Context and the Effectiveness of Indoctrination
As recently as the 1950s, socialism was largely considered treasonous in the United States because Americans understood it to be a direct threat to American sovereignty and security—and they understood the superiority of free markets in creating and maintaining a truly free society. The fact that a self-declared socialist was a serious candidate for president in 2016 is a clear indicator that decades of liberal indoctrination in our culture have had their intended effect. Consider: only eight presidential elections ago—a mere 30 years—America decisively elected 41st president George Herbert Walker Bush based in part on his campaign promise that there would be “no new taxes” under his leadership. And only seven presidential elections ago—a mere 26 years—the nation subsequently voted him out of office in large part because he broke that promise and raised taxes.
Think about those facts in light of the reality that a self-proclaimed socialist had a very real chance of being the Democrat Party’s nominee for president in 2016, even though his tax plan, according to analysis by the experts at taxfoundatioin.org, would have led to a “10.56 percent lower after-tax income for all taxpayers” and an income reduction of 12.84 percent for all taxpayers when the reduced GDP caused by the plan was factored in.
In short, liberal indoctrination has been successful. To be sure, according to a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll during the 2016 presidential election, 43 percent of Democrats who likely participated in the Iowa caucus self-identified as socialists.
Socialism went from being considered treasonous to popular in a very short period of time.
While I am not surprised, I certainly lament that plenty of people who would call themselves Christians or have come from evangelical homes were firmly in the
Bernie Sanders camp during the last election cycle. Many millennial, Gen-Z,and Gen-X Christians have embraced a socialist ethic because they believe it comports with the social-justice concerns that drive them. “Those who have much should give to those who have little.” I get it—and I agree that New Testament teaching calls for believers to be charitable, fair, and just. Unfortunately, we are now dealing with generations who have not been taught that those who have been financially blessed deserve fairness and justice too.
Other traditional arguments against the tax-and-spend mindset also seem to have lost their effectiveness with much of the younger populace. Conservatives know that higher taxes lead to less innovation, for when the government takes more and more of people’s money, people become less motivated to do great things. And when people are less motivated to do great things, a country suffers. Advances in technology and medicine decline, and the overall quality of life gets poorer. But many people simply gloss over this argument as well.
Re-educating young people about the perils of socialism and big government seems like such a colossal task that I become overwhelmed even thinking about it. However, I do believe that Christian young people, those who claim to love Jesus and His Church, can be challenged with a couple of arguments that they have perhaps never considered. I offer those arguments here with the hope of generating some meaningful dialogue among those young believers who rightly care about biblical justice and understand that the Church has indeed been called to care for society’s less fortunate. I will make my arguments in parts 2 and 3 of this essay.
This is Part One of a three-part series. Read Part Two here and stay tuned for Part Three!
Featured Image: Bernie Sanders thanked his supporters for starting a political movement at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 25, 2016. | Ali Shaker/VOA | Public Domain
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