March 20, 2009

"We are Socialists. We don't pretend to be Christians"

On Charity, by James V. Schall, S.J.

Bruce Fingerhut, the good director of St. Augustine's Press, sent me the other day the following amusing, but provocative citation: "Bertrand Russell, who, when asked why he did not give to charity, replied: "I'm afraid you've got it all wrong. We are Socialists. We don't pretend to be Christians.'" Needless to say, that witty retort contains a whole theology and a philosophy that deserve to be spelled out. The logic of classic socialism makes Christianity not only superfluous�everyone has everything by rights�but impossible�no one has anything to give.

Russell is right, of course. In a socialist world, no charity can exist because there can be no need that is unfulfilled by the commonality's duty. It is a world in which there can be no gratitude. I can thank someone for giving me what is really his. I cannot thank him for giving me what is by rights already mine. And if everything belongs to the community, how can I give it away? Or if I do give it away, how can it be anything but stealing from the commons on my part and receiving illicit booty on the receiver's part?...

Rush Limbaugh: Better He Should FailI remember an incident, maybe back in the 70's? The king of Sweden donated a large sum of money to charity. And Swedish leftists were outraged, and there was a big flap about it! It was treated as an insult to Sweden's socialistic state!

I'd guess that the recent proposal by the Obama administration to limit the deduction for charitable donations was not an accident. Charity is an area where any socialist will want to start squeezing out the private sector and gathering all "charity" into the hands of government...




Posted by John Weidner at March 20, 2009 8:57 AM
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