poor. Government will also define who is rich and who is poor.

However, there is another morality-defining framework that has sculpted the civilization that socialism wishes to dismantle.  This is the Bible-based Judeo-Christian vision. One can futilely search there for any endorsement of equality as a guiding moral principle.  Just as absent is any condemnation of inequality.

The word ‘equal’ appears only once in all the 79,976 words in the Torah.

…of the kings who were with him, at the Valley of Equality (SHaVeH),
which is the Valley of the King.
(Genesis 14:17)

The Hebrew word ShaVeH means equal.  This chapter in Genesis not only contains the Torah’s very first mention of the word king, but it also contains many more mentions of the word king than any other chapter in Scripture.  And it contains the only mention of equality.

One more piece of information is needed to solve the riddle.

And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar…
(Genesis 14:1)

The opening verse of the entire story mentions Amraphel of Shinar.  In Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel,  I walk you through the steps that lead ancient Jewish wisdom to see that Amraphel was another name for Nimrod, king of Shinar (Genesis 10:10). Nimrod’s vision of social organization is the centralized control system that battles against Abraham’s Biblical vision of human freedom.

Genesis 14:17 is the climax.  Abraham has defeated the dangerous vision of Nimrod at the Valley of Equality.  Nimrod and his allies used this idealistic promise of equality to cement their power over their people.  Abraham replaces the false vision of equality with that of the “Valley of the King” – the vision of God, the King.

Inequality is not scary.  You know what is?  When politicians start talking about inequality, that is scary.  When they promise to eradicate inequality, that’s just plain terrifying because that can be achieved only by obliterating freedom.

At this time, when socialism is not a specter on the horizon but is actually being advocated by one major political party, we ask you to use Tower of Power as a Bible study with your family, friends, church or synagogue. God’s message can reach hearts in a way that political advocacy cannot. Work with us to share God’s wisdom as revealed in these Genesis verses so that we do not have to learn the hard way to listen to His voice rather than our own.

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Tower of Power: Decoding the Secrets of Babel

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Psst! Want to Join a Conspiracy?

February 6th, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 22 comments

I don’t want to be responsible for starting a new conspiracy theory, but have you noticed something strange about the language that newspapers are using when talking about Bernie Sanders’ campaign?  Democrats can certainly be concerned that his decades-long socialist leanings might not be acceptable to many Americans. That is a valid and reasonable point for the press to make.

Yet, I saw two stories and neither phrased the potential problem in those terms. A news article in the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 4, 2020, speaking of Bernie Sanders’ popularity read, “That has triggered concerns among centrist Democrats who worry Mr. Trump would use [my emphasis] Mr. Sanders’ political identity to damage the party’s prospects in Midwestern battleground states…” Similarly, a CNN article I read expressed concern that President Trump would “take advantage” of Bernie Sanders’ socialist leanings to turn voters against him.

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Socialism and atheism – why do they go together?

July 16th, 2019 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 6 comments

Could you further explain the following passage from your book Business Secrets from the Bible?

“One would have expected the political left to excuse what it calls the “greed” of capitalism and to recognize it as nothing other than Darwinian law applied to the life of modern man. Yet, this is not possible; something as truly spiritual as commerce simply cannot coexist with socialism. The atheist himself recognizes that, to be true to his credo, he must reject the free market because of its godliness.”

Why can’t socialism exist with commerce when socialism also helps those that are less fortunate?

Why would you assume an atheist would reject a free market because of its spirituality when his basis for understanding spirituality is different from yours and he may himself benefit from capitalism if it allows him to benefit himself?

I am trying to test my previous ways of thinking and understand ideas and thought processes that I have never considered before.

Alo

Dear Alo,

We are delighted that you are reading Business Secrets from the Bible so carefully and actually thinking through each point.

We disagree with you that socialism helps those who are less fortunate. Its proponents gain control by promising to do so, but the reality has never matched the promise. As Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons on October 22, 1945,

‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.’

The only ones who do not share in the miseries of socialism are those in power. Somehow, they manage to live quite well, even opulently, as those who foolishly bought into their promises suffer, some of them even starving to death. We encourage everyone to learn history from fair and honest sources. Sadly, the information taught in schools and universities today is often neither. Unfortunately, you needn’t restrict yourself to history. Search out information about what is happening in Venezuela and other socialist paradises today.

