May 8, 2023

A Christian Socialism

David Bentley Hart writes unsparingly and convincingly about the Christian case for socialism. He focuses quite a bit on the inadequate healthcare situation is the U.S. and the outcomes that ultimately financially benefit insurance companies.

To me, at least, it seems obvious that, where health care in particular is concerned, Americans are slaves thrice-bound: wholly at the mercy of a government that despoils them for the sake of the rich, as well as of employers from whom they will receive only such benefits as the law absolutely requires, as well as of insurance companies that can rob them of the care for which they have paid.

Hart contrasts the exhibition of Christian values with the way contemporary culture treats individuals.

This kind of socialism proposed a use of civic wealth for common human ends precisely in order to restore the Christian order of values—the Christian law of love of neighbor and faith in God’s charity—that modernity has displaced by its reliance instead on the forces of self-interest.

In closing, Hart expresses his deep conviction that Christians are not following the teachings of Christ when rejecting socialist policies.

But I honestly cannot imagine how anyone who takes the teachings of Christ seriously, and who is willing to listen to those teachings with a good will and an open mind, can fail to see that in the late modern world something like such socialism is the only possible way of embodying Christian love in concrete political practices. I have heard American Christians claim (based on a distinction unknown in the New Testament) that Christ calls his followers only to acts of private largesse, not to support for public policies that provide for the common welfare. What they imagine Christ was doing in publicly denouncing the unjust economic and social practice of his day I cannot guess. But it should be obvious that certain moral ends can be accomplished only by a society as a whole, employing instruments of governance, distribution, and support that private citizens alone cannot command.

It’s a bold and brazen argument, but it’s also one of the best pieces I’ve read recently. My mind has already soured on many of the ideals of modern living in the U.S. and in that regard, reading this is anything but comforting. However, it is a sober, clear eyed take on an important subject: how we care for each other. As a Christian, I am commanded to think about these things.

Source: Three Cheers for Socialism

Via Michael Wayne Arnold


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