Why Obama’s big government socialism leads to secularism

I have been browsing on a few forums, including forums that discuss Christian apologetics. Imagine my surprise when I encountered pro-Obama, pro-socialism statements by people who are supposed to be informed about these issues.

Well, I found an article over at Mercator Net, (an Australian web site), which might be useful for Christians who are sympathetic with Obama’s pacifism, redistribution of wealth and creeping fascism. I want to argue that his policies are inconsistent with Christianity.

First of all, the article notes that Obama did gain a significant number of votes  from religious Christians.

In 2008, according to CNN exit polls, Obama won forty-three percent of the presidential vote among voters who attend religious services once a week or more, up from Senator John Kerry’s thirty-nine percent in 2004. Obama did especially well with Black and Latino believers. But he also made real inroads among traditional white Catholics, according to a recent article by John Green in First Things.

The article describes Obama’s spending, (which I discussed here), and then comments on the significance of that spending for religious institutions, like churches and charities.

To fund his bold efforts to revive the American economy and expand the welfare state, Obama is proposing to spend a staggering $3.6 trillion in the 2010 fiscal year. Obama’s revolutionary agenda would push federal, state, and local spending to approximately 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product, up from about 33 percent in 2000. It would also put the size of government in the United States within reach of Europe, where government spending currently makes up 46 percent of GDP.

Why is this significant for the vitality of religion in America? A recent study of 33 countries around the world by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde, political scientists at the University of Washington, indicates that there is an inverse relationship between state welfare spending and religiosity. Specifically, they found that countries with larger welfare states had markedly lower levels of religious attendance, had higher rates of citizens indicating no religious affiliation whatsoever, and their people took less comfort in religion in general. In their words, “Countries with higher levels of per capita welfare have a proclivity for less religious participation and tend to have higher percentages of non-religious individuals.”

The article goes on to explain the chain of casusation from big government to secularization. Read the whole thing.

But this should be no surprise when you recall Nobel prize winning economist F. A. Hayek’s thesis in his landmark book “The Road to Serfdom”. His thesis is that the natural endpoint to all systems of government that control the means of production is fascism.

Fascism is a left-wing ideology, in which the state substitutes its own values, meanings and purposes for the values, meanings and purposes of individuals. There is no such thing as fascism on the right, because people on the right are free market capitalists who prefer small government and individual liberty.

To see how fascism destroys individual liberty and freedom of conscience, consider:

  • Obama’s plan to force hospital workers to perform abortions against their conscience
  • Obama’s forcing of taxpayers to pay for abortions here and abroad against their conscience
  • Obama’s forcing of taxpayers to pay for embryonic stem cell research against their conscience
  • Obama’s forcing of students to attend government run schools instead of private schools of their choice
  • Obama’s discrimination against religious schools in his spendulus bill
  • Obama’s plan to force some workers to join unions against their will and fun left-wing union political activism against their will
  • Obama’s forcing individuals to let Washington run their health-care

I could go on. And on. And on and on and on. But the point is that electing a socialist put us on the road to fascism. As IBD notes, socialists want to force-feed (podcast audio) their worldview onto an unwilling populace by any means – from government-run schools to news media.

I think that Christians need to do a much better job of understanding how our religious liberty hangs on small government and the free market. And remember: this crisis that Obama is “fixing”: it’s the Democrats who caused it, while Republicans tried to stop it.

5 thoughts on “Why Obama’s big government socialism leads to secularism”

  1. Really great article. I had commented on this very subject earlier today on my blog. I don’t think people are paying nearly enough attention to the costs (fiscal and otherwise) of the current adminstration’s policies.

    Like

  2. “Fascism is a left-wing ideology, in which the state substitutes its own values, meanings and purposes for the values, meanings and purposes of individuals. There is no such thing as fascism on the right, because people on the right are free market capitalists who prefer small government and individual liberty.”

    Drivel.

    Have you ever read a history book? Ever heard of Adolf Hitler? It is true that the Nazis weren’t free marketeers, but to assume that means they aren’t of the right is absurd.

    There are two basic issues, liberty and equality, that this country was founded on. They are not the same, or else the founders wouldn’t have used two words. Communism and Facism are similar on the liberty axis, but differ entirely on the equality axis.

    Democratic capitalism and fascism (of the Nazi variety) both are comfortable with inequality, while democratic socialism and communism emphasize equality.

    You can criticize Obama all you want, and maybe you might even be right, but this Jonah Goldberg inspired distortian of history makes you seem ignorant.

    Like

    1. Hi Rick. Thanks for your comment. I hope you can show me where I am mistaken so that I can correct my views as needed.