Now, to get to your main point. We must acknowledge that when we write words such as, “the atheist,” we do not mean to say “each and every atheist.” Individuals do not fall 100% into categories. The atheist philosophy rejects the idea that humans are uniquely  touched by the finger of God. We insist that this spiritual distinctiveness is precisely what allows humans to make individual decisions on thousands of large and small subjects. No lion decides to be a vegetarian and no kangaroo chooses to carry her babies on her back rather than in a pouch. People, however, can live not only with great variation but even with inconsistency. By “the atheist” we mean a philosophical idea rather than a specific person.

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On California’s Radical Policies

March 7th, 2019 Posted by AAJC Happenings, On Our Mind 3 comments

We loved this line from Professor Charles R. Kesler in the Wall Street Journal and thought you would enjoy it too:

“Karl Marx called his kind of socialism “scientific,” as opposed to his predecessors’ “utopian” fantasies. California appears to be pioneering a third kind, which might be called “infantile.”  Our Democrats strongly suspect their programs won’t work and know they can’t be paid for—but want them anyway.”

Stairway to Heaven

October 30th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools 2 comments

I recently eavesdropped on a conversation taking place at a table adjacent to mine.  A customer in the Dallas kosher restaurant in which I was having dinner was talking to the waitress.  After thanking the waitress for excellent service, he asked what she did when she wasn’t waiting tables.  When she responded that she was a recent immigrant and didn’t yet have other work, he said, “How would you like to earn a good living by helping women enjoy healthier skin and better looks?” 

To my amazement, there and then he hired the waitress to staff a cosmetic sales kiosk in one of the larger malls in Texas.  Never mind hiring the waitress—I would have liked to hire him.  He knew not to ask his prospect, “How would you like to make a lot of money persuading passersby to try a hand cream?”  Instead, he motivated by painting a picture of a higher purpose. 

I remember how easy it was to ignite a contagious enthusiasm for chores among my young children provided I first spoke about how much we all owed my wife, their mother, before assigning tasks.  I appealed to a higher purpose.

Most of the brave men and women who enlist in the military do so to defend freedom and protect their loved ones.  Army recruiters rightly emphasize these attributes rather than the pay or the working conditions.

Needless to say, just as fire can cook delicious food, heat our homes and provide mechanized transport, it can also burn and destroy.  The more powerful a tool, the more powerfully it can be used for both good and evil.

Similarly, tapping into the worthy human desire to strive for a greater purpose than merely our physical existence can also be used for both good and evil.  Politicians win support for unpopular policies by explaining, for instance, that confiscatory rates of taxation are necessary to “give every citizen free medicine,” to “help the children” or to “end poverty.”  They know better than to justify higher taxes by explaining that they wish to hire more of their friends and provide them with lavish retirement benefits.

Nimrod, who enslaved the populace to build the Tower of Babel, knew as all tyrants know, that you cannot subdue people by telling them, “I want to enslave you.  I want you to work for my aggrandizement.”  You have to find a way to appeal to their desire for a higher purpose.

…Come; let us build a city and a tower whose top will reach heaven…
(Genesis 11:4)

Nimrod was speaking to a spiritual need.  The tower was a metaphor for appealing to a higher purpose.  In the Lord’s language, Hebrew, the word for tower-MiGDaL is closely related to the word for great-GaDoL.  Not only is a tower a great building, but it is the physical depiction of our own human yearning to find transcendent purpose in our lives.  Often companies build enormous headquarters, not because they need the space but because they want a symbol of their vision. Every one of us yearns to reach for the sky.  Similarly, by orating about his stairway to Heaven, Nimrod is saying, “Come with me, I will help you reach for your highest aspirations.”

On the positive side, knowing that on the deepest level most people are motivated best by a call to higher purpose is a practical and indispensable tool for managing a military, a business, or a family. A good leader takes the time to share his or her vision and the idea and passion behind it rather than simply relaying the task that needs to be accomplished. Mundane and often boring jobs lay the groundwork for majestic missions. Being able to envision the goal in grand terms makes even difficult tasks achievable.

 As for the waitress, I hope she will be one more among the many who have achieved success in sales under the guidance of a wise mentor.

 

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