Whether you are part of a local church or not, whether you believe in God or another Higher Power, what is worthy of noticing is that throughout history the population of the world had been organized, one way or another, in communities. These communities are usually revolving around faiths and / or churches.
In the small rural villages in Romania, even during the worst socialist times, the building of the church bore a particular significance for the community – regardless of the rite. This is why socialists tried really hard to find reasons to destroy the buildings of the church.
In Timisoara, my birth city, the central town square is marked at one end by the Orthodox Cathedral, which is the symbol of the city to this day and the Opera house at the other end. The shape of the “square” is actually a very long rectangle marked by these two monuments at the end and speckled with significant and beautiful old Jewish palaces on the other two sides. These buildings were built in different historical periods as complementary architectural monuments, and the strip defined by the Church and the Opera House is the heart of the 300k+ community. The Opera house has one massive open-air lounge facing the Cathedral, which people traditionally call “the Balcony”. This is where all great announcements are made from, where the concerts are hosted and where the people gather for protests. During the socialist nightmare, Ceausescu used to use this open-air lounge to blast his speeches and promote the socialist propaganda.
Due to the layout of the town square, every time Ceausescu would come and speak, the one thing he would see was the Orthodox Church staring back at him. He hated the idea of “faith” so much, he even tried to demolish the Church. Due to the fact that the building of church is an international architectural monument, he was unable to do so. But he was able to build between the Cathedral and the Opera House a water fountain. He ordered that the fountain would be large enough and strong enough so it would completely cover visually the Cathedral from his sight. That water fountain is so over-sized, it splashes the palaces on both sides of the strip with water and it does, indeed, cover the silhouette of the Church, when the water is blasting.
Socialism is not only an economical regime, it is actually a system of belief. If one believes that each person has responsibility for his own life, he will militate for each person’s right to find a god to worship – be it the God of the Bible or a different God. Freedom of religion is not even mentioned in any socialist communities, because the mere foundation of a socialist thinking is that the responsibility for each member of the group falls on the entire group. It sounds great in theory, but it is definitely not feasible.
What happens in all societies that adopt any kind of socialist thinking is that people drop personal responsibility.
At the moment, whether I can afford for my lifestyle or not is my responsibility. I can chose whatever lifestyle I want to adopt, for me and my family, and I can plan my life, my success and my accomplishments, I can weigh what is important to me as a person.
The way we do that as people, is that we learn about life, about different gods, about the world, and we find our identities. Our identities encompass a lot of the books that we read, the information that we absorb, what we get exposure to.
When governments start sharing the responsibility of providing for the people’s lifestyles, which is what socialism proposes, the governments will ask to have their say in the lifestyle choices. And it makes sense: the one paying for the bill will decide what goes on the bill.
As long as people have some sense of moral code, that moral code will be part of the decision making process regarding where and how money are spent, regarding the children’s education, regarding ethics. When another person is involved in the decision making process, it has to be someone who has the best interest at heart and mind and absolutely necessary: the same moral code, same life ethics and same faith. The only context where this happens is in a marriage where people with the same faith and moral code are getting married; statistics are actually proving that even a relationship as intimate as cohabitation does not bring the guarantee of the partners having each other’s interest at heart to the same degree as marriages. Socialism is supposed to function as if the entire society had glued together and it formed a massive marriage with millions of children and millions of adults who are now in charge of deciding the family budget. Socialism is the kind of intimate social agreement that always ends up in divorce because nobody really *loves* everyone; nobody can *love* everyone as their kids or their parents. Nor should they. The society works because we are all different, because we all come with our different approaches to life and we all respond to different needs that we see in the society. If we crush this diversity of “tribes” or “communities”, we will destroy the fabric of the society itself.
As a consequence, faiths are central to the way our societies work. Groups of people, or “modern tribes”, with different ethical views and different lifestyles come together not to have their ethical codes redefined or challenged by their sole financial provider – but to develop and grow in the society that exhibits a continuous and new needs that have to be met somehow.
Any family has its own culture. Some families love blasting their money of exquisite trips to exotic places. Other families are book-ish and love investing in libraries and collect books. Their flow of money will be determined by what is valuable to them and what they are trying to accomplish; what is valuable to people is intrinsically connected to what their ethical and moral code is. As soon as their source of financing starts being controlled by an external someone, that dynamic will change and will leave everyone, eventually, dissatisfied.
This is why socialism is incompatible with faiths – with any kind of moral system or code of ethics. Because people decide their lifestyles based on their faith, desires, ethics. Money always follows the heart. And people work a lot to make enough finances to provide for their hobbies and make their heart’s desires come true; the human heart’s desire is the main economical engine for the amount of income that someone is producing. And as long as people have ethics and plans and aspirations and budgets, socialism can’t sell its “to all according to their needs” lies. Family budgets and life are about more than only “needs”, they are about a work-reward system that is deeply rooted in the ethics and moral code that we have.
Even if we take a very brief look at how people of faith make their budget, and we refer to thir basic faith-based charity practices, we notice that with Christians, 10% of their finances go to charity, in general. That is a decision they take based on their faith.
Islamic communities sustain themselves through Zakat, giving 2.5% (or 1/40) of a Muslim’s total savings and wealth. Unlike tithing, zakat is a tax on the stock (total wealth) rather than the flow (annual income).
Ma’aser kesafim is a tithe that Jews give to charity (tzedakah), something that is done on a voluntary basis, as this practice has not been regulated in Jewish codes of law.
This is a very obvious example, but there are so many other financial decisions that people with ethics and a moral code – be it faith or the golden rule alone – take! Alcohol consumption or restriction, smoking, number of life partners, health and medical decisions, entertainment – these are all choices modelled by our moral code; in other words, we make money to spend money on what we believe it’s important to us. Or, even clearer, whatever is important to us will determine how much we invest in it, and whatever much we invest in it we have to be free to gain through labor. If the income is limited by someone else, then the amount of what we can invest in our lifestyles is directly affected. You can’t frame within some limits the income of a person without this making an impact on their lifestyle, whether it is more or less than what they are used to make.
These people of various faiths decide to take a share of their own budget and invest financially into their faith, on a monthly basis. So what should a socialist government enforce? 1/40 of our overall wealth, like in the Muslim tradition, or 10% of our monthly income? And where would the money go, would these money still be given out to whoever the individuals decide or would they be directed via a global charity fund operated by the government? Who would decide if tithing is even necessary in the society, and people who don’t tithe, would they be forced to start tithing or would the government decide to lower the Christians wages with 10% less – since they clearly don’t need the money if they’re voluntarily giving them away? “To all according to their needs”, right?… Who defines the financial needs of each family, if not the bread winners of the family?…
People who think they can hold both the freedom of faith (or even the Golden Rule!) and the socialists position at the same time, they don’t understand the historical fact that every time there was a socialist agenda in a society, ethical codes and morals needed to be abandoned before anything else. So whatever higher power you believe in, in a scoialist society, it will be replaced by the socialist agenda.
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My name is Ligia Brubaker. I was born in 1984 in the Socialist Republic of Romania and I am one of the survivors of Ceauşescu’s tyranny.
I now reside in WA state and rest in the shadow of the most valuable document ever produced by the human race: the Constitution of the United States of America. In order to help America understand the dangers of Socialism, I extended and developed the Risk Avoidance Public Health Model to politics. This approach is beneficial and has helped many students re-think their choices. My trust is that, as this political model spreads around the country, it produces a genuine return to the Constitution.