      The first point is that the party in power in Germany was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Socialist. If you take a look at the actual policies that were implemented, you will find state control of the free market and the suppression of individual liberty and conscience, in the service of the state.

      For example, consider Hitler’s outlawing of home schooling – was this a left-wing law, or a right-wing law? Well, today the forces on the right favor home schooling and vouchers (school choice), in order for parents to be able to have the freedom to exempt their children from government-run schools. The right trusts parents to decide what their children learn.

      Now where does the left stand? California, a blue state, has effectively outlawed home-schooling and Obama’s omnibus bill effectively kills the Washington D.C. voucher program. The left favors the use of mandatory, government-run schools, universal pre-K and day care. The left does not trust parents to decide what their children learn.

      The left wants high taxes and government run social programs.

      The right wants low taxes and individuals and families making the decisions.

      The left believes in nationalization of industry, forced unionization, mandatory cradle to grave government dependency, mandatory cradle to cubicle education, and state politicization of, and intervention into, the most private parts of life, including marriage and child care.

      The right believes in private property, free markets, free trade, the right to work, the right to keep what you earn, the right to spend it as you see fit, (without waiting in line for a government program to serve you after they take their cut and serve their special interest groups first).

      Socialism is a phenomenon of the left, and, as F.A. Hayek argues in The Road to Serfdom, it leads to fascism. If you have a problem with a Nobel-prize winning economist like Hayek, you are certainly free to disagree with Hayek. I don’t.

      Here is what F.A. Hayek says on p. 31 of the Road to Serfdom:

      whatever may have been his reasons, Hitler thought it expedient to declare in one of his public speeches as late as February 1941 that ‘basically National Socialism and Marxism are the same.’

      Here is a citation from the abridged Road to Serfdom I linked to in the main post:

      Long before the Nazis, too, the German and Italian socialists were using techniques of which the Nazis and Fascists later made effective use. The idea of a political party which embraces all activities of the individual from the cradle to the grave, which claims to guide his views on everything, was first put into practice by the socialists. It was not the Fascists but the socialists who began to collect children at the tenderest age into political organizations to direct their thinking. It was not the Fascists but the socialists who first thought of organizing sports and games, football and hiking, in party clubs where the members would not be infected by other views. It was the socialists who first insisted that the party member should distinguish himself from others by the modes of greeting and the forms of address. It was they who, by their organization of “cells” and devices for the permanent supervision of private life, created the prototype of the totalitarian party. By the time Hitler came to power, liberalism was dead in Germany. And it was socialism that had killed it. To many who have watched the transition from socialism to fascism at close quarters the connection between the two systems has become increasingly obvious, but in the democracies the majority of people still believe that socialism and freedom can be combined. They do not realize that democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is not only unachievable but that to strive for it produces something utterly different – the very destruction of freedom itself. As has been aptly said: “What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.”

      And again:

      Although our modern socialists’ promise of greater freedom is genuine and sincere, in recent years observer after observer has been impressed by the unforeseen consequences of socialism, the extraordinary similarity in many respects of the conditions under “communism” and “fascism.” As the writer Peter Drucker expressed it in 1939, “the complete collapse of the belief in the attainability of freedom and equality through Marxism has forced Russia to travel the same road toward a totalitarian society of un-freedom and inequality which Germany has been following. Not that communism and fascism are essentially the same. Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion, and it has proved as much an illusion in Russia as in pre-Hitler Germany.”

      Like

  3. There was certainly some borrowing between communism and fascism, but that does not make them identical or even on the side of the political spectrum.

    You have to look at the history of right-wing movements in continental Europe to see where the support for Nazism came from, the right-wing hatred of modernism and change, and the same goes for countries like Hungary, Romania, etc. Basically, it was the right that embraced facism, even if doing so, they abandoned certain traditions and accepted certain verbiages that were borrowed from the left.

    Liberal capitalism was always a weak ideology in Germany. Business interests were always somewhat connected in cartels, but it is certainly true that the business people of Germany, not the working classes, were the key supporters of Nazism.

    In Feb. 1941, Hitler was at peace with the Soviet Union and getting war materiel from Stalin, so what he said about communism at that time may have been “diplomatic.” In any case, I have no interest in defending Marxism, but it’s still the case that Marxism and Nazism are extremely different, and to put them in the same category is like putting a shark and a tiger in the same zoological category because they are vicious killers.

    Hayek is simply mistaken (though he can be forgiven because of the early date that he wrote) that socialism and democracy are incompatible. 50 years of social democracy in Western Europe prove him wrong.

    Meanwhile, the free market United States supported dictatorships around the world during the Cold War, including Franco, who was explicitly fascist. I’m not saying that the US was wrong to do so, but I’m saying that the free market doesn’t have such pure hands.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s